Hastings Reef is a horseshoe-shaped Patch Reef. It’s about 50 kilometres north-east of Cairns. As a result, it is classified as an Outer Reef.

The average depth on the bottom is 13 metres, making this one of the Outer Reef’s shallower sites. Furthermore, depending on the tides, the top of the reef (known as the reef flat) sits in only 1-3 metres of water. As a result, Hastings Reef is a popular snorkelling destination.

The reef is shaped like a well-defined wall that bends in and out. As a result, the wall’s natural shape creates ravines within the coral that are a lot of fun to explore. Furthermore, the coral’s cracks provide an ideal hiding place for some of the larger reef species.

You can get closer to the fish thanks to the shallow reef! You’ll be able to see the smaller reef species darting in and out of the coral as you snorkel along the reef flat right beneath you. Furthermore, the reef wall is steep, resulting in a drop off. This means that larger predatory species like mackerel, trevally, and reef sharks are more likely to be seen.



Common species seen at Hastings Reef:

  • Steephead parrotfish
  • Schools of surgeonfish
  • Rabbitfish
  • Reef squid
  • Drummerfish
  • Black snapper
  • Giant clams
  • Angelfish
  • Coral trout
  • Green sea turtles


Writer’s Pick:

Most exciting species we’ve seen on Hastings Reef? Tawny nurse shark