One Tree Island



General Information

One Tree Island is a coral cay of about 4 hectares, situated at the seaward (southeast) end of its reef which is 5.5 long and up to 3.5 km in size. The reef is an excellent example the rich development characteristic of the southern part of the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef. It lies in the Centre of the Capricorn Group of the Great Barrier Reef, about 20 km east of Heron Island and about 100km off the Queensland coast. The nearest mainland port is Gladstone.

The whole of the One Tree Reef and the surrounding waters (500m from the edge of the reef) is a Scientific Research Zone within the Capricornia section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. It provides a unique opportunity for long-term field studies in a site known to be free of other human disturbances. The research station provides easy access to study sites within the lagoon at any stage of the tide. Scientists involved in research within the as-of-right category must have a letter indicating this from their Accredited institution. Click here for details. Other research requires a permit from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). It is necessary to liase directly with the GBRMPA for permits. Click here for GBRMPA contact details

The island itself is a National Park and a separate permit is required for work on the rubble cay. Click here for contact details for land based research.

The Australian Museum began research at One Tree Island in 1965. The site is arguably the best known on the Great Barrier Reef - the field station's bibliography is in excess of 300 titles.

The island has not been severely modified by human influence and continues to be valuable for terrestrial studies of a coral island. It is a rookery for six species of terns and a home to northern hemisphere waders. The lagoon is totally enclosed and is the only ponded lagoon on the Great Barrier Reef. It has a rich patch reef system with good variation in zonal characteristics. The reef has well defined windward and leeward differentiation on the outer reef slopes.

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For Maps and Aerial Photos of One Tree Island click here.