Hastings Reef is a Patch Reef shaped like a horseshoe. It’s about 50km Northeast of Cairns, which classifies it as an Outer Reef.
The average depth is 13m on the bottom, making this one of the shallower sites on the Outer Reef. Also, the top of the reef (called the reef flat) sits in only 1-3m of water, depending on the tides. Consequently, Hastings Reef is a favourite site among snorkellers.
The shape of the reef is a well-defined wall, which bends in and out. As a result, the natural form of the wall creates ravines within the coral, which are great fun to explore. The cracks created by the coral provide a perfect hiding place for some of the larger reef species.
The shallow reef flat means you can get closer to the fish! As you snorkel with the reef under you, you’ll see the smaller reef species darting in and out of the coral. In addition to this, the reef wall is steep, which creates a drop-off. So you are more likely to see larger predatory species such as mackerel, trevally and reef sharks.
Read on to find out what you’ll likely see on Hastings Reef.
Commonly spotted at Hastings Reef:
- Steephead parrotfish
- Schools of surgeonfish
- Reef squid
- Black snapper
- Giant clams
- Coral trout
- Green sea turtles
What are the most exciting species we’ve seen on Hastings Reef? Tawny nurse shark
Looking for the best way to visit Hastings Reef? Click here