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Ngaro Underwater Marine Sculpture Trail, Whitsundays

Updated Mon 05 Aug 2019

The Whitsundays is world-renowned for its natural scenery, 74 tropical islands, and is now home to an incredible underwater and intertidal art series, all of which can be found nestled in the Great Barrier Reef National Marine Park. 

"Turtle Dream" Photo Credit: Phill Gordon, Riptide Creative

The initiative, developed by the collective group dubbed the Whitsunday Reef Recovery and Public Art Project includes input in the design and locations of these underwater pieces of art from local government, tourism bodies and community artists alike. The underwater sculptures are a first on the Great Barrier Reef, following a growing trend from places like ‘the Caribbean, the Maldives, and Spain,’ according to Queensland Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones in 2018 statement.

"Migration of the Mantas" Photo Credit: Phill Gordon, Riptide Creative

Complimenting the Ngaro Sea Trail which winds through the Whitsunday Islands above water, these sculptures will create new intrigues for guests below the surface now. The Whitsunday Reef Recovery and Public Art Project hopes to encourage new visitation to the area, and invoke interest and consideration for the conservation of the reef as well as the cultural heritage of the land. The works will also double as a comfortable nesting ground for new coral and marine life as the pieces settle into the natural habitat of the reef. 

Aerial shot of sculptures at Manta Ray Bay. Photo Credit: Phill Gordon, Riptide Creative

Artists Brian Robinson, Col Henry, Adriaan Vanderlugt, and the formed collective by Caitlin Reilly, Jessa Lloyd and Kate Ford have contributed unique and thought-provoking designs which is certain to transform your experience while snorkelling these popular sections of the Great Barrier Reef in the Whitsundays. Five of the artworks are complete and installed currently in Blue Pearl Bay, Manta Ray Bay Horseshoe Bay and Langford Spit.

There will be one more installation, totalling six pieces as part of this new experience. Below is the list of sites guests can visit on a chartered tour or on a private boat, and snorkellers and divers alike are able to easily access them. The installation at Horseshoe Bay in Bowen is most easily accessed by driving to Bowen, as the coral reef site is right off the beach. 

"Maori Wrasse" Photo Credit: Phill Gordon, Riptide Creative

Manta Ray Bay (Hook Island)

Migration of the Mantas 

Brian Robinson

Concrete and stainless steel

2m x 1.7m x 0.3m (2)

Manta Ray 

Adriaan Vanderlugt


3.8m x 3.8m x 1.2m

Blue Pearl Bay (Hayman Island)

Maori Wrasse 

Adriaan Vanderlugt


2.7m x 3.85m x 0.6m


Collective Caitlin Reilly, Jessa Lloyd and Kate Ford (Coming Soon)


3.8m x 3.8m x 5m

Landford Spit (Langford Island)

Turtle Dream 

Col Henry

Stainless steel

6.5m x 6m x 2m

Horseshoe Bay (Bowen)


Brian Robinson

Concrete and stainless steel

1.3m x 1.3 x 3.4m

In conjunction with the new Ngaro Underwater Marine Sculpture Trail are new coral restoration projects including coral gardening to ensure the survival and rehabilitation of the reefs damaged in the area post tropical cyclone Debbie, which wreaked havoc on the region in march 2017.

Section of a coral garden nursery. Photo Credit: Phill Gordon, Riptide Creative

Read more about unique things to see and do in the Whitsundays here, or chat to our local team of travel experts to enquire about boat trips to get you to these incredible new snorkelling sites! 

By Jennifer Copsey, August 8, 2019

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