Orpheus Island is a National Park situated on the Great Barrier Reef, between Townsville and Cairns. The Island is 12 kilometres long and comprises 1,368 hectares of dry woodlands with Moreton Bay ash and acacias dominating, scattered rainforest gullies featuring figs and Macaranga trees, grasslands, granite outcrops, and beaches and bays surrounded by fringing reefs.
Orpheus Island Research Station is located on the western side of the Island with ready access to pristine inshore reefs and islands. A known 1100 species of fish and 340 of the 350 known species of reef coral can be found in the underwater gardens of the surrounding reefs. Day trips or overnight trips can be arranged in conjunction with JCU’s fully-equipped research vessel, the James Kirby. Exploring the waters off Orpheus Island reveals a number of different types of submerged historic sites, from Indigenous sites to recent shipwrecks, also providing research training in search and survey techniques.
Marine Biology students regularly visit the Island to study the diverse fauna, particularly on the sand and rubble intertidal reef flat, as well as investigating fauna associated with the mangrove community. Postgraduate students have access to a wealth of scientific resources on the Island, including climate-controlled research rooms, wet laboratories, a versatile saltwater aquarium system, and six aquarium raceways.
Accommodation for 58, a commercial quality kitchen, a fully air-conditioned lecture facility, and a library are also available.