Bring your group of up to 60 people to experience the unique environment and waters of Orpheus Island. With bush walks and scenic lookouts, warm waters and hundreds of species of marine animals and habitats, this World Heritage Listed site delights visitors young and old.

Our Research Station, located in Pioneer Bay (Palm Island group), is uniquely sited to provide ready access to inshore reefs and islands within the middle section of the Great Barrier Reef.

What's going on under the water in Pioneer Bay?

Rockcod, coral trout, blacktip reef shark, turtle, yellowtail fusiliers, .... what will you see today?

See what is happening underwater in Pioneer Bay right now, just press play!

We don't have lights installed so if it isn't daylight on Orpheus Island you won't see anything. To watch highlights that we've recorded from this camera, you can Meet the Residents on the Classroom on the Reef.

This camera is situated between a bommie (mixed coral outcrop) and an acropora outcrop. Most of the time it will be facing the bommie  but occasionally you may see a view of the acropora, or else looking above the camera or otherwise slowly scanning all around.


The marine environment surrounding Orpheus is made up of diverse marine and estuarine habitats, ranging from mud and sand flats to coral reefs. Diverse habitats and productive continental shelf waters have made the Palm Islands a hot spot of biotic diversity on the Great Barrier Reef. Species numbers in such indicator groups as corals and amphipods, for example, are unusually high. For this reason many researchers visit Orpheus Island to study its diverse corals and sponges.

The waters around the island are a mecca for fish and invertebrate biologists, as well as marine ecologists. Pioneer Bay's 400 metre wide sand and rubble intertidal reef flat, directly in front of the Station, supports a diverse fauna. Mangrove forests provide nurseries for fish, black-tip sharks and stingrays which are abundant in the shallows.


At 11km long and roughly 1km wide, the completely vehicle-free island offers an unspoilt encounter with iconic Australian eucalypt forests, beautiful bushwalks and scenic lookouts.

The island itself is home to a diversity of plant and animal life. Echidnas, bandicoots, green leaf building ants, and various reptiles are just some of the terrestrial wildlife found on the island and around the Research Station.

At low tide, sit on the verandah at Havana House and look out into the bay. You’ll see thousands of giant clams shooting water into the air.


We have the capacity to accommodate up to 60 guests at one time in our two accommodation blocks: Havana and Pelorus. Pillows, mattress protectors, linen and a blanket are provided on each bed. All rooms are fly-screened and are equipped with shelves, clothes hanger space, wall or ceiling fans, and floor-to-ceiling louvre windows.

Each accommodation block has access to separate bathroom areas with composting toilets, showers and deep sinks for hand washing laundry. There is also a small entertainment area in each section with comfortable chairs, TV, stereo, and shared access to a small fiction library. Wireless internet is available throughout. In front of the accommodation blocks you’ll find two large communal BBQs and hammocks available for all guests.

All kitchen areas are equipped with large industrial gas ovens, microwaves, fridges and freezers. Additionally, the largest kitchen comes equipped with industrial-sized pots and pans for group meal preparation. All plates, glasses and cutlery are supplied.

Havana House

This two story accommodation block houses up to 48 guests in its eight rooms. Each room has 6 bunk beds, wall fans and open wardrobes for storage of personal belongings. Most rooms offer a view of the ocean or the tropical rainforest. Rooms are not air-conditioned but do have large floor to ceiling louvre windows that capture the sea breezes, keeping rooms at a comfortable temperature all year round.

Pelorus House

Built in 2004, Pelorus House is a fully self-contained accommodation block offering four bedroom units: 4 rooms with 3 single beds. Each room has fans and open wardrobes for storage of personal belongings.

The central kitchen and lounge area is fully air-conditioned with two fridge freezers, a large pantry, couches, dining table and chairs. A second dining table and chairs, and a washing machine and chest freezer can also be found on the ample verandah which overlooks the surrounding national park.

The ablution block is located in a separate building at the rear of Pelorus House. It comprises two composting toilets, two showers and hand basins.

Communal facilities

Catering to visitors staying in Havana House, this air-conditioned building contains a combined kitchen and recreational area. It has two fully equipped kitchens stocked with all items necessary for catering for large groups and small. The deck area is sufficient in size to accommodate up to 48 diners along a series of 7-8 banquet tables.

An entertainment area offers a TV, stereo, two comfortable lounge chairs and a small selection of books.

At the rear of the facility is the ablution block offering six shower and toilet stalls, hand basins and mirrors, as well as three deep sinks for washing of clothes and several clothes lines.