New future for Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium

New future for Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (Reef Authority) is moving forward with planning a brand-new aquarium at Reef HQ.

The Reef Authority will now progress to the detailed design stage of the new aquarium, and demolish the old, existing building. The new aquarium will be built on the existing site and is expected to open in 2026.

The Reef HQ Aquarium first opened its doors to the public more than 35 years ago.

The Australian Government knows how important the aquarium is to the whole Townsville community. That’s why the Authority is focused on ensuring that a new, world-class facility is constructed that will be a jewel in Townsville’s tourism crown.

The new aquarium will help attract new international and domestic visitors, reinvigorate the Townsville CBD, and welcome back local visitors.

Refurbishing the current facility does not represent the best value-for-money, as it isn’t fit for purpose for the long-term future. A new purpose-built building will deliver better long-term value.

The Australian Government remains committed to Reef HQ Aquarium’s vision of making the Reef accessible to everyone.

The new Reef HQ Aquarium will deliver global excellence in tropical reef education, maintain live exhibits including the world’s largest living coral reef exhibit, and enhance visitors’ journeys through digital and immersive experiences.

The Reef Authority’s Major Projects General Manager Ian Walker said the decision to demolish the existing facility and build a new one presents many opportunities and opens the way to develop the aquarium as a world-class global destination for Reef education and tourism, with a focus on sustainable design and development.

“It allows us to deliver a cutting-edge and high-quality Aquarium for years to come, powered by clean energy, focused on advocating tropical reef education and promoting the significance of the Reef as a natural wonder, and the importance of conservation to the world,” Mr Walker said.

*Story first published in November 2022

Page published on: 19 June 2023

Page last updated on: 25 July 2023