Six of the world's seven marine turtle species are resident in or visit the Great Sandy Marine Park. Some travel up to thousands of kilometres to nest here. Areas of the marine park are important for marine turtle courtship and mating, nesting and inter-nesting, foraging, basking and resting.
Resident marine turtles include the endangered loggerhead (Caretta caretta), the vulnerable green (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and flatback (Natator depressa) turtles. Those that visit the marine park are the endangered leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) turtles.
Some marine turtles forage on coral reefs for molluscs and other creatures, while others graze on seagrasses and mangroves. The leatherback turtle specialises in hunting jellyfish.
The internationally-recognised beach at Mon Repos and adjacent beaches on the Woongarra coast support the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland and the largest loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific Ocean region. Female loggerhead turtles tagged at Mon Repos have migrated back to this beach to nest from feeding grounds in the Northern Territory, Torres Strait, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and Vanuatu. Sandy Cape at the northern tip of K’gari (Fraser Island) is an important marine turtle courtship and breeding area and supports a small number of nesting loggerhead and green turtles each year.
The waters off Sandy Cape, Moore Park and Mon Repos also provide important inter-nesting habitat for green turtles. Inter-nesting habitat is used by marine turtles between laying subsequent clutches of eggs during one nesting season.
- Read more about turtles.
- There are currently no park alerts for this park.