Lap of australia 

In 2010, a small team of Reef Life Survey divers circumnavigated Australia by land, surveying over 500 coastal reef sites along the way.

In 2020 & 2021, we're doing it all again... but this time, you're invited along for the ride!

track our progress below

Scheduled Survey Trips
Sites originally surveyed during the 2010 Lap of Aus
Sites surveyed between 2010-2020
Sites (re)surveyed during the 2020 Lap of Aus

the stats







Recent blog Posts

Coral Sea, QLD 2021

Eviota commenced the final stages of the ‘Lap of Australia’ in Airlie Beach on the 5th of August 2021, with Graham, Tyson, Ian and Kirsty on board. The destination was Broome via the Coral Sea, with the sail set to take 6 weeks. Kirsty Whitman, one of our RLS divers, talks about her experience full of amazing sailing, diving and adventure over the 6 weeks.

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Back to Bargara, QLD 2021

In 2010 as part of the original 'Lap of Australia' we stopped in at Bargara, to survey two of the rare shore dive sites in central Queensland. Baraga is located north of Hervey Bay close to Bundaberg on the coastline of the Southern Great Barrier Reef.

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Reef Life Survey at Ningaloo, WA 2021

The Ningaloo Reef is Australia’s largest fringing coral reef.  It extends for 260 kilometres and it is the largest reef existing very close to land, in some places only 5-10 metres from shore. 

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RLS at Rottnest Island, WA 2021

Rottnest Island is the longest continuous RLS time series, and the 14th year saw 14 people head over to the island to continue this tradition, with 5 new divers completing their training.

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RLS at Dampier Archipelago, WA 2021

It was another one of those ‘you should have been here last week’ scenarios (weather-wise), but the team dished up what can only be described as a logistical and teamwork masterclass. The target was to resurvey 16 sites first surveyed as part of the original RLS ‘Lap of Australia’ in 2010, in a very challenging and unique area to survey.

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South Australia RLS Training 2021

After our first attempt of the annual 2021 Fleurieu training weekend in February was cancelled due to hairy weather, everyone was waiting with baited breath for the rescheduled trip on the 20th March. Thankfully the weather gods were kind to us and we were blessed with four days of calm, sunny weather to complete another successful South Australian RLS training and survey weekend. A total of 12 divers completed 32 surveys at 8 sites within the Encounter Marine Park at Rapid Head, Carrickalinga, Second Valley and Kangaroo Island.

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Jervis Bay 2021

Back in April, I was lucky enough to attend my first Reef Life Survey trip on the East Coast of Australia in Jervis Bay, New South Wales. Still being a trainee RLS diver and having completed all my training thus far in South Australian waters, this was a scary prospect for me. More fish to count, new species to learn - the pressure was on! .... New RLS trainee diver, Flora Jennifer, talks about her Jervis Bay survey weekend with the RLS crew.

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Surveying the Abrolhos Islands, WA - April 2021

In April 2021, a crew of five Western Australian RLS divers chartered a 30 year old cray boat, packed their swags and dehydrated meals, and set sail for the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, 60km offshore of Geralton, for 5 days of RLS surveys and countless parrotfish encounters.

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Surveying Geographe Marine Park - March 2021

This March, a team of RLS divers headed over to the south-west corner of Western Australia to complete the fourth year of surveys in the Geographe Marine Park where they were welcomed by tens of thousands of hulafish, bullseyes and a unique endemic to the region never before recorded on an RLS survey.

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Townsville to Gladstone, via the Keppels & Capricorn-Bunker

In late December 2020, a keen team of RLS volunteers jumped aboard the sailing catamaran Eviota for 2 weeks of surveys on the Outer Great Barrier Reef, Keppel Islands and Capricorn & Bunker Group.

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A Decade of Reef Life Survey in Jervis Bay

Reef Life Survey travels to Norfolk Island in the Pacific Ocean for the Lap of Aus 2020/2021.

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Norfolk Island 2021

Reef Life Survey travels to Norfolk Island in the Pacific Ocean for the Lap of Aus 2020/2021.

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RLS Surveys in the Norfolk Marine Park - 2021

It was an exciting but rather scary prospect – to brave the COVID world and fly overseas, ‘outside’ of Australia (gasp!) to survey the remote, historical, and amazing wonderland of Norfolk Island. A team of five RLS divers did just that to continue monitoring the unique marine life found around Norfolk Island within the Australian Temperate East Marine Park.

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A Christmas Coral - Lap of Aus Coral Sea December 2020

Hammerhead sharks, incredible visibility and Christmas pudding were just some of the highlights for the small but enthusiastic RLS team who recently voyaged to the Coral Sea for the last Lap of Aus trip of 2020.

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Airlie Beach to Thursday Island onboard Eviota - Lap Of Aus

The odds were against them – mid-pandemic, facing crew shortages, border closures, and a looming La Nina cyclone season with a human cyclone-magnet on board. Despite this, a plucky group of RLS divers were able to complete a remarkable number of surveys in October during their trip from Airlie Beach to Thursday Island onboard Eviota.

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RLS - Spotlight in South Australia
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Beneath Port Phillip Bay - A decade of change in reef condition
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Sydney Surveys, 2020

In early 2020, COVID-19 brought the majority of Reef Life Survey’s field activities to an immediate halt. Fortunately, a group of determined NSW volunteers and recognition that SCUBA diving does, in fact, classify as “exercise”, has allowed for the continuation of essential long-term monitoring of Sydney’s changing reefs.

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Sydney's Changing Reefs: Monitoring trends in marine life through citizen science
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Annual Monitoring of Rottnest Island, WA - April 2020

2020 has seen the world come to an almost complete standstill but the need to collect robust data and to continue monitoring the marine environment remains a high priority.
Fortunately, an easing of restrictions in WA in early April provided a perfect opportunity for a team of [socially-distanced] RLS divers to head out & complete the 13th consecutive year of monitoring at Rottnest Island.

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Biennial Lord Howe Island surveys, Feb 2020

This February, a cracking team of RLS volunteers gathered on picturesque Lord Howe Island, NSW for the biennial RLS survey extravaganza!

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Port Phillip Bay surveys - Feb, 2020

For the 11th year, a small but hardy RLS team made the trip to Port Phillip Heads in Victoria to re-survey our long-term monitoring sites around the Bay.

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Fleurieu Peninsula, SA - Training & Surveys, Feb 2020

Amazing visibility, an abundance of cryptic fishes, and a visit from local underwater superhero "Kelpman" are just a few of the many highlights from our recent Fleurieu Peninsula, SA training & survey trip!

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Needle in a very large haystack: Searching for the critically-endangered Red Handfish

They’re 7cm long, like to hide under seaweed, don’t move much, and number fewer than a hundred adults left on the planet... Red Handfish surely are the world’s greatest hide-and-seek champions.
Fortunately, a keen team of RLS & IMAS divers were up for the challenge; spending 4 days this January seeking out & recording as many of these incredibly rare fish in SE Tasmania as they could find!

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Southern Coral Sea Expedition: Lap of Aus Campaign 1, Nov 2019

Colourful nudibranchs, the world's longest sea cucumber (?), and a dragonfly on a journey of epic proportions; just a few of the delights encountered by a team of RLS volunteers as they sailed & surveyed their way through the remote Coral Sea as part of the first campaign of the RLS 2020 Lap of Australia.

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The RLS "Lap of Aus" begins as a small team of volunteer divers set sail to survey the outermost Coral Sea reefs

On 23rd November 2019 a small team of divers will set sail from Airlie Beach and head for Australia's outermost speck of land to re-survey Mellish Reef.

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The RLS 2020/21 Lap of Aus is supported by The Ian Potter Foundation and the Minderoo Foundation. 

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