Located on the north-east coast of Australia close to the state of Queensland, the Coral Sea Islands exhibit a wide array of healthy coral reefs and coral atolls. The islands are mostly uninhabited with the exception of Willis Island due to the lack of a permanent source of freshwater as well as only at most three square kilometers of land area. Numbering about 30 distance reefs and atolls, 12 of these are submerged during high tide. Many of its islands have also become nesting places for birds and turtles. As of now, since there are no permanent human settlements in the Coral Sea Islands, its natural ecosystems have been greatly preserved.
On the eastern part of the Coral Sea Islands lies the Diamond Islets that are submerged during high tide or deep waters. It has been found to be a good place for fishing dogtooth tuna and other species such as the black marlin and the trevally. From above, one can see the shape of an arrow head formed by these islets. There are actually four smaller islets that form the Diamond Islets. Its terrain is partially filled with grass and low shrubs. And just like any other islands of the Coral Sea, it has prominent coral reef formations that surround its coast. Although the Diamond Islets are uninhabited, the place is one of the few where one can spend time and discover more about the Coral Sea Islands.
Located directly East near the city of Cairns, Willis Island is the only one among the Coral Sea Islands with permanent human settlement. It is only part of the three cays and reef formations called the Willis Islet, Willis Island as being the largest among the three. There are weather stations positioned on the island to track the weather changes in case of upcoming cyclones. It has also been home for many species of birds such as the White-Capped Noddies, Red-footed Booby and Muttonbird. Due to the fact that this island is inhabited, the place has also been experiencing pollution. It is the most polluted among the islands of the Coral Sea.
Lying south-east outside the coast of Cairns, Lihou Reef ranks second largest in atoll size, after Chesterfield Islands, in the Coral Sea. Its area has become a natural reserve to keep its health biological environment and to protect its aquatics life and the many seabirds and green turtles that nest along the atoll. It supports a variety of marine life, from algae to crustaceans to dolphins that can be found near its area. As a result, Lihou Reef has become a valuable asset in the study of marine life and biological systems.
A great diving spot off the coast of Cairns, the Osprey Reef has become isolated from the rest of the islands by a deep-water trench. Its diverse marine life has also become a great study for marine biologists and a popular destination for tourists who want to try diving and scuba diving into its depths. Their pristine water is known for its shark feeds being one of the best places in Australia to encounter sharks. Minke whales, barracuda and dogtooth tuna have also been found to be swim across the reef.
South of the Coral Sea Islands, east of the city of Gladstone lies the Wreck Reef notorious for the many ship wrecks that has occurred on this site. Matthew Flinders gave the reef its name after being shipwrecked with many others. There are three known islets lying across the reef namely Bird Islet, Porpoise Islet and West Islet. It also shares the same continental mass as Kenn Reef. This reef is popular among those who love to fish as it contains numerous species of marlin, yellow fin and wahoo.