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Tayce Cook, Northern Great Barrier Reef region
Tayce Cook is a Marine Park Ranger with the Northern Great Barrier Reef and Marine Parks region. She remembers boating with her dad in Moreton Bay when she was a kid, seeing the Marine Park Rangers working around the bay, and knowing that that was the job she wanted.
How long have you worked in national parks?
I’ve worked as a Ranger for 8 years. I love working in and around the water, knowing that I am helping to protect and maintain one of the most important natural wonders in Australia—the Great Barrier Reef. I also love being able to share my passion for the environment with visitors to the park.
Which parks have you worked in?
I’ve worked as a Park Ranger with the loggerhead turtles at Mon Repos; and also as a Conservation Officer, assessing marine park permits in Moreton Bay Marine Park. For the last 5 years I’ve been based in Cairns as a Marine Park Ranger. Previously, I was also Wildlife Ranger with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, based in Rockhampton and also Cairns.
What is your most memorable moment?
There have been many since I have started working in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park region! But I can’t go past the time when we were out doing reef health assessments and a pod of common bottlenose dolphins swam up to us in the water. More than 20 dolphins surrounded us, making a complex array of noises. They were very interactive and playful, and stayed with us for a long time.
Can you describe your favourite national parks experience?
On a flat calm day during the winter whale season, walking up the steep track to the summit of Fitzroy Island can be amazing. The views over the island and mainland are incredible and, if you’re lucky enough, you can see the humpback whales swimming past on their annual migration into our warm reef waters from the Antarctic. It’s well worth the hike up to the top.
What is the best part about working in a National Park?
The beauty of working in our marine parks region is in its diversity. We have the most amazing islands, rich with culture and biodiversity, which we can camp on and explore. Surrounding the islands, we have the Great Barrier Reef, internationally significant for its beauty and incredible diversity. I take every opportunity I get to jump into the water—anything from cleaning and inspecting public moorings to monitoring coral reef health. For me, it’s the best part of my job.
What is your top tip for visitors to parks for bushwalking?
Well, it gets pretty hot up in far north Queensland, especially during summer, so make sure you pack plenty of water. And don’t forget to take a camera to capture the astounding views!
What is your top tip for campers?
Camping on islands means you don’t always have access to the facilities (such as shops!) that are available on the mainland. Research our web site for everything you need to know, then plan for those conditions and you can’t go wrong!
Also if you plan to go fishing, don’t forget to check the marine park zoning in your local area.