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The impact of waves on the environment (e.g. erosion) and industries (incl. shipping and tourism) can be very significant. Here, we are presenting analysis of coastal wave data in the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia, using a combination of observational data (HF radar) and a numerical wave model (WaveWatch3). The modeled significant wave height fields compare reasonably well with those obtained from the radar stations, inducing confidence in the two datasets. The radar-produced wave fields are spatially more variable compared to the model results, linked to the influence of wind stress resolution and currents in accurately determining wave characteristics.