Great Barrier Reef Overview

Regarded amongst the most beautiful places to visit in Cairns, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the wonders of the natural world. Surrounded by nearly 3000 individual reefs and about 900 islands and coral cays, this is a retreat for snorkelers and certified divers that flock around this place. You can witness the unparalleled variety of marine life at this Great Barrier reef.

The Great Barrier Reef is an individual and most extensive composition of living organisms worldwide. It is one of the most celebrated Cairns tourist attractions that is renowned for its sprawling archipelago, never-ending sea, and authentic coral reefs under the water. This place in Australia is a wonderful place to go on a vacation with your friends and family and cherish the mesmerizing scenery of the attraction. Visitors can cruise through the islands to pay a visit to the Great Barrier Reef or enjoy the tranquility of the atmosphere basking under the sun and watching the world pass by in front of their eyes.

The Great Barrier Reef also allows you to take a private tour of the spectacular beauty of the coral reefs, dive underwater to discover the gorgeous marine life, and go bushwalking on Haymans island. It even has the most picturesque diving spot in the entire world, thereby offering the best skydiving experience over the Heart Reef. Besides the fun and adventurous activities, there are plenty of resorts on the island that provide a remarkable opportunity to wake up to the majestic views of the attraction. You can also savor the delicious taste of the local cuisine at the stalls lining the attraction while relishing the sight-gazing experience of the coral reefs.


• Discover the awe-inspiring stable reef activity platform named the Great Barrier Reef, which is one of the most beautiful natural places to visit in Cairns.
• Admire the beauty of the vibrant sea life in a semi-submersible viewing boat in the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns.
• Go to the underwater observatory on a cruise through the Great Barrier Reef or simply relax and rejuvenate your senses on the sundeck while savoring the taste of the delicious lunch.
• Indulge in swimming, diving, and snorkeling activities in the Great Barrier Reef to witness the incredible fish, sprawling archipelago, and authentic coral reefs under the water.
• Watch the magnificence of some of the large variety of coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef, such as Hastings, Norman, and Saxon.
• Enjoy bushwalking on Haymans Island or relish the gorgeous scenery of the blue water of the ocean from your resort near the Great Barrier Reef.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef would be from the month of May to the month of October. In this phase of the year, the temperature remains warm, which is just perfect for swimming. The water visibility is also high, and the rainfall is very minimal. You may also be able to find favourable conditions if you wish to visit between November and May. If you are planning for a great holiday vacation, then do keep the following timings in mind: 

November/December – turtle nesting

January-March – turtle hatching

July-October – humpback whales

June/July – dwarf minke whales

Winter – manta rays

How to reach the Great Barrier Reef? 

By Flight: To reach the Great Barrier Reef, you would need to take a flight to Sydney or Melbourne and then take another flight to arrive at the coastal cities of Queensland like Cairns and Port Douglas to reach the reefs.

Other Essential Information

A must visit to Whitsunday Islands: Strung along the Great Barrier Reef, the 74 tropical islands of the Whitsunday Group, are great bases for exploring the wonders of the reef. Six national parks preserve their delicate habitats, and some are home to eco retreats, campsites, and luxury resorts. Sign up for a snorkelling or SCUBA diving outing, take a cruise, or board a sailor to explore the reef from these sun-drenched shores.

Reef Cruises and Sailing Adventures: Cruises and sailing trips on the Great Barrier Reef are some of the best ways to see the reef's top attractions. Passengers are whisked away on full- or half-day cruises to well-equipped reef pontoons for easy access to the ocean. Freshwater showers, locker rooms, and underwater observatories are just a few of the amenities. Presentations by marine biologists are popular, and so are the dive or snorkel encounters and coral viewing in a semi-submersible. Other famous water-based activities include multi-day luxury cruises and whale-watching excursions. You can charter a sailboat for a more intimate and peaceful experience.

A Trip to Fitzroy and Green Islands: Snorkeling, glass-bottomed boat trips, and seeing the world's largest captive croc at Marineland Crocodile Park are common. Fitzroy Island is a perfect option for a more quiet, low-key island getaway, with better snorkelling, scenic hiking trails, and lovely white-sand and crushed-coral beaches.

Day Trips to Lady Musgrave, Lady Elliot, and Hinchinbrook Islands: Day trips can be taken to the southernmost islands of the Great Barrier Reef. All protected by national parks, these three islands are common with nature lovers, with opportunities to see turtles, manta rays, and whales in usually crystal-clear waters with excellent visibility. Because of the island's beautiful lagoon, sheltered anchorage, and frequent ferry service, camping is a common pastime here. Green and leatherback turtles, sharks, and seabirds are among the island's and reef-dappled waters' abundant wildlife.

A visit to Lizard Island: Lizard Island is a tropical escapist's dream with 24 secluded beaches and coral reefs just offshore in a luminous blue lagoon. Lizard Island National Park preserves the rich biodiversity here, which includes the island's abundant namesake monitor lizards, as well as flying foxes, snakes, and prolific birdlife. Seabirds use some of the other islands in the national park as nesting sites. From Cairns, Port Douglas, and Cooktown, you can take a private boat or a commercial charter boat to the island.

Magnetic Island: Magnetic Island is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and is renowned for its gorgeous beaches, secluded bays, and resident koalas. The park, which covers more than half of the island, preserves these adorable creatures as well as the other animals that call it home, including several nesting sea turtles. Walking trails, exploring historic World War II forts, kayaking, snorkelling, wreck and reef diving, horseback riding, spa treatments, and shopping at local markets and galleries are only a few of the activities available.

Scenic flight across Heart reef: In the Whitsundays' Hardy Reef, Heart Reef is a beautiful coral formation that has naturally developed into the shape of a heart. It was discovered by a pilot in 1975 and has since become a well-known Whitsundays attraction. Heart Reef has been the site of many proposals and declarations of love over the years, and helicopter and seaplane flights can be booked for seeing scenic beauty.

Whale watching: The Great Barrier Reef is a fantastic place to go for whale watching! The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is a significant breeding ground for approximately 30 species of cetaceans, accounting for around 35% of all living cetaceans on the planet. Dwarf Minke Whales, Bottlenose Dolphins and Humpback Whales, including the only all-white Humpback Whale in the world, affectionately known as "Migaloo", are some of the common creatures that you can see. So, what are you waiting for!

Scuba diving: Scuba diving lets you completely immerse yourself in the underwater environment. Don't be concerned about returning to the surface for a breath. Even if you aren't the best swimmer, you can comfortably dive without worry, with the flippers and oxygen tank helping you float through the water. With the help of competent workers, you'll be able to show off your scuba diving skills.

Chill at the Whitehaven Beach: For most people, Whitehaven Beach's spectacular shoreline is an iconic sight. It's been dubbed Australia's best beach, with crystal blue waters and sandy white sands. Where sprawling beaches touch the shallow waters of the Great Barrier Reef, the scene is like something out of a fairytale. You can sit back and relax on the sandy beach while admiring the incredibly clear blue and green waters. There are numerous snorkelling spots, scuba diving zones, and sailing opportunities to keep the adrenaline rush flowing.

Where to eat and drink at Great Barrier Reef

Lizard Island: Lizard Island is one of the famous landmarks offering you World-class wine and perfect dining as well. This island offers some great delicacies to satiate your palate, including the seafood, having a deep combination with the fascinating flavours of continental variance. 

Orpheus Island Lodge, Townsville: Orpheus Island Lodge has many amusing features that would drive your fantasy. With the allowance of very few people, you can enjoy your day peacefully enjoying your meal fronting to the beachside. They have a very fine serving of food as they freshly pick up the veggies from their own kitchen garden, prepare the food of your choice and serve you in tapas-style lunch, which is followed by a scrumptious dinner. You can also try out the delicious seafoods which are freshly caught and prepared.

Pebble beach dining, Qualia, Hamilton Island: Qualia is the most famous resort serving classy dining from among the other resorts of The Great Barrier Reef. The fascinating menu it has would draw all your attention towards the large variety of cuisines it offers. Facing the magnificent ocean and enjoying palatial dining is worth experiencing.

Nu Nu Restaurant, Palm Cove: Located on the roadside along the shoreline, Nu Nu Restaurant is a perfect dining spot that stands iconic for everyone they visit. It has a fascinating menu of a variety of local and forgotten dishes that taste absolutely heaven due to its fresh ingredients. You'd get the chance to taste the exotic dishes of corals.

Accommodations at Great Barrier Reef

Thala Beach Nature Reserve, Port Douglas: Thala Beach Nature Reserve is the most suitable place to be vacated, as it is located in between the two most popular destinations, Cairns and Port Douglas. You will be able to watch the Great Barrier Reef as well as the rainforest at a time from your luxurious bungalow. You can also experience some amazing adventurous activities like wildlife trails, star-gazing and nature trails.

Townsville: Townsville is a perfect place to make your stay at, as it is home to an absolutely spectacularly formed Reef. It has many island resorts of variable budgets that would enhance your experience of staying on an island and pursuing an island life to a greater level.

Mantra Boathouse Apartments, Airlie Beach: Would you love staying above the water and enjoy the Great Barrier Reef often more closely? Mantra Boathouse Apartments would never step back to make you experience this adventurous lifestyle. There are ample bedrooms with spacious kitchens that would make you feel more like a home, and viewing the exotic reefs would be more exciting than anything.

Pumpkin Island: Pumpkin Island is one of the most appropriate islands to stay at, as you can capture a closer view of the Great Barrier Reef. It allows the least number of customers for a better experience to avoid the crowd and enjoy the stay peacefully. It offers you to experience wild adventures like fishing, snorkelling along the reef and watching wildlife from its balcony.

Things Not to Miss at the Great Barrier Reef :

Snorkeling and reef diving at the Great Barrier Reef. 

Exploring Cairns

Photographing the Whitehaven beach

Diving at the Hamilton island 

Taking a ferry ride to Townsville

Traveller's tips before visiting Great Barrier Reef:

Keep Calm Around Coral

Get to Know Native Wildlife

Save Time for Snorkeling

Take a Walk on Whitehaven Beach

Mountain Bike the Bump Track

Delve Into Daintree

Explore the Great Barrier Reef by kayak

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Tourism Board Alliances

Great Barrier Reef FAQs

What sports can you do at the Great Barrier Reef?

Some of the most sought after sports that tourists love to do at the Great Barrier Reef are as follows:

Stand up paddleboarding
Jet skiing
Jet boating
Tube riding
Sea kayaking
Shore-based fishing
Star Gazing

Why is the Great Barrier Reef so special?

The Great Barrier Reef is considered to be a very special natural wonder on our planet because of its extraordinary beauty and complex coral system. It is home to a zillion of marine creatures and fish species. This coral formation is unique, and you will never find anything as beautiful as the barrier reefs on the whole planet. Snorkelling and diving deep into the reef will give you some ultimate world-class experience.

How Much Does a Trip to the Great Barrier Reef Cost?

The cost of the trip to the Great barrier reef are as follows: 1 Day Fitzroy Island Tour: $89 1 Day Green Island Tour: $98 1 Day Great Barrier Tour: $115 Great Barrier Reef Premium Snorkelling Tour: $189 1 Day Great Barrier Reef Cruise Deluxe: $205 Great Barrier Reef Pontoon Adventure: $219 Cairns Tours Package: $250 2 Day Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard Tour: $440 3 Day Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard Tour: $660

Is it worth visiting the Great Barrier Reef?

Yes, it is definitely worth visiting the Great Barrier Reef as it will give you a chance to marvel at the healthy coral reefs. The reefs are home to a wide range of marine creatures and fish species by providing them with an abundant food supply. Diving deep into the ocean waters, you will be able to capture some alluring views as well as get a chance to relish a once in a lifetime experience.

What is the best time of year to visit the Great Barrier Reef?

The best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef would be from the month of June to the month of October. This is the peak time when tourists flock to the reef from all over the world. The temperature remains low as well as rainfall is a bit uncommon. This means you will be able to find clearer waters and have better diving conditions.

Can you go to the Great Barrier Reef from Brisbane?

The great barrier reef happens to be a short drive from Brisbane which can be covered in 8 hours 47 minutes. The distance between Brisbane and the great barrier reef is about 1394 km.

Is it dangerous to swim in the Great Barrier Reef?

Swimming in the Great Barrier Reef is relatively safer than most other places in the world. It is, however, suggested to be careful while indulging in swimming activities. You would need to be very aware of your surroundings and make sure that you are following the direction of the boat crew. You should also swim within the viewing distance of the lifeguards and try out to stay in between the roped off areas around the pontoon.

How long is the boat ride to the Great Barrier Reef?

The boat ride to reach the reef would take about 45 minutes to 90 minutes, depending upon your island destination. You can take daily trips from Cairns or Port Douglas starting from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM.

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