Great Barrier Reef - Tropical North Queensland Holiday Destination
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is an important as well as beautiful part of Far North Queensland.
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef system in the world and is made up of 900 islands, countless individual reefs and is located in the sparkling, clear waters of the Coral Sea.
There's so much to see and do above the water as well as below the water which makes it one of Australia's favourite holiday playgrounds. Make sure whatever you are up to on land or on the sea to take special care of your environment. The area is a World Heritage Site due to the precious eco system which lives in the marine park so it's a really special place to visit.
Great Barrier Reef Accommodation
Out of 900 or so islands only a few offer accommodation at the Great Barrier Reef. Each Island has a different vibe - Lizard Island is the perfect place to escape for loved up couples as the place offers privacy and luxury, Dunk and Daydream Islands are a great place for families to visit as there are lots of activities to keep everyone entertained and Fitzroy Island is perfect for those on a budget who want to party. You can also hire a yacht and charter the yacht yourself or choose the fancier option and have someone do the work for you while you relax on the deck.
To explore the Great Barrier Reef you can also stay on the mainland in Cairns as most of the islands and dive spots are located a short boat ride away. With all the different options available you'll find plenty of accommodation choices to suit your needs and budget.
Things to Do & Places to Visit on the Great Barrier Reef
It's a diving and snorkeling paradise with colourful coral to gaze upon, sea turtles, stingrays and many hundreds of tropical fish which call the reef home. You can also spot larger sea animals like whales, sharks, dolphins, porpoises and the odd looking dugongs.
Cairns is a wonderful place for those wanting to learn to dive in these warm waters and also for those who are advanced divers. You can choose to enjoy a day trip on the reef or spend a few days hopping from dive site to dive site. There are so many different dive sites which you can get to via boat or simply walk off your island into the shallow offshore reefs
If you don't like getting wet than you can explore the region by dinghie, yacht or motor cruiser. You can choose if you want to charter your own vessel, hire someone to make it a little easier or join a tour. To see what lies beneath there are special glass bottom boats so you don't even have to get in the water to see the spectacular colours of the reef.
Fishing the Great Barrier Reef is a once in a life time experience however due to conservation there are responsible reef practices that must be upheld. There are many tour operators offering different fishing experiences for lone fisherman, families and groups of friends.
You can catch a wide range of fish like coral trout and red emperor, barramundi, spanish mackeral and many more. Some of these fish put up quite a fight so it's a pretty rewarding day out.
Above the water you can take part in all kinds of water sports as well as a range of activities on all the different islands - some of the islands even have award winning golf courses that go perfectly with the amazing views.
Many of the island's are home to National Park which are great for bushwalking through and offer great views of the island and surrounding sea. The Islands are also perfect for exploring the different beaches as well as grabbing a book and lazing on the beach for days.
Cairns Scuba Diving Tips & Advice
Diving The Great Barrier Reef is a once in a life time experience - although we think after you've done it once you'll always be itching to come back for more - however, to make sure you keep yourself and reef safe please take a look at some of our tips.
- Take your Scuba Diving license with you on holidays if you plan to dive
- Before you hop on board the boat make sure you put on some sunscreen and hat
- If you need medication please take it on the boat with you
- Make sure you lay off the booze the night before a dive
- If you are a beginner dive with licensed teachers
- Plan your dive and dive your plan
- Never dive alone
- If you are hiring a boat follow the hiring and general boating rules
- Do not disturb the fish or coral
- Take your rubbish with you
- Have fun!
Read more of our diving tips including a guide to the coral reefs and dive sites of the Great Barrier Reef (and Cairns) and diving licences and courses.
Book Great Barrier Reef Tours and Experiences Online Now
Departing from Cairns, you’ll cruise in comfort aboard a modern, fast catamaran to a spacious activity platform moored at a magnificent site on the outer reaches of the Great Barrier Reef. Guests of all ages, swimmers and non-swimmers can enjoy a magical day of discovery.
Travel from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef on a magnificent 25 metre custom designed sailing catamaran. We depart daily to beautiful Michaelmas Cay and Paradise Reef, giving you the choice of two destinations where you can soak up the sun, snorkel with the fish, scuba dive, glass bottom boat ride or simply enjoy sailing on a really special boat.
See the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef from above and below with this fantastic Great Barrier Reef experience combo! Combine an outer reef cruise with a memorable 10 minute scenic helicopter flight so you can admire this living spectacle from the air as well as below the surface!
Perfect for small groups of adventure-minded people, you’ll enjoy 5 hours at the reef for unlimited snorkelling including a guided snorkel tour, and the option of up to 3 certified dives and introductory diving.
Getting to the Great Barrier Reef
Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef so once you are there you can get to the actual reef by many different ways. There's day boats which offer full and half day cruises, dive boats so you can snorkel and scuba dive the reef, hire a boat so you can explore the reef yourself or charter your own super yacht for a week. You you can even catch a helicopter or seaplane to some places. Most of the islands which offer accommodation also provide services to pick you up and drop you off from your point of origin.
More Great Barrier Reef Information
- World Heritage Area
- World Wildlife Fund
- UNESCO Great Barrier Reef
- Climate Change on the Great Barrier Reef
- Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority