An Unforgettable Natural Wonder
The Great Barrier Reef is a destination you must see, whether you desire to see one of the great wonders of the world or just love the sea. Home to diverse marine life of the most vivid colors, the Great Barrier Reef offers the opportunity for great adventure, both in luxury and on a budget. Whether you explore the stunning Whitsunday Islands, trek the ancient Daintree Rainforest or relax on luxurious tropical islands such as Hayman and Lizard, a day on the reef is all about the unforgettable nature that surrounds you.
Stay in island resorts among the clear, warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea. View and experience incredible marine life, from over and under the water. In Cairns, choose to cruise above the rainforest canopy on Skyrail, meet unique wildlife at Rainforestation, Kuranda Koala Gardens, or Cairns Aquarium then sail to Michaelmas Cay, a stunning reef sand island. You can dive and snorkel the reef among the turtles and colorful fish, lie on the deck and soak up the sun or enjoy a glass-bottomed boat tour. Visit Whitsunday Island and walk the pure white, silica sands of Whitehaven Beach. The gateway town for many island resorts in the Whitsundays is Airlie Beach, a 25-minute shuttle bus from Proserpine Airport. Air Whitsunday offers a half-day seaplane trip to Whitehaven Beach. The beach is a seven-kilometre stretch of pure white silica sand. It’s in the same area as the Great Barrier Reef’s Heart Reef.
Along the eastern coast of Hinchinbrook Island, an untouched tropical paradise on the coast between Townsville and Cairns, is the four-day, 32-kilometre (20-mile) Thorsborne Trail traversing cloud-cloaked mountains, jungle-like rainforest and pristine beaches. Dwarf Minke Whales visit the Great Barrier Reef every year. You can swim with them in June and July on tours that operate from Port Douglas and Cairns. Departing from Cairns take a helicopter tour to Vlasoff Cay on the Great Barrier Reef and enjoy a snorkel, swim or dive on a deserted islet. Regarded as one the best dive sites in the world the wreck of the SS Yongala sits on the sandy ocean floor 28 metres (92 feet) below the surface. The 110-metre (360-foot) ship sank in 1911 and is now home to turtles, sea snakes, giant trevally, groupers, manta rays, sharks and thousands of tropical fish. Dives depart from Townsville or Magnetic Island.
Southern Great Barrier Reef
Visit the Southern Great Barrier Reef and explore a different side of this majestic natural wonder. The region is home to tropical islands, a famous surf beach, manta rays, baby turtles and colorful corals. Find the “real” Australia in down-to-earth cities and laid-back towns such as Seventeen Seventy also known as Town of 1770. See endangered loggerhead turtles nesting and hatching at Mon Repos, a beach in the laid-back city of Bundaberg. Learn to surf for next to nothing at Agnes Water, home to Queensland’s most northerly surf beach. Other major transport hubs in the region include the cities of Gladstone and Rockhampton. Bundy and Seventeen Seventy are popular with backpackers and families.