The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and for a good reason. With its stunningly beautiful coral reefs, diverse marine life, and clear blue waters, it’s a natural wonder that is well worth exploring.
It stretches for over 2,600 kilometers (1,600 miles). The reef is the world’s most extensive reef system and can even be seen from space! A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Great Barrier Reef is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in nature and wildlife.
There are many things to do around the Great Barrier Reef, and it really depends on what interests you. If you’re a fan of marine life, you’ll want to check out the many coral reefs and colorful fish populations.
There are also plenty of opportunities for island hopping, diving, and snorkeling, which will give you a closer look at the incredible marine life in the area.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, you can simply relax on the beach or swim in the clear waters. The Great Barrier Reef is also a great place to go kayaking or paddleboarding, giving you a unique perspective on this natural wonder.
No matter what you choose to do, whether you want to scuba dive with the turtles and sea corals or wish to know about the surrounding islands’ indigenous culture, you’re sure to have a fantastic time exploring the Great Barrier Reef.
So what are you waiting for?
Start planning your trip to the largest reef in the entire world today!
Best Things to Do in the Great Barrier Reef
One of the world’s most impressive natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef is home to an incredible diversity of marine life. Located off the coast of Queensland in northeast Australia, this massive coral reef system comprises more than 3,000 individual reefs and 900 islands.
It’s the dream destination of nature lovers and beach bums alike!
Here are the best things to do on the Great Barrier Reef.
1. See the Heart Reef
Heart Reef is a world-famous coral formation located in the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia.
The reef gets its name from its shape, which is said to resemble a heart. The reef is only reachable by seaplane or helicopter tour, making it a popular destination for travelers looking for an adventure.
If you’re planning a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef, there are a few things you’ll need to make the most of your experience. Here are the best things to pack for a day at the heart reef:
- Sunscreen: The sun can be pretty intense in Australia, so make sure you lather up with sunscreen before heading out into the water. Consider factor 50 as the minimum.
- Sunglasses: The glare of the water can be intense, so pack a good pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- A Hat: A hat will help keep you cool and protected from the sun.
- Swimwear: Make sure you bring your swimsuit to enjoy some time in the water.
- Towels: You’ll want to dry off after swimming, so bring a couple of towels.
- A Camera: The Great Barrier Reef is full of incredible things to see, so make sure you bring a camera to capture it all.
While the reef is small compared to other surrounding reefs it is home to various colorful fish and coral.
Visitors can often see turtles and dolphins in the area as well. Whether you’re an experienced diver or just looking to splash around in the water, Heart Reef is a must-see destination on your next trip to Australia.
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2. Go Whale Watching and Take a Glass-Bottom Boat Tour
Humpback whales are a common sight in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef from June to November. Many tour operators offer whale watching tours, and some even guarantee sightings.
The best time to see humpback whales is from August to October when they migrate from Antarctica to their breeding grounds in the Great Barrier Reef.
They can often be seen breaching or jumping out of the water during this time, which is an impressive sight. Whale watching tours allow travelers to get up close and personal with these fantastic creatures.
The best spot for whale watching in the great barrier reef is Heron Island. It is a small island located about 62 miles northeast of Gladstone. It is a popular spot for whale watching because it is home to a large population of humpback whales.
A glass-bottom boat tour is one of the best ways to see the Great Barrier Reef. These tours are available from many locations, and they provide visitors with an up-close look at the reef’s stunning coral, coral gardens, aquatic life, and underwater world.
Glass-bottom boats have a clear bottom panel that allows passengers to view the reef while remaining dry, an ideal whale to enjoy an underwater observatory.
The tours typically last for 1-2 hours, and they are a great way to learn about the reef’s ecology and see some of its most beautiful inhabitants. If you’re planning a trip to the Great Barrier Reef, book and join glass-bottom boat tours – it’s an experience you won’t soon forget!
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3. Visit the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is a protected area that covers most of the Great Barrier Reef. The park is home to a variety of coral reefs, sea turtles, dolphins, and other aquatic life. Visitors can participate in several activities, including diving, snorkeling, and boating.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is located in Queensland, Australia, known for its coral reef formations. There are many things not to miss in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, including swimming, snorkeling, and diving.
4. Take a day trip to the Whitsunday Islands
The Whitsunday Islands are a group of 74 islands located off the coast of Queensland. They are popular tourist destinations, and many people visit the islands to enjoy the beautiful beaches and clear blue waters.
The Whitsunday Island is also home to the Great Barrier Reef, one of Australia’s most popular tourist attractions.
Most of the islands are uninhabited, but there are several resort towns on some of the larger islands. If you’re planning a trip to the Whitsunday Islands, check out all of the different activities and attractions that the islands have to offer.
A cruise in Whitsunday is ideal for outer great barrier reef or outer reef sightseeing because of the many different islands and locations to explore.
Airlie Beach is also the gateway to the incredible Whitsunday Island, which offer some of the best sailing and scuba diving in the world. In addition to its natural attractions, Airlie Beach also has lively nightlife and plenty of restaurants and bars.
The best hotels to book in the Whitsunday Islands are Hayman Island Resort, Hamilton Island Resort, and Qualia Resort.
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5. Experience Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures and Australian Butterfly Sanctuary
Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures is a great place to visit if you want things to do and activities at the Great Barrier Reef. This attraction offers visitors the chance to see crocodiles up close and learn more about them from the experts on staff.
You can also enjoy a nature walk through the rainforest, where you’ll see various Australian wildlife. Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures is the perfect place for families, friends, and couples looking for an exciting and educational day out.
There are plenty of things to do in Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures, but some of the best include:
- Taking a cruise on the river and spotting crocodiles
- Feeding the friendly wallabies
- Visiting the wildlife park and learning about the native animals
Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures is a great place for families, and there is something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to add it to your list of things to do when you’re in the Great Barrier Reef!
The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is a beautiful place to visit, and there are plenty of things to do there. You can wander through the gardens and see the butterflies flying around, and you can also go inside the butterfly house to get up close and personal with these amazing creatures.
There are also interactive exhibits where you can learn more about the life cycle of butterflies, and you can even hold a butterfly in your hand.
6. Visit Whitehaven Beach
If you’re looking for a breathtaking beach to relax on during your time in the Great Barrier Reef, look no further than Whitehaven. With its soft white sand and crystal-clear water, it’s easy to see why this beach is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
There are plenty of things to do in the area surrounding Whitehaven beach. You may enjoy hiking, kayaking, and swimming. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try snorkeling or diving to look at the beautiful coral reef surrounding the beach.
The sunrise tour starts at 4 am and brings travelers to watch the sun peek over the horizon before dawn. As the day slowly starts to break, you’ll be able to see all the colors of the Great Barrier Reef come to life.
If you’re looking for fun activities to do in the Great Barrier Reef with kids, consider a trip to Bedarra Island. This unique island is only accessible by helicopter or boat transfer. It makes it feel special.
7. Take a day trip to Cairns
Cairns is a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and is a great place to base yourself if you want to explore the reef. It’s also a beautiful city in its own right, with a tropical climate and stunning rainforest surroundings.
Cairns is located in the Tropical North Queensland and is surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef. The city is a popular tourist destination for those looking to explore the reef, with various activities.
Activities from sailing and diving to fishing and kayaking. There are also many other things to do in Cairns, including exploring the rainforest, shopping in the markets, and sampling the region’s delicious food.
If you’re looking for the best place to stay in Cairns while exploring the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll want to check out some of the top hotels in the city. The Shangri-La Hotel is one of the most popular options, thanks to its prime location on the waterfront and its luxurious amenities.
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, the Cairns Colonial Club Resort is a great choice with spacious rooms and beautiful grounds. No matter your budget or needs, there’s sure to be a great hotel waiting for you in Cairns!
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8. Take a break and Tour Brisbane
Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and is a great base for exploring the state. Brisbane is a lively city with plenty to see and do and is close to some of Australia’s best beaches. Brisbane has a subtropical climate, with warm winters and hot, humid summers.
The best time to visit Brisbane is from March to May when the weather is mild and sunny. Brisbane is home to over two million people, and the city center is teeming with life.
There are plenty of museums and art galleries to explore and a vibrant nightlife scene. Brisbane is also adjacent to Australia’s most famous beaches, such as Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta Beach. Brisbane is a great place to start your exploration of Queensland.
9. See the beauty of the Sunshine Coast
The Sunshine Coast is a beautiful stretch of coastline north of Brisbane, famed for its surf beaches and relaxed lifestyle. It’s the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the Australian sun. With an average of 300 sunny days per year, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to work on your tan.
The Sunshine Coast is also home to some of Australia’s best surfing beaches and tours, so if you’re looking to catch some waves, this is the place to be.
And when you’re ready to take a break from the sun, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes to relax in. So whether you’re looking for a place to surf, sunbathe, or just relax, the Sunshine Coast has something for everyone.
10. Explore Magnetic Island
Magnetic Island is a beautiful island off the coast of Townsville, Queensland, Australia. The island is home to stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and coral reefs.
Visitors can enjoy swimming, snorkeling tour, sailing, and fishing. There are also several great restaurants and bars on the island and plenty of shops for souvenirs. Magnetic Island is a great place to visit for those who want to experience the beauty of Australia.
There are plenty of excellent hotels to choose from on Magnetic Island. Some of the best include:
First is the Island Leisure Resort; this resort is perfect for those who want to be close to all the action. It’s situated in the heart of Magnetic Island and offers easy access to all the island’s best attractions. Other great options are Peppers Blue on Blue Resort Magnetic Island and the Base Backpackers Magnetic Island.
11. Visit Port Douglas
Port Douglas is a town located in the state of Queensland in Australia. It is situated on the coast and is a popular destination for tourists, who enjoy its many beaches and coral reefs. Some of the things to do in Port Douglas include swimming, diving, fishing, and snorkeling and cruise adventure.
There are also several restaurants and bars in town and several shops where you can buy souvenirs.
If you’re looking for a luxurious place to stay near Port Douglas, the Shangri-La Hotel is your place. This 5-star hotel offers stunning views of the Great Barrier Reef and world-class facilities and services.
If you’re looking for something more affordable, the Sea Temple Resort and Spa is a great option.
Finally, the Mantra PortSea Port Douglas is an excellent option if you’re on a budget. This hostel offers comfortable and affordable accommodation in the heart of Port Douglas.
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12. Marvel at the beauty of the Queensland Coast
The Queensland Coast is one of the most beautiful and diverse areas globally. There are endless things to do and see, making it the perfect destination for any traveler. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation or an action-packed adventure, the Queensland Coast has something for everyone.
Some of the best things to do on the Queensland Coast include swimming, snorkeling, and diving in the Great Barrier Reef. The reef is home to abundant marine life, making it a must-see for any nature lover. You can also explore the many islands that dot the coast, each with its unique personality and attractions.
If you’re looking for a little bit of excitement, you can go hiking or biking through one of the many rainforests or dip in one of the many waterfalls. There’s also plenty of opportunity for shopping and dining in the various towns and villages along the coast.
No matter your interests, you’re sure to find plenty of things to do on the Queensland Coast. So start planning your trip today and experience all that this amazing destination offers!
13. Discover the Fitzroy Island
Fitzroy Island is a small island located just off the coast of Queensland in Australia. It’s a great place to visit if you’re looking for some peace and quiet and plenty of things to do. Fitzroy Island is home to a rainforest, perfect for hikes and exploring.
There’s also a reef surrounding the island – perfect for snorkeling and swimming. If you’re looking for a more relaxing way to spend your time, it also has plenty of beaches where you can sunbathe and relax. No matter what you’re looking for, Fitzroy Island is sure to have something for you.
14. Explore Hinchinbrook Island
The island is one of the most popular attractions in the area, and it’s easy to see why. The island is home to a stunning landscape, with pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and abundant wildlife.
Visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, kayaking, exploring this natural wonder, and taking a helicopter tour. It is also a great place to spot some of the local wildlife, including koalas, kangaroos, and wallabies. With so much to see and do, It is the perfect destination for your next vacation.
When planning a trip to the island, finding the right accommodation is important. There are a number of excellent hotels and resorts on the island, each with its own unique features and amenities.
The Hinchinbrook Island Resort is a great option for those looking for a luxurious and relaxing stay. This 5-star resort offers beautiful beachfront accommodation, as well as a range of excellent facilities and services.
If you’re looking for something a bit more affordable, the Thala Beach Lodge is a great option. This 4-star resort offers comfortable and affordable accommodation near the beach.
Finally, the Cardwell Beachfront Motel is a great option if you’re on a budget. This hostel offers comfortable and affordable accommodation in the heart of Hinchinbrook Island.
No matter what your budget or needs, you’re sure to find the perfect accommodation on the island. So start planning your trip today and experience all that this amazing destination has to offer!
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15. Discover the hidden beauty of Raine Island
Raine Island is one of the beautiful coral cays in the Capricorn Group of the Great Barrier Reef. It is situated about 28 km northeast of Lady Elliot Island and 18 km southeast of North West Island.
The island is about 350 meters long and 150 meters wide, with an area of 4.5 hectares. It is the largest island in the Capricorn Group.
Raine Island was named by Captain James Cook on 11 August 1770 after Joseph Raine, master of HMS Endeavour’s cutter.
The island has been a sanctuary for green turtles since 1898, and the uninhabited island has been a significant nesting site for loggerhead turtles since the early 1980s. It is also a refuge for seabirds, including vulnerable roseate terns.
The island is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and is managed by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. It is open to the public for day visits only, and camping is not permitted. Visitors can only land on the island during daylight hours and must stay within the fenced area.
16. Visit Green Island
Green Island is a beautiful place to visit in the Great Barrier Reef. There are many things to do there, such as snorkeling, swimming, and hiking. The scenery is stunning, and it’s a great place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
Green Island is a great place to see some of the most amazing marine life in the world. The waters around Green Island are teeming with colorful fish, coral, and other sea creatures.
You can also see turtles, rays, and dolphins while you’re snorkeling, on a sailing tour, or swimming. Hiking is another great way to explore Green Island.
There are several trails that wind through the island’s lush rainforest. You’ll get to see some of the unique plant and animal life that calls Green Island home. Green Island is a truly special place, and it’s an unforgettable experience for everyone who visits.
17. Take a Tour of Hamilton Island
Hamilton Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Great Barrier Reef. There are plenty of things to do on Hamilton Island, from tasting a tropical buffet lunch, swimming, and snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters to exploring the island’s nature trails.
Hamilton Island is also home to some great restaurants and bars, as well as a range of shops and boutiques. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing holiday or an action-packed adventure, Hamilton Island is the perfect place for you.
There are many luxurious hotels to choose from when visiting Hamilton Island. Some of the best include the Reef View Hotel, the qualia Resort, and the Beachfront Hamilton Island. Each of these hotels offers amazing views of the reef and provides guests with all of the amenities they could possibly need while on vacation.
18. Visit Lady Elliot Island
Lady Elliot Island is a small coral cay located at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, home to a variety of bird species, turtles, manta rays, and other ocean life. Lady Elliot Island is also a popular diving and snorkeling destination.
The island is located within the Capricorn-Bunker Group of Islands, consisting of Lady Elliot Island, Heron Island, North Keeling Island, and South Molle Island. Lady Elliot Island is the southernmost island in the group and is situated approximately 29 kilometers from Heron Island.
Lady Elliot Island covers an area of approximately 44 hectares and has a total coastline of roughly 3.2 kilometers. The island was named after Lady Eliot, wife of Governor Sir George Ferguson Bowen, who explored the area in 1859.
Lady Elliot Island is one of only two coral cays located within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and is surrounded by pristine reefs and clear blue waters.
The island has several walking tracks that provide stunning views of the island’s birdlife and allow visitors to get up close and personal with nature.
Lady Elliot Island is also home to various turtles, manta rays, dolphins, and other marine animals. Diving and snorkeling are popular activities on Lady Elliot Island, and there are many dive sites located around the island.