The Great Barrier Reef Place guide



The Great Barrier Reef

A World Heritage UNESCO site since 1981, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest and longest coral reef system in the wo


A World Heritage UNESCO site since 1981, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest and longest coral reef system in the world. Stretching over 2,300km with some 1,500 species of fish, 200 types of birds, and 900 continental islands and coral cays, it is one of the world’s natural wonders and Australia’s greatest conservation successes.

Being home to a diverse and complex ecosystem of marine life, the Cairns Great Barrier Reef provides a variety of different activities for both tourists and locals alike. Some activities include day cruises to snorkel, dive, and explore the coral gardens and marine life. 

Points of Interest

The Agincourt Reef is home to over 16 different dive sites, making it a popular pick for divers and snorkelers. You can dive, snorkel, and helmet walk to discover more about this brilliant and bright underwater world. For a longer stay, consider living aboard a dive boat between three to seven days to fully maximize the experience. 

Another option is a full-day Great Barrier Reef cruise combined with indigenous cultural storytelling. The indigenous sea rangers of these parts have amazing stories passed down over thousands of years! Or, you could also book a scenic flight to get a bird’s eye view of the reef. Soar over the world-famous natural wonder, Heart Reef, and take in the turquoise waters and coral outlines.

If you’re all beached and dived out, take a ferry ride to Magnetic Island and see the large koala population in the area. Do the Forts Walk to enjoy 360 degree views too. 

On Daydream Island on the other hand, you’ll discover a man-made living reef, where you’ll be able to hand-feed friendly baby stingrays. And if the time permits, visit the Southern Great Barrier Reef to witness baby turtles hatch on the beach. 

Cairns Hiking

Trekking is another activity that is open to all tourists. Try the whole or part of the Thorsborne Trail. The 32 km trail stretches from Townsville to Cairns, where you’ll get to traverse the mountains, rainforests, and beaches, seeing a variety of wildlife such as birds, turtles, butterflies, crocodiles, dugongs, and dolphins. The entirety typically takes four days. 

You could also explore the biodiversity of the Great Barrier Reef’s uninhabited Frankland Islands. The rich coral reefs, diverse aquatic life, and pristine stretches of sand are not to be missed! Choose between snorkeling with turtles and other tropical fish, participating in a scuba dive session, or staying dry on the boat that still allows you to see the underwater creatures through the clear waters. 

Watersports and more

At the Whitsunday Islands, known for their breathtaking sunsets and secluded beaches, you can try sailing or skydiving. Sailing, swimming, diving, and skydiving are just some options to explore at the stunning sheltered bays and islands; there’s plenty to do in this picturesque area.

Check out our own Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling Tours for an amazing experience, choosing between the full day and the half day tour!

How to Get There

Due to its size, the Great Barrier Reef can actually be accessed via many entry points, with Cairns being the main entrypoint from the northern area. Because of the bustling tourist industry, the Great Barrier Reef has strict conservation strategies, which means you will need to book a tour to directly access dive or snorkeling sites:

  • Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling Tour at Green Island (Cairns) – Full Day

  • Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling Tour (Green Island, Cairns) – Half Day

Other popular trips