There are certain places in the world that take your breath away. The Great Barrier Reef is one of those and Australia's most popular destination. It is one of the seven wonders of the world, visible from space and the largest living organism on earth. Internationally recognized as the world’s largest and healthiest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef provides world-class experiences at a world-class destination.
How do you get to the Great Barrier Reef?
Stretching over 2,300 kilometres, the Great Barrier Reef is easily accessed from the Queensland coast including Port Douglas, Cairns, Townsville, Airlie Beach, Seventeen Seventy and Bundaberg. You can get to the reef a variety of ways - you can cruise or sail out, fly to an isolated coral cay in a helicopter or seaplane or rush out in a Speedboat.
How can you experience the Great Barrier Reef? There are five distinctive precincts on the Great Barrier Reef - the Wild North, Cairns and Port Douglas, Townsville, Whitsundays and Mackay, and the Southern Great Barrier Reef - each offering a unique set of experiences including:
Come face-to-face with the sea life and marine creatures of the Great Barrier Reef while snorkeling or diving.
Immerse yourself in the marine world on a longer, live-aboard trip to remote reefs and islands.
Take an expedition cruise through a marine wilderness.
Navigate through the islands, either as your own captain on a bareboat or sitting back and relaxing on a charter boat.
Be there at the right time and place to witness the spectacle of turtle hatching on the beach, whale migrations or the annual coral spawning.
Visit the magnificent Ribbon Reefs and swim with dwarf minke whales in clear tropical waters in June and July.
Participate in the research and conservation of one of the world’s most precious ecosystems.
See the reef from the air by plane or helicopter, or for the truly adventurous, go skydiving.
Stay on a Great Barrier Reef island with choices from luxury resorts to quiet retreats or tents.
Wake up to the sound of the ocean and then head down to the beach to snorkel on a coral reef.
Be pampered with a massage, spa or natural therapy at a luxury island resort.
Dine on the beach, feeling your toes in the sand as the sun sets over the Great Barrier Reef.
Catch your own fish - perhaps a barramundi, a table fish from the reef or a game fish from the open ocean.
Learn about traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait connections to their ‘sea country’.
Go sea-kayaking around tropical islands visiting remote beaches and fringing reefs.
Be the only one on the beach while you hike and camp on isolated islands.
When is the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef?
You can enjoy the Great Barrier Reef any time of the year but understanding the two distinct seasons that make up Queensland's weather helps. Winter has low rainfall and warm temperatures and runs from May to October. Rainfall is low so waters are clearer and provide better diving conditions. Temperatures are warm and there is lower humidity. Summer, also known as the Wet Season runs from November to April and sees tropical downpours in the afternoons with higher humidity.
I don't like diving or snorkeling, can I still enjoy the marine life?
Yes! There are many ways to experience the reef without even touching the water. Here are some options:
Fly over the great barrier reef in a seaplane or helicopter. Enjoy a scenic flight with amazing birds eye views of the reef system.
Cruise around the Whitsundays. There are a number of different boats and sailing styles to suit a everyone from sailing novices to experts.
Enjoy a semi-submersible tour. You sit one meter below the water line so you can get a divers perspective of the reef without getting wet.
Take a glass bottom boat tour where you glide on the surface of the water. Marine experts will point out marine life and other areas of interest.
You can even sleep on the reef on an overnight experience. You stay the night on an outer reef pontoon with a small group of other visitors. Enjoy dinner and drinks on the pontoon before sleeping in bedrooms submerged below the surface.
Kayaking around the reef gives you a chance to spot marine life while getting some exercise.
You can skydive over the reef with outstanding views from 15000 feet.
Visit an underwater observatory at Daydream Island.
How many days would I need to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef?
There are many things to do so it would be safe to say you would need 2 to 3 full days to be able to experience the Great Barrier Reef. If you want to spend time relaxing on the stunning beaches and not rushing then you would need a few more days. The surrounding Queensland areas have unique and interesting areas to explore that are a great addition to a Great Barrier Reef experience.