How to Experience the Largest Coral Reef in the World
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and one of Australia’s natural treasures.
Iridescent corals, stunning, brightly-coloured fish, sandy white beaches and crystal clear water – the Great Barrier Reef is everything you can imagine!
Discover the magic of the Whitsunday Islands, or head further north to Cairns to snorkel amongst the corals, and take some time to discover the ancient Daintree Rainforest ‘where the rainforest meets the sea.’
Where Is the Great Barrier Reef?
This spectacular marine park stretches along the Australian coast in the ‘Sunshine State’ of Queensland.
Fun Facts About the Great Barrier Reef
- The reef is a collection of more than 900 islands and coral cays.
- Over 3000 km (1800 miles) of vivid coral gardens provide the most impressive underwater experience imaginable.
- More than 400 different kinds of corals and over 1500 species of tropical fish live in the Great Barrier Reef. There are also whales, dolphins, sea turtles, seahorses and giant clams over 120 years old.
- The reef supports over 215 different species of birds including reef herons, ospreys, sea eagles and pelicans.
- The Great Barrier Reef is larger in area than Italy.
- The Great Barrier Reef is clearly visible from outer space!
How to Get There
International flights fly into all state capital cities of Australia. Connect through domestic flights to Cairns or fly to Hamilton Island or Proserpine on the mainland.
The gateway town for many island resorts in the Whitsunday Islands is Airlie Beach, a 25-minute shuttle bus from Proserpine Airport.
Cairns and Port Douglas in North Queensland offer the fastest access to the Great Barrier Reef.
Day trips and multi-night reef trips are available which will give you an unequalled Great Barrier Reef experience. Visit Low Isles for a unique snorkeling experience, Michaelmas Cay for bird watchers to discover nesting rookeries, or head to Green Island or Fitzroy Island to see what paradise truly looks like!
You can dive and snorkel the reef among the turtles and colourful fish or lie on the deck and soak up the sun or enjoy a glass-bottomed boat tour over the reef.
The Whitsunday Islands
Airlie Beach is the hub of the Whitsundays and the ideal mainland town to set out and explore the islands. Consisting of 74 stunning islands in the tropical waters of the Coral Sea, this part of the Barrier Reef is world-famous for its clear aqua waters and magnificent landscapes. The Whitsundays’ Whitehaven Beach lays claim to be the world’s whitest sand beach.
The Whitsundays offer some of the world’s best sailing, so charter a boat and cruise the islands, enjoying the beautiful sunsets, or take a scenic flight to see the perfectly shaped natural Heart Reef.
Swim, snorkel and scuba dive with thousands of brightly coloured fish and the diverse corals of the Great Barrier Reef, and witness diverse marine life including humpback whales, dolphins, turtles and dugongs.
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the ‘must-experience’ destinations when visiting Australia. Whether you choose to base yourself on the coast or stay on the islands, there’s so much to do. Your biggest challenge is how to fit it all in!
Have you ever visited the Great Barrier Reef in Australia? What was your experience? What other places in Australia have you visited and fell in love with? Please share your experiences below!
Ann Owen is a fun loving empty-nester travelling with her husband Trevor. They are living life’s adventures and sharing their experiences on Territory Mob, their travel blog. Ann and Trevor are road trip lovers, “5 star campers” and soon to be grey nomads exploring Outback Australia. Ann loves traveling, good food, great wine, cycling, watercolours and her stress-free lifestyle.