Great Barrier Reef: how to visit and where to stay

Considered endangered, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world. Located off the Pacific coast of Queensland, Australia, it remains the largest living thing that can be seen from space.

The Great Barrier Reef is a coral formation, the largest in the world. This site UNESCO World Heritage Site it hosts a spectacular variety of marine life and offers fantastic diving and snorkeling opportunities.

Exploration of the Great Barrier Reef is an incredible adventure to do at sea, with incredible ocean "attractions" to delight any animal or adventure enthusiast. AND an ensemble teeming with marine life with whales, turtles, corals and more than 400 species of fish with the most vibrant colors.

La Cairns city it is the closest place to start a journey to the Great Barrier Reef. There are many islands scattered off the coast of Queensland, where you can stay and make day trips to the Great Barrier Reef.

Although most groups depart from Cairns, they can be found boats for excursions alla Grande Barriera Corallina from Airlie Beach, Cooktown, Port Douglas, Mission Beach, Townsville and Yeppoon.

The area is a paradise for snorkelers, a "mecca" for marine biologists. However, you don't need to be a marine life enthusiast or biology expert to appreciate this wonderful place, one of the most beautiful on the planet.

Where is the Great Barrier Reef

As we said, the Great Barrier Reef is located off the Pacific coast of Queensland and is immense. To give you a good idea of ​​where it is, we attach the map, which describes not only the coral reef area, but also where it is present compared to Australia.


When to visit the Great Barrier Reef

The best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is from June to November, in this period the climate is mild and the visibility is generally good.

Da avoid the period from December to March, when the season is wet in Queensland. The weather is oppressively hot, with torrential rains and rain can obstruct visibility.

How to visit the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef can be visited in various ways, and this depends on various factors: time available, budget available and physical preparation.

I know if it has limited time it is recommended to stay in Carnis, and make day visits to the Great Barrier Reef. There are many boats that leave Carnis daily for the reef. This is also the cheapest choice

If you have more time, and you want to spend more, you can get some multi-day boat tour, which allow you not only to visit the coral reef, but also the various islands off the coast of Queensland.

If you are not experienced or experienced in diving and want to do some preparatory courses, there are various schools in Carnis that offer diving courses with good instructors and adequate facilities to take the course. Except that it takes a couple of days of lessons and exercises, to have a basic preparation.

Where stay

We recommend stay in Cairns, and make day visits to the Great Barrier Reef. You will save a lot, compared to sleeping on one of the many islands located off the coast of Queensland.

sleep in cairns

The city of Cairns is the fourth most popular destination for international tourists in Australia after Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. The city's proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, the Queensland Tropic Tourist Area and the Atherton Plateau make Cairns a splendid holiday destination.

The tourist resort of Cairns offers hundreds of hotels, resorts, motels and hostels, it is also equipped with a international Airport which allows it to be reached easily. In addition to being a very pleasant city, it offers the possibility to play numerous sports and water activities, and various excursions you can do in the surroundings.

The best Cairns hotels

Gilligan’s Backpacker Hotel & Resort Cairns 

Acacia Court Hotel 

Palm Royale Cairns 

Cairns Queenslander Hotel & Apartments 

Pacific Hotel Cairns 

Sunshine Tower Hotel 

Sleeping on the islands near the Great Barrier Reef

Staying on islands close to the Great Barrier Reef can be more pleasant, more beautiful or more romantic, but surely more expensive from Cairns. Accommodation rates range from 400-500 euros per night to over 1.000 euros for the most exclusive luxury hotels and resorts.

If you really want to stay on an island, go for it we recommend these 2 resorts that offer paradisiacal beaches without spending high bucks.

Fitzroy Island Resort on the island of Fitzroy Island

Green Island Resort on the island of Green Island

Things to do and see

  • see the underwater life from a glass bottom boat
  • do diving or snorkeling to see and admire up close the most common and easily spotted fish of the Great Barrier Reef: clownfish, butterflyfish, surgeonfish, parrotfish, triggerfish and the purple Anthias.
  • catamaran ride to see the various islands off the coast of Queensland
  • Kuranda, is a picturesque village located about 25 kilometers from Cairns, nestled in the Rainforest
  • do a airplane ride, departing from Cairns, to see the Great Barrier Reef from above
  • Esplanade Boardwalk in Cairns: a splendid promenade where you can enjoy pleasant walks by the sea, jog or a bike ride
  • Hill Inlet at Airlie Beach: located at the northern end of Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island, it is one of Australia's most beautiful landscape jewels
  • Hartley's Crocodile Adventures to Palm Cove: a crocodile and wildlife park halfway between Cairns and Port Douglas in the tropical north of Queensland
  • The Great Tropical Drive: a path that leads to the discovery of beaches surrounded by palm trees and ancient rainforests

Useful Tips

We recommend rely on specialized agencies or tour operators to make visits to the Great Barrier Reef. By relying on expert people you can also avoid the very rare dangerous situations, such as sharks, jellyfish and crocodiles.

If you are not an expert on diving, do the courses first and then evaluate or ask for advice if you would be able to dive. You need a fair amount of physical preparation to dive.

If they don't consider you fit for diving or you don't feel like diving, go for it snorkeling, ie swimming on the surface using the snorkel or aerator, you will still admire the beauty of the marine life of this unique place

Always remember to use sunscreen with a high degree of protection, the sun at these latitudes (18 ° south of the equator) is intense all year round.

Great Barrier Reef: how to visit and where to stay
Great Barrier Reef in Australia -
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