Barrier Reef Australia Blog


Amazing places on the GBR to get an Instagram pic

Ben Southall on October 27th, 2022

When it comes to finding ridiculously easy locations to take cracking Instagram shots – look no further than the Great Barrier Reef. Whether you’re high in the sky scooting over the myriad of coral reefs in a helicopter, cruising through the islands on a luxury yacht with a group of friends or blowing bubbles with Dory and Nemo exploring the underwater world – there’s an opportunity to snap a classic, every which way you turn.

From the bright blue shallow water of the Torres Strait in the north to the deep, dark edge of the continental shelf in the south – throughout the year nature’s finest is on display.

Here are ten of the most incredible locations I’ve found, photographed and treasured over the last few years during my tenure on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

1. Lizard Island, The Wild North

A tropical island in the far north of Queensland even Robinson Crusoe would think is bliss. There are so many locations on Lizard Island to choose from – climb up to Cook’s Look for a view from up high, watch the sunset over the mainland, or dive deep with the curious Potato Cod at the Cod Hole.

2. Coral cays, Great Barrier Reef

I’ve explored a few of the 300 coral cays that are dotted around the Great Barrier Reef and revelled in the solitude and escapism that life on a tiny sand island provides – from Michaelmas Cay to Mackay & Undine Cay. Where there’s sand, sea and sunshine there’s a perfect photo opportunity.

3. Yamacutta Reef, Tropical North Queensland

Yamacutta Reef, certainly not the easiest to get to, but one of the most rewarding if you make it. Lying 40km east of Dunk Island, expect outrageously brilliant blues from sea to sky. It’s hard to tell where the horizon splits the two.

4. Magnetic Island, Townsville North Queensland

From Mini Mokes to snorkel trails to banging backpacker parties, there’s an insta-shot for every photographer on Magnetic Island or Maggie Island as she is affectionately known. My favourite spot? Hit the sand road to West Point and watch the sun set into the ocean.

5. Langford Island, Whitsundays

Chuck on a snorkel and mask, grab your waterproof camera then head underwater to the eclectically colourful coral reef that lines the shore alongside Langford Island in the glorious Whitsundays. There are so many types of coral here it’s almost overwhelming – this is what I found during a 45-minute snorkel.

6. Passage Peak, Hamilton Island

For the fitness freaks this one is right up your street…or hill. Hike the 5km round trip to Passage Peak, one of the highest points on Hamilton Island and catch the sunrise, or more likely sunset, over the 72 islands of the Whitsundays.

7. Qualia, Hamilton Island

The ultimate FOMO opportunity! 6* blissful luxury, food that’d make a stone salivate, and your very own plunge pool gazing out over the ocean. This is Qualia. If it’s good enough for Taylor Swift and Oprah, it’s good enough for you. Period.

8. Heart Reef, Whitsundays

You’ve seen it in the photos but that’s nothing compared to flying over it in a sea plane. The jewel in the centre of the Great Barrier Reef – Heart Reef.

9. Middle Percy Island, Mackay Region

Only the true adventurer can experience the feeling of being a castaway on Middle Percy Island. Grab a ride with a passing yachtie and cruise 120km south west of Mackay to a place where Wilson the Ball would feel right at home. There’s nowhere else like it in Australia, guaranteed.

10. Lady Elliot Island, Bundaberg North Burnett

Lady Elliot Island on the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, deserves an Instagram album all of its own. From the air, nature’s colours collide where the ocean becomes reef, then land. From soaring Manta Rays to confident Black Noddy terns on your doorstep, to the ultimate in animal selfies – smiling with a turtle as it cruises the lagoon.



Ben Southall

Ben Southall

Ben Southall is a presenter, digital journalist and professional adventurer. He beat 35,000 to win the Best Job in the World in 2009 and became the ‘Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef’ in Queensland, Australia. He has presented his own series The Best Job in the World on Nat Geo’s Adventure Channel, and works with television networks across Australia and writes for a number of print and online communities. In 2011 Ben kayaked 1,600kms along the Great Barrier Reef retracing Captain Cook’s ‘Voyage of Discovery’ with the Best Expedition in the World. He currently works with the Queensland government as their Adventurer in Residence and continues to explore, promote and protect the Great Barrier Reef through his storytelling and work as a tourism ambassador.

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