About Barrier Reef Australia

Cairns Holiday Specialists (3395314) and Australia Holiday Specialists (4116414) are Licenced Inbound Operators based in Cairns, Queensland. We provide bespoke travel planning services and holidays to Cairns and the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef.

Our suite of travel websites, of which Barrier Reef Australia is one, feature Great Barrier Reef tours and attractions with Instant book, Live availability, Skip the queue tickets, Combo package tour deals and our Best price guarantee. Book accommodation, read destination information, events, visitor information, itineraries and journeys, and fascinating facts and research for Tropical North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef Australia

Launched in 2001 and recently upgraded with hundreds of bookable tours with live availability at great prices, new content, functionality and design in 2017, Barrier Reef Australia is your one-stop Great Barrier Reef tours holiday shop.

  • HUNDREDS of bookable Great Barrier Reef tours and cruises with live availability at unbeatable prices
  • INSPIRING destination stories and local secrets
  • ATTRACTIONS and activities galore
  • EVENTS in the Great Barrier Reef region
  • TOP travel tips, tools and expert advice
  • FASCINATING facts about the Great Barrier Reef and its inhabitants

What sets us apart?

Our local expertise, personalised service and use of the most up-to-date live - instant book availability technology ensure we offer the best rates and service levels in travel planning to the Great Barrier Reef.

Instantly book Great Barrier Reef tours with instant live availability, skip the queue tickets

Our local expertise: Our team of passionate destination specialists live locally and have experienced and explored all of the local sightseeing attractions and inspected each individual hotel, resort and accommodation house to ensure we deliver the right advice to satisfy our customers’ specific travel requirements.

Our personalised service: Our attention to detail and level of service has led to a growing list of repeat visitors who return to us year after year. We personally tailor our customers’ Great Barrier Reef holidays around the most iconic sights and experiences to suit their family types, interests, plans and budgets. We manage the largest fleet of Great Barrier Reef private charter boats for day charters and overnight extended charters.

7-day support: We use the most up-to-date technology to ensure we provide the best service levels in travel planning to the Great Barrier Reef.

Best rates guarantee: We offer a large range of tours at great prices and provide excellent discounts on package tours.

Meet our amazing team


Sophie Tabouel – Sales Co-ordinator (aka ‘the Quoll’)

Specialises in: Tours and private charters

Q. Which Australian animal are you?

If I was to choose an Australian animal that would describe my personality best, I would choose the Quoll – small and mighty.

Q. What do you love about your job in travel?

Originally from Sydney, New South Wales, we decided to pack up our bags and leave our city lives for a more relaxed lifestyle. Cairns in Tropical North Queensland was the obvious choice for us as we had visited the region numerous times and absolutely loved it. Having experienced the region as a ‘visitor’ I decided to share what is now my backyard with others and that Tourism/Travel/Hospitality was the path I wanted to follow.

What I love the most about the Great Barrier Reef region is the relaxed lifestyle, the beautiful surroundings, the amazing experiences (the Daintree Rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef, the Outback…), the climate and the people.

Yvette Gertler – Product Co-ordinator (aka ‘the Barramundi’)

Specialises in: Accommodation

Q. Which Australian animal are you?

They say, “you are what you eat”, therefore I must be a Prawn or a Barramundi, and if I could spend every day in the water I would! Nothing compares to enjoying fresh, local seafood on a tropical evening!

Q. What do you love about your job in travel?

I’m a proud Queenslander and love everything about the Queensland Coast. I particularly enjoy sharing my local knowledge with our visitors and, having travelled to five continents, I can provide a wealth of travel tips.

One of my favourite things to do is exploring the freshwater swimming holes hidden in Queensland’s tropical rainforests. I love that every day on the Great Barrier Reef is different and you can never get enough of it.

Q. Your must-see destination or top tip?

My top tip for visitors is to make sure you have time to visit the Reef more than once – each site is unique and you’ll love the variety each experience brings.

Helen Clark – Destination Specialist (aka ‘the Fruit Bat’)

Specialises in: Accommodation and tours

Q. Which Australian animal are you?

The fruit bat. It has been my nickname since I moved to Tropical North Queensland in 2009. I really love tropical fruit as much as the fruit bat and people are often watching in horror how the whole fruit bowl just disappears when I am around. There’s nothing better than going to Rusty’s Fruit Markets in Cairns early on Saturday morning and filling your bags up with the best Atherton Tablelands and Innisfail products. Mangos, bananas, custard apples, lychees, dragon fruit –  there’s hardly any fruit you can’t find from here!

I guess I am a bit like fruit bat in other ways too – although quite social, at times I do prefer to retreat into my cave to re-charge my batteries.

Q. What do you love about your job in travel?

I love the travel industry because it is so vibrant and exciting; every day is totally different and challenging in a whole new way. I specialise in accommodation and tours but I do enjoy organising private charters, whether it is a surprise proposal, birthday celebration or a family reunion. It is especially nice if you happen to get feedback that you have contributed to a memorable day.

Q. Your must-see destination or top tip?

Tropical North Queensland is the ultimate holiday destination being the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest and offering hundreds of adventure activities for daredevils, romantic getaways and family attractions.

Karina Gray – Destination Specialist (aka ‘the Sugar Glider’)

Speciality:  Liveaboard Diving and Game Fishing Charters

Q. Which Australian animal are you?

The Sugar Glider. I love to take a leap of faith without fear – just like a glider through the rainforest canopy!

I love to travel on a whim and especially enjoy hiking and exploring the waterfalls and rainforests of the Daintree Rainforest. And I really love chocolate!  

Q. Your must-see destination or top tip?

The Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation region offer secluded waterholes, wild river cruises, untouched beaches, beautiful vistas and family-friendly hikes through virgin rainforest.

Tanith Barrie – Destination Specialist

Speciality:  Tours

A bit of a gypsy and sufferer of itchy feet, I was born in New South Wales, grew up in Darwin and then moved to Cairns when I was 16.

I enjoy the sunshine and the outdoors and on any given day off I can be found out and about enjoying the things that make Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef great – swimming, bushwalking, bike riding, skateboarding along the Esplanade or enjoying a cold beer.

Q. What do you love about your job in travel?

I have come and gone and travelled all over Australia but I always find myself returning to Cairns – it really is the best place to live and Tropical North Queensland is my home. As a single mum of one, I have definitely decided this is the place for my son to finish his school years and grow up in paradise like I did.

I have worked in the tourism industry in a number of roles from hotel bar work and hotel accommodation receptionist, to working on fishing boats in the Northern Territory and on cattle properties in the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales. I worked in retail hardware sales for a while before really exploring more roles in the travel industry. 

There is no comparison for all that is on offer here and now I find myself talking on a daily basis to people who have returned several times and are still surprised to hear about different experiences they hadn't heard of or even considered before. It's fantastic when people return home from their holiday – only to be right on the phone to book their next trip.

At Cairns Holiday Specialists we really do add that personal touch in finding the best holiday experience for each and every guest. We all live here because we love it and we get to see and do all of these attractions every day of the year – and we love to brag about it to our guests. It's great to be a part of a passionate, successful, destination specialist travel team.

Annie Fishburn – Accounts Manager (aka ‘the Brolga’)

Q. Which Australian animal are you?

A Brolga. They love the water and living in the wetlands where food and water are in abundance. They also love to dance – it is not just a courtship/mating dance by the way. Also, it is the only animal sound I can imitate (although quite badly) and is the official emblem of the State of Queensland – although I always thought XXXX was.

I love the Barrier Reef region as it always feels like you are on holidays – everyone is friendly and easy going, the pace is … well, a little slower than most places in Australia (and the world most probably). It is easy to talk about your backyard when you are so proud of it. Even the adverse weather and animals make this place something special and never boring.

Belinda Mathews – Reservations Supervisor

I was born in Bridport Tasmania and migrated to Cairns over 20 years ago with family to escape the cold for the balmy lifestyle of Tropical North Queensland.

My first position in tourism was in 2005 at the Angsana Resort & Spa Palm Cove where I was initially based in hotel reception and then progressed into Reservation Sales shortly after. As I had been at the resort for 5 years it was time to move on and progress in my career and along came the opportunity to join the team at Cairns Holiday Specialists. Lucky for me this company was also based in beautiful Palm Cove!

Q. What do you love about your job in travel?

I have been with the Cairns Holiday Specialists for six years now and still loving it! I enjoy helping our guests find the perfect accommodation and tours for their dream holiday and then meeting them once they arrive. It's a real sense of achievement when you can meet your clients face to face when they take the time to come and seek you out and personally thank you for planning their holiday.

It's also great hearing about how beautiful our backyard is and how amazing our tours and attractions are because as locals we often take for granted what we see and experience every single day.

Thank you to all of our guests for giving us the nudge and reminding us of how lucky we really are to actually live here full time!

Christina James – Managing Director (aka 'the Cassowary')

I have been lucky enough to have worked in the tourism and hospitality industry in sales and marketing across Australia for over 22 years, promoting this great country to not only Australians but also visitors from around the world. When I attend travel shows and expos I get to meet potential guests before they actually make the decision to come to the Great Barrier Reef for a holiday, which assists us to put experiences together that suit their needs and ultimately attracts them to come and book a holiday with us.

The customer survey forms we receive from our guests after they travel are real testimonials to the attention to detail and effort that our team put into ensuring they plan the most memorable holiday for our guests. Our company philosophy is "It's not just a holiday, it's a lifetime experience"!

Personally, I am a real greenie and at one stage in my very early life, I spent some time living in the Daintree and Cape Tribulation Rainforests in a humpie learning about our fragile ecosystem, the endangered rainforest and the endangered wildlife that it supports in a symbiotic relationship.

To this day I am still a wildlife warrior and protector of rainforests and I try and shop for organic products that do not harm our planet.

I try to stay fit and healthy by going to the gym and joining the odd hike up along the local mountains and gorges but it is very hard to do so as the tourism industry here in Cairns is very social and lots of our guests and family and friends are always coming for a visit and to share a meal in some our favourite local restaurants. Oh, and they do not come to our house as I am not a very good cook!

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