Great Barrier Reef Destinations

Read about the best destinations in Queensland to explore the Great Barrier Reef. Cairns is the closest city to the Great Barrier Reef and you can be snorkelling around a tropical island in just 45 minutes via a quick ferry transfer or a 25 minute helicopter flight. For a tour to the outer Barrier Reef, sit back relax and enjoy a 90 minute boat ride to an outer reef interactive pontoon and explore the underwater world in a myriad of ways. From Townsville a quick ferry ride has you exploring the beautiful Magnetic Island in no time where you can enjoy both land and in water activities. The Whitsundays are famous for liveaboard yacht holidays, Whitehaven Beach, Hamilton Island, luxury yacht charters and of course Heart Reef. The Fraser coast is famous for whale watching and remote island tours. Each one of these departure points on the Queensland coastline have something to offer all sorts of travellers. For a locals insight to these destinations speak to the team from Barrier Reef Australia.

Fitzroy Island Resort, Tropical North Queensland

Cairns Tropical North Queensland

Cairns Tropical North Queensland
Fitzroy Island Resort, Tropical North Queensland

Cairns and Port Douglas are the gateways to the Great Barrier Reef. Cairns, Tropical North Queensland offers the best scuba diving and snorkelling tours to experience the Reef's unique marine life and brilliant corals. Book a helicopter flight to see the Great Barrier Reef today!

Hamilton Island - Whitsundays Great Barrier Reef - Sailing,

Whitsundays

Whitsundays
Hamilton Island - Whitsundays Great Barrier Reef - Sailing,

The stunning Whitsundays renowned for its Great Barrier Reef tours to Whitehaven beach, helicopter rides over Heart Reef and Great Barrier Reef sailing holidays. The Whitsundays offer Great Barrier Reef tour experiences for everyone.

Things To Do Townsville, North Queensland-

Townsville North Queensland

Townsville North Queensland
Things To Do Townsville, North Queensland-

With the natural beauty of its World Heritage-listed national parks, Great Barrier Reef and Magnetic Island, the warm tropical climate of the Townsville region excites and entices visitors from all over the world to come and enjoy all the things to do and things to see in this great town.

Whale watching - Hervey Bay - Fraser Island

Fraser Coast

Fraser Coast
Whale watching - Hervey Bay - Fraser Island

Combining some of Queensland’s most incredible history with some of its most stunning geography, the Fraser Coast, home to the Whale Watch Capital of the World Hervey Bay, and the world's largest sand island Kgari (Fraser Island), this region is a true tourism gem in the Great Barrier Reef tale.

Fitzroy Reef Lagoon, Gladstone Region

Gladstone Region

Gladstone Region
Fitzroy Reef Lagoon, Gladstone Region

Gladstone is one of Queensland’s best kept secrets with an abundance of pristine beaches, untouched islands and subtropical hinterland waiting to be discovered. The gateway to the popular holiday regions of Agnes Waters, Seventeen Seventy, Lady Musgrave Island and Lady Elliot Island tours.

Aerial of Great Keppel Island

Capricorn Region

Capricorn Region
Aerial of Great Keppel Island

Immerse yourself in one of Queensland’s best kept coastal gems with the Southern Great Barrier Reef, rugged wilderness, a rich history and secluded beaches in Yeppoon, Rockhampton and Great Keppel Island at your doorstep.

A turtle-y hello from Lady Elliot Island, Bundaberg

Bundaberg North Burnett

Bundaberg North Burnett
A turtle-y hello from Lady Elliot Island, Bundaberg

Hailed as a major food bowl for the nation, the Bundaberg North Burnett region produces 25 per cent of Australia’s produce, is the southernmost gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, and home to a rare colony of nesting marine turtles.

Cape York, The Wild North

The Wild North

The Wild North
Cape York, The Wild North

Looking for the ultimate adventure? Australia’s Wild North offers both a rich history and an abundance of remote natural beauty.

The Gateways to the Great Barrier Reef

Discover the Great Barrier Reef's iconic coastal, and island destinations with the Barrier Reef Australia team. Don't waste hours looking for all the things to see and do on the Great Barrier Reef, just call our team and we can lead you to the types of tours, activities and destinations to suit your travel style. We have been showing visitors the best tours and attractions on the Great Barrier Reef for over 20 years.

Helicopter Ride Hill Inlet & Whitehaven Beach

Hill Inlet

Hill Inlet

You cannot come to the Whitsundays and not visit Hill Inlet and Whitehaven Beach. Two of the major icons of the Whitsundays accessible by helicopter ride, airplane scenic flight, half day or full day tours, overnight sailing tours or luxury charter yachts. But book early or miss out on Hill Inlet & whitehaven Beach.

Fraser Island wreck, Fraser Coast

Noosa

Noosa

Stretching for more than 60km (40mi) along the Queensland coast, the Sunshine Coast is as vast as it is varied. White sand beaches and pristine waterways sit alongside lush rainforests and Heritage-listed national parks, with charming historic villages sprinkled throughout.

Beachwalking, Moon Bay, Great Sandy Strait

Coolum

Coolum

Come to a place you can relax again. Kick off your shoes, have a surf, go for a walk on our discovery trails and see the spectacular views. All with our local hospitality and the whole Sunshine Coast at your fe

Beach near Bustard Head, town of 1770

Caloundra

Caloundra

With its stunning beaches, beautiful parks, and family-friendly atmosphere, it's the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy some time away.

Tannum Sands, Gladstone Region

Mooloolaba

Mooloolaba

Recently voted one of the best beaches in the South Pacific, Mooloolaba is beloved by locals for its central location, sweeping coastal views and trendy beachfront eateries.

Bribie Island

Bribie Island

Bribie Island - Your Effortless Island Escape. Craving an island getaway without the hassle? Look no further than Bribie Island, the hidden gem connected to the mainland by a convenient bridge.

Cairns, Tropical North Queensland

Cairns

Cairns

Cairns tours to the Great Barrier Reef attract visitors to see this World Heritage-listed underwater world and its brilliant marine life. Browse the biggest selection of Cairns tours and attractions and read the indepth tour itineraries of each tour. Tours departing from Cairns offer activities for all types of travellers whether on a budget or those looking for more intimate luxury travel.

Green Island Tours - Aerial view of Green Island and the Great Barrier Reef

Green Island

Green Island

Green Island just off Cairns is a nature lover's paradise and the only coral cay on the Great Barrier Reef with a rainforest. See all the things to do and things to see on Green Island. Snorkelling tours, dive tours, helicopter rides and Seawalker. Green Island offers more activities than any island on the Great Barrier Reef and is just a short boat ride from Cairns.

Fitzroy Island Resort, Tropical North Queensland

Fitzroy Island

Fitzroy Island

Beautiful Fitzroy Island is just a short boat ride from Cairns and is one the most favourite islands on the Great Barrier Reef. Stay for a holiday and enjoy the snorkeling and scuba diving straight off the island. Fitzroy Island is ideal for kids of all ages and romantic couples.

Port Douglas,Tropical North Queensland

Port Douglas

Port Douglas

Sophisticated eateries and bars, luxurious holiday homes and resorts, and a bustling marina – Port Douglas is the number one destination for celebrities to holiday and mix it up with the locals. An ideal location from which you can explore the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest.

Low Isles Port Douglas - Glass Bottom Boat Tours - Barrier Reef Australia

Low Isles

Low Isles

Explore the beautiful Low Isles on the Great Barrier Reef just off shore from Port Douglas on a half day, full day or combination snorkel tour and sunset cruise. A group of islands that are home to sea turtles, dugongs and other fascinating marine life. Take it easy or enjoy all the activities on the island such as the lighthouse historic walk and nature excursions.

Airlie Beach Tours and Attractions - Waterfront Airlie Beach, Whitsundays

Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach, the vibrant mainland gateway to the Whitsundays is an aquatic playground with plenty for thrill seekers and nature lovers to choose from. Book a Sail and snorkel tour thru the Whitsundays passage on an overnight reef trip. Take a scenic flight over Heart Reef, or dive the depths of the Great Barrier Reef

Whitehaven Beach Whitsundays

Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach

Discover the magic of Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet, where fine white silica sand and stunning sandbars meet azure tidal pools. Daily tours to Whitehaven Beach showcase its unmatched beauty, while Hill Inlet lookout offers mesmerizing views of swirling sands and brilliant blue waters. Book a Whitehaven Beach & Hill Inlet tour for an unforgettable Whitsundays experience.

Hamilton Island - Whitsundays

Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island

One of Australia's most popular holiday destinations and the only island in the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef with its own commercial airport. Hamilton Island is a holiday hotspot for local and international visitors, boasting pristine white beaches, a kaleidoscope of coral and marine life, and year-round mild temperatures. See all the tours and attractions of Hamilton Island here.

Shute Harbour, Whitsundays

Shute Harbour

Shute Harbour

Located close to Airlie Beach, Shute Harbour is a forest-clad, secluded jumping off point for many of the Whitsunday Island Tours. Shute Harbour is also the closest location to the Whitsunday Airport where guests can take scenic helicopter rides, airplane scenic flights and sailing holidays over the iconic locations of the Whitsunday Islands.

Townsville City - Aerial View

Townsville city

Townsville city

The thriving city of Townsville isn’t named the cultural capital of regional Australia for no reason – this is a city with style and innovation that has the added bonus of providing remarkable nature and outdoor experiences around Townsville and with a 20 minute boat ride you are on magnficent Magnetic Island and the Great Barrier Reef.

Sunrise, Mission Beach, TNQ

Mission Beach

Mission Beach

A beautiful beachside town located between Townsville and Cairns, with the Great Barrier Reef and Dunk Island right on its doorstep. Offering a range of activities from extreme adrenaline sports to snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef and island exploration. Mission Beach is perfect for family holidays, eco-adventures, adrenaline seekers and backpackers.

Lizard Island Aerial  View - The Wild North

Lizard Island

Lizard Island

Lizard Island offers 24 stunning white sandy beaches, national park surrounds and is uniquely located in the centre of inner and outer reef systems as well as fringing reefs. Lizard Island is also home to the famous Cod Hole dive site and the northernmost luxury resort on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Fraser Island Tours : Lake McKenzie, Fraser Coast

K'gari (Fraser Island)

K'gari (Fraser Island)

The world’s largest sand island, K'gari (Fraser Island) is a sparkling gem in the Queensland tourism story, flush with natural attractions, flora, fauna, culture and history. Take a look at all the things to do and things to see on K'gari (Fraser Island) on the East coast of Australia.

Aerial of Long Beach, Great Keppel Island

Great Keppel Island

Great Keppel Island

One of the most popular island destinations in the Capricorn region, Great Keppel Island boasts white sandy secluded beaches, clear waters and some of the best snorkelling and scuba diving locations on the Great Barrier Reef just off Yeppoon. Explore all the things to do and things to see on Great Keppel Island.

Relaxing in the town of Seventeen Seventy

Seventeen Seventy

Seventeen Seventy

Known as the “birthplace of Queensland,” Seventeen Seventy or 1770 is the closest access point to the Southern Great Barrier Reef with deserted beaches and pristine coral cays at your doorstep. Right next door to Agnes Waters, 1770 is the only place you can surf and dive the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Visit Lady Musgrave Island from 1770 in Australia

Lady Elliot Island, Bundaberg North Burnett

Lady Elliot Island

Lady Elliot Island

Hailed as the launch pad for the Great Barrier Reef, the most southern island of Lady Elliot is regarded as reef royalty. This is the place where you can swim with Manta Rays, see Dugongs, whales, sea turtles and other exceptionl marine life. Lady Elliott Island is a place not to be missed. Enjoy a day snorkelling Lady Elliot Island on scenic flights from various locations in Queensland.

4WD adventures, Cooktown

Cooktown

Cooktown

Cooktown is one of Australia’s most unique coastal townships, guests can immerse themselves in the rich historical, cultural and natural beauty of Cooktown. Book a scenic flight day tour to Lizard Island or Cape York or a fly/drive tour of Cooktown and the surrounding attractions.

Cape York, The Wild North

Cape York Peninsula

Cape York Peninsula

Discover Cape York, the wild and rugged national parks, hidden beaches, unique wildlife, rich history and remote islands of Australia’s northern tip, Cape York Peninsula. Book a scenic flight from Cairns or Cooktown to visit Cape York.

Beachfront dining, Palm Cove

Palm Cove

Palm Cove

Conveniently located between Cairns and Port Douglas, the beachside suburb of Palm Cove is one of Australia's most popular holiday destinations in Far North Queensland. There are so many tours and attractions on offer for holiday makers in this dreamy beachside mecca and each of the tour operators will collect guests from their hotels to take them our on tour of the Great Barrier Reef.

Mossman Gorge, Daintree National Park

Mossman Gorge

Mossman Gorge

Set against a backdrop of lush greenery, gigantic granite boulders and a stream feeding the popular swimming hole, Mossman Gorge is the southernmost part of the Daintree Rainforest. Explore the area via one of the easily-accessible walking tracks or experience local Indigenous culture on a guided rainforest tour.

Kuranda

Kuranda

Kuranda is the quaint ‘Village in the Rainforest’, nestled on the Atherton Tablelands, is famed for its markets, wildlife experiences, and fudge. Travelling to and from Kuranda is a spectacle in its own right. Experience the best of Kuranda, the rainforest and surrounding attractions with one of our great $$$ saver combo deal tours.

Daintree Rainforest - Cassowary looking for food on the beach

Daintree Rainforest

Daintree Rainforest

Lauded by Sir David Attenborough as “the most extraordinary place on earth”, the Daintree Rainforest is home to a diverse array of prehistoric flora and fauna. A visit to Cairns Tropical North Queensland isn’t complete without exploring this magical part of the region.

Cities of the Great Barrier Reef

Explore our indepth articles on the attractions of the eight cities that lie within the regions of the Great Barrier Reef. Learn all about what there is to see and do in those destinations and how to make the most of your holiday time in those towns and cities.

Noosa

Noosa

Stretching for more than 60km (40mi) along the Queensland coast, the Sunshine Coast is as vast as it is varied. White sand beaches and pristine waterways sit alongside lush rainforests and Heritage-listed national parks, with charming historic villages sprinkled throughout.

Beachwalking, Moon Bay, Great Sandy Strait

Coolum

Coolum

Come to a place you can relax again. Kick off your shoes, have a surf, go for a walk on our discovery trails and see the spectacular views. All with our local hospitality and the whole Sunshine Coast at your fe

Beach near Bustard Head, town of 1770

Caloundra

Caloundra

With its stunning beaches, beautiful parks, and family-friendly atmosphere, it's the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy some time away.

Tannum Sands, Gladstone Region

Mooloolaba

Mooloolaba

Recently voted one of the best beaches in the South Pacific, Mooloolaba is beloved by locals for its central location, sweeping coastal views and trendy beachfront eateries.

Bribie Island

Bribie Island

Bribie Island - Your Effortless Island Escape. Craving an island getaway without the hassle? Look no further than Bribie Island, the hidden gem connected to the mainland by a convenient bridge.

Cairns, Tropical North Queensland

Cairns

Cairns

Cairns tours to the Great Barrier Reef attract visitors to see this World Heritage-listed underwater world and its brilliant marine life. Browse the biggest selection of Cairns tours and attractions and read the indepth tour itineraries of each tour. Tours departing from Cairns offer activities for all types of travellers whether on a budget or those looking for more intimate luxury travel.

Townsville City - Aerial View

Townsville city

Townsville city

The thriving city of Townsville isn’t named the cultural capital of regional Australia for no reason – this is a city with style and innovation that has the added bonus of providing remarkable nature and outdoor experiences around Townsville and with a 20 minute boat ride you are on magnficent Magnetic Island and the Great Barrier Reef.

Hervey Bay Pier, Fraser Coast

Hervey Bay

Hervey Bay

Renowned as the Whale Watching Capital of the World, Hervey Bay lives up to its glowing global reputation for natural experiences, adventures and excitement. Hervey Bay is also the departure point for K'gari (Fraser Island) and Lady Elliot Island scenic flights and Great Barrier Reef tours. See all the things to do and things to see in Hervey Bay.

Gladstone marina

Gladstone CBD

Gladstone CBD

Situated in the heart of the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Gladstone CBD is fast becoming a popular tropical getaway for all types of visitors.

Bundaberg, Bundaberg North Burnett

Bundaberg

Bundaberg

Mention Bundaberg and the two words that come to mind are rum and turtles. This sub-tropical city is best known for its iconic rum and its nesting and hatching loggerhead turtles.

Riverside walk, Rockhampton

Rockhampton

Rockhampton

Known as the ‘Beef Capital of Australia,’ Rockhampton is located in the central Capricorn Region boasting a rich history and an abundance of natural wonders.

Cape York, The Wild North

Cape York Peninsula

Cape York Peninsula

Discover Cape York, the wild and rugged national parks, hidden beaches, unique wildlife, rich history and remote islands of Australia’s northern tip, Cape York Peninsula. Book a scenic flight from Cairns or Cooktown to visit Cape York.

Explore the Great Barrier Reef by Map

The Great Barrier Reef on the Eastern Australia coastline is 2,300km long from North to South starting at the tip of Cape York Peninsular in the north and extending down to Bundaberg. What makes the reef even more special is its close proximity to the coastline ranging from a short 16km to 160km on the outer reef. The main places visitors stay to explore all the attractions of the Great Barrier Reef are north to south Port Douglas, Cairns, Townsville, Airlie Beach, Whitsundays, Hamilton Island, Mackay, Yeppoon, Agnes Water & Seventeen Seventy.