Townsville’s ideal position alongside the Great Barrier Reef makes it home to some of the most beautiful islands on the east coast of Australia. It also boasts some of the best diving sites around the islands and serves as a base for many conservation and research projects.
Magnetic Island, Hinchinbrook Island, Orpheus Island and Palm Island, provide fantastic snorkelling, diving, fishing and sailing experiences, or the opportunity to simply relax.
Magnetic Island is a popular island full of secluded bays and 23 beaches, meaning there is plenty of room for everyone. Just a 20-minute ferry ride from Townsville, Magnetic Island boasts natural beauty and serenity within a thriving community.
The Island is made up of rocky granite headlands, hoop pines and sheltered bays and beaches, forming a spectacular coastline. Perfect for the nature-lover, the island is over two-thirds National Park which means it's teeming with wildlife including rock wallabies, koalas, possums and over 100 bird species.
Providing a wide range of accommodation options, the island offers something for every budget as well as plenty of dining options by the water.
Hinchinbrook Island is the biggest island on the Great Barrier Reef and is completely uninhabited. The perfect location for adventure, Hinchinbrook Island offers spectacular hiking and camping along the 32-kilometre Thorsborne Trail - rated one of the top 10 walks on the planet.
On the eastern side of Hinchinbrook Island is a secluded beach called Ramsay Bay. It’s a long stretch of beach, with a high dune that extends through the bush to an estuary, which is famous for fishing. Ramsay Bay is harder to reach; however, a guided tour or private yacht will get you there.
A maximum of 40 people are permitted to camp on the island at one time, in order to protect the biodiversity and environment of the island.
Orpheus Island National Park caters for everyone from those seeking pure luxury to the self-sufficient camper. You can reach the island by boat or helicopter.
Orpheus Island provides plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in nature – from snorkelling in the blue-green reef to bird and wildlife watching.
Palm Island is well-known for its unique Indigenous heritage and rich cultural history. It is the traditional country of the Manbarra people and home to the Bwgcolman tribal people.
The beautiful clear waters of Palm Island make this a perfect fishing location. The island is accessible by boat or plane.
Further south is Horseshoe Bay, in the small seaside town of Bowen. This quiet, relaxed slice of paradise offers one of the most charming bays in Queensland. Horseshoe Bay is popular for divers and snorkellers, and provides a wonderfully relaxed place to explore, close to fantastic bushwalking trails, accommodation, and restaurants.
In Cairns, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to liveaboard dive trips and many divers want to know which dive boat is the best. Well, that depends on who’s asking.
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How long does it take to get to the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns? It very well may seem like a simple and easy question to answer, however, there are so many variables that make the answer not quite as straight forward as you may have initially thought.
No matter whether you are a snorkeller or a certified scuba diver, there are number of amazing Great Barrier Reef experiences that are a once in a lifetime absolutely ‘must do’. And a Minke Whale snorkel and dive Expedition is one of those that should be on your list!