In whichever direction you decide to travel, start in Townsville, home to the famous Strand – a 2.5km stretch of inner-city beach and playgrounds – and museums which pay homage to the Great Barrier Reef. Once you’ve experienced the reef for real, head to Townsville’s Reef HQ Aquarium touted as the world’s largest coral reef aquarium which is also home to a Turtle Hospital. At the Museum of Tropical Queensland, right next door, you can learn the story of the HMS Pandora which sank on the Great Barrier Reef.
For those heading west, stop in Ravenswood to view restored buildings and mining remnants such as old shafts and chimney stacks, before you complete the 136km drive along the Flinders Highways to Charters Towers. This Outback town is firmly etched in Queensland’s history books, as it was the state’s second largest during the gold rush days of the late 1800s. Once upon a time, it boasted a stock exchange, 65 hotels and 29 crushing mills and you can learn all about its prosperity in the preserved civic centre, known as One Square Mile.
A highlight of a visit to Charters Towers is the Ghosts of Gold Heritage Tour which describes the discovery of gold at the foot of Towers Hill; the grandeur of One Square Mile; greed at the Stock Exchange Arcade; and the ghosts hard at work at Venus Battery, Queensland’s oldest surviving battery.
Queensland’s last bushranger was also laid to rest at the Charters Towers Cemetery as was Jupiter Mossman, the Aboriginal boy who helped discover the town’s gold.
For those who wish to head north of Townsville instead, drive 110km to Ingham which is considered in the heart of the tropics and best known for its rich Italian community. West of Ingham, discover Australia’s highest sheer drop waterfall, Wallaman Falls, at 305 metres.
Just south of Ingham township visit the Tyto Wetlands Information Centre and learn about the burgeoning birdlife and region’s natural attractions. Bird lovers adore the wetlands which are home to more than 230 different species including the Eastern Grass Owl. You’ll also find hundreds of Agile Wallabies grazing here in the early morning and late afternoon.
Along this route north of Townsville there’s no less than six recreational National Parks, state forests and islands. And situated halfway between Townsville and Cairns you’ll find Cardwell, which was settled in 1864 and is the only town in the world where two World Heritage-listed areas adjoin. This tiny town boasts a state-of-the-art marina and public boat ramp making it a coveted fishing and boating destination and the perfect launch pad from which to visit Australia’s largest island National Park, Hinchinbrook Island. Hinchinbrook is one of the superstars of the Queensland tourism story, renowned for its cloud-covered mountains, rainforest and eucalypt forest, mangrove-lined channel, bays, beaches and rocky headlands.
Taste the tropics both literally and metaphorically along one of Queensland’s most scenic routes which winds for 140kms between Cairns and Cape Tribulation in Tropical North Queensland. Known as the 'Great Barrier Reef drive', the road winds between two World Heritage icons, the Wet Tropics Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.
There are 31 beaches in Mackay, one for every day of the month, but why not head inland and discover the Pioneer Valley instead?
A driving trip to The Wild North is for those adventurous spirits who love leaving clouds of dust in the wake of their 4WD. There are a number of ways to experience the epic Cape York Peninsula in which you’ll witness historic hotels, ancient rock art and breathtaking natural scenery and wildlife. These journeys will take you along red Outback roads, past wetlands brimming with birds, and into isolated fishing spots. You can test your four-wheel driving skills over treacherous creek crossings on the Old Telegraph Track and swim in stunning waterfalls. Here are some of the best tracks on your trip to the top.
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!
Thinking of becoming a Certified Scuba Diver and looking to do your learn to scuba dive PADI certificate? Do you wish to learn to dive with a high quality professional company that has an outstanding reputation for not only skill but also safety and can match this with some of the best liveaboard dive boat fleets on the Great Barrier Reef?
This tour is special in so many ways, and is unrivalled to all other reef tours in Far North Queensland. First of all, it has the shortest open water crossing to get to the Great Barrier Reef. Fantastic news for anyone prone to motion sickness. Although this tour is a ‘Reef’ tour, it includes a ‘River Cruise’ on the journey there with Island activities on arrival. And a huge PLUS to guests that like to avoid the crowds, it has one of the lowest passenger capacities of all the island tours with a maximum of 100 guests. The destination is to an uninhabited continental island called Normanby in National Park which is part of the archipelago of Frankland Islands. It is located 10km offshore from the mouth of the Russell and Mulgrave Rivers at Russell Heads, which is approximately 45km South-East of Cairns. The Normanby Island has an abundance of wildlife not only in the water, but also on the island itself. The island is pristine, and has its own rainforest and a fringing reef not far out from its sandy shores. There are also coral gardens located further out from the island for the those that want to explore the deeper waters.
This is not a blog, it is a pitch on how good this Great Barrier Reef 2 day 1 night liveaboard dive trip from Cairns is such good value. One of our team members wrote it because she thinks it is such an amazing good value Great Barrier Reef tour, she wanted to write about it and put it on our Barrier Reef Australia blog page. We were not sure it was appropriate to pitch a single tour but we decided on free speech and free opinions so read more if you are inclined, or go to another page now. From our wonderful Great Barrier Reef Tour Specialist Chelsea Are you looking for a good value liveaboard Great Barrier Reef scuba diving adventure from Cairns without the crowds? Do you want the best dive deal money can buy in Cairns? If your answer is yes, then check out what deals we have on offer with our Great Barrier Reef Tour 2 Day 1 Night Sail, Snorkel and Scuba Dive tour!
If you are scared of the water and the creatures that live there or have never been exposed to an aquatic life in your younger years, but still wish to live out that lifelong dream of seeing the iconic wonders of the world the Great Barrier Reef, then that is okay, we have a tour that will enable you to see the coral reef from above the water and also below the water’s surface without you even getting your hair wet!