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Things to do in Great Barrier Reef

Our most recommended things to do in Great Barrier Reef

Port Douglas: Outer Barrier Reef Snorkel Cruise & Transfer

1. Port Douglas: Outer Barrier Reef Snorkel Cruise & Transfer

Experience snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Snorkel at 3 incredible reef sites and enjoy relaxing breaks in between. Your experience begins with a pickup from your hotel from where you will be transported to the Crystalbrook Marina. Arrive at the marina and be welcomed onboard. Receive an outline of the day along with a safety briefing conducted by the crew. Depart the marina and venture to the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and arrive at the first reef site. Divers will be briefed while traveling to the reef. Once moored, divers are ready to go while all other guests are joined together for a snorkel briefing. See much of the reef’s colors and marine life, visible within just a couple of meters of the water’s surface. Snorkeling offers all swimmers, regardless of their skill level, the opportunity to see this diverse eco-system up close. Morning tea is served before moving to the second reef site. A delicious buffet lunch will be served and you may choose to join the interpretive reef talk and or a guided snorkel tour. Float effortlessly over rich, colorful coral gardens teeming with life from the cute and playful clownfish to the graceful beauty of the green turtle. Giant clams, stingrays, Maori wrasse, codfishes, and colorful parrotfish, are just some of the hundreds of species you may encounter. Head to the third and last reef site for the day to snorkel, dive, relax, or spend the time as you wish. Afternoon tea is served before commencing the journey back to Port Douglas. Arrive back at the Crystalbrook Marina for the transfer back to your accommodation if required.

From Cairns: Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Diving Tour

2. From Cairns: Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Diving Tour

Explore the stunning biodiversity of the outer Great Barrier Reef on this diving and snorkeling tour from Cairns. Sail on s boat 3 sun decks, 2 air-conditioned indoor saloons, a spacious dive deck, and a sunken platform for easy water access. Have drinks and a packed lunch. Depart Cairns in the morning for the outer reef on this 8-hour tour. Whether you are a snorkeler, first-time SCUBA diver, or already certified diver, join a once in a lifetime adventure aboard a luxury day trip to the great barrier reef. Enjoy a light morning tea and a delicious pre-packed picnic lunch. Complimentary tea, coffee, and chilled water are served throughout the day (snacks, soft and alcoholic beverages are also available for purchase). Discover the Great Barrier Reef in the easiest way possible: with a snorkel - it is as simple as breathing. If you have never snorkeled before, don't worry, a briefing is held on board, explaining how to put and use the snorkeling gear. The private reef locations are approximately 70 kilometers (about 43 miles) offshore, these unique sites offer superb coral formations and an abundance of coral and marine life including inquisitive Nemos, Turtles, Stingrays and Wally the friendly Maori Wrasse. Visit 2 different reef locations daily, these are chosen en-route considering weather and sea conditions to ensure the best in-water experience. Visit either Normank, Saxon or Hastings Reef.

From Cairns: Full-Day Green Island Cruise

3. From Cairns: Full-Day Green Island Cruise

Climb aboard a modern catamaran to sail into Green Island National Park on a beach and snorkeling cruise from Cairns. Discover a hidden gem in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef and explore its coral reefs with snorkeling gear. Choose to enjoy a buffet lunch and go on a semi-submarine tour. Make your way to the harbor to meet your friendly crew for the day and climb onto your catamaran. Relax in the sun as you set sail towards the Great Barrier Reef. Experience picturesque views of the ocean as you arrive at Green Island National Park. Stroll around the island and explore its tranquil beaches. Find a stop to relax and go for a dip in the ocean. Get access to snorkeling gear and take a peek into the region's thriving marine life. You can also opt to go on a semi-submarine or a glass-bottom boat tour to discover the colorful coral reef and fish in comfort.

From Bundaberg: Barrier Reef & Lady Musgrave Island Day Tour

4. From Bundaberg: Barrier Reef & Lady Musgrave Island Day Tour

Visit Lady Musgrave Island in the Southern Great Barrier Reef on this boat trip from Burnett Heads. Enjoy drinks, lunch, access to warm showers, a glass-bottom boat tour, and more. Snorkel in the unique coral lagoon surrounding the island and enjoy a guided island walk. Taking off from Bundaberg Port Marina, enjoy morning tea as you head to Lady Musgrave HQ, a new advanced eco-certified pontoon with snorkel and dive platforms, an underwater observatory, and a licensed bar. As you explore the coral reef lagoon, get plenty of opportunities to encounter manta rays, reef sharks, stingrays, turtles, and hundreds of tropical fish swimming in these coral gardens. Hop in the water to swim or take advantage of the included snorkeling equipment. As an added perk, non-certified introductory dives and certified dives are available if you wish to dive deeper into the coral reef (costs not included). Non-swimmers will love the three-level pontoon, glass-bottom boat tour, and guided island walk to experience the coral reef and marine life all without getting wet. After working up an appetite, a buffet lunch is available on board at your leisure, and you can freshen up with a warm shower after your snorkel and dive. On the boat ride back to the marina, enjoy another cup of afternoon tea.

From Airlie Beach: 60-Minute Whitsundays Scenic Flight

5. From Airlie Beach: 60-Minute Whitsundays Scenic Flight

Delight in a 60-minute scenic flight over the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy the big window views from your comfortable fixed-wing aircraft, and learn all about the area with your experienced pilot's expert commentary. After pickup from your accommodation in Airlie Beach, head to the nearby airport for take-off. Unlike flights offered by other companies in the area, the local partner is able to take-off from much closer to Airlie Beach, saving you the long 40-minute travel time. Once up in the air, marvel at the best bird's-eye views of the 74 Whitsunday Islands. Fly over Whitehaven Beach and picture postcard Hill Inlet before heading out to the Great Barrier Reef and experiencing one of the most photographed reef locations Heart Reef. After you land, transfer back to your accommodation in Airlie Beach.

Mackay: Full Day Island Boat Tour on the Great Barrier Reef

6. Mackay: Full Day Island Boat Tour on the Great Barrier Reef

Get off the beaten track in Mackay and head towards the Great Barrier Reef. See the natural wonders of above and below the ocean as you ride by speedboat to untouched locations. Swim and snorkel in the waters at secluded beaches and grab a snack and beer onboard. Embark on a full-day journey on the Great Barrier Reef. Board your one-of-a-kind, custom-built vessel that blends technology with practical use. Discover hidden wonders below the ocean's surface, swimming and snorkeling in the waters of various beaches. Enjoy a morning and afternoon snack on board and cold beer from the fully licensed bar on board. Stop at many locations such as Cockermouth, Brampton, Keswick, St. Bees, and Scawfell islands. Plus, a few well-kept secrets.

From Cairns: Great Barrier Reef Cruise by Premium Catamaran

7. From Cairns: Great Barrier Reef Cruise by Premium Catamaran

Hop aboard a catamaran for a day trip to remember to the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkel, dive, or swim in the water, enjoy a delicious buffet lunch, and take in the marine wildlife. Meet your crew at the Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal, pay the reef levy, and hop aboard the luxury catamaran. The crew will select reef locations depending on the day's conditions from Flynn and Milne reef or further north at Norman and Hastings reefs. All offer diverse reef structures teeming with exotic marine life. Feel the wind in your hair as you set sail for the outer Great Barrier Reef. Relax with morning tea on the way, get to know the crew and learn all about the marine eco-system from a marine expert. Review snorkeling techniques with the crew during the journey. Arrive at the first outer reef location, where you can snorkel, dive or swim in the water. You may also choose to sunbathe, or chill on the boat on the upper sun deck or the netted deck trampoline at the bow of the boat. You can avail complimentary guided tours from the staff. A dedicated dive tender is available for experienced certified divers who want to explore deeper waters. All certified divers receive a complimentary dive guide. First-time divers will receive clear and concise scuba instruction in the water from qualified PADI professionals. Savor a fresh tropical buffet lunch prepared onboard. Treat yourself to a selection of hot and cold dishes including buffet meats, salads, and tropical fruit. Travel to the second outer reef location for the day for your choice of activity. Look out for corals, exotic marine life such as parrotfish, reef turtles and 'nemo' fish. End the day as the captain hoists the sails, and cruise back to Cairns. Enjoy a cold drink from the bar (own expense) and relax on the boom netting. Alternatively, watch presentations about the marine life from the passionate eco-certified staff.

Cairns: Outer Edges of The Great Barrier Reef Scenic Flight

8. Cairns: Outer Edges of The Great Barrier Reef Scenic Flight

Take in the full spectacle of the Great Barrier Reef from the sky during a scenic flight from Cairns. Onboard a fixed-wing plane, see up to 140 kilometers of the Outer Barrier as well as many inner islands, reefs, and sand isles. Within 10 minutes of departing Cairns, the real adventure begins, as you get wonderful photo opportunities over Green Island, Oyster Reef, Vlasoff Cay, Upolo Reef, Pixie Reef, and Arlington Reef. Sit back in air-conditioned comfort as you glide through the sky. Take in the spectacular hues of green and blue from your window seat while listening to the pilot's informative commentary about the sights below. Get a chance to spot marine life with manta rays, green turtles, dugongs, sharks, and, if in season, whales, in clear view from the aircraft. Once your journey comes to an end, fly right back to Cairns.

From Airlie Beach: 2-Day Whitsundays Sailing & Camping Trip

9. From Airlie Beach: 2-Day Whitsundays Sailing & Camping Trip

Discover the best of the Whitsunday Islands on this 2-day sail from Airlie Beach. Enjoy captivating snorkel excursions each day, visit UNESCO World Heritage-listed islands, and explore the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. Visit locations such as Whitehaven Beach, Hook Island, Hayman Island, Border Island, and Whitsunday Island. Stop to snorkel at Luncheon Bay, Caves Cove, and Blue Pearl Bay. Sleep on a spacious maxi yacht on the first night and camp on one of the islands surrounding the Whitsundays on the second night. Help assist the crew by hoisting the mainsail and dropping anchor at each exciting destination. Alternatively, sit back and relax on the spacious deck and enjoy the view of the pristine Whitsunday Islands. Every evening, roll up your sleeves and help the crew prepare mouth-watering specialties like beef stew, spaghetti bolognese, fresh bread, green salad, pasta salads, and much more. Or, position yourself at the ship’s prow where you can watch the sky change from yellow to magenta as the sun sets.

Museum Of Underwater Art & Great Barrier Reef Day Trip

10. Museum Of Underwater Art & Great Barrier Reef Day Trip

Begin your journey from the Townsville Breakwater Marina, or from Nelly Bay, Magnetic Island. Sail to the Central Section of the Great Barrier Reef on a custom-built day vessel. First, visit the Museum Of Underwater Art (MOUA) located offshore on the John Brewer Reef. Surrounded by the beautiful and colorful coral reefs, explore this underwater site which is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Learn more about conservation, restoration, and education about the issues affecting the reefs, with a strong emphasis placed on indigenous culture and history. See The Coral Greenhouse, the first submerged building design by artist Jason deCaires Taylor. After exploring the MOUA, explore other sections of the reef with dives ranging from a depth of 1 to 20 meters suitable for snorkelers, beginner, and experienced divers. See schools of baitfish as well as an abundance of colorful reef fish including Parrotfish, Maori wrasse, Clownfish, Angelfish. Keep a lookout for turtles, stingrays, White Tip Reef Sharks, and Black Tip Reef Sharks which can often be spotted. Discover how the Great Barrier Reef is managed and what work is being done to protect it. With a friendly crew, learn more about how you protect the reef and its creatures for future generations to come. After the dives, be returned by boat to Nelly Bay, or Townsville Breakwater Marina.

Top sights in Great Barrier Reef

Frequently asked questions about Great Barrier Reef

What top attractions are a must-see in Great Barrier Reef?

The must-see attractions in Great Barrier Reef are:

Other Sightseeing Options in Great Barrier Reef

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What people are saying about Great Barrier Reef

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 4,361 reviews

This was one of the best experiences of my entire life. Not only was the island beautiful, the snorkeling was incredibly fun and (you could go at your own pace, go really far out or stay close to the shore), the staff were also exceptional, informative (lots of fun facts) and super friendly. I even dropped my icecream and a staff member had a laugh with me and then got me another. Food on the boat is also amazing. Overall 10000/10. I am going to book again!

The team from Calypso were extremely kind and helpful. Not only they are very experienced but also love what they do! Definitely one of the best experiences I've ever had

Great day out, Callum the skippy and bus driver were all very helpful!

Everything was super nice and of course the Reef is amazing!

Very personable, helpful, and safety conscious crew.