Explore the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, which stretches for more than 2,000 kilometres along the Queensland coastline. Snorkel, scuba dive or take a scenic flight over the reef. Sail the palm-topped Whitsundays, trek the ancient Daintree Rainforest or relax on luxurious tropical islands such as Hayman and Lizard islands. Island-hop or stay in one of the many coastal getaways like Cairns, Hervey Bay, Mission Beach or Port Douglas.
First time visiting the Great Barrier Reef?
Plan your trip with the help of these itinerary ideas that include a range of Great Barrier Reef attractions and experiences.
Pacific Coast Touring Route, Queensland
Capture some of Queensland's biggest coastal attractions- from the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef to the pristine islands and rainforest national parks. Four wheel drive Fraser Island, the world's largest sand island and see manta rays and turtles at Mon Repos, near Bundaberg. Stay in Rockhampton and visit Great Keppel Island and the Capricorn Caves. Snorkel or dive reefs and shipwrecks near Mackay and go sailing in the postcard-perfect Whitsundays. Walk the white sand of Magnetic Island, near Townsville and further north visit Hinchinbrook, Australia's largest island national park. The vivid colours, smells and sounds of this splendid coastline will stay with you long after your journey ends in Cairns, at the gateway to Queensland's tropical north.Add to your dream trip
Three Weeks from Brisbane
Brisbane is a great gateway to eastern Australia's splendid coastline. Drive the Pacific Coast north, stopping for resort glamour in Noosa or to four wheel drive the sandy tracks of World Heritage-listed Fraser Island. Sail past islands topped with jungle green in the idyllic Whitsundays. Stop in Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton and Cairns, just some of the access points for the technicolour treasures of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. Walk through primeval treetops in the Daintree Rainforest or through pristine national park on Hinchinbrook Island. From Brisbane, it's a short flight to the glittering harbour, cultural attractions and golden city beaches of Sydney.Add to your dream trip
48 hours on Hamilton Island
It’s easy to see why Hamilton Island is one of the most popular spots for a getaway on the Great Barrier Reef. With palm-fringed beaches, top restaurants and stylish resorts, there’s plenty to do on land, while those keen to explore the clear waters of the Whitsundays will be richly rewarded.Add to your dream trip
10 days sailing It's hard to beat the romance of sailing through the Whitsundays - 74 idyllic, mostly uninhabited islands tucked inside the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Think clear moonlit nights, spectacular sunsets, secluded beaches and pure air. You can sail, swim, snorkel and dive at sheltered anchorages such as Blue Pearl, Butterfly and Hook Island Bays. Soak up the resort atmosphere of Hamilton Island, bushwalk through national park on South Molle and relax in Hayman Island's five star luxury. Visit Whitsunday Island and walk the pure white, silica sands of Whitehaven Beach.Add to your dream trip
Three Weeks from Cairns
From Cairns, the islands, rainforest and reef of tropical North Queensland are on your doorstep. Dive or snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and spot the luminescent Ulysses butterfly in the rainforest village of Kuranda. Trek the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest, four wheel drive to Cape Tribulation or raft the raging rapids of Tully River. Drive the Savannah Way into the Northern Territory and the outback town of Katherine, then glide through the dramatic sandstone walls of Katherine Gorge.Add to your dream trip
Three Great Days in Cairns
Cairns is the energetic heartbeat of Tropical North Queensland: modern, stylish and a renowned lure for sun seekers. It’s the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, a World Heritage site cited as one of the seven wonders of the natural world. Whatever your pace, you’ll have no trouble filling your days in Cairns.Add to your dream trip
10 day coast to coast
Discover white beaches, coral reefs and World Heritage Listed sites as you spend ten days exploring Australia’s coast. This itinerary will have you crossing the country to take in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia’s iconic reef in Queensland, before heading to Western Australia to see the breath taking Ningaloo Reef, one of Australia’s best kept secrets.Add to your dream trip
More Great Barrier Reef holiday ideas
Explore the world's largest coral reef, relax on the Whitsunday Islands and wonder at the dense rainforests of the world-heritage listed Wet Tropics.
Just a 20 minute ferry ride off the coast from Townsville, Magnetic Island's relaxed tropical lifestyle, quiet secluded beaches, unspoilt nature, abundant wildlife and easy access to the Great Barrier Reef, make it an ideal place for a day trip or longer stay.Add to your dream trip
The coastal village of Airlie Beach is a vibrant town filled with palm-fringed beaches, waterfront parks and alfresco dining restaurants. You are sure to instantly warm to its bohemian charm and carefree and relaxed attitude. Airlie Beach is also the gateway to the Whitsundays, the 74 pristine islands in the north of Queensland's Great Barrier Reef where you can visit luxurious island resorts and sip cocktails by the pool, bask in the sun or relax in a spa. Queensland's warm, tropical climate means that winters at Airlie Beach are very mild and perfect for enjoying water activities all year round.Add to your dream trip
Bundaberg's Natural Attractions
A rare colony of nesting turtles is just one of the captivating natural attractions near Bundaberg, a four hour drive north of Brisbane. This historic sugar cane city is also the southernmost gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, fringed by coral cays as well as 140km of pristine white beaches. Go diving and snorkelling on Lady Musgrave Island and Lady Elliot Islands and swim and fish from coastal national parks. Bundaberg also offers lots more traditional city drawcards, including museums, heritage buildings and lush botanic gardens.Add to your dream trip
The Whitsunday Islands
The Whitsunday Islands is a group of 74 islands bordered by the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and the sheltered waters of the Coral Sea. With palm-fringed secluded white sand beaches surrounded by clear blue waters, the Whitsunday Islands are the epitome of a tropical paradise.Add to your dream trip
As an adventurous traveler, you might just be eager to don a mask and flippers and take this assignment on. It's not a bad one, when you consider the silent, technicolour paradise awaiting you under the sea. Whether you are an experienced diver or have never taken an underwater breath, you'll love this secret agent scenery: a kaleidoscope of reefs, shoals, coral cays and shipwrecks teeming with tropical marine life. However when planning your mission, keep in mind that visibility is said to be best from June to August and you may need to protect yourself from stingers between November and May.Add to your dream trip
The Daintree Rainforest
It's been spring more than 135 million times in the World Heritage-listed Daintree, which lies two hours north of Cairns. But the repetition certainly hasn't dulled nature's creativity. As well as the world's oldest tropical rainforest, the Daintree is home to the earth's largest range of animals and plants. Experience them at their most vibrant during spring, when temperatures are pleasant and the wet season storms have yet to start. Hear migratory birds join the dawn chorus, swim at calm beaches and see orchids bloom on the forest edge.Add to your dream trip
Hervey Bay, around 300 kilometres north of Brisbane, is an aquatic paradise and one of the best places in Australia to experience nature in the wild. The safe, sheltered waters of Hervey Bay make it ideal for year round water-sports from swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving to sailing and fishing.Add to your dream trip
Top 10 Things to Do on the Great Barrier Reef
The 2,300-kilometre Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world. Home to diverse marine life of the most vivid colours, experiencing the Reef is a life-changing adventure, whether you do it in luxury or on a budget. See the Reef by scuba, snorkel, glass-bottom boat, jet ski, semi-submersible, sail boat, from the air or even skydive to completely immerse yourself in this wonder of the world.Add to your dream trip
Take a look at what's happening at and around the Great Barrier Reef right now