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.

Airlie Beach: Outer Great Barrier Reef ReefWorld Pontoon

4. Airlie Beach: Outer Great Barrier Reef ReefWorld Pontoon

Explore the serene water and colorful underwater life at the Great Barrier Reef by a pontoon. You will encounter many species of fish, and corals while enjoying water activities like snorkeling and swimming. Depart from Airlie Beach, and cruise through the Whitsundays on a high-speed, luxury vessel. Enjoy morning tea as you pass by deserted islands, secluded bays, and beaches en route to the outer Great Barrier Reef. The vessel features spacious lounges, full air-conditioning, huge outside view decks, and a duo of bars that will gladly serve you your favorite refreshment, including both alcohol and soft drinks. Arrive at the permanently-moored, spacious, and innovative pontoon on the outer Great Barrier Reef. The water quality and diverse marine life are unrivaled. Meet hundreds of fish species and admire a variety of hard and soft coral. See unbelievable snorkeling and diving (at an extra cost on the day). Spend the time as you please: Make use of the undercover seating and tables, sun decks to top up your tan, freshwater showers, and changing rooms. Visit the underwater chamber if you prefer to see the underwater world below without getting wet. Take a ride on a semi-submersible boat. Indulge in a delicious tropical-style buffet lunch and purchase drinks from the bar as you please. Finally, return to Airlie after a beautiful day.

From Airlie Beach: 1-Hour Whitsunday Islands Scenic Flight

5. From Airlie Beach: 1-Hour Whitsunday Islands Scenic Flight

Board a modern airplane for a scenic flight to remember above the Whitsunday Islands. Benefit from a modern aircraft, in-flight commentary, and return transportation from Airlie Beach. Take a 60-minute scenic flight with guaranteed window seating and in-flight pilot commentary, and enjoy aerial views of the 74 Whitsunday Islands off the north coast of Queensland. Fly above the islands for stunning views of all the landmarks, such as Shute Harbour, Molle Islands, Long Island, Dent Island, Hamilton Island, Daydream Island, Hill Inlet, and make 2 passes over Whitehaven Beach. Experience the dramatic natural aquarium of the Great Barrier Reef from a different perspective. Fly over the famous Heart Reef, nestled amongst the bright colors and patterns of Hardy Reef. Return to the mainland and land at Proserpine Airport, where a complimentary shuttle bus transfer can take you back to Airlie Beach.

From Cairns: Great Barrier Reef Cruise by Premium Catamaran

6. 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 a free 10-minute 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

7. 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: 60-Minute Whitsundays Scenic Flight

8. 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.

Port Douglas: Silversonic Great Barrier Reef Dive & Snorkel

9. Port Douglas: Silversonic Great Barrier Reef Dive & Snorkel

Climb aboard the Silversonic catamaran for a full-day cruise to Australia’s renowned Agincourt Reef on the edge of the Continental Shelf. Dive into the turquoise waters for a refreshing swim or enjoy snorkeling at 3 different sites to see the coral formations and the diverse marine life.  The ultramodern 95-foot (29-meter) Silversonic catamaran is custom-designed for small groups of adventure-minded people. You will spend over 5 hours at the reef, visiting 3 different Agincourt ribbon reef sites, each chosen for its visual and ecological diversity. First-time divers can enjoy up to 2 dives and take the plunge in complete confidence with an experienced dive instructor. Certified divers will enjoy up to 3 dives, all guided to maximize your experience. Silversonic features everything you’ll need to experience an underwater world of colorful marine life in safety and comfort, including a state-of-the-art ride control system ensuring a super smooth journey. Enjoy hydraulic dive and snorkel platforms for easy water access, spacious deck areas, hot freshwater showers, change rooms, and even a licensed bar to share tales of your adventure. As an added bonus during the whale season, Silversonic has one of the few permits available from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority that allows guests to swim with dwarf Minke whales if encountered – a truly unforgettable experience from July through September.

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

10. 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.

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 3,884 reviews

Great snorkeling experience. If you can’t swim, I say don’t bother with this activity and just go to an aquarium instead. The glass bottom boat and semi sub were okay but for the price offered, I don’t think it’s good value the snorkel is experience is by far better). Went with a non-swimming friend and I personally felt like it didn’t do much for them. But if you snorkel, this is an amazing experience ! Definitely the highlight of my trip!

It was fantastic! Very affordable for such an adventure of one of the worlds iconic treasures, The Great Barrier Reef. I highly recommend our tour guide.

Amazing we saw a shark and a turtle Are guide was so informative it was an amazing experience

Lovely boat trip with amazing diving in the coral reef. The crew was 10/10

Smooth, informative, well catered for. Great day viewing 3 reefs