As the world’s largest living structure, the Great Barrier Reef is a destination that captures the imagination of travellers all over the world. But with an area that covers 1,600 miles, it is safe to say that you need to do a bit of research before travelling here yourself so you can really make the most of your time here. To give you a starting point, here is some general advice about some of the main areas of the reef that attract tourists.
The Whitsunday Islands
With 74 islands to explore, it is easy to spend your entire Great Barrier Reef adventure in this area. You could even charter a boat to see as many as you can – visit this website to find out more. Hamilton Island is the place that attracts a high number of the well-to-do tourists, but there are plenty of uninhabited islands where you can escape from the crowds. There are plenty of opportunities for both scuba diving and snorkelling all around the reefs. Don’t miss a trip to Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island which is renowned for its beautiful blue waters and white sand. There are also many forested islands where you can go mountain biking and spot some of the indigenous wildlife.
Townsville and Surrounding Islands
Townsville is Australia’s largest tropical city, and though it is not all that interesting on its own, there are plenty of reef islands which are worth checking out. Magnetic Island is located just offshore and is the easiest one to reach. A popular choice is Hinchinbrook Island, which is one of the largest island national parks in the whole country. If you really want to experience everything that it has to offer, you can trek through the lush rainforest, stopping at the seven campsites along the way. If you are an experienced diver, you can check out the wreck of the Yongala, a passenger steamer which sank way back in 1911, which attracts a host of marine life.
Cairns and Beyond
Cairns has enjoyed some major investment in recent years so that it attracts more and more tourists. The Cairns Dive Centre is a great place for first-time scuba divers to learn the ropes. Nearby, you can visit some classic reef sites where you can see marine life including turtles, stingrays, and reef sharks. A great place to visit and learn about the indigenous culture of the region is the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. If you aren’t all that confident in the water, the Moore Reef is a great place to go for some safe snorkelling or take a trip in a glass-bottom boat.
Make sure you research your Great Barrier Reef trip thoroughly before you get here, so you can enjoy your time here to the fullest. Hopefully, this brief guide has provided you with a good starting point, outlining the main regions and just a few of the activities that you can enjoy in each of them.