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Top 10 Things to Do on the Great Barrier Reef

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This Top 10 List of things to do are just the some of the adventures you can have on the Great Barrier Reef.

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The 2,300-kilometre (7,546 miles) 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. 

Magnetic Island, Coral Sea, QLD

Magnetic Island, Coral Sea, QLD

Snorkel Magnetic Island

Hire a mask and snorkel to explore the island’s colourful reef. Magnetic Island is just a 25-minute ferry ride from Townsville. This is just one of the many places from which you can access the Reef and there are just as many tourism operators eager to help you experience this underwater wonder. 

Heart Reef, Great Barrier Reef, QLD

Heart Reef, Great Barrier Reef, QLD

Seaplane over Heart Reef 

Create the perfect romantic surprise for a loved one by flying over the world-famous natural wonder that is Heart Reef. This scenic flight is just one of the tours offered by Air Whitsunday and GSL Aviation with the white silica sand of Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island is also on the menu. It’s a great opportunity to see from the amazing beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. 

Reef HQ, Townsville, QLD © Tourism and Events Queensland

Reef HQ, Townsville, QLD

Townsville’s Reef HQ Aquarium 

See the sights without getting wet at this educational, interactive coral reef aquarium. Perfect for young children and non-swimmers who want to understand the majesty of the coral kingdom, Reef HQ boasts a Turtle Hospital, where sick and injured turtles are rehabilitated. It also offers sleepovers, where you can observe the nocturnal habits of reef creatures. 

Sailing at Shute Harbour, QLD © Tourism and Events Queensland

Sailing at Shute Harbour, QLD

Speedboat to the Great Barrier Reef 

Race to the Reef from Port Douglas in just 15 minutes aboard a 500-horsepower speedboat. The Reef Sprinter offers 14 guests at a time the chance to snorkel vast coral gardens and witness the abundant fish life of the Low Isles. The whole tour takes only two-and-a-half hours.

Michaelmas Cay, Tropical North Queensland © Tourism and Events Queensland

Michaelmas Cay, Tropical North Queensland

Michaelmas Cay and Paradise Reef 

Visit the Reef in style on board Passions of Paradise 25-metre (82 feet), high-performance catamaran. Sailing daily from Cairns to Michaelmas Cay and exclusive Paradise Reef, you can dive and snorkel the Reef among the turtles and colourful fish, or just lie on the deck and soak up the sun. You can even join a glass-bottom boat tour at Michaelmas Cay. 

Skydiving, Airlie Beach, Whitsundays, QLD © Tourism and Events Queensland

Skydiving, Airlie Beach, Whitsundays, QLD

Skydive above the Whitsunday Islands 

You’ll take home bragging rights and lifelong memories when you see the Great Barrier Reef from this mind-blowing perspective. Skydive into the most picturesque drop zone in the world and experience the greatest reef thrill there is. The experienced tandem instructors will handle the parachute, so all you have to do is enjoy the incredible view. 

Catamaran off Fitzroy Island, QLD © Tourism and Events Queensland

Catamaran off Fitzroy Island, QLD

Stay on a Luxury Catamaran  

Join a sleepover on the Reef aboard the luxurious Reef Encounter, a superb, 35-metre (114.8 feet) catamaran based at Cairns. You’ll enjoy gourmet meals and a spacious stateroom with private bathroom and air-conditioning. Enjoy two days diving, snorkelling, fishing and glass-bottom boat tours without having to return to land. Add to the excitement by joining Reef Encounter by helicopter. 

Green turtle hatchling, Heron Island, QLD © Tourism and Events Queensland

Green turtle hatchling, Heron Island, QLD

Heron Island

Snorkel right off the beach or scuba-dive 20 sites just minutes away by boat from Heron Island. It takes only 20 minutes to walk around Heron, and you can revel in both sunrises and sunsets over the water. Turtles lay and hatch here between November and March and both events are amazing.

Hayman Island Resort, Hayman Island, QLD © Tourism and Events Queensland

Hayman Island Resort, Hayman Island, QLD

One & Only Hayman Island 

Explore, relax, enjoy – you can do it all on Hayman Island, located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Wake up to incredible natural beauty before taking advantage of a range of services and activities, including bushwalks, snorkelling, private dining and wildlife experiences. If that’s not enough, how about a massage while you float in the sea? 

Daydream Island, QLD © Tourism and Events Queensland

Daydream Island, QLD

Daydream Island

Wade into the man-made Living Reef and hand-feed the de-barbed stingrays. Experienced marine biologists will explain the life cycle of these amazing creatures, as well as show you local coral and how to handle starfish and sea cucumbers. Daydream Island’s 2,650 square-metre (28,524 square-feet) Living Reef is home to more than 140 species of marine fish and 83 species of coral. 

Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, QLD. © Tourism and Events Queensland

Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, QLD

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