Lady Elliot Island
Queensland 4805, Australia
Photo by R & D Keller/age fotostock
Southern Great Barrier ReefDevastating coral bleaching events of 2016 and 2017 hit the northern and central stretches of the Great Barrier Reef the hardest, leaving some of the brightest corals blooming in the south. Plan a snorkeling or diving excursion around Lady Musgrave Island, Heron Island, or Lady Elliott Island to swim with sharks, manta rays, and large pelagic fish. The southern reef is also famous for sea turtle nesting and hatching between November and April, most notably on Lady Elliott Island and at the Mon Repos Turtle Centre. At the very southern end of the reef, Hervey Bay becomes a playground for breeding humpback whales from July through November.