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Top Attractions Along the Great Barrier Reef

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Stretching more than 1400 miles, Australia's Great Barrier Reef is the largest living thing on Earth. There's a lot to do in that much territory. Here are 10 top experiences to get you started.
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Ribbon Reef, Lizard 4892, Australia
For the most otherworldly corals and creatures—that is, what makes the Great Barrier Reef “great” besides its sheer size—snorkelers and divers should venture to outer reef sites such as Cod Hole, the Ribbon Reefs, or even...
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Tulip Oak Road, Turn off Cape Tribulation Road, Cow Bay QLD 4873, Australia
The World Heritage Daintree Rainforest is one of the oldest tropical rainforests on the planet. The area north of the Daintree River is estimated to be around 150 million years old. With that many years of evolution, it’s no surprise the...
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Mossman Gorge Rd, Syndicate QLD 4873, Australia
Join the indigenous guides at the Mossman Gorge Centre for a hosted Dreamtime walk through this spectacular canyon, starting with a traditional smoking ceremony to ward off evil spirits and finishing with bush tea and damper (bread). Along the...
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Hamilton Island, Whitsundays QLD, Australia
The gateway to the Whitsunday Islands is world famous for its sophisticated collection of restaurants and hotels—Qualia Resort may have invented “barefoot luxury”—as well as nature experiences from hiking up Passage Peak to...
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103 Walker St, Townsville City QLD 4810, Australia
Divers descend upon the city of Townsville to scuba the wreck of one of Australia’s most intriguing maritime mysteries, the SS Yongala, which sunk in 1911 and is now home to an underwater menagerie of turtles, rays, giant groupers, sea snakes, and...
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Esplanade, Cairns North QLD 4870, Australia
The jumping-off point for many a Great Barrier Reef excursion, the Cairns Esplanade is also a great place to stick around. By day, visitors can splash in the saltwater lagoon and discover marine mammals at the Cairns Aquarium, which offers...
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Rising from the Great Green Way like a primordial plateau, the Atherton Tablelands have become a hotspot for hiking, mountain biking, and outdoor adventures of all adrenaline levels, thanks to the area’s abundance of waterfalls and lakes as...
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58-60 Porter Promenade, Mission Beach QLD 4852, Australia
Roughly 85 miles south of Cairns, the Mission Beach area is home to the largest wild population of cassowaries—the dinosaur-like rainforest creatures whose numbers have plummeted to just a few thousand. The best way to see these endangered...
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4 Skyrail Drive, Smithfield QLD 4878, Australia
Discover the world’s oldest living culture at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Centre—the largest indigenous employer in Australia—where the Bulurru Story Waters Theatre transports visitors back 40,000 years with the Dreamtime...
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Queensland 4805, Australia
Devastating 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...