Top Attractions Along the Great Barrier Reef
Collected by Serena Renner , AFAR Contributor
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.
Ribbon Reef, Lizard 4892, Australia
These long, thin coral reefs—10 of them in total—offer some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling in the region. On Ribbon Reef 10, the world-famous dive site Cod Hole boasts massive, friendly potato cod that nuzzle divers like...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
4 Skyrail Drive, Smithfield QLD 4878, Australia
In Cairns, a city of a little over 100,000 people, where sugarcane is almost as important as tourism, an aboriginal outpost called Tjapukai is a culture park where Australia’s indigenous people are proud to show their talents. Tjapukai is an...
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...
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