Great Barrier Reef

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With the Great Barrier Reef stretching more than 1,200 miles along the Queensland coastline, the weather varies greatly from north to south. The majority of the reef’s islands and attractions lie in the Tropical North, which has a distinctly monsoonal climate. Between diving, snorkeling, sailing, hiking, exploring, or just lazing around on the beach, you’ll never be short of fun diversions.

Things to do in Great Barrier Reef

Beach Picnic

Experience the ultimate romantic adventure as your private seaplane soars above the Whitsundays, then lands on Whitehaven Beach for a champagne lunch. With more than 4 miles of pristine silica sand lapped by crystal clear aqua water, Whitehaven is consistently voted one of the world’s best beaches.

Air Whitsunday Seaplanes, The Whitsundays, Airlie Beach, 011-61-7-4946-9111, www.airwhitsunday.com.au
Tags: luxury | smart splurge | things to do | outdoors | adventure

Breeding time

Marvel as sea turtles heave themselves ashore and bury their eggs in the sand at Mon Repos Conservation Park just north of Bundaberg. Egg laying takes place from November to February. Then, from January to March, the tiny creatures begin to hatch and instinctively head to the ocean.

Mon Repos Conservation Park, Southern Great Barrier Reef, 011-61-7-4159-1652, www.epa.qld.gov.au
Tags: family | things to do | outdoors | wildlife

Dive In

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most popular and most reasonable places in the world to learn to dive. The Cairns Dive Center offers day cruises out onto the reef for snorkelers and divers as well as a range of courses, from open-water to instructor-led.

The Cairns Dive Center; The Tropical North, 121 Abbott St., 011-61-7-4051-0294, www.cairnsdive.com.au
Tags: things to do | outdoors | adventure | diving

Rainforests and Reefs

The Tropical North is the only place on earth where two World Heritage-listed areas – the Great Barrier Reef and the rainforests of Daintree and Cape Tribulation – exist side by side. You can spend endless hours spying Ulysses butterflies flitting around towering canopies, diving and snorkeling the reef, or sailing through the waterways.

Tropical Horizons Tours, 65 Greenbank Rd., 011-61-7-4058-1244, www.tropicalhorizonstours.com.au
Tags: family | hiking | things to do | outdoors | diving

Reef HQ Townsville

Tour a turtle rehabilitation center or watch sharks being fed at the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium. Located in Townsville, it’s also the only public aquarium in the world where corals have spawned.

The Tropical North, 2-68 Flinders St., 011-61-7-4750-0800, www.reefhq.com.au
Tags: family | things to do | wildlife | aquarium

Reefsleep

Experience the reef at night with an overnight stay at Reefworld – a pontoon anchored at Hardy Reef just off Airlie Beach. Under a veil of stars, you can dive and snorkel on the reef and be mesmerized by the nocturnal activities of the colorful reef fish and sensational coral formations.

Reefworld; The Whitsundays, 11 Shute Harbour Rd., 011-61-7-4946-5111, www.fantasea.com.au
Tags: family | things to do | outdoors | diving

Sail the Whitsundays

Charter a luxury yacht and let the wind fill your sails as you cruise through the islands. Sunsail offers a spectrum of sailing adventures, from charting your own course to learning the ropes on a crewed charter and joining in the action on an ocean racer.

Sunsail, Hamilton Island Marina Village; Front St., 011-61-7-4948-9509, www.sunsailwhitsundays.com.au
Tags: family | sailing | things to do | outdoors | adventure

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