Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef, photo by Richard Ling
Great Barrier Reef (photo by Richard Ling)
 

The Great Barrier Reef is a coral formation, the largest in the world, located off the Pacific coast of Queensland, Australia.

It is home to a spectacular array of marine life and offers awesome diving opportunities.

It contains three sets of islands:

Green Island (geographic center of map).

Southern Reef Islands.

Whitsunday Islands.  (These are covered as a separate destination.)

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Overall Atmosphere: Natural
A Natural Atmosphere includes a diverse range of destinations with outdoor-oriented features, including both water-based (beaches, rivers, lakes, etc) and land-based (mountains, forests, deserts, etc). It also includes specific outdoor activities, ranging from water adventuring (eg, kayaking, sailing) to land adventuring (eg, hiking, biking).

Natural Interests tend to be:
(a) outdoors-oriented, and therefore more dependent on weather conditions
(b) less easily accessible and more physically demanding than other destination categories.

In some cases (eg, rafting and climbing), this includes a significantly increased degree of adventure (or danger, depending on one's viewpoint).
Featuring mainly outdoors-oriented natural attractions.
 

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Jazz Cairns

Located opposite the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon, Jazz Cairns features a games room. Guests can socialise in the shared lounge area and use the tour desk to book activities. Average score from 12 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$14

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Seapoint on Trinity Beach

Sea Point on Trinity Beach offers spacious modern apartments with free WiFi and full kitchen and laundry facilities. Surrounded by tropical landscaped gardens, the complex features a large saltwater pool, a spa pool and barbecue facilities. Average score from 8 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$114 - $250

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Centrepoint Apartments

Located 600 metres from Cairns Convention Centre in Cairns, this air-conditioned apartment features free WiFi, a spa bath and a balcony with sea views. The property is 100 metres from Cairns Regional Gallery and free private parking is available. Average score from 9 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$242

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Cairns Kewarra Beach Tropical Holiday Home

Cairns Kewarra Beach Tropical Holiday Home is a holiday home situated in Myola, 18 km from Cairns. Guests benefit from terrace. Free private parking is available on site. The unit fitted with a kitchen with a dishwasher and oven. Average score from 6 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$288

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The Lakes Cairns

This luxury resort offers spacious luxury apartments set amongst lush tropical gardens. Facilities include 4 luxurious swimming pools, a sauna and a tennis court. Average score from 9 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$148 - $250

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See all hotels in Great Barrier Reef.
Hotel NameRooms FromGuest Rating
Cairns Sheridan Hotel

Cairns Sheridan Hotel

Just 10 minutes' walk from the Cairns Esplanade and 25 minutes' walk from Cairns Lagoon, this 4-star hotel provides luxurious accommodation with cable TV. Guests enjoy a restaurant, a bar, a fitness centre and a swimming pool. Average score from 7 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$89 - $204

$89-
Seaforth Apartments

Seaforth Apartments

Boasting a saltwater swimming pool, a hot tub and a barbecue area with outdoor seating, Seaforth Apartments are just 10 minutes’ walk from Trinity Beach. A private balcony with pool or garden views is standard in all apartments. Average score from 5 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$90 - $201

$90-
Rydges Esplanade Resort Cairns

Rydges Esplanade Resort Cairns

Overlooking the Coral Sea, Rydges Esplanade offers rooms with a private balcony and city, mountain or ocean views. It features 3 swimming pools, a children's pool, 2 tennis courts and an award-winning restaurant. Average score from 7 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$90 - $756

$90-
Sunshine Tower Hotel

Sunshine Tower Hotel

Cairns Sunshine Tower Hotel is ideally located just 3 blocks from the city centre and 10 minutes' drive from the Cairns International Airport. Average score from 13 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$90 - $133

$90-
Koala Court Holiday Apartments

Koala Court Holiday Apartments

Featuring a private balcony, free Wi-Fi and free covered parking, Koala Court Apartments are only 15 minutes’ walk from the Cairns Esplanade waterfront. The property offers a swimming pool and spa pool set in tropical gardens. Average score from 5 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$91 - $174

$91-
Budget One Bedroom Cairns Apartment

Budget One Bedroom Cairns Apartment

Located 1.2 km from Cairns Convention Centre, Budget One Bedroom Cairns Apartment offers accommodation in Cairns. The air-conditioned unit is 800 metres from The Cairns Civic Theater. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property. Average score from 10 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$91

$91-
Tropical Heritage Cairns

Tropical Heritage Cairns

Heritage, 500 metres from Cairns Esplanade, offers suites and studios a 15-minute walk from Cairns Central Station. It features a swimming pool and a garden with a BBQ. Guests enjoy 2 hours of free WiFi per day. Average score from 13 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$91 - $227

$91-
Elysium Sea Temple

Elysium Sea Temple

Elysium Sea Temple is situated in Palm Cove, 22 km from Cairns. Port Douglas is 37 km from the property. Free private parking is available on site. A flat-screen TV with cable channels and Blu-ray player are available in some units. Average score from 15 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$91

$91-
Budget Apartment Trinity Beach

Budget Apartment Trinity Beach

Located in Trinity Beach, this air-conditioned apartment features a patio. The property is 17 km from Cairns and free private parking is offered. There is a dining area and a kitchen equipped with oven. A flat-screen TV is provided. Average score from 15 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$91

$91-
Elysium Apartments

Elysium Apartments

These modern studios and apartments are just 200 metres from Palm Cove Beach. The complex has a large outdoor pool with massaging spa jets. Free private parking is possible on site. Average score from 8 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$92 - $288

$92-
Kookas Bed & Breakfast

Kookas Bed & Breakfast

Offering an outdoor pool, Kookas Bed & Breakfast is located in Cairns. Free WiFi access is available. Rooms here will provide you with a TV, air conditioning and a balcony. Complete with a refrigerator, the dining area also has an electric kettle. Average score from 4 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$93

$93-
On The Beach

On The Beach

This Trinity Beach property is on the main esplanade and opposite the beach. Apartments feature free Wi-Fi, fully equipped kitchens, and garden, beach, and ocean views. Average score from 6 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$95 - $250

$95-
Grosvenor in Cairns

Grosvenor in Cairns

Just a 15-minute walk from Cairns's city centre, Grosvenor Apartments combines the independence and privacy of your own home with the quality facilities of a hotel. Guests enjoy access to free WiFi, a fitness centre and a swimming pool. Average score from 8 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$95 - $265

$95-
Machans Beach Bed & Breakfast

Machans Beach Bed & Breakfast

Machans Beach Bed & Breakfast is set in Machans Beach, 8 km from Cairns and 15 km from Palm Cove. Free private parking is available on site. Rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV. Some units include a seating area where you can relax. Average score from 8 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$97

$97-
The Abbott Boutique Hotel

The Abbott Boutique Hotel

Featuring free WiFi throughout the property, The Abbott Boutique Hotel offers accommodation in the heart of Cairns. The world-famous Cairns Esplanade is just 2-minutes' walk away and the Cairns Pier is 8-minutes' walk. Average score from 4 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$98

$98-
Agincourt Beachfront Apartments

Agincourt Beachfront Apartments

Right by Clifton Beach, Agincourt offers self-catering apartments with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV and a large balcony with sea or garden views. Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool. Average score from 4 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$98 - $170

$98-
Beach Hideaway at Trinity Beach

Beach Hideaway at Trinity Beach

Beach Hideaway at Trinity Beach is an air-conditioned holiday home located in the beautiful paradise of Trinity Beach. It is located a 5-minute walk from the beach and various cafes and restaurants. Average score from 7 guest reviews: 0.0/10.

$98

$98-

Highlights:

Click highlighted activity to see details.
Natural
Diving
The Great Barrier Reef has long been famous as vast diving destination, although parts of it have overused and damaged. (Like other reefs around the world, it is also suffering from ocean acidification, which bleaches the corals.) Major centers for making arrangements, including obtaining diving certificates, are Townsville, Cairns, and Port Douglas.

The reefs can be visited on day trips from Cairns and Port Douglas, but these trips involve about 2 hours boat travel in each direction. More efficient are several-day liveaboards, so visitors can spend their time diving instead of traveling. Serious divers generally prefer the five to seven day liveaboards visiting the Coral Sea to the north.
Snorkeling
Some of the islands have a fringing reef, and it is possible to dive or snorkel from shore. Other options include taking a boat to see the good snorkeling sites a few minutes offshore from Green Island. Snorkelers can sometimes travel on liveaboards, but check first about the suitability of their sites for snorkeling.
Also of Interest:
Combination
Boat Tours
Natural
Beaches

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