Last year my daughter and I spent 2 weeks in Australia. We had such an amazing time and learned quite a lot about travel from that experience. We also realized that 2 weeks was just not enough to enjoy the amazing beauty that Australia has to offer. I cannot wait until the next time we get to return.
The Great Barrier Reef was one of the most memorable stops during our visit. We probably could have spent the entire 2 weeks visiting the beautiful places along the 1,400 miles of the Great Barrier Reef and made some absolutely amazing memories. The area is just full of different things to do, each experience amazing in itself.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest reef system with over 2,900 individual reef systems and can even be seen from outer space. It became a protected destination in 1981 when it became part of the National Heritage Foundation, and is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It is absolutely huge and the size is something that almost cannot be understood until you have seen it for yourself.
While we spent time in Australia we went diving in the reef a couple hours out of Port Douglas in one of the outer reef systems, we took an airplane trip over the reef in Arlie Beach, spent the day exploring the Whitsunday’s and White haven beach, and visited Hamilton Island. All of these were absolutely amazing in and of themselves, but it sure made for such a wonderful and unique experience.
There are a couple different ways to view the Great Barrier Reef. Both of them have their own amazing unique beauty. You can see it by air or by land.
When Is The Best Time To Visit?
Due to the fact that the entire Great Barrier Reef is in a tropical area visiting the reef can take place any time of the year. The best time to visit the reef is June through October. The reason being is that the rainy season is November through May which not only brings more of the deadly box jellyfish but also makes the water not as clear.
The weather is in the 70’s-80’s during the day and a cool 60’s-70s at night. The southern area hotels are cheaper during this time as it is fall and winter for the southern hemisphere. Because of that, it is the best time of the year to visit in the northern areas such as Cairns and Port Douglas, expect that tours and hotels fill up fast. So be sure to book in advance.
Different Ways To See The Reef
There are many different ways to see the reef. Each of them has their own unique perspective. Many in-water experiences include taking a catamaran over to the reef system, which is usually an hour to couple hour trip each way. While there are many different places you can head out to the reef from, the most popular places to head over to the reef system are Cairns, Townsville, Mckay, Bundaberg, Maryborough, or Airlie Beach (Whitsunday’s).
For those who are not into going into the water, you could view it from a glass bottom boat or semi-submersible boat might be your best option. Many people view the reef in a couple different ways, spend one-day snorkeling and day another taking a helicopter tour or scuba diving or something similar.
Most of the tours will offer you direct pickup and drop off at your local hotel at no extra cost, which makes things super easy for you. They will often provide tea and snacks and many times lunch as well. In the research I did leading up to the trip I have heard visiting one of the outer reefs will provide you with the best experiences. Since we decided that is what we were going to do I cannot compare the inner and outer reef systems.
Viewing the Great Barrier Reef from underwater will likely be one of the most wonderful experience you will ever have in your life. Chances are this is a once in a lifetime trip, enjoy it the best you can!
- Educational Trips
- Whale watching
- Scuba diving
- Overnight boat tours
- Glass bottom boat
- Swimming with dolphins
- Cruise Ship
- Helicopter tour
Useful Guides For Visiting The Great Barrier Reef
These guides were one of my favorite resources to use when planning my trip to Australia. They both had so many good pieces of advice in it. I call it an invaluable resource. Even better the guide is rather inexpensive, or even free! Pick up your copy for your next trip to Australia. I also added to Australia’s Best Trips for some amazing road trips around Australia, which I will be using for my next trip there, it is totally free for Prime members! The links to these guides are affiliate links when you click on these links we earn a small commission at no added expense to you. Those earnings are used to pay for website expenses. Thank you for your support!