See the best spots to begin your Great Barrier Reef adventure for a truly epic day!

Who wouldn’t want to see the renowned Great Barrier Reef in person, spotting the colourful wildlife and stunning natural wonders that this expansive region possesses? But where do you begin? Being such a large place, the Great Barrier Reef has many starting points, with a number of cities, islands, and towns which can be traveller’s base point! Look here on our list of the best to choose from.

  • Cairns 

    Queensland’s beloved tropical city Cairns is known for its sunny weather and exceptional natural wonders. Cairns is the number one spot travellers base themselves when visiting the Great Barrier Reef, with hundreds of travellers setting off from the Marlin Marina every day. A perk for staying in this location is that guests can also enjoy other nearby attractions, including the city highlights or the neighbouring Daintree Rainforest.

  • Green Island 

    Those who are looking for both a reef and rainforest adventure, look no further, for Green Island is for you! Nestled within the inner ocean of the Great Barrier Reef, the island is only about 27 kilometres northeast of Cairns, making it one of the closest Great Barrier Reef islands to mainland Australia. It is one of the top attractions in Queensland, as it’s the only coral cay to have a rainforest growing on top of it, making it a historic, geographic, and environmental attraction for all. Travellers who choose to stay here for the day can spend it snorkelling the reef and weaving through the rainforest to their heart’s desire!

  • Fitzroy Island

    Be immersed in the Great Barrier Reef’s beauty by visiting one of the reef’s most beloved islands; Fitzroy island! Join one of the boat tours for the day to explore the reef and laze about on the island all in one go! During the day guests can enjoy rainforest walks, an ocean trampoline, and kayaking and paddleboarding opportunities. Travellers can snorkel the shallow shores and see the unique creatures that live in Fitzroy Island’s reef, different from those which you would normally see in the deeper reef sections of the Great Barrier!

  • Whitsundays

    Teeming with crystal clear beaches, vivid greenery, and over 74 separate islands to choose from, the Whitsundays is the perfect base point when visiting the Great Barrier Reef. As the entire region stretches out to 282.8 square kilometres, there are many spots where your Great Barrier Reef adventure can begin. With Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach being the most popular docking points, you can chose the location that suits your style and budget. Hamilton Island is suited to those looking for an exceptional lux vacation, with private cabins, spa treatments, and even your own golf carts to cruise around the island in! Airlie Beach is undoubtedly the more casual option, with local markets, a beach lagoon, and plenty of nearby rainforest spots! Regardless of which one you choose, it’s easy to hop from one spot to the next at the Whitsundays, enjoying your day out on the reef before discovering all that this pristine region has to offer.

  • Port Douglas

    It is seen as Cairns’ little sister, a quieter and more luxury option to travellers looking for a tropical vacation. With a perfect blend of small-town charm and luxurious spoils, you can see the reef, rainforest, and beach all in one go! Many Great Barrier Reef tours start in Port Douglas, either heading straight out into the ocean or driving the quick route to Cairns’ marina.