There is no denying it and don’t even try: the Great Barrier Reef is Australia’s travel crown jewel!
This gigantic marine ecosystem, made up of 2,900 individual reefs and stretching an incredible 2,300km, is the only living structure that can be seen from outer space.
So, given its unparalleled gigantism, there is no one answer to how long the boat ride is to the Great Barrier Reef. With trips along the coast taking anywhere from 30 minutes for the inner reef to up to 120 minutes for the outer reef, the reef is diverse and surreal in all its parts!
For the sake of it, let’s talk about boat journeys launching from the reef’s most popular tourist hub: the vibrant city of Cairns. Just off the city’s coast lies some of the most gorgeous reefs and cays of the entire ecosystem, with catamaran trips to the mid reefs taking around 70 minutes and the outer reefs up to 120 minutes.
Even closer inland, however, lie some of the reef’s most pristine tropical islands in Green Island and Fitzroy Island. There is a near-endless abundance of things to do on these islands, the mid reefs and the outer reefs, so let’s take a look at them below!
Diving & snorkelling the reef
The Great Barrier Reef is home to thousands of incredible fish, sea creatures and coral species, making it one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, as well as one of the world’s natural wonders. What are two of the best and most inspiring ways to see all of this surreal splendour? By diving and snorkelling, of course!
Diving and snorkelling tours depart daily from Cairns, taking you to your desired destinations, whether it be the giant clams and green sea turtles of Michaelmas Cay or the vibrant corals and garden moray eels of Norman Reef.
See it via helicopter
If you’re more of the airborne type, you can actually take unforgettable helicopter tours that encompass the gigantic reef and all its beautiful wonder! These amazing tours allow you to gaze upon the turquoise blue waters and living patches of coral, creating a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is perfect for adding to your Great Barrier Reef itinerary.
Related article: How Much Does it Cost to Visit the Great Barrier Reef?