Whether it’s for a quick visit, or a longer stay, deciding where to book accommodation at when visiting the Great Barrier Reef is a crucial decision.

Deciding where to stay will all depend on your own style of holiday, with a range of options nestled along the Queensland coast! We’ve made it easier for you, listing the top spots you should stay at when visiting this spectacular reef!

  • Cairns

    As the region of sun, sand, and sea, Cairns is an essential stop when visiting the tropical region of Australia. It is the main base spot visitors choose when adventuring around the natural wonders of Queensland, with attractions such as the Atherton Tablelands, Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation, and of course, the Great Barrier Reef all a stone’s throw away from the city. The main marina of Cairns hosts daily tours to the Great Barrier Reef, with some going to the permanent pontoons, the nearby islands, or even to the deep coral reefs spots.

  • Port Douglas

    For visitors looking for a quieter and calmer holiday, Port Douglas is a perfect choice. It’s close enough to Cairns to be an easy spot to base yourself, without having to deal with the large crowds Cairns is renowned for. Here the streets are quiet, with all the important attractions all within walking distance from each other, letting you enjoy the beach, the shops, and more without having to look up transport or worry about the lines! Typically, as most tours start within Cairns, you must either drive to Cairns in the early morning to meet the boat, or hop on the pickup bus available with certain tour groups.

  • Daintree Rainforest

    This is by far the most unique region to stay in. The rainforest is renowned for its wildlife, home to a large percentage of the entire country’s animals and plants! Visitors can immerse themselves in this world of green and be captivated by the ancient plant life, and marvel at the roaming fauna! There are only a couple of places you can stay at, that are actually hidden within the rainforest. Here the accommodation offers shared or private rooms, a restaurant and bar, as well as bonus activities, such as the famous night walk through the rainforest! As the Daintree Rainforest is right along the coast, where the Great Barrier Reef lies, the local tours let you hop on a small boat from the famous Cape Tribulation. Heading out to the shallow shores of the nearby reef to snorkel in! However, as there is no marina in the rainforest, seeing beyond the shallow shores of the reef is not possible.

Related article: How Much Does it Cost to Visit the Great Barrier Reef?

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Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward began with a passion for travel and turned it into a thriving tourism business. He co-founded Sightseeing Tours Australia after starting out as a tour guide in Melbourne. Cameron delights in helping visitors get the most from their trip to Australia. Whether he's leading tours or writing about his favourite places, Cameron loves sharing his local insight with fellow travellers.

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