9 Great Barrier Reef Tourist Attractions you must Visit on the trip

Great Barrier Reef Tourist Attractions: The Great Barrier Reef is a natural wonder that is truly one of a kind. It is made up of thousands of individual reefs and coral cays, which are home to more than 1,500 species of fish, 600 types of coral, and countless other marine creatures. Despite being a natural wonder the reef is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Stretching over 2,300 kilometres along the Queensland coast and occupying a total of 344,000 sp. Km is, the reef quintessentially provokes tourists from all over the world at least one time visit. Thus in this article, we’ve outlined a comprehensive idea about the reef and its 9 hottest tourist attractions spots that are most sought after by tourists across the world.

Great Barrier Reef tourist attractions: 9 best places to visit

There are hundreds of tourist attractions scattered over the Great Barrier Reef. Each of these stuns visitors with compelling feelings despite ebbs of incompleteness. We’ve knotted 9 places which have been highly reviewed and hail staggering crazes with the best feeling. Let’s have a detailed reading on these and discover enthralling activities to double your itinerary zeal over there. Here you go. 

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is the heart of this natural wonder, protecting and preserving its fragile ecosystem. Spanning over 344,400 square kilometres, the Marine Park is a sanctuary for a myriad of marine species, including vibrant coral reefs, tropical fish, sharks, dolphins, and sea turtles. Tourists can explore this underwater paradise through various activities such as snorkelling, scuba diving, and guided boat tours. The Marine Park also serves as a platform for educating visitors about the importance of conservation and sustainable tourism practices.

Best Places to Visit in The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

  • Snorkelling and Scuba Diving: Immerse yourself in the vibrant underwater world, swimming alongside colorful corals and a plethora of marine species, including tropical fish, rays, sharks, and turtles.
  • Outer Reef Tours: Take a boat tour to the outer edges of the reef, where you can witness the reef’s grandeur and encounter larger marine creatures like whales and dolphins.
  • Heart Reef: A natural formation that resembles a heart, this iconic reef is best appreciated from the air during scenic helicopter or seaplane flights.
  • Green and Loggerhead Island: Visit these significant nesting sites for green and loggerhead turtles, observing their nesting and hatching rituals (seasonal activity).
  • Great Barrier Reef Drive: Drive along this scenic coastal route from Cairns to Port Douglas, passing picturesque beaches, lookouts, and tropical rainforests.

Whitsunday Islands

Located just off the coast of Queensland, the Whitsunday Islands are a picture-perfect destination within the Reef. Hence, one of the best places to visit in the Great Barrier Reef with rip-roaring sightviews. This archipelago comprises 74 stunning islands, each with its unique charm. Whitehaven Beach, a world-famous stretch of pristine, silica sand, is a highlight of the Whitsundays. Visitors can sail, kayak, or cruise around the islands, immersing themselves in the turquoise waters and exploring secluded coves and bays

Best Places to Visit in The Whitsunday Islands

  • Whitehaven Beach: This stunning 7 km stretch of white silica sand and crystal-clear waters is one of the most famous beaches in the world.
  • Hill Inlet Lookout: A vantage point offering breathtaking views of the swirling sands and turquoise waters of Hill Inlet and Whitehaven Beach.
  • Great Barrier Reef Adventures: Explore the thriving coral reefs around the islands through snorkelling, scuba diving, and sailing tours.
  • Hamilton Island: The largest inhabited island in the Whitsundays, offering a range of luxury resorts, water activities, and scenic hikes.
  • Whitsunday Islands National Park: Hike through lush rainforests, enjoy picnics at scenic spots, and spot diverse wildlife.


Serving as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is a bustling city that offers a perfect blend of modern amenities and natural beauty. Here, tourists can experience the thrill of embarking on reef tours from the Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal, where numerous operators offer exciting day trips and live-aboard adventures. In addition to reef-based activities, visitors can explore the nearby rainforests, such as the Daintree Rainforest and the Kuranda Rainforest. Below, we’ve compiled the top 5 Great Barrier Reef tourist parks in Cairns. Take a look.

Best Places to Visit in Cairns

  • Skyrail Rainforest Cableway: Glide over the rainforest canopy in comfortable gondolas, offering breathtaking views of the lush landscape.
  • Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park: Immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture through dance performances, art, and interactive exhibits.
  • Cairns Esplanade: A vibrant waterfront precinct featuring lagoon swimming, recreational areas, and a bustling night market.
  • Kuranda Scenic Railway: Take a historic train journey through lush rainforests, waterfalls, and steep ravines to the picturesque village of Kuranda.
  • Barron Gorge National Park: Explore walking trails, view the impressive Barron Falls, and discover the region’s diverse flora and fauna.

Green Island

Nestled only 27 kilometres from Cairns, Green Island is a tiny coral cay that offers an unforgettable reef experience. Need to mention that it is one of the best tourist attractions in the Great Barrier Reef. Surrounded by vibrant coral gardens, this island is an ideal spot for snorkelers and beginner divers to witness the diverse marine life up close. Glass-bottom boat tours and semi-submersible submarine rides are also available for those who prefer to stay dry while marvelling at the underwater wonders.

Best Places to Visit in The Green Island

  • Green Island National Park: Walk the rainforest boardwalks, relax on the beach, and snorkel straight from the shore amid colorful coral gardens.
  • Marineland Melanesia: Observe marine life up close, including crocodiles, turtles, and a fascinating collection of maritime artefacts.
  • Seawalker Helmet Diving: Experience the magic of underwater walking, no scuba diving certification required.
  • Semi-Submarine Tours: Stay dry while viewing the reef’s beauty through semi-submersible vessels with large viewing windows.
  • Beach Hire Activities: Engage in paddleboarding, kayaking, and beach volleyball on the island’s sandy shores.

Lady Elliot Island

Further south, Lady Elliot Island is a coral cay renowned for its incredible visibility and opportunities to encounter manta rays and turtles. A visit to this eco-friendly island is a must for eco-conscious travellers who want to learn about reef conservation efforts. Snorkelling, diving, and birdwatching are some of the popular activities on offer here. Besides all adventurous activities, Lady Elliot Island feels your soul with sheer peace and placidity. Thereby, if you are a loner to indugle in adventure activities, it’s fine. Just explore this quite island and shower solace to your soul.

Best Places to Visit in The Lady Elliot Island

  • Snorkeling and Diving: Witness the abundant marine life, including manta rays, turtles, and colourful fish, in the pristine waters surrounding the island.
  • Guided Reef Walks: Take a guided tour of the reef during low tide to explore tidal pools and discover fascinating creatures.
  • Birdwatching: Encounter various seabirds and migratory species that inhabit the island, making it a paradise for birdwatchers.
  • Glass-Bottom Boat Tours: Observe the vibrant coral reefs and marine life from the comfort of a glass-bottom boat.
  • Eco Resort Facilities: Stay at the eco-friendly resort and enjoy various amenities, including sunset cruises and stargazing tours.

Fitzroy Island

Accessible from Cairns by a short ferry ride, Fitzroy Island is another gem within the Great Barrier Reef tourist attraction spots. It offers a mix of rainforest and reef experiences, making it a favourite destination for families and nature lovers. The island’s fringing reef is home to colourful corals and a wide variety of marine life. Visitors can also hike through lush rainforest trails or relax on the pristine shores of Nudey Beach, regularly voted one of Australia’s best beaches.

Best Places to Visit in The Fitzroy Island

  • Nudey Beach: Hike through lush rainforest trails to reach this idyllic beach, perfect for sunbathing and snorkeling.
  • Fitzroy Island National Park: Explore a network of walking trails through the island’s rainforest, offering panoramic views of the reef and ocean.
  • Welcome Bay: Relax on this secluded beach, accessible via a scenic walking trail or kayak adventure.
  • Snorkeling and Sea Kayaking: Discover the vibrant fringing reef and marine life in the clear waters surrounding the island.
  • Turtle Rehabilitation Centre: Learn about the conservation efforts and witness the rehabilitation of injured and sick turtles.

Lizard Island

Last tourist attraction on the list is Lizard Island. For travellers seeking a luxurious escape within the reef, Lizard Island is the perfect destination. This secluded island offers an exclusive experience with pristine beaches, private villas, and gourmet dining. Lizard Island’s surrounding waters boast some of the best dive sites in the region, making it an excellent choice for seasoned divers looking for an extraordinary underwater adventure. Found 5 best activities that can extravagance your vacation while roaming in the island from below.

Best Places to Visit in The Lizard Island

  • Blue Lagoon: Enjoy a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear waters of this stunning lagoon, surrounded by captivating rock formations.
  • Watson’s Bay: Experience the incredible snorkelling opportunities among vibrant corals and diverse marine species.
  • Lizard Island National Park: Hike to Cook’s Look, the island’s highest point, for panoramic views of the reef and neighbouring islands.
  • Research Station: Learn about the ongoing research and conservation efforts on the island’s unique ecosystem.
  • Anchor Bay: Relax on the beach, snorkel, and spot clownfish and green sea turtles in the shallow waters

best places to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef

Putting a full stop on your exploration after visiting the above tourist attractions in the Great Barrier Reef would let your entire expedition in a void. This is because there are myriads of exciting activities that await to explore such as snorkelling, scuba diving, and many more. As the reef embraces a stunning grace as one of the best places to snorkel in Australia, we’ve handpicked 3 best spots among all. Let’s explore these one by one.

Cod Hole

Nestled within the northern reaches of the Great Barrier Reef, Cod Hole is renowned for its friendly and colossal potato cods. Snorkelers can encounter these gentle giants up close, marveling at their impressive size and curious nature. The crystal-clear waters surrounding Cod Hole also offer a dazzling display of coral formations, swarming schools of tropical fish, and the occasional sighting of reef sharks. For those seeking to befriend some of the reef’s most iconic inhabitants, Cod Hole is a must-visit destination.

Ribbon Reefs

Stretching over 200 kilometers along the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef, the Ribbon Reefs boast an array of vibrant coral gardens and abundant marine life. Snorkelers are treated to a kaleidoscope of colors as they explore this majestic underwater wonderland. From the graceful movements of sea turtles to the hypnotic dance of reef fish, every moment is filled with awe-inspiring encounters. Ribbon Reefs’ clear waters offer excellent visibility, making it an ideal location for capturing breathtaking underwater photography and creating cherished memories.

Osprey Reef

For the adventurous snorkeler, Osprey Reef, located at the far northern edge of the Great Barrier Reef, is an unparalleled destination. This remote and submerged atoll provides an adrenaline-pumping experience, featuring thrilling drift snorkels along sheer walls that drop into the abyss. Snorkelers can witness the mesmerizing spectacle of pelagic species, such as sharks, barracudas, and manta rays, cruising in the deep blue. Osprey Reef is a bucket-list destination for snorkelers seeking an extraordinary and exhilarating encounter with the ocean’s apex predators.

faqs: Great Barrier Reef Tourist Attractions

Q. What are the mandatory tips to be abided by tourists prior to visiting Great Barrier Reef tourist attractions?

A. Before leaving the hotel to visit Great Barrier Reef tourist attractions, there are certain precautions each tourist should pay attention to which are pointed down below in a list format.

  • Book tours and activities in advance, especially during peak season
  • Pack sunscreen, a hat, and a rash guard to protect yourself from the sun
  • Respect marine life and do not touch or disturb any creatures
  • Follow all rules and regulations set out by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
  • Choose eco-friendly tour operators and activities to minimize your impact on the environment

Q. Where to go to see the Great Barrier Reef?

A. There are several places to go while exploring the top Great Barrier Reef tourist attractions. From island to diving to scuba diving, there are many adventurous spots that give goosebumps to travellers. Explore all these from the article above.
Q. What can you see in the Great Barrier Reef? List top places
A. Explore all 7 hot-spot places mentioned above on your visit to the Barrier Reef Island. Once you are done with these, look for some other activities that have been hidden under crowds and this is how you can augment your memory chest.

Suggested Readings

As done with discovering the best places to visit in the Great Barrier Reef, the time for conclusion wraps. Thus, in conclusion, the Great Barrier Reef is a treasure trove of natural wonders, and each destination within its realm offers a unique experience for tourists. From vibrant coral reefs and abundant marine life to serene beaches and lush rainforests, exploring the attractions of the Great Barrier Reef is an unforgettable journey of discovery, beauty, and appreciation for the marvels of nature. However, as we indulge in these breathtaking sights, let us also remember the significance of responsible tourism and conservation to ensure the preservation of this invaluable ecosystem for generations to come.

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