Go snorkelling around the beautiful Great Barrier Reef​. Photo: Tourism Queensland

Great Barrier Reef & the Whitsundays

Head to the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday islands where you can swim, snorkel and dive in crystal clear warm water, making it the perfect holiday destination all year-round. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral wonderland in the world. It is home to stunning tropical fish and marine life, and is so beautiful that has been named as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Floating among the coral reef is the stunning Whitsundays, which is made up of 74 tropical islands. A handful of these islands have been made into resorts and cater for all budgets and experiences. Some of the most popular resort islands include Hayman, Hamilton, Daydream, and South Molle.

Create your itinerary



What to do on the Whitsundays & Great Barrier Reef

  • With beautiful warm waters all year round, you can swim and snorkel with tropical fish, turtles, starfish, sea urchins, sharks, sting rays, and other marine life that live in the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef.
  • Scuba divers flock to the Great Barrier Reef to swim among the thousands of brilliantly coloured fish, coral, whales, dolphins and turtles. The local dive companies will take you exploring into this underwater paradise.

Go snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef.
Tourism Port Douglas & Daintree

Go sailing in the Great Barrier Reef
Did someone say sailing? Photo: Tourism Australia
  • Hire a boat and go sailing or take a cruise around the Whitsundays, or go out in a glass bottom boat and view the coral reefs.​
  • Take a whale watching cruise.
  • Book a fishing tour where you can chase tuna, coral trout and mackerel.
  • Take a scenic flight around the Barrier Reef on a seaplane or helicopter.
  • Visit the beautiful white sands of the Whitehaven beach which is known as one of the best beaches in the world

The Whitsunday Islands

Where the Whitsundays are & how do you get there: The Whitsunday islands are near Mackay. Get to the islands by plane, ferry or boat.

Why not stay at Qualia. Photo: Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island is the perfect place to do everything or nothing. This large island is perfect for everyone – from couples, families and groups.
It has everything including:
  • a great range of restaurants and cafes
  • free use of catarmarans, canoes, windsurfing and snorkeling equipment
  • a selection of pools and sandy beaches to enjoy.
  • paid scuba diving and snorkeling tours, golf, tennis bike riding, catarmaran and yacht hire.
Choose from apartments, hotels, bungalows, private homes, and an adult only Beach Club.
Hayman Island is an elegant, 5-star resort. It’s renowned as a wedding and honeymoon location, and attracts the rich and famous. It’s not cheap, but it is worth every penny. While you're there, treat yourself to an ocean massage.

Daydream Island Resort & Spa is a tropical paradise complete with its own Rejuvenation Spa, open air cinema or surrounding National Park. This is a gorgeous island to recharge your batteries or to take the family for a holiday.
Enoy the ultimate massage. Photo: Hayman Island.

Tropical North Queensland Islands

Where the Tropical North Islands are & how do you get there: The Tropical North Islands are near Cairns. Get to the islands by plane, ferry or boat.

snorkelling with sea turtles in the Barrier Reef
Enjoy snorkelling with sea turtles. Photo: Tourism Australia

Lizard Island is a sophisticated, 5 star Resort. It’s luxurious and private, has its own airstrip and a National Park. You’ll enjoy some of the best scuba diving, snorkelling and game fishing in the world.

Fitzroy Island Resort has white sandy beaches, sheltered waters, and is ideal for swimming and water sports.

Haggerstone Island is a secluded and unspoilt island retreat. It has just 4 guest lodges, and you can only get there by light aircraft at certain times of the year. This is when you really want to get back to nature, and it’s right on the Great Barrier Reef.

Magnetic Island has a variety of family apartments, resorts and backpacker hostels, and visitors can enjoy kayaking, sailing, scuba diving, or simply relaxing and enjoying the cafes and restaurants.

Green Island is just off Cairns, and is surrounded by a magnificent coral reef. You can either stay at the island resort, or spend the day there aboard one of the many cruises that stop off there for the day.

Enjoy-a-cocktail-on-Green-Island-in-the-Great-Barrier-Reef-QueenslandEnjoy a cocktail on Green Island. Photo: Tourism Australia


Southern Barrier Reef Islands

Where the Southern Barrier Reef Islands are & how do you get there: The Southern Barrier Reef has 43 islands including the spectacular Heron Island and Lady Elliot Island. These islands are not far from Brisbane. Get to the islands by plane or boat.

The Marine life on Heron Island is waiting for you. This beautiful island is actually on the reef, so you're never far from the sandy beach or the reef's edge.

Lady Elliot Island is famous for its Green and Loggerhead turtle, Manta Rays, and birds. Snorkel, swim and dive in this rich marine wonderland.


Enjoy a canoe paddle. Photo: Tourism Australia