Great Barrier Reef Travel Tips

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The world famous Great Barrier Reef vastness stretches for over 2000km, located in the Northeast of Australia in Queensland. It is one of THE top scuba diving destinations in the World and should be on the top of every diver’s wish list!

Diving on the Great Barrier Reef offers clear water, amazing biodiversity, healthy reef, spectacular corals and big fishes! The best way to explore this underwater heaven is by liveaboard but you can also enjoy it on a day trip from Cairns, Port Douglas, Townsville or from the Whitsunday Islands.

In the area there is also one of the best dive sites in the world, the very famous Yongala Wreck that you don’t want to miss ;-)

In this page you will find practical information to plan a scuba diving trip to Great Barrier Reef:

Great Barrier Reef Photos

Where to stay?

I usually use this website to book in advance my hotels in Great Barrier Reef as they usually have the lowest rates I find. I like it because it's free to cancel and change the dates.

All the cities in Australia and in particular in Queensland offer a wide range of accommodation from the basic Backpacker hostel to luxurious hotels and resorts.

Please refer to the dedicated pages for more information on the accommodation in Cairns, Port Douglas, Townsville and the Whitsundays.

Activities and excursions in Great Barrier Reef

Queensland is the biggest tourist destination in Australia and has a wide range of activities to offer and many islands to explore. You can for example:

  • Try Kite Surfing, Bungee Jumping, Sky Diving!
  • Go on a Whale Watching tour
  • Enjoy a hot air Balloon flight
  • Visit the Daintree National Park and Cape Tribulation to trek in the Jungle and discover pristine beaches.

Please refer to the dedicated pages for more information on the activities in Cairns, Port Douglas, Townsville and the Whitsundays.

Health and Safety

If you are planning an upcoming dive trip or travelling to Great Barrier Reef, it is a really good idea to invest in travel insurance for scuba diving, because you never know what could happen and when you might need it (because accidents do happen!). I recommend this diving insurance as they offer worldwide coverage and focus on providing scuba divers a quality insurance and medical assistance service.

Where is Great Barrier Reef located in the world?

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is located in North East Australia in Queensland.

See the map below.

Great Barrier Reef Map

great barrier reef map


How to get to Great Barrier Reef?

You have several possibilities depending from where you want to dive the Great Barrier Reef.

  • The easiest and biggest gateway is Cairns with its International airport and numerous flight connections making it a convenient base to start your dive trip from.
  • Townsville, Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays and Proserpine also have airports and are easily reached if you are already in Australia. However if you are coming from abroad the best place to start your trip is Cairns as there are often cheap International Flights on offer.
  • If you want to go diving in Port Douglas, you will also need to go to Cairns first.

If you want more information about these destinations, please visit their dedicated pages.

Great Barrier Reef from Space

Photo Credit:

Getting Around

Australia and Queensland in particular are very touristy places with well built infrastructure geared towards the tourist market, making it very easy to travel. You can travel within the Great Barrier Reef area by a few different options:


Distances to cover are huge in Australia and the fastest way to travel is by air. There are numerous reputable airline companies in the country, and because competition is high, you can find yourself cheap flights throughout Queensland. The main companies operating in the Great Barrier Reef area are: Qantas Airways, and the low cost companies Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Alliance Airlines. They have connections to Canberra, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Hamilton Island, Mackay and Perth as well as other smaller cities.


You can take the following Trains to travel on the Queensland coast:

  • From Brisbane to Townsville to Cairns, you can take the Sunlander Train or the Tilt Train.
  • From Mount Isa to Townsville, you can take the Inlander train.

The distances are often important to consider as travel times within Australia can be very long. For example, it takes 32 hours just to get from Cairns to Brisbane!


The main bus companies are Greyhound and Premier Coaches. They have cheap tickets to several destinations throughout the country. As with the train, travelling time can be long. Special Backpacker buses are also available between the most popular destinations.


You can always rent a car when you arrive at the airport or in a city centre. The main highway in Queensland is called the Bruce Highway which follows the East Coast from Cairns to Brisbane.

Great Barrier Reef Diving

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Scuba diving

You will find all information about sea life, best time to visit, top dive spots, etc. in our review: Great Barrier Reef Diving

Diving Reviews for this region

Great Barrier Reef

Excellent Diving and liveaboard destination. Amazing spot for Big fishes, Sharks, superb coral and underwater photography. Most popular place in the World to learn scuba diving in Cairns. One of the best dive sites in the World with the Yongala Wreck!

Great Barrier Reef Diving Review

Liveaboard Reviews in Great Barrier Reef

MV Ocean Quest

The MV Ocean Quest is one of a series of

MV Ocean Quest Liveaboard Review

Coral Sea Dreaming

The 16 meters Coral Sea Dreaming liveabo

Coral Sea Dreaming Liveaboard Review


Spoilsport liveaboard is a custom-built

Spoilsport Liveaboard Review

Spirit of Freedom

Spirit of Freedom liveaboard is one of A

Spirit of Freedom Liveaboard Review


Scubapro liveaboard is a 25 meter long d

Scubapro Liveaboard Review

MV Kangaroo Explorer

MV Kangaroo Explorer was originally buil

MV Kangaroo Explorer Liveaboard Review

MV Scubapro II

So vast that it may be seen from space,

MV Scubapro II Liveaboard Review

MV Scubapro III

MV Scubapro III is owned and operated by

MV Scubapro III Liveaboard Review

Cruise ship Reviews in Great Barrier Reef

No review found

2 dive logs in “Great Barrier Reef

  1. I like your website very informative. I am currently traveling and would like to dive the great barrier but would like some help in choosing place stay/hub for diving the barrier. I am a novice PADI diver and have this on my bucket list. I have 3-4 days to spend in the area and would like to get in 2-3 dives. Do you have any recs?

  2. In March, I will be Doing the bucket list dives, 5-7 days in Aus just to dive. I am a sight- seer, I like shallow waters, with full spectrum colors, and lots of colorful fish. Best vis a must. Not into wrecks, or deep. I would love to see rays and dolphins. Not so much turtles and sharks. Thinking of a 3-4 day live aboard or two 2day live aboards. Don’t know where to stay on land, or which part of the reef to dive. Your advice would be welcome!

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