The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from the air in scenic flights, underwater with scuba diving excursions, or from atop the water from one of the abundant opportunities to snorkel.
The reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park with numerous public access points through island stays on the reef to boating excursions from the mainland.
For those who are looking at more economical places to stay, there are several hotels along the coast each providing access to boat trips to see the coral reef. The city of Townsville is one of the more popular tourist destinations.
If your budget allows, choosing one of the resorts located on an actual island within the Great Barrier Reef is the best way to stay. These lodging facilities usually provide immediate access to snorkeling and scuba diving right from the facility with coral reefs seconds away from your lodging.
Another option is live-aboard boats that allow you to stay a few days directly on the water. You can sleep to the sounds and rock-a-by motion of the ocean while waking up to a morning dive before breakfast.
Probably the best way to see and experience the Great Barrier Reef is through the lens of an underwater mask. Snorkeling or scuba diving provides an up close view of some of the most vibrant fish, coral and marine life.
A guaranteed spectacular experience is to have an up close and personal encounter through either a snorkeling or scuba diving expedition. In most cases, a pontoon boat will be used to make the reef more accessible. “Live aboards” which are floating guest facilities also provide an opportunity for visitors to experience the reef up close for extended periods.
Visitors can select from a variety of boat or cruise tours that include single day trips, extended stays and varying boat sizes. There are a number of hotels located on some of the reef islands providing direct access to your underwater adventures. No matter where you stay, what type of craft or what length of trip, it is imperative to make sure that you take time to snorkel or scuba dive in order to ensure the best experience possible.
A helicopter tour is an excellent way to get above the Great Barrier Reef and witness the size and expanse of this spectacular marine natural wonder. In many places the sun will penetrate the shallow waters and light up the reef below. Flying over the reef will enable you to really appreciate the grandeur of this wonder of nature.
The weather is tropical and fairly consistent with it rarely being extremely hot or extremely cold. The summer temperatures range from 73 to 91 degrees and the winter months range from the upper 50s to the mid 70s.
The rainy season occurs from November through May which accounts for over 75% of the annual rainfall during this period. The main thing to know about the weather is that it is sunny and tropical, so the primary planning involves sun protection and comfort.
You need to make sure you have the appropriate underwater camera or underwater protective gear for your camera if you truly want to capture the splendor of the Great Barrier Reef from below the sea.
Many cities along the coast of Queensland in Australia offer boating tours. Several islands along the reef have been turned into resorts providing a great place to stay for visitors who want to come and go as they explore the reef from day to day. Approximately 2 million visitors travel to the Great Barrier Reef every year, so it is important to plan early providing the greatest chance of securing the options that foster your best experience.