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Great Barrier Reef
The world's largest coral reef system, the world's largest structure built by living organisms, and one of CNN's "Seven Natural Wonders of the World," tops the itineraries of most visitors to Australia. You can see the reef system--which includes over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands spanning 2,600 km (1,600 mi) and covering 344,400 sq km (133,000 sq mi)--from outer space. Get a bit closer with a snorkeling or scuba diving tour departing from Cairns. Many companies operate out of the city, but make sure you choose one that's a member of the Australian government's High Standard Tourism Program, signifying a commitment to sustainable tourism. Choose a day tour for an introduction to the reef system or fully immerse yourself on a multiday trip on a live-aboard boat. However long you opt at the reef, you'll return with memories of a vibrant underwater world and improved knowledge of the ecological importance of reef systems. Plan the details of your Great Barrier Reef holiday and any onward adventuring with our easy-to-use Australia trip itinerary builder tool.
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Top Great Barrier Reef tours
Seastar Luxury Outer Great Barrier Reef Island and Reef Tour from Cairns BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $159
Duration: 8 hours 30 minutes
Great Barrier Reef Luxury Snorkel and Dive Cruise from Cairns BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $157
Duration: 9 hours
Places to visit in Great Barrier Reef
Fraser Island BEST FOR: World heritage site, Water Body, Safari Port Douglas BEST FOR: Scuba / Snorkeling, Water Sport, Safari Cairns BEST FOR: Scuba / Snorkeling, Hiking Trail, Water Sport Airlie Beach BEST FOR: Scuba / Snorkeling, Waterskiing / Jetskiiing, Beach Hamilton Island BEST FOR: Scuba / Snorkeling, Marina, Beach
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Hidden gems in Great Barrier Reef
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Recently planned trips to Great Barrier Reef
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Message from Tourism Australia
Home to diverse marine life of the most vivid colours, the Great Barrier Reef offers the opportunity for great adventure, whether you do it in luxury or on a budget. Explore the stunning Whitsunday Islands, trek the ancient Daintree Rainforest or relax on luxurious tropical islands such as Hayman and Lizard. Island-hop or stay in one of the many coastal getaways such as Cairns, Hervey Bay, Mission Beach and Port Douglas. International flights fly directly into Cairns Airport, while domestic flights fly onto Hamilton Island or into Proserpine (on the Whitsunday Coast) or Townsville airports on the mainland.