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Great Barrier Reef holidays offer the chance to reconnect with mother nature through the natural wonder of the coral sea. Whether you’re diving with turtles, spotting tropical fish or taking in the breath-taking view of the coral reef, there is so much to explore in this thriving natural world. 

There are so many ways to explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Great Barrier Reef. Scuba diving from the mainland of Cairns or Port Douglas gives you a close and unforgettable experience in the coral sea. 

Whether you’re an experienced diver or a complete novice, everyone has the chance to experience the dazzling underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. Don’t fancy diving? Try one of the mainland’s glass bottom boat tours – a perfect way to get close to the area’s colourful marine life, without getting your feet wet.

Natural wonders on your Great Barrier Reef holidays

Explore a range of reef activities in just one place with a day trip on one of the outer reef pontoons, which are permanently moored in the coral sea. From here you can experience the marine life through snorkelling, diving or underwater viewing areas, as well as relaxing on the sun deck and enjoying a tasty selection of food and drinks. With child-friendly swimming areas and marine touch tanks, this day trip is perfect for the family. 

If you’re feeling more adventurous you can always charter your own yacht for the day. This way you can be in control of your own adventure as you explore the natural wonders of the area. In the evening, enjoy the peaceful experience of sunset sailing from Port Douglas. With the tropical sunset and tranquil atmosphere, this trip is perfect for couples.

During your Great Barrier Reef holiday, you can find luxurious accommodation on the mainland in both Cairns and Port Douglas. With waterfront properties, five star hotels and luxury resorts, both Cairns and Port Douglas offer breath-taking views at the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. For an intimate escape, explore the islands in the coral sea, where you can explore nature right on your doorstep. With immediate access to the dazzling waters of the coral sea, both Lizard Island and Heron Island offer a chance to sleep, explore and relax on white sand beaches, while the Whitsunday Islands are perfect for honeymooners to access the romantic Heart Reef. 

Destination Highlights

  • The Great Barrier Reef is bursting with marine life: spot green turtles, manta rays, coral, giant clams and tropical fish
  • Stay in the tropical mainland of Cairns or Port Douglas, or explore the island paradise of Lizard Island or Heron Island
  • Explore the magic of the reef through a variety of boat tours, including pontoon day trips or evening sunset sailing
  • Discover the underwater world when snorkelling and scuba diving, or glimpse the reef by air in scenic helicopter flights

Great sample itineraries

Get inspired by our selection of popular itineraries for Great Barrier Reef holidays. Pair your Great Barrier Reef tour with other spectacular Australian destinations. With so many options, we recommend you talk to one of our Destination Specialists to make the perfect tailor-made holiday just for you.


Great Barrier Reef Cruise Cairns

  • 11 Days
Our Australia coral reef tour, the 11 Day Coral Expeditions, allows you to see some of the Great Barrier Reef’s...
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Wildlife holidays
a sandy beach next to a body of water

Pacific Coast Highway Tour

  • 18 Days
  • Guide Price £2,795 PP
Our Pacific Coast tour of Australia will take you to some of the top sights along Australia’s most populated stretch...
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City holidays
a wooden bench overlooking a body of water

East Coast Australia Guided Tour

  • 13 Days
If you’ve not been to Australia before, or you’re looking to return and see some of the country’s best sights...
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City holidays

Australian Wildlife Panorama

  • 23 Days
  • Guide Price £6,195 PP
Experience the very best of Australia’s flora and fauna on our Wildlife Panorama trip. Perfect for those who want both...
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Adventure holidays

Explore Great Barrier Reef

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Lucy, Destination Specialist

“Visit the Great Barrier Reef between June and October, when rainfall is minimal and temperatures are still warm enough for swimming.”

Destination Specialist
Charlie, Destination Manager

“For an unforgettable experience take part in a Reefsleep under the stars, a one or two night experience with the Great Barrier Reef.”


Destination Manager

Events & Festivals

Festivals and events are wonderful to include during your Great Barrier Reef holiday, offering a glimpse into the country’s authentic culture and traditions.


Hamilton Island Hilly Marathon

Challenge yourself to the Hamilton Island Hilly Marathon, a 13 mile marathon across the tropical island of Hamilton, one of the breath-taking Whitsunday Islands. This marathon showcases scenic views across uphill and downhill terrain. 


Great Barrier Reef Festival

The Great Barrier Reef Festival is a four day festival at Airlie Beach that offers a combination of family fun, live entertainment, performers, fireworks and a celebration of the Great Barrier Reef. Learn about the reef while enjoying food and drinks and soaking in the feel-good atmosphere.


Airlie Beach Music Festival

Enjoy over 70 band performances across a number of stages, with the tropical backdrop of Airlie Beach during the Airlie Beach Music Festival. Enjoy beautiful sea views while the town showcases big band names and new talent.


Reef To Reef

Take part in the thrilling biking race, Reef to Reef, which starts in Cairns and finishes in the coastal town of Port Douglas. Enjoy the stunning sights of tropical north Queensland across this four day biking event.


Cairns Indigenous Art Fair

In strengthening and celebrating culture, the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair provides a platform for Queensland’s indigenous artists - showcasing their work in the coastal city of Cairns. Lose yourself in the beauty of the artwork, from depictions of the mountains, the coral sea, the reef and the rainforests.


Let’s talk

There’s no question too small. Start planning your dream trip by talking to our Destination Specialists.

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