COVID-19 alert: Travel requirements are changing rapidly, including need for pre-travel COVID-19 testing and quarantine on arrival.

Holidays in Great Barrier Reef
Holiday Travel Guide

Great Barrier Reef showing scuba diving, marine life and coral
The largest coral reef in the world lies just off the coast of Cairns and offers thousands of kilometres of coral, marine life and untouched white sand beaches.

The largest coral reef in the world lies just off the coast of Cairns and offers thousands of kilometres of coral, marine life and untouched white sand beaches.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. It stretches for 2,000 kilometres (1,240 miles) in the warm waters off the coast of North Queensland. The reef is known for its pristine white-sand beaches, secluded islands and crystal-clear waters brimming with coral and marine life. The World Heritage listed site is best visited by day trip from Cairns. Snorkel, dive or cruise the reef on a glass-bottomed boat.

This is the world’s largest coral reef. It encompasses close to 3,000 individual reefs and 900 islands that stretch over almost 350,000 square kilometres (133,000 square miles). It’s estimated to be about 600,000 years old, and is renowned for its stunning biodiversity. See tropical fish, sea turtles, whales, dolphins, porpoises, molluscs and giant clams that are more than 120 years old. Living organisms like sponges and starfish feed off the coral.

The best way to enjoy the reef is to get on a boat and head out to sea. You can organise tours from the central tourism office in Cairns. There are a range of different tour companies and packages to choose from, whether you want to snorkel or dive, charter a yacht or stay overnight on an island. If you prefer to stay dry, sign up for a cruise on a glass-bottomed boat and explore the reef in an underwater observatory.

Many islands make up the Great Barrier Reef, and some are easily reached by day trip from Cairns. The islands range from low-lying sand cays surrounded by crystal-clear water, to popular holiday islands dotted with resorts. Island hop as part of a tour or book a seat on a sea plane and spend a couple of nights in a luxury resort.

June to October is considered peak season when there is the best water conditions and the most number of visitors. Come outside this season for reduced rates on accommodation and tours. The average seawater temperature is 26 C (79 F), and the air temperature is warm in winter and hot in summer.

It takes anywhere between 90 minutes and two hours to reach the reef from Cair

Top activities in Great Barrier Reef

487 Cheap Hotels Near Great Barrier Reef

Hotel Grand Chancellor Palm Cove
Hotel Grand Chancellor Palm Cove
4 out of 5
Coral Coast Drive, Palm Cove, QLD
The price is AU$130 per night from 17 Jun. to 17 Jun.
This family-friendly Cairns hotel is located by the ocean, within 1 mi (2 km) of Wet Tropics of Queensland and Palm Cove Beach. Clifton Beach is 2.6 mi (4.1 ...
4.1/5Very Good! (692 reviews)
"Friendly staff comfortable rooms had problem with shower"

Reviewed on 10 Jun. 2021

Hotel Grand Chancellor Palm Cove
Turtle Cove Beach Resort - Adults Only LGBTQIA & Allies
Turtle Cove Beach Resort - Adults Only LGBTQIA & Allies
3.5 out of 5
4500 Captain Cook Hwy, Wangetti, QLD
This Wangetti resort is on the beach, 3.3 mi (5.3 km) from Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, and within 12 mi (20 km) of Great Barrier Reef and Four Mile Beach. ...
4.4/5Excellent! (77 reviews)
"Loved the beach front, the location and the relaxed atmosphere, the managers are amazing at making you feel welcome, relaxed and looked after by all the great team"

Reviewed on 1 Aug. 2020

Turtle Cove Beach Resort - Adults Only LGBTQIA & Allies
Ellis Beach Oceanfront Bungalows - Campground
Ellis Beach Oceanfront Bungalows - Campground
3 out of 5
Captain Cook Highway, Ellis Beach, QLD
The price is AU$190 per night from 17 Jun. to 17 Jun.
Nestled on the beach, this Ellis Beach campsite is within 3 mi (5 km) of Wet Tropics of Queensland, Palm Cove Beach and Clifton Beach. Macalister Range National ...
4.3/5Excellent! (50 reviews)
"It is absolutely stunning where the bungalows are situated. The view and access to the pristine unspoilt beach is better than any upscale resort. My only complaint was that the bunk bed mattresses for the kids were very hard. Everything else was easy and wonderful and we would stay again if we ever ..."

Reviewed on 14 Apr. 2021

Ellis Beach Oceanfront Bungalows - Campground
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top Great Barrier Reef Flight & Hotel Packages

Villa Vaucluse Apartments of Cairns
Reef Resort Villas Port Douglas
Club Tropical Resort Port Douglas
Don't see what you're looking for?
See all available trips from Ashburn to Great Barrier Reef
View all trips

Popular places to visit in Great Barrier Reef

Holidays in Great Barrier Reef

Choose two or more items and save on your trip:

Top Great Barrier Reef Hotel & Accommodation Deals

Hotel Grand Chancellor Palm Cove
Hotel Grand Chancellor Palm Cove
4 out of 5
Coral Coast Drive, Palm Cove, QLD
The price is AU$130 per night from 17 Jun. to 17 Jun.
Hotel Grand Chancellor Palm Cove
Turtle Cove Beach Resort - Adults Only LGBTQIA & Allies
Turtle Cove Beach Resort - Adults Only LGBTQIA & Allies
3.5 out of 5
4500 Captain Cook Hwy, Wangetti, QLD
Turtle Cove Beach Resort - Adults Only LGBTQIA & Allies
Ellis Beach Oceanfront Bungalows - Campground
Ellis Beach Oceanfront Bungalows - Campground
3 out of 5
Captain Cook Highway, Ellis Beach, QLD
The price is AU$190 per night from 17 Jun. to 17 Jun.
Ellis Beach Oceanfront Bungalows - Campground
Sarayi Boutique Hotel
Sarayi Boutique Hotel
4 out of 5
95 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove, QLD
The price is AU$190 per night from 25 Jun. to 25 Jun.
Sarayi Boutique Hotel
Peppers Beach Club and Spa - Palm Cove
Peppers Beach Club and Spa - Palm Cove
5 out of 5
123 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove, QLD
The price is AU$383 per night from 17 Jun. to 17 Jun.
Peppers Beach Club and Spa - Palm Cove
Imagine Drift Palm Cove
Imagine Drift Palm Cove
4 out of 5
Cnr Veivers Rd Williams Esp, Palm Cove, QLD
The price is AU$299 per night from 17 Jun. to 17 Jun.
Imagine Drift Palm Cove
Mantra Amphora
Mantra Amphora
4.5 out of 5
49-63 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove, QLD
The price is AU$172 per night from 20 Jun. to 20 Jun.
Mantra Amphora
Mango Lagoon Resort & Wellness Spa
Mango Lagoon Resort & Wellness Spa
3.5 out of 5
81 - 85 Cedar Road, Palm Cove, QLD
Mango Lagoon Resort & Wellness Spa
Alamanda Palm Cove by Lancemore
Alamanda Palm Cove by Lancemore
5 out of 5
1 Veivers Road, Palm Cove, QLD
The price is AU$499 per night from 17 Jun. to 17 Jun.
Alamanda Palm Cove by Lancemore
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.