Top 5 Things to Do in the Great Barrier Reef

Top 5 Things to Do in the Great Barrier Reef

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 10/03/2016

Reading time: 5 mins

The Great Barrier Reef is arguably Australia’s top tourist attraction. It is the largest living thing in the entire world, spanning out 348, 000 square kilometres and big enough to be seen from space!

Sprawling out over thousands of tiny islands and majestic coral reefs the Great Barrier Reef is a wonder. Due to it  size, it is no surprise it’s home to a mountain of marine life. With over 1500 types of fish, 215 types of bird, and 30 different species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the richest ocean habitats known to man. Coral sections provide both nutrients, protection, and food sources for all who reside there. Without the reef millions of animals would slowly die, leading to a tragic change reaction in the food chain, changing our world disastrously.

Here, you can immerse yourself in a unique world. A world that’s filled with incredible wildlife and stunning views. The Great Barrier Reef promises an escape away from the buzz of daily life.

So, once you find yourself at the Great Barrier Reef, what can you get up to?

Best Things to Do in the Great Barrier Reef

  • 1. Snorkelling


    Get up close and personal with the creatures and learn more about the ecosystem of this incredible natural hotspot. Snorkelling is one of the most popular activities at the Great Barrier Reef. Where guests can duck under the water’s surface and discover a new and magical world. Where colourful fish species run amok and beautiful coral systems flourish in a marine environment. Simply grab some goggles, a breathing tube, and a pair of flippers, and you are set. With this simple but effective gear turning your swimming into an easy and breezy adventure.

  • Regardless of your fitness or swimming ability, the Great Barrier Reef has you covered. There is a range of reefs, including shallow waters for beginners or deep and vast coral reefs for expert swimmers. There are also different reefs depending on your interests. With some featuring an abundant amount of plant life, with colours bursting out from everywhere. Other ones feature unique animals, with bales of sea turtles or groups of dugongs.

  • 2. Scuba Diving

    Scuba Diving

    If you’re after something a little more exciting, why not try scuba diving? It’s just like with snorkelling, where you get to discover and explore the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. However, scuba diving lets you fully immerse yourself in the underwater world. Go deeper and don’t worry about going to the surface for a breath. Even if you aren’t the greatest swimmer, you can easily dive without worry, with the flippers and oxygen tank helping you glide through the water. All scuba diving participates will do a lesson prior to the dive. With the professional staff expertly demonstrating the way to use the equipment before you even get in the water.

  • 3. Visit Green Island

    Green Island

    There a vast number of Islands scattered amount the great barrier reef, with Green Island being one of the most unique. Set 45 minutes off the coast of Cairns, Green Island forms a popular hotspot for those visiting the Great Barrier Reef. Spanning back 6,000 years, it is now home to a huge abundance of native plants and animals – perfect for the keen nature lover. However, what makes this island truly stand out in the region is it is the only coral cay with a rainforest growing on top of it. Making it a diverse home for both marine and land flora and fauna.

  • The only way to travel here is by boat or helicopter, and although helicopter can guarantee some glorious sights, it is usually quite an expensive route to travel on. Therefore, the main transport is by boat, with multiple tours showcasing the island daily. Get ready for a full day jam-packed with adventure, including walking treks within the rainforest, sunbaking on the beach, and snorkelling within the shallow shores.

  • 4. Helicopter Flight

    Explore the Great Barrier Reef from another perspective entirely on a helicopter flight that lets you see the smattering of islands and coral reefs from above. Soar above the turquoise waters, and spot the land masses as you whizz overhead on a breath-taking, once-in-a-lifetime experience. You’ll get to hover low over the reef, getting to see this iconic natural wonder in a way that not many people get to. The best spots to visit is the heart reef, a coral reef section that is ironically shaped like a heart when seeing it from above.

  • 5. Whitehaven Beach

    The stunning shoreline of Whitehaven Beach is an iconic image for most people. Dubbed the best beach in the whole of Australia, it promises crystal clear waters and pristine white sands. The beautiful backdrop is like something out of a fairytale, where sprawling sands meet the shallow waters of the Great Barrier Reef. It is nestled on the largest of the 74 islands within the Whitsundays, being on the cover of many of Queensland’s postcards and advertisements. Here, you can kick back and relax on the sandy shore, marvelling at the fantastic clear blue and green waters. However, is not just a beach adventure, with many snorkelling spots, scuba diving areas, and sailing to get your adrenalin pumping.

Related article: Which is the best Great Barrier Reef Tour?

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.