The Great Barrier Reef in Queensland is the world’s largest living organism and a globally recognised natural wonder.
At almost 2,000 kilometres long and 80 kilometres wide at some points, the Great Barrier Reef runs from the tip of northern Queensland via the Whitsundays and finishes just north of Bundaberg. It is so large that astronauts have reported the Great Barrier Reef can be seen from space. When you get up close and personal with the Great Barrier Reef, coral gardens sparkle with jewel bright tropical fish, clown fish peek out of anemones tucked into the coral and huge parrot fish swim by below. Spotted rock cod drift lazily in the current, slowing occasionally to let a double-headed wrasse pass by in front of them. With so many natural wonders to discover, the Great Barrier Reef is the perfect destination to join a small group tour with an expert leader to take you to all the best spots.
Our Great Barrier Reef tours
Highlights of the Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef tour reviews
Great Barrier Reef FAQs
Everyone travelling on an Intrepid trip must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of carriage.
All travellers are required to produce:
Proof of COVID-19 vaccination
All children aged 5 to 17 years old must provide proof of vaccination (if eligible), proof of recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.
If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional.
In all cases, you must be fully inoculated. This means you must receive the full dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine and allow enough time for immunity to take effect. Each COVID-19 vaccine has different dosages and timeframes for inoculation, so please check the relevant medical advice associated with your vaccine.
Some of the most popular jumping off points for visiting the Great Barrier Reef are Airlie Beach, Townsville, Port Douglas, Cairns and the Whitsundays. These destinations are all serviced by commercial airlines. It is also possible to drive to one of the towns near the Great Barrier Reef and access the wonders of the underwater world on a small group tour.
If you are planning on visiting the reef on a day trip, try to allow at least two days to visit the Great Barrier Reef. This will give you some flexibility if the weather isn’t good on the day you originally planned to visit the reef. The other option is to join a Whitsunday Islands Explorer tour and spend several days on a live-aboard yacht exploring the Great Barrier Reef. The waters of the Great Barrier Reef get warmer the further north you go.
Summer on the Great Barrier Reef is hot and humid and perfect for swimming although the area can be prone to cyclones and wet weather at this time of year. Spring and Autumn are cooler and tend to be quieter, especially outside the school holidays. In winter, whales are frequently spotted in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef. If you are visiting the Great Barrier Reef between October and May and swimming in the ocean, it is advisable to wear a 'stinger suit' to protect yourself from possible jellyfish stings.
The Great Barrier Reef tends to be a casual place so you can leave your fancy clothes at home. Even if you are staying at a high-end resort, smart casual clothes are all you will need. Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat are a must, even in winter, as the sun reflects off the sparkling blue water and white sand. Bring essentials such as basic medications with you won't find any shops when you're out exploring the reef.
In short, pretty much non-existent unless you're near one of the major tourist hubs such as Hamilton Island in The Whitsundays or on the mainland at a town like Airlie Beach.
Unless you're near one of the major tourist spots such as Hamilton Island in The Whitsundays or on the mainland at a town like Airlie Beach it is unlikely you will be able to get a mobile phone signal.
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. The abundance of sand in some parts of the Great Barrier Reef can make walking difficult for travellers who are less mobile on foot. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.