Great Barrier Reef

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Great Barrier Reef - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Airlie Beach Lagoon

    Hugely popular with locals and visitors, especially in stinger season, this stinger-free swimming enclosure on Airlie's shorefront has dedicated lap-swimming lanes, real-sand "beaches," adjoining children's...Read More

  • 2. Mossman Gorge

    Just 5 km (3 miles) outside Mossman are the spectacular waterfalls and swimming-hole-studded river that tumble through sheer-walled Mossman Gorge. The Kuku Yalanji–run Mossman Gorge...Read More

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  • 3. Reef Teach


    Knowledgeable marine biologists and conservationists give entertaining talks and multimedia presentations, usually to packed houses, about everything Great Barrier Reef–related, from sea turtles' sleep cycles...Read More

  • 4. Skyrail Rainforest Cableway


    From the Skyrail terminal just north of Cairns, take a six-person cable car on a breathtaking 7½-km (5-mile) journey across pristine, World Heritage–listed rain-forest canopy...Read More

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  • 5. The Strand

    Dubbed Australia's Cleanest Beach, this palm-flanked stretch of sand—lined with jogging tracks and cycleways, picnic-friendly parklands, and hip beachfront bars—has two swimming enclosures and a...Read More

  • 6. Wildlife Habitat

    This world-class wildlife sanctuary just off the Captain Cook Highway is divided into "immersion" wetland, rain forest, grassland, and savanna habitats, enabling close creature encounters...Read More

  • 7. Billabong Sanctuary

    This eco-friendly, interactive sanctuary on 22 acres of bushland shelters koalas, wombats, dingoes, wallabies, endangered bilbies, snakes, crocodiles, lizards, and numerous birds, most featuring in...Read More

  • 8. Cairns Art Gallery


    Occupying the impressive former Public Office Building constructed in the 1930s, Cairns Art Gallery houses a hodgepodge of local, national, international, and Indigenous artworks, including...Read More

  • 9. Conway National Park

    Ten minutes' drive southeast of Airlie, Conway National Park is a 54,000-acre expanse of mangroves, woodlands, rocky cliffs, and tropical lowland rain forest that shelters...Read More

  • 10. Daintree Discovery Centre

    This World Heritage–accredited Wet Tropics Visitor Centre's elevated boardwalks and a high viewing tower enable you to overlook an astoundingly diverse tract of ancient rain...Read More

  • 11. Hamilton Island Wildlife

    This charming wildlife sanctuary houses kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, dingoes, birds, and reptiles, including a resident croc. Guided tours run daily, at 10 am and 3...Read More

  • 12. Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

    Hartley's houses thousands of crocodiles as well as koalas, wallabies, quolls, snakes, lizards, southern cassowaries, and tropical birds in natural environs, accessible via boardwalks and...Read More

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  • 13. Museum of Tropical Queensland

    Centuries-old relics from the HMS Pandora (the ship sent by the British Admiralty to capture the mutinous Bounty crew), which sank in 1791 carrying 14...Read More

  • 14. Paronella Park

    A sprawling Spanish-style castle and gardens grace this offbeat National Trust site in the Mena Creek Falls rain forest. Explore the park on a self-guided...Read More

  • 15. Queens Gardens

    North Ward

    Offering shade and serenity less than a mile from the CBD, Townsville's colonial-era botanic gardens occupies 10 verdant acres at the base of Castle Hill....Read More

  • 16. Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park


    At the base of the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, this park offers many opportunities to learn about indigenous Djabugay people through exhilarating dance performances, hands-on workshops...Read More

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  • 17. Townsville Town Common Conservation Park


    Spot wallabies, echidnas, dingoes, goannas, and hundreds of bird species at this terrific wetlands conservation park crisscrossed by walking and biking trails, and dotted with...Read More

  • 18. Undara Experience

    This extraordinary complex on the edge of Undara Volcanic National Park, 275 km (171 miles) or a four-hour scenic drive or rail trip from Cairns,...Read More

  • 19. Wallaman Falls

    Surrounding the highest sheer-drop waterfall in Australia is glorious Girringun National Park, in which ancient rain forests accessible via scenic walking trails shelter rare plants...Read More

  • 20. Mareeba Tropical Savanna and Wetlands Reserve

    If you drive 70 km (44 miles) west of Palm Cove you'll encounter another world: giant termite mounds dot savanna scrub, and vast reclaimed wetlands...Read More

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