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3 Amazing Ways to Experience the Great Barrier Reef

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Not too long ago, Tourism Tropical North Queensland gave me the chance to head up and see the amazing wonder that is the Great Barrier Reef.

For anyone that hasn’t travelled up to Tropical North Queensland, then you absolutely must! Australia has a rich diversity of climates and animals, and it really does feel like a completely different country, especially compared to my usual digs of city living in Sydney.

There are so many different ways in which you can experience the reef though, and it really does depend on your budget, time constraints, or just how well you want to see it, but I recommend allocating enough time to do it properly. Here are three ways in which you can experience it the best!

Stay Out Near The Reef

Heading away from Fitzroy Island.

Some of the best way you can head out to the reef, is to stay out there! There are some experiences where you can sleep on a pontoon, in a sleeping bag, with the stars above your eyes. Or if you are a little more “comfort inclined” like I am, head out to a beautiful resort on one of the islands.

There are a few different islands you can head to, but I’d recommend to head up a bit further north and head out from Cairns if you want an island stay. Green Island is an amazing choice if you want something a bit smaller. We headed out to Fitzroy Island, which is only about 40 min by boat from Cairns Marina.

A beautiful turtle at the Fitzroy Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre

We snorkelled straight off the island, the reef was spectacular, with little fish, turtles and reef sharks. It was amazing!

Fitzroy Island is also home to the Fitzroy Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, where they take in rescue turtles who are sick or injured. Turtles get injured so frequently because of human activity, getting caught in fishing nets, or eating plastic bags thinking they are jellyfish, so seeing what happens and how we can help is a must do.

That same turtle.

Head Upwards

For those who aren’t afraid of flying, then 100% you need to get yourself into a helicopter. The good people at GBR Helicopters got me into a helicopter over the reef to fly back to Port Douglas (ironically because they knew I got seasick on the way in too), and I tell you, nothing compares to how you see it from the air.

I thought it would be a little different being in a helicopter, but seriously, it is an amazing way to see the reef, and helicopter travel is remarkably comfortable. They take you all the way from their pontoon, heading around to see different parts of the reef, sand bars, and heading over the mouth of the Daintree River. It really does open your eyes to the spectacle and size of the reef!

Our GBR helicopter
The mouth of the Daintree River from above
Myself in the helicopter

Boat Out to Diving or Snorkel

Staying out on the reef isn’t for everyone, especially for those that either like their creature comforts, flexibility, or are just short on time.

The area in which we snorkelled

Before heading to Fitzroy Island, we were up in Port Douglas and headed out to the reef with Quicksilver Adventures, who were amazing. It’s about 1 hour and 40 min on the boat from Port Douglas, and they talk you through the reef, give you lunch, and then once you are out there, they have a pontoon where you can relax, go diving or snorkelling, just lay in the sun, or view the reef from a semi-submersible section under the water.

Quicksilver Adventures catamaran arriving

Have you been to the reef? How did you do it? If you haven’t been, which one of these do you love the look of!!!

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