Cairns, in the state of Queensland, is the most popular gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, which beckons with turquoise waters and colourful marine life. A few highlights include a helicopter ride to the private island of Vlasoff Cay, which will give you a bird’s-eye view of the reef below and drop you off by a sandy inlet. Spend some hours snorkelling or sitting by the lapping waters to enjoy a leisurely picnic.
Snorkelling and diving expeditions to meet the Great Eight residents are a must, with opportunities to swim with clownfish at Lady Musgrave Island, spot giant clams at Clam Gardens, and marvel at manta rays at Lady Elliot Island. If you favour moonlit nights for your underwater adventures, night diving tours are available!
The Museum of Underwater Art, located off the coast of Townsville, promotes reef conservation with installations and sculptures. On land, visitors can enjoy a private picnic at any of Magnetic Island's bays, hike in Magnetic Island National Park, and encounter Australian wildlife at Billabong Sanctuary.