Cruising the Great Barrier Reef


The 1600 mile Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef, and is home to the most diverse animal and plant life in the world. The Great Barrier Reef (also abbreviated as GBR), can actually be seen from the outer space, and is classified as the world’s largest single structure made by living organisms. Also classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, the Great Barrier Reef offers tourists the opportunity for engaging in great adventures, whether on a budget or in luxury.

The reef is home to over 6, 500 species of flora and fauna including; 1,400 species of fish, 400 types of coral reefs, 130 species of sharks, among others. 6 of the 7 species of endangered sea turtles also paddle around its’ crystalline waters. Other notable sea creatures you’ll find here include; rainbow colored fish, sea cucumbers, giant clams, stingrays, starfish, sponges, eels, among others. The spectacular array of exotic coral reef colors and sea life which make up the Great Barrier Reef, can’t be found anywhere else on this planet, with such ease of access which Cairns and the Port Douglas region offers.

Apart from the vast array of marine life, this World Heritage listed tropical paradise where the GBR is located also offers sun drenched beaches, luxury resorts and probably the best scuba diving and snorkeling spots in the world. If you’re looking for a cruise destination where you’ll get to enjoy abundant sea life, clear waters, sandy beaches, scenic views, and endless days of glorious sunshine, then the Great Barrier Reef will certainly not disappoint.

Great Barrier Reef Cruise Lines

  • There’s Coral Expeditions which is locally based and offers 3-, 4- and 7-day options.
  • There’s Captain Cook Cruises which operates reef trips using Coral Princess vessels. The Coral Princess itineraries usually include, but not limited to; swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving.
  • Other cruises include; P&O Cruises Australia and Royal Caribbean which have departures through Sydney and Brisbane.

Things To Do

  • Island Hoping – With hundreds of islands for you to choose from, island hopping is a great way to enjoy a cruise to the GBR. The Whitsunday islands are probably the region’s best known and they include; Hayman, Hamilton, Daydream, Lindeman and South Molle. Here you’ll find excellent restaurants and you can engage in all kinds of adventurous activities. For instance, you can hike the mountainous Hayman Island or simply watch turtles hatch on Heron Island.
  • Check Out Koalas On Magnetic Island  – Magnetic Island does not only offer easy access to the Great Barrier Reef, but it also offers 23 secluded beaches, abundant wildlife and unspoiled nature. The island’s big attraction is its’ koala population who live peacefully throughout the island. They can be seen up in treetops in the park areas, and also in the more inhabited parts of the beautiful island. You can take Forts’ Walk to get to the best places to check out the Koalas.
  • Hand Feed Stingrays On Daydream Island – You can go to Daydream island and get a chance to get up close to stingrays, and even hand feed them. Here you’ll find experienced marine biologists who will explain to you the life cycle of the various amazing sea animals. They will also show you how to handle, stingrays, sea cucumbers and starfish.

Best Time for Visiting the Great Barrier Reef

The best time of the year to visit the Great Barrier Reef is between the months of June to November. During this time, the weather is usually mild, and underwater visibility is good. Avoid going to the Great Barrier Reef between the months of December to March because of harsh heat and torrential rains which can hinder underwater visibility.