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Great Barrier Reef

Best Things to Do in Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef — the world's largest coral reef system — is a haven for water sports enthusiasts. Whether you're skimming the ocean floor, sailing atop the surface, or soaring through the air in a helicopter, your tour of the reef is sure to leave a lasting impression. And while it may be difficult to tear your eyes away from the mesmerizing marine scene, don't forget to check out the mainland attractions, too. Hop aboard a train bound for a rainforest village, or embark on a wetlands safari on the edge of the Australian Outback.

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How We Rank Things to Do
#1
Diving and Snorkeling
Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, Swimming/Pools | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 5.0

Why go: The best way to see the Great Barrier Reef is through a scuba mask, but ... read more»

#2
Cairns
Sightseeing, Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: If you plan on exploring the far northern half of Queensland, Cairns (pronounced "Cahns") offers ... read more»

#3
Hamilton Island
Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: If the diving spots closest to the Queensland coast are too crowded for you, consider ... read more»

#4
Whitehaven Beach Free attraction
Beaches, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation, Swimming/Pools | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: It's the most photographed beach in all of Australia, and after one look at ... read more»

#5
Sailing
Recreation, Sightseeing, Sports | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: Picture it: As the wind-powered craft clips along the Coral Sea, a tropical breeze teases ... read more»

#6
Air Tours
Sightseeing, Tours | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: After getting a fish-eye view of the reef, experience a bird's perspective with an ... read more»

#7
Reef Teach
Tours | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: If you're planning to spend most of your time diving or snorkeling, then consider ... read more»

#8
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas
Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Zoos and Aquariums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: To be clear: This is not a zoo. The Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas describes itself ... read more»

#9
Kuranda Scenic Railway
Natural Wonders, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: If you need a break from exploring the reef, why not go 1,076 feet ... read more»

#10
Mareeba Tropical Savanna & Wetlands Reserve
Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 3.5

Why go: Though the Great Barrier Reef's marine life is undoubtedly spectacular, don't forget to ... read more»

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