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. Birdworld Kuranda

    One of your best chances to see the endangered southern cassowary, a prehistoric emu-like bird, is at Birdworld Kuranda. It's home to hundreds of colorful...Read More

  • 3. Cod Hole

    For divers and snorkelers, the usually crystal clear waters off Lizard Island are a dream. Cod Hole, 20 km (12 miles) from Lizard Island, ranks...Read More

  • 4. Daintree National Park

    The world's oldest tropical rain forest is an ecological wonderland: 85 of the 120 rarest species on Earth are found here, and new ones are...Read More

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  • 5. Great Barrier Reef

    Other Attraction

    To astronauts who've seen it from space, the Great Barrier Reef resembles a vast, snaking wall—like a moat running parallel to Australia's entire...Read More

  • 6. 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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  • 7. Reef Teach

    CBD

    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

  • 8. Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

    Smithfield

    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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  • 9. The Esplanade

    CBD

    Fronting Cairns Harbour, this busy boardwalk and recreational zone is the focal point of life in Cairns. Along the walk you'll encounter shady trees and...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. 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

  • 12. Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

    More than 1,500 tropical butterflies—including dozens of the electric-blue Ulysses species and Australia's largest butterfly, the green-and-gold Cairns birdwing—flutter within a compact rain-forest aviary, alighting...Read More

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  • 13. Babinda Boulders

    About an hour's drive from Cairns, Babinda Boulders is a popular swimming hole, and a sacred Aboriginal site. It's 7 km (5 miles) inland on...Read More

  • 14. 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

  • 15. Black Mountain (Kalkajaka) National Park

    Just south of Cooktown within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Black Mountain (Kalkajaka) National Park protects a unique mix of gigantic granite boulders, wet-tropics...Read More

  • 16. Cairns Art Gallery

    CBD

    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

  • 17. Cairns Marlin Marina

    CBD

    This floating marina's 261 berths bristle with charter fishing, diving, and private vessels, including superyachts up to 197 feet long. At the Reef Fleet Terminal...Read More

  • 18. Castle Hill

    The summit of pink-granite monolith Castle Hill, 1 km (½ mile) from the city center, provides great views of the city and Magnetic Island. While...Read More

  • 19. 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

  • 20. Cooktown History Centre

    Cooktown's historical museum, aptly housed in a former postal and telegraph office built in 1875, is staffed by affable volunteers and houses an extensive collection...Read More

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