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Great Barrier Reef (Northern)

Immerse yourself in the complexity of the largest barrier reef system on Earth

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Meet our local travel specialists

Meet our local travel specialists and learn about the diversity of things you could do and micro group travel in the Great Barrier Reef

At a Glance

Home to diverse marine life of the most vivid colours, the Great Barrier Reef is over 2,000km long and offers the opportunity for great adventure, both in luxury and on a budget. Relax on luxurious tropical islands, snorkel with Manta Rays, turtles and even spot the odd whale ... a holiday on the reef is all about the unforgettable nature that surrounds you. What else is there to say about the largest living structure on Earth? Except, that, like so many places there is far more to miss than see and by choosing the right trip with the right people, a whole world of incredible experience is waiting. The Great Barrier Reef offers the chance of guided day trips, extended stays or even liveaboard cruises. It's a destination that you would want to consider visiting time and time again.

When to visit

The southern GBR is a year-round visitor location. Water clarity is better in winter, so places like Lady Elliot and Heron Island are really good ... water temps are slightly lower but the experience can be better in the water. If you're considering an island stay, first quarter of the year is highest risk for cyclones. The winter dry season is better as well, because visibility conditions are better and there is less risk of stingers, which are only really a problem in the nearshore islands, such as immediately off Cairns. The outer reef is pretty safe year-round. Seasonality is important for some wildlife experiences. Turtles are year-round and in the south, juveniles can be more commonly seen in the winter (particularly with clearer water) but nesting is Oct - Feb, hatchlings usually about Dec - Mar/Apr. Minke Whales are winter (Jun/Jul) and Manta Rays e.g. at Lady Elliot, are year-round.



The climate in the Great Barrier Reef is very different north to south. For most of the year, however, the wind is a relatively brisk southeast 20 knots. This is worth considering when looking at liveaboard options. December is the calmest month, on average. Northerly winds are more prevalent in the first quarter of the year when tropical cyclones are more common in the north.


Watch a film about the region

Find out more about the Great Barrier Reef Climate by watching a film introducing these unique destinations. 

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Best time to visit