Top Ways to Experience the Great Barrier Reef

By Charlotte

Off the shores of Queensland and beneath its quiet waters lies the world’s largest living ecosystem. From a bird’s eye perspective, all seems calm and tranquil. But a closer look reveals the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef in all its magnificence… 

It’s a grand stage set with exquisite coral reef formations, simply perfect for nature’s dramatic exposition starring an astonishing number of unique marine animals! The kind of bustling marine traffic down under will put our streets to shame, but you can’t help but marvel at the method in their madness and the unparalleled beauty that adorns their surroundings.

And, if nature weaves such a beautiful story across a stage that spans over 2000+ kms, it’ll be a crime to let this show pass you by.

So, what’re you waiting for? Pull on a mask, put your snorkel in your mouth, fins on your feet and head off for an aqua adventure just off the coast of Cairns. A Cairns Great Barrier Reef snorkelling or diving tour is probably one of the cheapest and most popular ways to get an up, close and personal reef experience.

Cairns has the best access to a string of coral islands and the most exclusive Outer Great Barrier Reef locations. Reef and Island tours operating from Cairns are dime a dozen; and all you need to do is choose one that best suits your budget and time constraints.

Alternatively, you could choose to take a Great Barrier Reef cruise to an offshore pontoon such as the Marine World or Quicksilver activity platform that serves as a base for multiple reef activities. You don’t really have to be a diving enthusiast to enjoy the wonders of this underwater world. Beginners are given snorkelling lessons, taught how to use the gear and accompanied with a guide, if required. 

Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef is fun, but only when you go scuba diving to greater depths do you feel that awe-inspiring, liberating feeling. Home to some of the best dive sites in the world, the Great Barrier Reef is a diver’s paradise, irrespective of whether you’re a newbie or a certified diver. 

If you’re not the kind who likes to get wet or you simply want to give your sea legs a rest, there are other interesting options to experience the reef. You can get in on the fun and explore the seabed with a semi-submersible or a glass-bottom boat tour. See the gorgeous corals pass you by and watch the vibrant, colourful fish as they dart in and out of intricate reef formations they call their home! 

Then, of course, you have the helmet-dive tours or the exciting sea walker adventure where you’re required to don a spaceman-like helmet that has fresh air being pumped into its dome. With the helmet on, you’re all set to embark on an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ kind of journey as you walk along an underwater platform or the seabed itself, gazing at the jaw-dropping beauty of the reefs. Or if you’re confident enough, you can slip your head into a helmet, sit astride a scuba bike and zoom away on an unforgettable underwater adventure!

For a sweeping eagle-eye view of the reef at its best, a helicopter ride or scenic flight is the way to go! Soar over the reefs and see the naturally-formed Heart Reef, surely a sight you don’t come across everyday!

There’s so much of Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef to see, and through tours or snorkelling you are sure to experience it all. But, the bottom line is: However you choose to do so, you are guaranteed a mind-blowing, jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring experience!

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