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Coral Reefs in Australia: Your Complete Guide to Coral Reefs in Australia

TeamAckoFeb 27, 2024

If the sea is your bae, then Australia's coral reefs are high-key a paradise on earth for you! The diverse marine life and the absolutely stunning, insta-worthy views (#travel goals) both from above and below the aquamarine waters surrounding the many reefs are enough to tempt anyone into planning a vacation of a lifetime ASAP. But before you dive into the trip, here are some things you need to know before heading to the coral reefs in Australia.




Let’s discover Australia’s coral reef’s

The Great Barrier Reef

How To Get To The Great Barrier Reef:

There are multiple ways to get to the coral reef in Australia. You can either fly in, opt for a boat ride, or take a road trip to get to the Great Barrier Reef. If you are flying in, there are five airports that you can opt to fly into from most cities in Australia.

Airports to the Reef:

  • Cairns Airport

  • Proserpine Airport

  • Bundaberg Regional Airport

  • Hamilton Island Airport

  • Townsville Airport

Cairns Airport is the only international airport among the five airports mentioned above. 

Things To Do At The Great Barrier Reef:

Scuba Diving

The Great Barrier Reef is the ultimate destination for diving junkies. The sheer number of marine creatures you can encounter on your dive can send any animal lover into a happy frenzy. Queensland is home to many spectacular diving sites. Its 2,000 km coastline is covered by the Great Barrier Reef.

Best dive sites along the Great Barrier Reef

  • SS Yongala Wreck

  • Agincourt

  • Ribbon Reef

  • Whitsunday Islands

  • Lady Elliot Island

  • Museum of Underwater Art

Sea creatures that may make an appearance during your dives

  • Clownfish

  • Great clams

  • Potato cod

  • Maori wrasse

  • Manta rays

Swimming with the whales

Whale watching is one of the best things to do at the Great Barrier Reef. From April to November, humpback whales migrate to Hervey Bay from Antarctica every year. Female whales also tend to give birth during this time period, so you can see the great migration of the whales in all its glory if you happen to be in Australia during this time of the year. 

If whale watching is too tame for you, how about taking a swim with these giants? The minke whales migrate from June to July to the coral reef in Australia. You can witness this magical experience with whale swimming tours, where you can snorkel or scuba dive and see the playful minke whales up close. These tours usually take off from Cairns.

Sea Walking

You love marine animals to bits but can’t swim? Sea walking is a great way to see the creatures of the ocean, both big and small. Green Island, which is about 30 minutes from Cairns, is where this adventure takes place. Marine enthusiasts who opt for the walk wear a metal diving helmet, which offers an unparalleled view of their surroundings. This is a great activity for kids and for those who wear glasses, as the helmet has enough space to accommodate them. The descent is 5m to the seafloor, and you will be assisted by professionals on your way down. You get to spend about 20 minutes in the water. The whole experience will last for about an hour, including the safety briefing before your descent.

Mini-Submarine Ride

Snorkeling and diving aren’t for everyone. But let that not deprive you of the stunning beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and all its hidden treasures. Another great way to experience the coral reefs in Australia for non-swimmers and swimmers alike is through mini-submarines. Two people can take a mini-sub ride along with their guide and catch amazing views of the reef. This is one of the few Great Barrier Reef activities where you won't need a wetsuit! 

The dive site is located on Fitzroy Island, which is about 45 minutes away by ferry from Cairns. The mini-sub ride lasts for about 20 minutes after the descent and safety briefing.


If you think scuba diving and snorkeling are plebeian ways to experience the coral reefs in Australia, then how about a freefall from 15,000 feet above the ground? Skydiving is a unique way to take in the charms of the Great Barrier Reef and its surroundings. The dropzone is located in Mission Beach, which is about 2 hours away from Cairns.

Types of Dives Available

  • Tandem dives (where you will be accompanied by an expert)

  • Group dives with your squad

  • Solo dives for experienced divers

Flying Over the Reef

While skydiving over the reefs is for the adventurous, here is a more palatable way for the weak-hearted among us to take to the skies for gorgeous views of the reefs below. Seaplane and helicopter tours are available from Airlie Beach, which will take you over the Great Barrier Reef, Hill Inlet, Heart Reef, Whitsunday Islands, and Whitehaven Beach. You can make a day out of it by opting for snorkeling and having a meal with a great view of the beach and the reefs when you choose your package. 

When is the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef?

The ideal time to visit the Great Barrier Reef would be between May and October, when the weather is warm, ensuring that you get the best possible views and diving conditions. June to August is considered the high season for tourism at the Great Barrier Reef. 

There are many ways to experience the beauty and majesty of the Great Barrier Reef. It truly is one of nature’s finest works on the planet. So if you are ever in need of an adventure filled with plenty of sun, sharks, and stunning views, head to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. We swear, you won’t regret a second of it! 

Also Read: Best time to visit Australia

Ningaloo Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is Australia's most famous coral reef but Ningaloo Reef is home to beautiful coral reefs and marine life too. Ningaloo Reef is in Ningaloo Marine Park, which is a World Heritage-listed site. 

How To Get To Ningaloo Reef:

You can fly or drive to Ningaloo Reef. If you're flying in, you can come from Exmouth or Coral Bay about 90 minutes away from Exmouth/Learmonth Airport. Exmouth is the closest small town to Ningaloo. 

By Flight : Fly to Exmouth Bay 

Driving : 13-hour drive from Perth 

Marine Life at Ningaloo Reef

Ningaloo Reef is where many species of exotic and gorgeous aquatic animals and plants live. 

You'll find:

  • Dugongs 

  • Whales 

  • Sea turtles

  • Tropical fish

    • Clown fish 

    • Angel fish 

  • Sharks (harmless, don't worry) 

    • Reef sharks 

    • Whale sharks 

    • Leopard sharks 

  • Rays

    • Stingrays 

    • Manta rays 

    • Eagle rays  

Things To Do At Ningaloo Reef:


The stunning turquoise waters at Ningaloo Reef beckon you to jump in for scuba dives or snorkeling. You'll glide past rainbows of coral gardens, home to colorful tropical fish, sea turtles, dugongs, manta rays and reef sharks!


If you're up for fish-watching, swimming at Ningaloo will take your breath away. Schools of fish swim by in the azure waters of the reefs. You'll spot many varieties of fish and sea plants native to Ningaloo Reef. 

Glass Bottom Boat

These glass bottom boats are the perfect way to see right under you as you go boating at Ningaloo. There's no better way to boat and spot beautiful fish and more at Ningaloo Reef. 

When is the best time to visit Ningaloo Reef?

Temperatures at Ningaloo Reef are 25-28°C in summer and around 22°C in winter. The winter months, May to September, are the best time to visit the Ningaloo Reef when you get to see a lot of tropical fish and marine wildlife. 


There you have it, folks - some of the best reefs in Australia! Whether you're heading out to the iconic Great Barrier Reef, or the lesser known Ningaloo Reef, you'll be able to see beautiful fish and aquatic plants. From surfing to snorkeling and swimming with the fishes, the reefs will satisfy your need to soak in the beauty of nature. 

Prioritizing safety, you should consider securing comprehensive and affordable travel insurance like Acko International Travel Insurance to protect against unexpected incidents and hospital expenses in foreign countries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the frequently asked questions on Coral Reefs in Australia: Your Complete Guide to Coral Reefs in Australia


When is turtle hatching season, and where can I see it?

If you love turtles, there is no better place than Bundaberg, which is the destination you need to head to to catch the turtle hatching season. The loggerhead turtles lay their eggs here between November and January. The turtle hatching season gets underway between January and March, when you can catch the tiny hatchlings making their way into the vast ocean to begin their great adventure.

When is the low season for the Great Barrier Reef?

December to February is considered the low season for tourism at the Great Barrier Reef.

How do I get to the Great Barrier Reef? 

There are multiple ways to get to the Great Barrier Reef. You can fly directly to Cairns International Airport from your country. Alternatively, you can use domestic flights from any part of Australia to connect to Proserpine Airport, Bundaberg Regional Airport, Hamilton Island Airport, or Townsville Airport. You can access the reef anywhere from Cape York in the north to Bundaberg in the south.

What are some of the popular areas to visit during a trip to the Great Barrier Reef?

Some of the popular areas to visit are Cairns, the Whitsunday Islands, and Port Douglas, as they offer great diving and snorkeling options. 

Is it safe to visit the Great Barrier Reef?

Yes, it is very safe to visit the Great Barrier Reef. But when participating in underwater activities or any adventures there, it is best to listen to your instructors and follow their instructions for your safety. 

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet and is subject to changes. Please contact us on [email protected] before making any purchase related decisions.


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