Cairns, Port Douglas & The Wild North Great Barrier Reef

Home to two World Heritage-listed natural wonders and boasting a unique environment where Australia's largest rainforest, the Daintree Rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns and Port Douglas are natural hotspots for tropical experiences and reef-based adventure. There’s enough reef, sun, and wildlife to keep you occupied for a lifetime.

  • Get a birds-eye view from a scenic helicopter flight and soar above the Daintree Rainforest and Ribbon Reefs before touching down on your very own sand cay on the outer-reef for a picnic lunch.
  • For the adventure of a lifetime, join a research expedition and swim with dwarf minke whales.
  • Go on a coral reef walkabout underwater and keep your hair dry! With tours available from Green Island and Moore Reef, it’s an amazing way to see coral creatures and marine life up close.
  • Take the plunge and learn to dive on the Great Barrier Reef. For the ultimate experience, combine your course with an all-inclusive liveaboard trip to the outer reefs and experience what rush hour traffic is like on the largest reef in the world.

The Wild North

For those who have already been there, done that and got the t-shirts, the reef’s Wild North offers endless opportunities to get in touch with your inner Bear Grylls.

  • Experience game fishing and discover the hidden cultural treasures of the Torres Strait Islands. The Great Barrier Reef off Cape York is also the place to be for truly amazing sport fishing, with northern bluefin tuna, dog-tooth tuna, yellowfin tuna, marlin, and huge Spanish mackerel up for grabs.
  • Feed the resident giant potato cods that weigh 150kg, witness a live shark feed on Osprey Reef or in the winter season watch pods of minke whales and dolphins as they frolic in the warm water.
  • Dive the world famous waters of the Cod Hole at Lizard Island and visit the remote Haggerstone Island, accessible only by air from a neighbouring Island.

Plan your holiday

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Jorgey's Patch Dive Site

Cairns, Cairns Area
Free Entry
Accessible on a day trip from Cairns, Jorgey’s Patch features a variety of terrains for divers to explore, including bommies, ridges, gutters and ledges. In depths between 10 and 25 metres divers will find an abundance of reef fish on this reef, including fusiliers, angelfish, wrasses, anemonefish and rock cods.

Lighthouse Bommie Dive Site

Cairns, Cairns Area
Free Entry
Lighthouse Bommie is a giant tower of coral that rises from the sea floor at 25 metres and stands 20 metres tall. Located on the Ribbon Reefs, north of Cairns, this impressive pinnacle is visited each week by liveaboard dive boats.

Cobia Hole Dive Site

Lizard Island, Cook Area
Free Entry
Located just off the shore of Lizard Island north of Cairns, Cobia Hole features a jumble of rocks, no bigger than a tennis court, decorated with marine life. With a maximum depth of 18 metres, this rocky outcrop is home to hovering sweetlips, emperors, cobia, estuary cod and more.

Vlassof Cay

Aeroglen, Cairns Area
Vlasoff Cay is a Tropical North Queensland bucket-list attraction just north of Green Island. It is a picturesque sand bar on Vlasoff Reef, an outer reef of the Great Barrier Reef. Day tours by boat operate regularly.

Green Island National Park

Green Island, Cairns Area
Free Entry
This small rainforest-clad coral cay is surrounded by coral reefs and is one of the Great Barrier Reef's most popular destinations. A true coral cay, it was formed over thousands of years by the build-up of sand and coral rubble deposited on the calm side of a platform reef.

Whale Bommie Dive Site

Cairns, Cairns Area
Whale Bommie is a giant coral head located off the southern side of Milln Reef. This popular Cairns dive site has something for everyone. While the main bommie varies in depth from 5 metres to 22 metres, more experienced divers can also explore a scattering of smaller bommies in depths to 26 metres.

Turtle Bommie

Cairns, Cairns Area
Turtles are often encountered on the dive sites off Cairns and a good place to encounter one is Turtle Bommie. This magic dive site is located off Saxon Reef, with the terrain made up of coral gardens and a collection of small and large bommies in depths to 15 metres.

Snake Pit Dive Site

Cairns, Cairns Area
Free Entry
The Snake Pit is located inside the Ribbon Reefs, not far from Lizard Island, and is a dive site where divers are guaranteed to encounter an olive sea snake or three. Although highly venomous, olive sea snakes are fortunately quite docile and pose little threat to divers.

Lady Bowen Dive Site

Mission Beach, Cassowary Coast Area
Free Entry
The Lady Bowen was a 66 metre long schooner, which hit reef almost 48 kilometres from where she eventually sank, and now sits in the ocean as a reef herself, off the coast of Mission Beach. At over 100 years old and resting under 34 metres of water, the Lady Bowen dive site is now home to amazing coral formations and a plethora of colourful and friendly marine life.

Tijou Reef Dive Site

Port Douglas, Douglas Area
Tijou Reef is located at the southern end of the Far Northern Reefs, so is often the first or last dive site explored on an expedition to this remote area. The sheltered western side of Tijou Reef is dotted with coral bommies and coral gardens that offer wonderful diving in depths to 30 metres.
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