One reason many visitors come to Tropical North Queensland is to experience the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef. This breathtaking aquatic park destination consists of 2900 individual reefs and 900 islands that span over 23,000 kilometres of the Northeastern coast of Australia. There are a variety of Great Barrier Reef tours that cater to everyone; from those who are adventurous and confident in the water, to those who prefer to stay dry and observe.
There are 3 main geographic areas determined by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. They are described as the Inner, Mid and Outer Reef. In general, reefs that are farther from the mainland are less affected by urban development. These Outer Reef locations will generally provide the highest visibility and greatest marine biodiversity.
Some tours visit the Agincourt Reef. Here, special reefs known as ‘ribbons’ run parallel to the Continental Shelf. Adjacent to the Coral Sea trench, these ribbon reefs are recognised as the most pristine eco-systems in the reef’s environment, encouraging rich coral growth and supporting spectacular marine life.
Meanwhile, it takes longer to travel to the Outer Reef, which is why other dayboats prefer to visit the Inner and Mid Reefs, instead. It’s important to consider how much time you have to spend at the Great Barrier Reef before choosing the boat tour that is right for you. You may also want to consider your swimming abilities and the type of aquatic experience that will make you feel most comfortable.
Finally, keep in mind that your visit may be impacted by visibility and weather conditions, and on a clear sunny day you’ll have the best viewing experience!
***All boat tours to the Great Barrier Reef depart daily except for Christmas Day***