The Great Barrier Reef is easily accessed from the Queensland coast and ways out to the reef are many and varied. You can cruise or sail out for half a day, a full day or several days. Fly out to an isolated coral cay in a helicopter or seaplane, rush out in a speedboat or relax under a billowing sail.
Full or half day cruises along the Queensland coast offer a variety of options. You can dive, snorkel, swim or just gaze at the horizon.
Many day boats dock at pontoons moored on the reef, making access to the water easy. Some pontoons have fresh water showers and underwater observatories.
Catering specifically to divers, these boats will give you two to three dives in a day at locations known for their great marine life, coral or shipwreck.
These boats are usually flexible, heading to the best spot on the day. For more serious exploration, liveaboard cruises run from 2-14 days, with opportunities to do up to 4-5 dives per day on some of the Coral Sea's most remote reefs.
If you prefer to be under sail or a relaxing cruse it is possible to combine this with some of the best diving in the world.
These trips usually offer great snorkelling as well as introductory and certified diving. There are many varieties of vessels available with some taking just a few passengers and others accommodating larger groups.
If you like to keep your feet on the ground, then consider a trip that visits one of these options. You'll find continental islands as well as coral cays (islands comprised of coral) off Queensland's coast.
Marine life and coral can be found on fringing reefs on continental islands and just a few steps from the shore on coral cays.
For a bird's eye view of the vastness of the reef, a scenic flight is a must. Whether by helicopter, fixed-wing aircraft or seaplane, an aerial tour is a wonderful way to appreciate the reef in all its splendour.
Options range from 15-minute flights to full day excursions with snorkelling and lunch included.