Travelmate -  Australia Accommodation and Hotels
search places
•  Enter a Town
•  Or choose a town beginning with ...
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

•  Select a State
• Super Red Hot Deals Check out our latest great deals
• Make a booking
Great year-round rate. Wide choice.
• Last Minute Hotel Deals
car hire
•   Search, compare and book your hire car with    Discount rates.
•  Find discount rates on campervan and motorhome rentals.  Instant reservations.
places to go
  • Find out about 1,800 towns
  • Be inspired - Weekend Getaways
  • Don't miss these Top Spots
  • Explore these Featured Regions   • Outback Australia
  • Great Drives
Scenic drives from Best Western
  • Featured Regions
New places to discover
  • Fun Trip
Games for kids, games for adults
Where is the Great Barrier Reef?
Snorkelling on the reefThe Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world, begins just off the coast of Bundaberg, 368 kilometres north of the state capital, Brisbane, and extends over 2000 km north to western Papua New Guinea. Brimming with life, colour and adventure, it is in fact not a single reef, but rather a collection of over 2900 individual reefs, 300 coral cays and 600 continental islands. In 1979 the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was established, taking in over 98% of the region, looking after the control, care and development of this World Heritage-listed wonder.

How do I get there?
For road directions from your town or suburb to one of the mainland towns near the Great Barrier Reef try using Travelmate's Smart Trip. Not only will it give you directions, but also the distance and time it will take, and you can zoom in and out on any part of the map.

The Great Barrier Reef has a tropical climate, with average temperatures in summer of between 24 and 33 degrees Celsius, in winter 14 to 26 degrees. Being a wet tropic climate, there are only 2 seasons, 'the green' and 'the dry'. The green season stretches from the first of the monsoonal rains (75% to 90% of the region's rainfall falls in the green season), usually in November, and ends in May. The region averages over 300 days of sunshine per year, so please remember to pack, and use, sun protection items such as sunblock, hat and sunglasses. The water is warm enough to swim in all year round, though do keep in mind that box jellyfish inhabit the coastal waters from October to May. In this period look for netted areas on the beaches to swim in, or ask a local about the conditions.

What are the main cities, towns and islands?
Towns - Bundaberg, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Yeppoon, Mackay, Shute Harbour and Airlie Beach, Bowen, Townsville, Mission Beach, Innisfail, Cairns, Port Douglas and Mossman. North of Mossman by road is 4WD country, to such places as Cape Tribulation and Cooktown.

The main islands, with the access points and modes of transport to them are:
  • Lady Elliot Island - 25 minute flight from Bundaberg, 35 minute flight from Hervey Bay. Flights also depart from Maroochydore and Coolangatta
  • Lady Musgrave Island - catamaran transfer from Bundaberg Port Marina, 20 minutes drive from Bundaberg, or from the town of 1770
  • Heron Island - a 2 hour launch trip from Gladstone
  • Great Keppel Island - 15 minute flight from Rockhampton, or a 30 minute launch from Rosslyn Bay
  • Brampton Island - 75 minute launch from Mackay, or a 15 or 30 minute flight from Mackay and Hamilton Island respectively
  • Long Island - 55 minute launch trip from Shute Harbour, 30 minute launch trip from Hamilton Island
  • Lindeman Island - 10 minutes by air or 30 minutes by launch from Shute Harbour, 10 minutes by air or 30 minutes by launch Hamilton Island, also by air from Mackay and Proserpine
  • Hamilton Island - direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns, 30 minutes in high-speed catamaran from Shute Harbour
  • South Molle Island - 25 minute launch trip from Shute Harbour, 30 minute launch trip from Hamilton Island
  • Whitsunday Island - 25 km east of Shute Harbour
  • Daydream Island - 5 km from the mainland, access by boat, seaplane or helicopter from Shute Harbour, or by launch from Hamilton Island
  • Hayman Island - 25 km north-east of Shute Harbour. Direct flight to Hamilton Island from Sydney and Brisbane, then launch to Hayman Island - also water taxi from Airlie Beach
  • Magnetic Island - 20 minutes by vehicular ferry from Townsville, also catamaran and water taxi
  • Dunk Island - 5 km south-east of Mission Beach. Access by plane 40 minutes from Cairns, by launch 20 minutes from Clump Point, 15 minutes by water taxi from Wongaling Beach
  • Fitzroy Island - 5 km from the mainland, 25 km from Cairns, 45 minutes by launch
  • Green Island - 27 km off the coast of Cairns, accessible by fast catamaran, launch, jet boat and sailing boat

These towns have the bulk of the accommodation available along the length of this section of the coast. The Great Barrier Reef takes in quite a few of Queensland's tourism regions, so for all your accommodation options when visiting the Great barrier Reef, check the following regions: Bundaberg, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Mackay, Whitsundays, Townsville and Tropical North Queensland.

What's there to do?
Just as the reef itself is long, so too is the list of attractions and activities of the region. The prime places to explore are of course the reef and the sea - scuba diving, snorkelling, underwater observatories, semi-submersible craft, fishing, sailing, charter boats, whale watching (July to November), turtle watching, glass bottom boat cruises or just plain relaxing by the water taking in some sun. The sea is full of colour and life - there are over 1500 species of fish, 400 species of coral and 250 species of birds. Various species of whales enter the region for courtship, mating, birthing and calf-rearing activities, and can be seen from June until late October. You'll find all manner of tourism operators in the main towns of the region, so finding something to do or someone to take you to a spot or activity on the reef is easily done.

The Great Barrier Reef is a wonder indeed, but there is another wonderful natural attraction along the coast - rainforest. Some of the world's finest examples of this habitat follow the Queensland coast north - spots such as Kuranda, Mossman Gorge, Eungella National Park, Daintree National Park and Cape Tribulation, to name but a few. Some of these areas are located inland, but others are right on the coast, a meeting place of reef and rainforest. Choose to take a 4WD tour, view the abundant fauna and flora, river cruises - again the options are many, as are the number of companies allowing you to explore the rainforest.

The islands off the coast range from providing camping accommodation only up to out-and-out luxurious resorts. One night you could be in a cabin with absolute beachfrontage, the next perched in the trees of the rainforest, another in a room right atop the sea. Golf courses, tennis courts, spa treatments, restaurants and swimming pools of all shapes and sizes - you'll never be short of something to do on and along the Great Barrier Reef.

Back to Featured Regions

|  Adelaide Hotels   |  Brisbane Hotels   |  Cairns Hotels   |  Canberra Hotels   |  Gold Coast Hotels   |  Hobart Hotels   |  Melbourne Hotels   |  Perth Hotels   |  Sydney Hotels   |  New Zealand Accommodation   |  Auckland Hotels   |  Bay of Islands Accommodation   |  Auckland Motels   |  Christchurch Motels   |  Dunedin Accommodation   |  Hamilton Accommodation   |  Lake Taupo Accommodation   |  Nelson Accommodation   |  New Plymouth Accommodation   |  Wanaka Accommodation   |  Rotorua Hotels   |  Te Anau Accommodation   |  Wellington Motels   |  HotelBank