The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most incredible natural wonders of the world. The gem in Australia’s crown, it attracts millions of tourists every year to the east coast to explore the wildlife, coral and local species of fish. But once you’ve finished your aquatic adventures, what else can you do around the Great Barrier Reef? Lucky for you, we’ve gathered together a kick-ass bucket list of adventures for any brave BUCKitDREAMER!
Wander Around Whitsunday Islands Looking for paradise right on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef? Look no further than the fabulous Whitsunday Islands. Made up of 74 different islands, the majority of which are uninhabited, the Whitsundays offer unparalleled oceanic beauty and stunning beaches. Four islands are home to luxurious resorts that are easily reached from Cairns by air.
The Whitsundays have two airports, so depending on the resort you choose, you’ll either fly into Great Barrier Reef Airport on Hamilton Island or Whitsunday Coast Airport on Proserpine. You can also drive or get a ferry to the islands. Once you’re there, you can cruise, fish or just sit back and relax. For more information on the islands and its resorts, visit here.
Take a Tour of Tablelands If you’re a nature buff who fancies wildlife on land instead of sea, a visit to the Tablelands region is an absolute must while in the area of the Great Barrier Reef. A short drive from Cairns, even the journey there offers beautiful views. Once you arrive, you can do anything, including mountain climbing, biking and a variety of other outdoor activities in a beautiful natural backdrop.
As well as self-guided nature tours, the area is home to some beautiful and natural rock art formations that are unique to the region. Finish off your excursion with a glass of local wine. You won’t regret it! For full suggested itineraries, visit here.
Don’t Forget to Visit Daintree Forest Some people think that rainforests are a unique natural phenomenon to South America, but the region surrounding the Great Barrier Reef is home to the Daintree Rainforest, which is home to unique flora and fauna specimens. Rainforest Spirit Tours offer numerous tours around the area based on different interest areas. Depending on the option you pick, you can look at and swim in local waterfalls or observe animals like wallabies, crocodiles and cassowary birds in their natural habitats. A trip to the Daintree Forest is a must for any animal nut!
Hop on a Hot Air Balloon If you fancy floating above the ground instead of diving below the ocean, a hot air ballooning experience in Cairns is the perfect way to see the landscape. The aptly named Hot Air Ballooning Cairns offers a variety of packages, from a simple trip up with transfers to additional tourism add-ons that can save you some cash. Cairns is the ideal location for a hot air ballooning adventure, as the weather is gorgeous and the views are stunning. You’ll be blown away by the views on land and sea as you drift above everyone below you.
Get Wet While White Water Rafting People tend to associate the Great Barrier Reef with relaxing dives and gorgeous beaches, but you can choose to take a trip on the wild side by going white water rafting in the insanely beautiful natural rapids. Raging Thunder organizes rapid rafting tours that provide lunch from both Cairns and Mission Beach with all safety equipment included. The tour will bring you to the Tully River, which goes through a rainforest and has level 3- 4 rapids that will keep any thrill seeker on the edge of their seat. Don’t forget to look around and take in the rainforest views!
Set Your Sights on Skydiving Did white water rafting not give you enough of a buzz? When it’s time to take the next logical step and jump out of a plane! If you thought the views surrounding the Great Barrier Reef were mind-blowing from a hot air balloon, see how they feel with the wind rushing in your ears and your adrenaline going crazy! Skydive Australia has a base in Cairns and offers a variety of packages that allow you to dive during the day or at night and at a variety of heights. You can also package it with water rafting if you’d like.
Collect Some Crafts at Kuranda Kuranda is a village in the Tablelands that we’ve singled out, as there is a gorgeous railway in it that allows you to take a trip through the rainforest, offering unparalleled views of nature. Kuranda is also home to world-famous craft markets where you can buy local artistic items, including authentic Aboriginal crafts that are native to the region. The area is known for opals, shimmering, milky gems that you can purchase in a variety of forms of jewellery. Find out more here.
Come Close to a Crocodile Have you ever wanted to get up close and personal with one of the scariest animals in Australia? Then Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures is for you! Located between Cairns and Port Douglas, the park has a lagoon that is home to a range of wildlife including cassowaries and, of course, crocodiles. You can go on a boat cruise on the lagoon and observe the crocodiles in their habitat or enjoy a meal in the local restaurant.
Address: Captain Cook Hwy, Wangetti QLD 4879, Australia
The best thing about the area around the Great Barrier Reef is that it’s the perfect mix of madness and relaxation. You can go crazy with adventure sports or chill on the stunning, white sand beaches. Australia’s coast won’t know what has hit it once you finish your adventures, but don’t forget to upload everything to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram using the hashtag #BUCKiTDREAM! We all know that if it isn’t on social media, it didn’t happen. Then once you’re done, check out these 5 Best Australian Road Trips.