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Family Friendly Things to do on The Great Barrier Reef

Family Friendly Things to do on The Great Barrier Reef

When you think about visiting The Great Barrier Reef, you might think that it sounds too daunting or not something that would be good for the whole family. However, nothing could be farther from the truth! You should definitely plan a family fun holiday on The Great Barrier Reef as soon as possible. It is an excellent opportunity to teach your children about conservation and the importance of this amazing natural wonder of the world. It is also a beautiful destination that is filled with exciting and adventurous things the whole family can do together.

Family Excursions on the Mainland

Reef HQ Aquarium Photo Credit:


Kuranda Skyrail Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) By Louise Marshall (Skyrail Rainforest Cableway), CC BY-SA 3.0,

Daintree Rainforest Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) By Killerscene – Own work, CC0,

Normally, you think of excursions out to sea, but in the case of visiting The Great Barrier Reef, you shouldn’t forget about the great mainland opportunities. There are many different coastal cities along The Great Barrier Reef and each one has opportunities for fun, adventure and learning too. Some of the top ideas that come to mind include:

Reef HQ Aquarium in Townsville: The world’s largest living coral reef aquarium. This is also where the Australian Government’s national education centre for the Great Barrier Reef is located. The aquarium features an underwater viewing tunnel, a turtle hospital, and interesting exhibits and shows.

The Daintree Rainforest: Located in Cairns, this is the largest contiguous remaining tropical rainforest. While here, you can also see the spectacular Mossman Gorge.

The Kuranda Rainforest: The Kuranda Rainforest is located in the Far North of Queensland, but is well worth the trip to see the rainforest canopy from the skyway or sky rail attractions. You can also see the Kuranda Village, run by the original landowners and Barron Gorge National Park.

Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures: Located between Cairns and Port Douglas, this wildlife park features crocodiles and other animals native to the tropical wetlands and region.

Billabong Sanctuary in Townsville: This is another wildlife park located right on the shores of Queensland next to the billabong. It features the native wildlife of the tropics in this region.

You can hire a budget car in Queensland  and drive up and down to these different destinations along the coast.

Glass Bottom Boat Rides


Glass Bottom Boat Ride Photo Credit:

If you are concerned about inexperienced swimmers in your family, then you can see the beauty of The Great Barrier Reef and get up close and personal with its residents without even getting wet. Glass bottom boat rides are available from most port cities. You can charter one with the whole family and experience it together with guides who are knowledgeable and will explain everything you are seeing along the way.

Snorkeling Excursions

Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling Photo Credit:

Snorkeling Michaelmas Cay Photo Credit:

Green Island Fringing Reef Photo Credit:

There are plenty of snorkel charters available all along the Great Barrier Reef. The best thing about the abundance and variety of snorkel charters is that you can find one that fits your needs, whether it is snorkelling lessons, training, or shallow destinations, just about anything and everything is available. As you can see, there are plenty of shallow snorkelling spots, like the fringing reef at Green Island. A fringing reef means that the reef begins at the beach – no need for a deep sea charter boat!

Island Fun

Heron Island Photo Credit:

Great Keppel Island Photo Credit:

Low Isles Photo Credit: Queensland

There are many different islands on The Great Barrier Reef. Some are large enough for resorts where you can partake in a bit of luxury and pampering or just some family fun. The island beaches are an amazing way to experience the waters of The Great Barrier Reef without venturing out too deep. You can still see the colourful corals and marine life on a boat charter over to the islands. Making memories on a beach on The Great Barrier Reef is very special!

Daydream Island

Main Lagoon of Daydream Island’s Living Reef Photo Credit:

The Living Reef on Daydream Island Photo Credit:


Daydream Island Resort Photo Credit:

Sure, we already featured several different island getaways on The Great Barrier Reef, but Daydream Island of the Whitsundays gets its own little section because of the Living Reef Aquarium located there. It is definitely one of the most unique ways to get to experience The Great Barrier Reef without heading out into the deep. There are daily feedings, tours, and a wading pool. Plus, it is located on the island with the resort supplying everything you need for an amazing luxury holiday. Some of the whitest white sand beaches in the world are an added bonus!