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Islands of the Great Barrier Reef

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There are endless ways to experience the magnificence of life above the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef. Home to an abundance of native Australian wildlife, the hundreds of islands and coral cays scattered throughout the 1400 mile-long Great Barrier Reef, offer a uniquely spectacular natural setting for a holiday of a lifetime.

Swim off the beach into a coral wonderland where the waters are teeming with fish and other marine life. From any one of these islands, you choose how you will personally connect with the reef which may include luxury cruises, snorkeling and diving, deep sea fishing, chartered sea plane joy flights, a swim with turtles or witnessing the majestic whales playing together offshore.

Expanding 86 million acres, the World-Heritage Listed coral reef system, the largest of its kind, is a magical backdrop to immerse your self in all the Islands have to offer. Meander your way through the islands by catamaran, ocean-kayak to a secluded beach for a picnic lunch, or bushwalk to an island peak and witness the breathtaking views of your surroundings.

From the exclusivity and luxury of five-star resorts to a ‘back-to-nature’ style of designer-inspired safari tents, the diverse array of islands will compliment your very own Great Barrier Reef experience. Whether you choose ecological appreciation, world-class luxury, seclusion, adventure or complete relaxation, there are over 25 island resorts to suit your every holiday desire!

Download the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef eBrochure.

Must Do!

  • Great Barrier Reef day trips/extended tours
  • Diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Island hopping
  • Hand feed wild dolphins
  • Whale watching
  • Bushwalking
  • Guided reef walks
  • Bareboating & cruising

Resort Overview

Island Escape
The Great Barrier Reef Islands of Lizard, Hayman, Brampton, Peppers Palm Bay, Hamilton or Haggerstone Island and the secluded and exclusive Orpheus Island are ideal for Honeymooners or couples just wanting an exquisite escape.

Queensland Naturally
Heron, Wilson, Lizard or Lady Elliot Islands are superb choices for diving or fishing. The nature on Lady Elliot Island is an ecological wonderland with turtle hatching, bird rookeries and whale watching (all seasonal).

Indulge
If you are seeking absolute luxury, Hayman, Green Island, Orpheus, Peppers Palm Bay and Lizard are what you are looking for. If you are looking for a fun filled family holiday, Hamilton, Hayman or Daydream will make the perfect choice.

Active
Hamilton Island, Daydream Island Resort & Spa, or Breakfree Long Island Resort, are ideal choices for something in between. If you would like do a reef and island cruise, the options are wide and varied on Queensland's Great Barrier Reef.

Other Queensland Islands
Queensland's island resorts closer to Brisbane are also world famous and easily accessible by vehicle and ferry. The superb Kingfisher Bay Resort on World Heritage Fraser Island.

Getting around
Seaplane/Helicopter:
Light aircraft, helicopters and seaplanes offer island transfers and scenic flights
Boat: Hire a charter yacht or catch a ferry service to island resorts and the Great Barrier Reef
Small Luxury Cruising: Sit back and relax on a luxury vessel and visit islands like Whitehaven and hear some of the island secrets only the local crew are able to share.

Events: There are plenty of events held either on the Islands or in the regions surrounding them. Here is just a sample:

  • Queensland Cancer Fund Relay for Life
  • The Great Barrier Feast Hamilton Island
  • Oceanic Whitsunday Boat and Leisure Show
  • Laguna Whitsunday Triathlon
  • The Powerade Hamilton Island Outrigger Cup
  • Airlie Beach Triathlon Festival

Here is a list of the most popular and accessible islands of the Great Barrier Reef:


  • Brampton Island
  • Daydream Island
  • Hamilton Island
  • Hayman Island
  • Heron Island
  • Lady Elliot Island
  • Magnetic Island
  • Lizard Island
  • Orpheus Island  
  • Green Island
  • Wilson Island

Other Queensland Islands

Bedarra Island

Bedarra Island is Australia’s most exclusive resort, an indulgent tropical private haven, lying off the coast of Cairns. More >

Daydream Island

Daydream Island Resort and Spa is a small but dynamic resort located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. More >

Great Keppel Island

Fringed by 17 miles of stunning beaches and bays, Great Keppel Island is a fun-loving resort for couples, families and travellers of all ages. More >

Green Island

Green Island is a coral cay northeast of Cairns in Tropical North Queensland.. More >

Haggerstone Island

Haggerstone Island is located about 600 kilometres north of Cairns alongside the rugged Cape York Peninsula. More >

Hamilton Island

Perfectly situated in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, nestled among the Whitsunday Islands, Hamilton Island offers an experience like no other. More >

qualia, Hamilton Island

An exclusive world-class luxury resort, qualia is nestled into the secluded, northern tip of Hamilton Island, surrounded by the unsurpassed beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. More >

Hayman Island

Australia's most awarded 5-star resort surrounded by coral fringed beaches. More >

Heron Island

Heron Island is a true coral cay, located right on the Great Barrier Reef. More >

Lady Elliot Island

The southern most of the Great Barrier Reef Islands, Lady Elliot is a true coral cay and one of the premier eco-tourism experiences in Australia. More >

Lizard Island

Outstanding in every respect, the unique pleasures of Lizard Island have created an idyllic retreat second to none. More >

Long Island

Hammocks swinging under palm trees, golden sandy beaches, gentle waves lapping at the shore and miles of tropical rainforest to explore: welcome to Long Island Resort More >

Orpheus Island

Imagine waking up in one of the world’s most exclusive private island destinations. More >

Wilson Island

Wilson Island is a tiny coral cay located just 40 minutes from Heron Island. More >


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