Great Barrier Reef Back to Australia


Courtesy Lizard Island

Few destinations can compete with the beauty and magnitude of this underwater jungle: the largest coral reef on the planet and one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World.

Cheat Sheet

  • Sleep…in a breezy, beach house–style room with an oceanfront balcony at The Beach Club
  • Experience… a soothing hot stone massage with 300 million-year-old rocks at Qualia’s spa
  • Eat…a delicious mix of Australian, Mediterranean and Asian fare at Lizard Island’s Salt Water Restaurant
  • See… the gorgeous swirling sandbars at Whitehaven Beach, known as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world
  • Learn…about the reef research programs at Lizard Island
  • Savor…. a sunset cocktail at The Beach Club’s private lounge
  • Splurge…. on a helicopter ride around the reef for breathtaking views of the area
  • Know… that as an Indagare member, you can contact our Bookings Team for customized recommendations.

Lay of the Land

Located off the coast of Queensland, this tropical paradise attracts millions of visitors each year to its brilliant blue waters, powder-sand beaches and incredible marine life. The area extends more than 100 square miles; filled with over 3,000 coral reefs and hundreds of postcard-perfect islands, the reef is known to offer some of the world’s best diving and snorkeling.

While most of these islands are uninhibited, the Whitsunday Islands—famous for their peaceful waters and lush rainforests—are situated directly off the Queensland Coast. Hamilton Island is the most notable of these isles, as the tiny, two-square-mile stretch of land packs a punch with a vibrant dining and shopping scene (this is where The Beach Club and Qualia Lodge are located).

Hamilton Island is a two-hour ferry ride from the Great Barrier Reef itself (otherwise referred to as the Outer Reef, which is the furthest region from shore), while Lizard Island is located only minutes from the Outer Reef. Still, guests need not travel to the Outer Reef to snorkel, as there are plenty of areas closer to both Hamilton and Lizard Island that are convenient for exploration.

Getting There

Travelers have the option of flying directly from Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne (Tullamarine); however, after international flight times that can be as long as 21 hours, visitors may appreciate a short layover (often in Asia). From Sydney or Melbourne, guests will connect to Cairns (and on to Lizard Island) or Hamilton Island, which has its own airport.

When to Go

The region’s peak season is from June to November, as these months offer utterly perfect weather with clear skies and temperatures in the 70s and 80s. Australian summer (December–March) should be avoided due to excessive rainfall and high temperatures.

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Beyond… Great Barrier Reef

Consider combining your trip with one of these destinations.

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