4th February 2015
One of the world's most famous and most popular natural attractions, the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef is a must-see on any visit to Tropical North Queensland. However, being located out in the middle of the ocean, it's not like you can exactly stay close to the Great Barrier Reef. Or can you? While you might not be drifting off to sleep on the waves, there are a number of Great Barrier Reef accommodation options located close to some of the most popular departure points for trips to the reef.
Cairns is renowned as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and as such offers an excellent range of accommodation options both in Cairns city itself as well as the Northern Beaches area. Close to a variety of shopping and dining options as well as activities and other attractions, the lovely waterfront accommodation options ensure there's plenty more to enjoy aside from the reef. Just 20 minutes from Cairns, Palm Cove also offers a variety of accommodation options along with a charming village atmosphere. Not quite as busy as Cairns, Palm Cove accommodation also offers more options to suit a range of budgets.
A little further north of Cairns, Port Douglas is a scenic coastal spot that also offers easy access to the Great Barrier Reef and is known for its charming, old world tropical vibe. A holiday mecca, it also offers a world class range of shopping and restaurants. Unsurprisingly, accommodation on the outer lying islands is a popular choice and is one of the closest accommodation options to the reef itself. Although often appreciated for their relaxing remoteness, Orpheus Island, Lizard Island, Green Island, Fitzroy Island, Haggerstone Island and Daydream Island are sometimes avoided by those who prefer the freedom of the mainland and all its options.
For those after a true nature and wilderness experience, the accommodation options of the Daintree, Gulf Savannah, Outback, Cook Town and Cape York Peninsula offer a unique take on the traditional reef experience. Surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, arid outback plains, mountain ranges, swamps, forests, grasslands, mighty rivers and woodlands, these alternative destinations aren't your typical beachside Great Barrier Reef holiday experience but they are certainly extremely rewarding and well worth the slightly longer trip.