One of seven natural wonders of the world, the majestic Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living structure. Spanning 2300km in length, this natural amazement has 3000 individual reefs and covers 900 islands. Road tripping is the only way to experience the best the reef has to offer and cruising this amazing coastline makes a dream campervan holiday.
Here are the four best places and where to stay as you take in the Great Barrier Reef.
1. Low Isles:
Located 15km off the coast of Port Douglas. The Low Isles are surrounded by 55 acres of tropical reefs: over 150 types of coral, and an abundance of marine life and sea turtles, with many half-day and full-day tours offered. Snorkel this inner reef right from the pristine beaches, relax under a sun umbrella, or explore the island rainforest to discover the active lighthouse and museum. If you are lucky you may be a Dugong, also known as Manatees or Cow of the Sea. These slow-moving creatures are protected in Australia but are still near extinction and are still allowed to be hunted by Aboriginals for non-commercial use. What a great opportunity to see amazing sea mammal while we still can.
Where to stay: BIG4 Port Douglas Glengarry Holiday Park is located in the bustling tropical resort village of Port Douglas. Located between the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, there is an abundance of tours in the area to take in the scenery, check out the street markets, purchase indigenous art and relax on spotless beaches.
2. Fitzroy Island:
Located 29km from the mainland, off the city of Cairns, there are many options to take in the reef, but the pristine, unspoiled Fitzroy Island is the local’s favourite. Escape the hustle of city life and take in the laid-back island life, with glorious beaches surrounded by lush tropical rainforest. This is holiday heaven! Get on the water with a sea kayak, snorkel from the beach, walk the trails around the island, or stay dry and take in the reef on a glass-bottom boat tour.
Nudey Beach (which isn’t a nude beach at all, just to be clear) has been voted Australia’s number one beach. This small stretch of pristine white sand and coral is only a 15-minute walk from the ferry terminal. Start at the trail behind Foxy’s bar which will take you through tropical rain forests and coastal woodlands until it opens up onto exquisite white sands. Don’t forget to look around as you walk the trail as you are sure to see an abundance of wildlife. Only a few meters from the shore, in the shallow water, are coral reefs, brimming with marine life. Nudey Beach is the perfect spot for beginner swimmers to explore the coral reefs.
Where to stay: Stay at the NRMA Cairns Holiday Park, located right in the center of Cairns. Whether you are looking to relax by the pool, go on an adventure, or dance the night away, Cairns offers everything you are looking for.
3. Magnetic Island:
Located 8km off the mainland, this island is almost entirely a national park. Comprised of tropical rainforest ringed with secluded white sandy beaches, top-class snorkeling, a diving school, and over 24km of walking trails, this island is pure bliss. Get to know the locals, with over 2000 permanent residents, and relax into unhurried island life. Take in the wildlife with over 800 koalas living on the island. Named the sunniest place in Queensland, with over 320 days of sun a year, don’t miss the glorious sunsets.
Put on a pair of sneakers and hike the 1.5 hour Forts Walk trail. This trail takes you past forts that were active from 19430-1945 during the Pacific War. Keep your eyes open as you walk and you may see rock art or shell middens left behind from the Wulgurukaba people, who have lived on the island for thousands of years. On the way up the trail, you will get stunning views of Palm Island Group to the north and Bowling Green Bay National Park to the south. One of the top requests for people visiting Australia is to see a beloved Panda. If this is you, keep your eyes to the treetop and you may see dozens of pandas just hanging out.
Where to Stay: Book the ferry. The campervan is coming with you! Camp at Bungalow Bay Koala Village, famous for having its own wildlife sanctuary onsite. You will find it’s the only camping on the island. Spend a couple days taking in the relaxation of tropical island life with the added bonus of access to 23 secluded bays and beaches, all in the convenience of your own campervan.
4. The Whitsunday Islands:
Arguably one of Australia’s nicest destinations, consisting of 74 tropical islands and covered in dense rainforests and pristine beaches. You have reached paradise. Whitehaven Beach was voted the finest beach in Australia (maybe in the world!). With glistening white sand, a backdrop of tropical rainforest, combined with the warm clear waters, and an underwater wonderland, you will quickly see why this is a favourite. Filled with an abundance of wildlife, and hundreds of different fish, take in the stunning postcard views with a half-day to multi-day catamaran trip!
Where to Stay: Airlie Beach is the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands. You will find a bustling beach scene and something for everyone. Relax on the beach, treat yourself to great dining options, or join the backpacker’s party scene. Stay at the Airlie Beach Holiday and Caravan Park and take in the tropical paradise. You will be surrounded by kangaroos, parrots, rainbow lorikeets, and a water park on-site. Centrally located, you can book your Whitsunday Island Adventure right at their front desk.
From Port Douglas to Airlie Beach you will take in the best of the Great Barrier Reef. You will cover almost 700 km of this amazing coastline, making this the trip of a lifetime! Rent your Campervan today and get ready to head to paradise!
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