Where Is the Great Barrier Reef?

The Great Barrier Reef is legendary and should be on everyone’s bucket list. If you’ve seen the incredible footage and are now subsequently planning your next adventure, you be wondering “where is the Great Barrier Reef located?”


Well don’t you worry, we will cover everything you need to know about the Great Barrier Reef and how you can plan your next holiday to explore this amazing wonder of the natural world.


At Wings Sailing Charters Whitsundays, we are passionate about delivering the best experiences for you on the Great Barrier Reef. Our charters and packages provide you with second to none experiences visiting this natural wonder. If you’re ready to book an adventure of a lifetime, check out our range of Great Barrier Reef Cruises and Great Barrier Reef Tours available now!


To put it simply, The Great Barrier Reef is amazing. It is considered one of the world's seven natural wonders and can even be seen from space! Because of its natural beauty, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations. As the world's largest coral reef, it boasts over 3000 individual reef systems and is home to an immensely diverse array of sea life, coral and marine vegetation. So, where is the Great Barrier Reef located?


The Great Barrier Reef resides in the Coral Sea off the coast of the Australian state of Queensland. Stretching across 2,300 kilometres, the northernmost point of the reef is located in the Torres Strait between Papua New Guinea and Australia, near Bramble Cay. The reef runs parallel to the Australian coastline to as far south as Lady Elliot Island near the Queensland town of Bundaberg.


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Where Is the Great Barrier Reef Located on a World Map?


The Great Barrier Reef is in Australia. Australia is located in the Southern Hemisphere with neighbouring countries such as New Zealand, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. As a large country (the largest island or continent in the world, depending on who you ask), it’s understandable to be wondering “So where is the great barrier reef in Australia?”. The Great Barrier Reef is located off the coast of Queensland in Australia. Queensland is the north-eastern state of Australia, located above New South Wales and Victoria.


If you wanted to know what the reef coordinates are, it would be 18.2871 degrees south and 147.6992 degrees east, but where is the Great Barrier Reef if you looked on a world map? Have a look below, and you will find out.


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Why Is The Great Barrier Reef Where It Is?


The warm tropical waters of Queensland with small islands and shallow pockets of water provide ideal conditions for coral to thrive. Although there is evidence of reef structures from 600,000 years ago, the current living reef structure is believed to have started forming around 20,000 years ago. The conditions that allowed this was a steady rising of sea levels that began to submerge small maritime plains and continental islands that, combined with the warm tropic waters, provided ideal conditions for various coral species to begin growing and forming the reef structures we see today.


Contrary to popular belief, corals are actually animals and not plants. Individual coral animals are known as Polyps which join together to form a skeleton. As Polyps die and new ones grow, the skeleton grows into what we see as coral reefs.


Fun Fact: Polyps are closely related to jellyfish!


How Can I See the Great Barrier Reef?


There are many ways to see the Great Barrier Reef, you can even see it from Space! Many people are drawn to the beauty and wonder of the Great Barrier Reef, but you can only experience the true magic of it by visiting.


Wings offer a number of great options to see the Great Barrier Reef, whether you want to get in the water or stay on the boat. We offer many tours that have viewing platforms and glass bottoms so you can see the magic of the underwater world without having to get wet.


All of our tours will take you to explore the awe-inspiring and beautiful waterways of the Great Barrier Reef. All our staff are passionate about the ocean, sharing their knowledge of the reef and ensuring its longevity for the years to come. No matter what package you choose, our expert team will provide you with informative information and guidance to get the most out of your experience.


The Beauty of the Great Barrier Reef is there are many extraordinary ways to experience one of the world's natural wonders. For those who want to get in the water, there are many great options for snorkelling. This is one of the best ways to experience the reef because where is the Great Barrier Reef full of life and beauty? Underwater!


Diving down into the deep blue sea, you will be revealed to a world unlike any other with an abundance of ocean life and marine scenery. Vivid colours of coral will capture your attention whilst a multitude of marine species are visible around the reef structures. You have the potential to see all shapes and sizes of marine life, from rays, turtles and dolphins to various species of fish and crustaceans.


Our Thundercat Adult day tour provides an all-inclusive trip where you can experience the amazing Great Barrier Reef with two snorkel stops at White Haven Beach and Hill Inlet Lookout. After immersing yourself in the magic of the underwater world, our purpose-built catamaran will take you to and from the various locations in comfort and style whilst our knowledgeable staff provide you with insights about the reef. The best thing about this tour is that we will take care of everything for you once you book. The tour provides a fully catered menu and snorkelling gear so you can enjoy your experience. If you ask “where is the Great Barrier Reef located?” We will be able to tell you: it’s right below your feet!


The Great Barrier reef is home to many beautiful islands and beaches you can sail around and visit. We have a permanently moored pontoon at Hardy Reef, where we offer our ReefSleep tour experience. There you can spend the whole day in and around the reef and stay the night underneath the stars and listening to the ocean. If you can’t stay the night, our Great Barrier Reef Adventures day tour will take you out for the full day, complete with snorkelling and a semi-submersible underwater observatory tour.


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Where Is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia?


Where Is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia? It’s all up and down the coast. Sailing around the Great Barrier Reef is another great way to experience and make your way around the beautiful waters of the Coral Sea. Our Wings Sailing Tour will welcome you aboard for two days and two nights, allowing for a fully immersive experience showing you the best of the tropical paradise that is the Great Barrier Reef.


What Is the Nearest City to the Great Barrier Reef?


Now that we know the answer to “where is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia?”, we can take a look at some of the cities that are close by. As the reef stretches up and down the entire coastline, there are many cities and areas provide access to the Great Barrier Reef. Brisbane, although furthest the biggest city in Queensland, is actually 300km south of the reef. This may be a great place to start or finish your holiday. If you want to see the reef, the best thing you can do is rent a car or catch a flight north!


The major towns and cities you will be able to access the reef from are:


  • Cairns
  • Port Douglas
  • Airlie Beach
  • Townsville
  • Bundaberg

If you were to ask, “where is the Great Barrier Reef best accessed from?”, many people would tell you about Airlie Beach. Airlie Beach is a beautiful location in the Whitsundays where you can access a number of experiences and tours to visit the Great Barrier Reef. We operate many of our tours out of Airlie Beach due to its proximity to the reef and being a great place for our guests to stay with many great hotels, restaurants, bars and stunning scenery.


Where Is the Great Barrier Reef Best Accessed Internationally?


For international visitors, the best place to fly into would be Cairns International Airport. Cairns receives international flights daily and is considered a gateway to the great barrier reef. You can book tours or experiences from there or choose to fly or drive up and down the coast to access the Great Barrier Reef from other cities like Port Douglas and Airlie Beach.


Wings Sailing Charters Whitsundays is a renowned award-winning tour operator providing many outstanding experiences from snorkelling day trips to liveaboard experiences on the Great Barrier Reef. Whether you are looking for your next adventure or a private luxury experience, we can provide packages to suit your needs.


Now that you know where is the Great Barrier Reef located and why is the Great Barrier Reef where it is, it’s time to visit! If you are still curious about the Great Barrier Reef and want to find out more or ready to book your next experience get in touch with us at Wings. Locals to the area of the Great Barrier Reef, we look forward to welcoming you to the area.