Northern Great Barrier Reef
From Cape York to Hinchinbrook

Map of the Great Barrier Reef

The Northern Great Barrier Reef is an amazing part of one of Australia’s most amazing locations, impressive in both its grandeur and its minute details.

Spanning most of the east coast of Queensland, from north of the tip of Cape York, to just south of Bundaberg, the Great Barrier Reef is a massive 300,000 square kilometres in size. The area, scattered with beautiful islands and idyllic coral cays full of wildlife, is made up of more than 3000 reefs which range in size from 1 hectare to over 10,000 hectares.

Cape York Peninsula Region.

Cape York Peninsula (at the tip of the northern Great Barrier Reef) is a sparsely populated, relatively untouched wilderness area, its rugged coastline pointing towards New Guinea with the eastern side of Cape York fringed by the coral gardens of the Great Barrier Reef.

The reef in this region is spotted with many unspoiled islands, with only a few island resorts such as the luxurious resort on Lizard Island located 240 kilometres north of Cairns and 27 kilometres off the coast of North Queensland. Lizard Island is a National Park with 24 sandy beaches and a lagoon.

Further north is one of northern Great Barrier Reef’s truly hidden treasures; Haggerstone Island is a remote island getaway, 600 kilometres north of Cairns, where an escape back to nature is guaranteed.

Photo: Haggerstone Island, Great Barrier Reef

The scenery along Cape York’s coast is as spectacular as the reef itself, like Cape Melville National Park, a remote, rugged and diverse park with wild coastal views and impressive geological formations and wildlife.

Cooktown is the northernmost town on the east coast of Australia, located at the mouth of the Endeavour River and is a popular tourist destination. People visiting the town enjoy the historical connections, the delightful tropical environment, and use it as an access point to the Great Barrier Reef, the Lakefield National Park, and for fishing.

Cairns Region.

Cairns is a regional city located about 1700 km north of Brisbane, between the Coral Sea and the Great Dividing Range. This northern Great Barrier Reef city is a popular travel destination for foreign tourists because of its access to the Cairns International Airport, its tropical climate, its proximity to many attractions, and its the only place in the world where two World Heritage areas exist side-by-side.

One of the mainland features of this region is the Daintree National Park with its Skyrail, showcasing, just metres above the rainforest canopy, 7.5 kms of the impressive, ancient wet tropics park. Having been preserved while the broader region evolved over millions of years, the Cape Tribulation/Daintree region is recognised throughout the world as a major centre of plant and animal diversity.

Photo: The Skyrail at Daintree National Park, Queensland

Approximately 80 kms north of Cairns, Port Douglas is home to some of Tropical northern Great Barrier Reef’s most exclusive resorts and a world class marina. From the marina, reef operators travel daily to the Low Isles, Agincourt Reef and further away to sites up north like the Cod Hole near Lizard Island.

Heading down the coast, from Port Douglas past Cairns, the reef attractions include Green Island and Fitzroy Island (both popular places for day trippers), Frankland Island and The Bernard Islands. Further south, off the coast of Mission Beach and Tully, are the Family Islands.

Surrounded by coral reefs, tidal flats and sandy beaches, the Family Islands are a chain of stunningly scenic continental islands, extending approximately 14km in length off the coast of Mission Beach.

Dunk Island is probably the best known of all of Great Barrier Reef’s tropical islands and is the largest of the Family Islands. Dunk Island is situated about 4.5 km offshore from Mission Beach and is covered by a 730 ha National Park and an airstrip, resort, 18 hole course & farm situated in the north-west side of the island covering the remaining 240 ha .

South from Dunk Island is the privately owned island resort, Bedarra Island. An island of pure indulgence, Bedarra Island is Australia’s most exclusive resort, a private tropical haven. Bedarra and Dunk Islands are surrounded by other smaller islands, the “children” in the Family Island group. Some of these islands are national parks, and can be accessed for camping and bush walking.

Photo: Hinchinbrook Island, Great Barrier Reef

Just off the coast of Cardwell, Hinchinbrook Island is the largest island National Park in Australia, with its only permanent lodging on the island, located at Cape Richards at the northernmost tip. All located on the eastern side, the beaches of Hinchinbrook Island are spectacular.

Continue to the central region of the Great Barrier Reef.

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greatbarrierreef.org is a 'Web Magazine' website that is dedicated to all things related to the Great Barrier Reef. We are passionate about Australia's great natural wonder, its vast marine life, its golden sun-kissed beaches, its warm turquiose waters and the unforgetable experiences that are waiting for all who visit. Our aim is to discuss the Great Barrier Reef, its history, its environment, its marine life and its spectacular destinations. We hope that this website will inspire all who visit, just as much as the Great Barrier reef has inspired us.

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