The only place in the world where you can swim with Dwarf Minke Whales, float over colourful giant clams and look for six of the world’s seven species of turtle, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef offers exceptional visitor experiences in North Queensland, the gateway to this World Heritage area.

Blue Carpet Anemone & Clownfish - Credit Frankland Island Cruises International Year of the Coral Reef

Blue Carpet Anemone & Clownfish – Credit Frankland Island Cruises

With 1625 species of fish, one-third of the world’s coral species and a mosaic of different reefs along its 2300 kilometre length, every day and night on the Great Barrier Reef delivers an incredible, memorable moment.

North Queensland’s eco-accredited Reef operators offer diverse ways to explore the Great Barrier Reef with diving, snorkelling, stand-up paddle boarding, helicopter flights, island getaways, helmet diving, kayaking, sailing, citizen science projects, live-aboard expeditions, semi-submersibles and marine biologist guided tours.

Here are a few of our favourites, for science nerds and adrenaline junkies alike:

Discover one of the best shark experiences in the world while diving with Mike Ball Dive Expeditions. The live-aboard expedition takes you to remote Coral Sea drop-offs that attract charismatic mega fauna and plunge thousands of metres into the ocean.

Follow a Quicksilver marine biologist on a snorkelling tour of Agincourt Reef to discover a white Damselfish that picks up coral pieces placed on his patch and spits them outside the boundary to keep his home clean.

Encounter a family of giant Potato Cod at the iconic Cod Hole on a Coral Sea adventure with Spirit of Freedom which includes the picturesque Ribbon Reefs. Check out the extraordinary coral towers, Olive Sea Snakes and spectacular array of colourful fish.

Join a scientist for access to rarely seen snorkelling sites at Lizard Island and learn first-hand about the challenges the Great Barrier Reef faces. There are just 12 spots on this expedition which includes a guided tour of the island’s research station.

Dive with sharks on a Mike Ball Expedition. Credit Mike Ball

Dive with sharks on a Mike Ball Expedition. Credit Mike Ball

Experience the regeneration of the Great Barrier Reef during the annual coral spawn after the full moon in November. Deep Sea Divers Den run seasonal night tours so you can dive or snorkel among tiny pink bubbles that will be tomorrow’s coral.

Sign up to be a citizen scientist for the day with Passions of Paradise. Join an accredited EcoGuide on a snorkelling tour to document the marine life you see for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority database.

Go underwater without getting wet on a Big Cat Green Island Cruises air-conditioned semi-submarine to see juvenile fish using the seagrass around Green Island as protection from predators including turtles and dugong.