5 Things for Families to Do on the Great Barrier Reef

You may think that the Great Barrier Reef isn’t some place you can travel to with small children, but there are plenty of family friendly options available. The whole family can have fun and explore one of the most exciting places in Australia and one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Since the Great Barrier Reef is so large, it covers so much ground and that leaves options for families wanting to see the marine wonders it holds. You can hire a Budget Rent a  Car  so that you can get to the different port cities along the reef in Queensland. Here are 5 family friendly options when visiting the Great Barrier Reef.

Daydream Island

Daydream Island is located in the Whitsunday Islands, an archipelago on the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. There is so much on Daydream Island geared for kids and families like the white sand beaches and kid-friendly resort with plenty of activities that the whole family can enjoy. However, the big draw here has to be the Living Reef.

Great barrie reef activities

This is an outdoor man-made aquarium that allows guests of all ages the chance to experience the marine life of the Great Barrier Reef without venturing out into the deep. Instead, the aquarium features a shallow wading pool with over 60 species of coral and more than 100 types of marine life like sea turtles, stingrays, baby sharks, clown fish, barramundi, and more.

Glass Bottom Boat Ride

Great Barrier glass bottom boat rides


Each of the port cities along the Great Barrier Reef offers various different boating excursions out onto the reef. Most of those port cities have an option for a glass bottom boat ride where you can see everything under the water without having to swim in it. One thing that can be even better and more educational about a glass bottom boat ride is that the guide can tell you all about the beautiful marine life you are seeing and even point out some things you might have missed.


Island Excursions

Great barrier reef island excursions

Rather than taking a boat charter out to parts of the reef, many families enjoy using one of the many Great Barrier Reef islands as a base for enjoying the waters of the reef. Some islands, like Low Isles near Port Douglas are great for spending a day on the beach and the shallow waters surrounding the island. Other islands like Hamilton Island, Heron Island, and many of the islands in the Whitsundays have resorts on the island where you can stay overnight and spend even more time with the nature of the reef.




There are things to do in each of the major port cities on the Great Barrier Reef, but Townsville really has a great variety of fun things for the whole family to do. Here is a list of family friendly places to visit in Townsville:

  • The Strand, which has the Rockpool and a water park. The Rockpool is a saltwater lagoon where kids can play in the Coral Sea without having to worry about deep water, waves, or riptides. The Strand also features pools, cafes, restaurants, a recreational park, and a jetty.
  • The Tropical Museum of Queensland: filled with exhibits all about Queensland with a special focus on the wildlife.
  • The Billabong Sanctuary: A wildlife refuge 17 km south of Townsville that focuses on an interactive experience with the wildlife on hand including kangaroos and koalas.
  • The Reef HQ Aquarium is the largest living coral reef aquarium. There are different exhibits showcasing the Great Barrier Reef. It is one of the best ways to see and learn about the reef without getting wet.

Rainforests of Northern Queensland

Australia train journeys

When you visit the tropical north of Queensland, there are two amazing rainforests that you shouldn’t miss. The Kuranda Rainforest is near the port city of Cairns and the Daintree Rainforest is near the port city of Port Douglas. Both of these special places are a great way to show your children the importance of nature. The Daintree Rainforest is the largest and oldest continuous rainforest left on the planet. Things to do in Cairns include walking trails, boating, fishing, hiking, bird watching, and eco-tours. The Kuranda Rainforest has several attractions including the Kuranda Scenic Skyrail and the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway where you can see the rainforest from above the canopy. Then there is the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, Birdworld Kuranda, the Kuranda Koala Gardens, Kuranda Riverboat Tours, and more. There is plenty to see and do in the rainforests that make a perfect addition to a Great Barrier Reef holiday.