As one of the largest living structures on our planet, the Great Barrier Reef is now a World Heritage listed area.
The Reef spans across 2,300 kilometres and is home to tens of thousands of marine life species, including colourful fishes and corals as well as turtles, dolphins and whales.
Snorkelling and diving experiences in the Great Barrier Reef bring you one step closer to being in paradise. With an abundance of marine life surrounding you, there are plenty of creatures to sight and discover in these crystal clear waters. From beginners to experts in both snorkelling and diving, there are parts of the Great Barrier Reef perfect for all levels allowing everyone to enjoy the wonders of this pristine underwater world.
To experience the best of the Great Barrier Reef, you will have to know where to go to get the best views based on what you want to do. Read on to discover the best beaches to explore that will take you right to the vast expanse of the Great Barrier Reef.
The start of your Great Barrier Reef adventure
Instead of heading to the overcrowded tourist hotspots such as Airlie Beach or the Whitsunday Islands, begin your Great Barrier Reef adventure at Bowen instead.
A quieter town that offers the absolute best of the Great Barrier Reef, Bowen is surrounded by a magnificent coastline of beautiful beaches, all of which have their very own charm offering something unique and special for everyone who visits.
From secluded sanctuaries to safe spots to swim, snorkel or dive in the Great Barrier Reef, you will be able to find your bliss in Bowen.
Known for being the most iconic beach in Bowen, Horseshoe Bay is protected by two granite outcrops providing a haven for an abundance of different species of fish and coral not far from the sands.
The crystal clear waters and magnificent marine life makes Horseshoe Bay a top spot for snorkelers and divers alike. When visiting, make it a point to explore Bywa, which is a 3.4 metre high underwater sculpture forming part of the Whitsundays Ngaro Underwater Marine sculpture trail.
A little bay with an unbelievable view, Rose Bay offers a serene landscape of Gloucester Island's magnificent peaks beyond the ocean views forming part of the Great Barrier Reef.
Visit during low tide and explore the rock pools filled with corals and sea creatures. Go for a snorkel or dive by the shoreline and enjoy the reef that's filled with life.
Conveniently located between Horseshoe Bay and Rose Bay, Murrays Bay is one of the more secluded beaches by the Great Barrier Reef. Due to the lower foot traffic whilst still offering absolute natural magnificence, a snorkel or dive here will be a treat for those looking to explore the Reef.
Things to do in Bowen
The Great Barrier Reef isn't the only epic find you can come across when in Bowen. Given how a fantastic adventure heavily relies on how happy your stomachs are, a drop in to the Grand View Hotel for a hearty meal will set you up for the perfect Great Barrier Reef exploration.
A local favourite that has quickly won many visitors' hearts, there isn't a better place to be for a spectacular waterfront view with live music to entertain your night away. The restaurant cooks up local produce and freshly caught seafood by highly skilled chefs while you are cared for by exceptional waiting staff who are passionate about what they do. Irresistible juicy steaks, authentic spaghetti primavera, beef cheeks that melt in your mouth, and freshly made desserts are among the many options available at the Grand View Hotel.
Oh, and just some fun trivia for you, the Grand View Hotel was featured in the blockbuster movie 'Australia' starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman. Thanks to its vintage, classic looks that date back to a True Blue Australian heritage, the Grand View Hotel is an iconic landmark in Bowen that every visitor should step foot into.