My boyfriend and I are flying into Cairns for 4 nights in June but are not sure where to stay to access the best dive sites. We probably won't scuba dive all 5 days so we'd love access to nice beaches and other adventurous activities. I would love recommendations on areas to stay, hotels, dive sites/dive companies, and other fun things to do in the GBR for a young couple.
That's great you are going to visit the GBR! I lived in Australia for 5 years and now am a director of a travel company that sells exclusively to Oz and NZ.
In any case, if you are looking for tons of snorkeling and diving you best option is to stay on an island on the GBR. The value for money is Heron Island (but it's also a bird sanctuary, so may have a bit of a "funny" smell to it, and is also very popular with families so avoid school holidays. The best Luxe option is Lizard Island. The have the famous "Cod Hole".
If you're a land lover and don't want to fly out to an island than stay in Port Douglas and do day trips from there. They will take you to spots that have the best diving conditions on that particular day, but these reefs may not be as pristine and have a lot more people on the dive boats. Port Douglas Peninsula Boutique Hotel is a great option for here.
Hard core divers should look into a liveaboard, but that's not you.
Enjoy the reef and your time in Oz!
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