Time to make a memory: Reef spots not to be missed
ISLAND adventures, authentic seaside towns and world-class wildlife sanctuaries are some of the reasons everyone from movie stars to mums and dads holiday on the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
Here are six places for you to make some memories with families and friends.
KICK off your reef holiday at the gateway to the Capricorn Coast, a village-style town 25 minutes north-east of Rockhampton and located on magnificent Keppel Bay.
As you wander along the town's picturesque esplanade, where you'll find beachside cafes, boutiques, galleries and accommodation, you'll enjoy a backdrop of sparkling ocean dotted with offshore islands.
JUST 25 minutes north of Yeppoon, Byfield is a haven for lovers of craft as well as nature.
Beyond the beaches and the bay, the coastal vista gives way to rainforest, rugged mountains and cool streams.
Visit artists' studios and galleries or have a picnic at Waterpark Creek, host to ancient remnant rainforest with an enchanting variety of native birds and animals.
3. Keppel Group of Islands
TAKE your pick of 20 islands, of which the largest are Great Keppel and North Keppel.
Relax on white sandy beaches before plunging into waters brimming with tropical fish, dolphins and coral. Snorkel, dive or explore the bays on a sailing adventure.
4. Lady Elliott Island
PREPARE to cross swimming with turtles and manta rays off your list at this unspoilt coral cay 80km northeast of Bundaberg.
It's a nature lover's paradise: More than 1200 species of marine life, including green and loggerhead turtles, can be found in its protected 40ha "Green Zone".
5. Lady Musgrave Island
SPOT a whale, or unleash your inner ornithologist, on a 14ha coral cay.
This national park is home to abundant bird life, including Bridled Terns, Black-naped Terns, Buff-banded Rails and Sooty Oystercatchers, and in its waters there is an incredible diversity of sea creatures.
Lady Musgrave Lagoon's amazing colours and beauty are unsurpassed anywhere in the world.
6. Heron Island
START your day with a beautiful sunrise and end it with a spectacular sunset on this exclusive island for guests only (no day trippers).
Snorkel with a thousand colourful coral and reef fish right off the beach.
The clear, blue waters surrounding the island are a diver's paradise.