Great Barrier Reef Hat-trick

Lady Elliot Island, Great Barrier Reef. Tourism and Events Queensland

Looking for more than just high-octane sport? Then head over to the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef system on the planet, for the experience of a lifetime. The Reef is accessible from Australia's sixth largest city, the Gold Coast in Queensland. During the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, visitors, can make a beeline to take in the sights and sounds of marine life, like they've never seen or heard before. Here's how:

Lady Elliot Island

Lady Elliot Island, a coral cay located at the southern tip of the Reef, 80 kilometres north-east of Bundaberg and north of Fraser Island, is an ideal pit stop for visitors. It is situated in a highly-protected 'Green Zone', given that it's home to over 1200 species of marine life - including an abundance of manta rays, turtles, reef sharks and unspoiled coral reef.

A 41-room Eco Resort provides guests with a range of comfortable accommodation options, with each suite and cabin designed to minimise the impact of humans on nature, while also educating visitors about the fragile ecosystem surrounding them.

There's enough here to whet your appetite for adventure. It's one of the best diving sites in the world. If you don't want to get your hair wet, hop aboard a glass bottom boat to see what lies beneath. The island is accessible by air, with flights departing daily from the Gold Coast.

The cupid experience

Cupid, it seems, fell in love with the Great Barrier Reef, as is evident from a stunning composition of coral naturally formed into the shape of a heart, thus prompting the name Heart Reef. The 74 Islands of the Whitsundays is home of the iconic Whitehaven Beach. A private charter yacht or a sailing day trip around the islands will allow visitors a chance to admire Mother Nature in all her glory. For those interested in swinging the iron, Dent Island will give golf lovers an opportunity to master their swing, as opposed to dipping into the turquoise clear ocean metres away. For the perfect island experience, stay at one of the many accommodation options at Hamilton Island.

On the mainland, there's also Airlie Beach, which is covered with palm trees, outdoor markets, sparkling lagoons, walking trails, restaurants, bars and nightclubs aplenty. Fly from Brisbane Airport - which is an hour's drive from Gold Coast city - to Proserpine Airport on the mainland or to Hamilton Island.

World Heritage List double act toCairns - The Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef

Australia is known as a land of natural beauty, and a visit to Cairns is a must on every visitor's to-do list. The city is a two-and-a-half-hour flight away from the Gold Coast. It lies in close proximity to the north Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, which is home to the most extensive array of rare plants and animals on earth. The Reef is accessible within 45 mins catamaran ride to Green Island & Fitzroy Island -- one can enjoy the Reef even without getting one's hair wet through experiences like sea walker, glass bottom boat and semi- submersibles. Day cruises depart daily from the Reef Fleet terminal, that visit pontoons on the outer barrier reef and the islands. One has the option to even stay over on a pontoon in the Great Barrier Reef.

For this and much more information on Gold Coast & Queensland, visit: www.queensland.com