To get to the Great Barrier Reef I flew from Townsville to Caines, then from Caines took a shuttle to Port Douglas. I really liked Port Douglas because it wasn't a backpacker town like a lot of the other places I went. Port Douglas is an affluent seaside community located next to the Daintree Rainforest. Port Douglas is a place that Australians actually vacation at themselves.
I stayed at the Port Douglas YHA and it is recently remodeled! It was very nice and walking distance to the main street.
The main street in Port Douglas is dangerous for your wallet because it is all amazing cute clothes and home stores that are all way to expensive, especially if you are a 22 year old back packer.
To get onto the Great Barrier Reef, you need to take a boat. There is a lot of companies for snorkeling and scuba diving. I really wanted to go to the rainforest too, and being without a car, I needed to book a tour.
I found Quicksilver Cruises & Daintree Rainforest tour combo so the first day I went scuba diving and the second day I took a bus tour of the rainforest. This was $400 Australian..which sounds expensive but scuba diving is really expensive and the package was cheaper than booking separate. A plus to the Quicksilver Cruises is the bus picks you up for both tours so you don't need a car to meet the tour.
The Daintree Rainforest tour included a crocodile river cruise where we saw 5 crocodiles in the wild. The bus tour was very luxurious. I have never seen a bus that nice and comfy.
The Quicksilver boat was state of the art. The staff was really knowledgeable and friendly. A lot of guests got sea sick! Be prepared.
The boat rents underwater cameras for $60. You get to keep the memory card. I loved it! Check out my photos