For all its fame and sea life, it's no secret that the Great Barrier Reef is losing its luster to bleaching and tourism. Still, the further north you go from the hotspots of the Whitsunday Islands and Cairns—the two main GBR jumping-off points along Australia's eastern coast—the more locals like to boast about the improved conditions of the GBR, and for good reason.
But none of the off-the-beaten-path beach towns along the mainland can compete with the undeveloped tracts of Cape York Peninsula, at the very northeastern tip of the continent. Even the heartiest Aussie will admit that this land is truly out there. It's accessible only via puddle-jumper planes and dirt roads suitable solely for 4x4s, but for those divers and fishermen looking to taste the waters of the GBR as they were a century ago, this is truly the best bet. However, the clock's ticking as Australia's big-money mining companies eye the remote region for possible development for bauxite mines. Now's the time to go.