Snorkel, swim and dive on one of the world's greatest natural wonders More Info

Reef Day Trips - Cairns

Many visitors to Cairns are overwhelmed with the number of operators who visit The Great Barrier Reef.

There are some boats that visit the Inner Reef or Sandy Cays. A sandy cay in all simplicity is the early stages of an island. Although they are not considered quality dive sites, they do provide an easy introduction to the Reef without entering 'deep water'.

Going beyond the sandy cays you will visit Outer Reef sites, which provide the best quality coral viewing. These tours are great for the enthusiastic snorkeler or diver. Most boats will visit 2 Outer Reef sites during the day with guests snorkelling and diving directly from the boat. The difference in prices are due to the speed of the boat, time spent in the water, number of sites the company is licensed to visit and number of passengers on board the boat.

Boats that travel out to Pontoons are a great Cairns family reef tour option, as they provide facilities and activities for all age groups and abilities; there will be options for glass bottom boats, semi-submersible boats, underwater observatories, little kids swimming enclosures and of course offer great snorkelling and diving opportunities.

Please feel free to contact us for local, friendly and honest advice in helping you to choose the most suitable Cairns Reef Tour.

3 Day Reef Pass


Rates from: $511.5

For those wanting to visit the Great Barrier Reef as much as possible in a variety of ways but do not want to stay out on the reef overnight during their stay in Cairns and/or Port Douglas . This company owns many boats, over 3 separate days you can visit the reef from a pontoon, sailing boat, island, or just go directly out to snorkel and dive various reef locations.

As they own vessels both in Cairns and Port Douglas it is excellent for people wanting to see the reef from 2 vantage points in Far North Queensland.

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3 Day Reef Pass on T6


Rates from: $705

Special - Pay the 6 dive price and upgrade to the 9 dives for free.

For those wanting to experience the Great Barrier Reef over multiple days but have their accommodation prebooked and don't want to sleep on a boat this is a perfect solution. You get the best boat, going to the best locations and save money when booking 3 days out. The added bonus is that they do not need to be consecutive days if you want to break up your reef days out with land based tours.

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CDC - SK - Outer Barrier Reef


Rates from: $140

This budget day boat is the MV Sunkist. Snorkel or dive the amazing Outer Great Barrier Reef! See spectacular coral gardens teaming with a vast array of marine life.  This vessel travels via Fitzroy Island on its way to and from the Outer Barrier Reef.  You will visit two reef locations within the Milln, Briggs, Moore, Thetford and Elford Reef sites.  Outer Barrier Reef day trip passengers are limited to 30 to maximise onboard comfort.

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DUD - 1 Day Outer Reef Tour


Rates from: $185

One of the fastest day trips to the true outer edge of the reef. Travelling onboard a twin hull wave piercer catamaran. You will spend more time underwater, less time travelling in this large, fast & sleek modern vessel. Relax in air-conditioned comfort on modern interior lounges or laze on the spacious sundecks. Enjoy an Aussie BBQ lunch including fish, steak, sausages, vegetarian options, tropical salads and pastas. Snorkelling is a standard inclusion, you can dive, go on the semi-submersible or take a helicopter flight for additional charge.



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GA - Green Island + Outer Barrier Reef Pontoon


Rates from: $262.5

The complete reef and island experience awaits with this exciting cruise. A fast 45 minute catamaran ride will take you to beautiful Green Island to enjoy two hours on this unique reef and rainforest coral cay. A day of adventure and discovery continues onto a spacious activity platform moored on the majestic Outer Great Barrier Reef.

The beauty of the Great Barrier Reef is yours to experience when you cruise to our mulit-level reef activity platform. Situated on the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef, our spacious platform features undercover seating and tables to enjoy a delicious buffet lunch, full bar facilities, a swimming enclosure for children, change rooms with freshwater showers, sundeck, and scuba diving facilities with a semi-submerged platform.

Discover what the Outer Barrier Reef has to offer from our exciting Reef Pontoon.

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GA - Outer Barrier Reef Pontoon


Rates from: $242.5

The beauty of the Great Barrier Reef is yours to experience when you cruise to our mulit-level reef activity platform. Situated on the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef, our spacious platform features undercover seating and tables to enjoy a delicious buffet lunch, full bar facilities, a swimming enclosure for children, change rooms with freshwater showers, sundeck, and scuba diving facilities with a semi-submerged platform.

Discover what the Outer Barrier Reef has to offer from our exciting Great Barrier Adventures Pontoon.  Helicopter scenic flights are available.

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GBR Heli - Reef Platform including helicopter flight


Rates from: $379

GBR Helicopters works in partnership with Reef platform Operators to offer great reef and flight packages.  You can cruise to the Outer Barrier Reef Platform and enjoy a 10 minute scenic helicopter flight from the platform and get a birds eye view of the Great Barrier Reef.  You can also choose to do a Fly/Cruise or a Cruise/Fly Package which includes a 25 minute scenic helicopter flight to or from the Platform.  You can also choose to do a Fly/Fly package. Reef Platforms also include activities such as glass bottom boat tours/semi-submersibale boat tours, snorkelling, underwater observatories and buffet lunch.

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Lizard Island Day Tour (AA)


Rates from: $766

Venture north for the day filled with some of the most spectacualr scenery between Cairns to Lizard Island.  Lizard Island is an exclusive private island offering the single most pristine snorkeling for the Great Barrier Reef, here you will enjoy a swim and snorkel along with a tasty tropical lunch.  After leaving Lizard Island we will fly over Cooktown and the Black Mountains as we continue our way back to Cairns.  Flying along the coast over dense World Heritage Rainforest, Bloomfield River, Daintree National Park and Port Douglas.

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Nautilus - Reef Cruise including helicopter flight


Rates from: $389

Nautilus Aviation work in partnership with the Evolution - Reef Cruise to offer great reef packages. You can choose from a Fly/Cruise half day trip, Fly/Fly half day trip or Cruise/Fly full day trip.



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Nautilus - Reef Pontoon including helicopter flight


Rates from: $489

Nautilus Aviation works in partnership with Sunlover Reef Pontoon to offer great reef and flight packages.  You can choose to do a Fly/Cruise, Cruise/Fly or Fly/Fly package which includes a 25 minute scenic helicopter flight to/from the Platform.  Sunlover's Reef Pontoon includes activities such as glass bottom boat tours/semi-submersible boat tours, waterslide, snorkelling equipment, underwater observatory, touch tank, enclosed kids pool, fish feeding demonstration and a buffet lunch.

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Nautilus Aviation - Secluded Sandy Cay Helicopter Tour


Rates from: $789

Enjoy a scenic flight from Cairns with spectacular views over the picturesque coral-studded sea before landing on a pristine sand cay in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. In absolute seclusion you can experience your very own piece of paradise. During this time you can relax on the pure white sand, enjoy a gourmet picnic hamper with refreshments and snorkel straight off the beach to discover the mystical coral gardens and tropical fish of the Great Barrier Reef.  You will then enjoy another flight over the reef and return to life as you once knew it!

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OFree - Inner Reef & Green Island


Rates from: $215

A quality sailing vessel carrying a maximum of 25 guests that travels to Pinnacle Reef and Green Island.  Our friendly attentive crew will ensure you have a personal and memorable experience.  Enjoy snorkelling off the boat, relaxing on the beach at Green Island, watch the fish feed demonstration, listen to an informative reef talk by our marine interpreter and enjoy the delicious lunch and a complimentary wine on the sail home.

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OFreedom - Upolu Cay + Great Barrier Reef Trip


Rates from: $215

Upolu Cay is a naturally formed coral cay situated 30 kilometers from Cairns on the Inner Great Barrier Reef and is the perfect location with protected, shallow waters from which to explore the reef snorkeling & scuba diving. The crew take you to Upolu Cay in less than an hour and is the first Great Barrier Reef tour to arrive at Upolu Cay, you will have over one hour to explore the Cay and surrounding reef uninterrupted.  

At the second reef site, the amazing "Wonder Wall" on the Outer Edge of Upolu Reef, view many different types of hard and soft coral in addition to fans, giant clams, turtles, a huge diversity and abundance of reef fish of all sizes, nemos everywhere! 

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OSpirit - Michaelmas Cay


Rates from: $212.5

Set sail aboard the beautiful 32 metre sailing catamaran, Ocean Spirit, to experience Michaelmas Cay’s unique reef environment - a pristine sand cay surrounded by fringing reef and a protected sanctuary for migratory seabirds. Your cruise will combine motor and sailing, depending on the day’s conditions.

Be active and enjoy all the included activities – snorkel in the cay’s protected shallow waters, cruise in the semi-sub for a diver’s view of the reef, watch the fish feeding presentation and observe the island bird life. Throughout the day, the “beach buggy shuttle” will transfer you between Ocean Spirit and the beach. To protect this renowned bird sanctuary, access on the cay is limited to the roped beach area. If you prefer a more leisurely day on the Great Barrier Reef, relax on the beach or onboard Ocean Spirit’s spacious decks. The choice is yours

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Overnight Fitzroy Island & Outer Reef Package (RT)


Rates from: $431.5

This is a great value overnight package that incorporates 2 days/1 night spent on the lovely Fitzroy Island, as well as a day visit to the Outer Barrier Reef.  You also have the option to upgrade to a 3 day/2 night package.

Day 1 - Ferry transfers, packed picnic lunch, snorkel gear, glass bottom boat tour, ocean trampoline, paddle skis, stand up paddle boards are all included for you - as well as 1 night accommodation at Fitzroy Island Resort. 

Day 2 - Visit the Outer Barrier Reef with Sunlover Reef Cruises who will pick you up directly from Fitzroy Island in the mid morning and travel to their Pontoon at Moore Reef.  Here you will enjoy snorkelling, glass bottom boat tour, semi submersible boat tour and buffet lunch before returning to Cairns  at 5.30pm.

Optional Extra Day/Night

Day 3 - You have the option to return to Fitzroy Island for a second night after your Sunlover Reef Cruise Trip on day 2, instead of remaining onboard through to Cairns.  This will give you not only an extra night/day on the Island, but also the use again of the snorkel gear, paddle skis and stand up paddle boards.  Fitzroy Island also has a turtle rehibilitation centre you can visit (own cost), and there are a variety of self guided walks you can do at the Island.

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POP - Outer Barrier Reef


Rates from: $189

JUNE SPECIAL: $219PP - INCLUDES SNORKEL + 1 INTRO OR CERTIFIED DIVE

Experience the adventure of snorkelling, diving and sailing on the Great Barrier Reef on our lovely and spacious sailing vessel. The high-performance catamaran sails daily from Cairns to two Outer Barrier Reef locations where you can dive and snorkel with turtles, colourful fish and see an amazing variety of corals.


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RDT - Inner Upolu Reef


Rates from: $149

This is a lovely family owned sailing vessel that carries 20 passengers maximum and visits Upolu Reef. Being a sailing vessel it is a casual day trip with a focus on socialising with other passengers, making new friends and eating great food whilst visiting the reef.

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RE - Outer Barrier Reef


Rates from: $205

A great value day tour to the Great Barrier Reef.  Their "all inclusive" price provides guests with breakfast, lunch, fruit platters, tea/coffee, snorkelling equipment, unlimited snorkelling at 2 reef locations directly off the rear of the vessel in the open ocean, guided snorkel tour, up to 6 hours at the reef, scuba dive (intro or certified) including all dive equipment, wetsuits/lycra suits, glass bottom boat tour, marine biology presentation, glass of wine,cheese and crackers on return journey, taxes and levies, and bus transfers to and from Cairns City based hotels.

 

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RE TOP DECK CLUB - Outer Barrier Reef


Rates from: $305

For those looking for a journey to the reef with a touch of luxury and extra service, an upgrade to the exclusive Top Deck Club is just the thing.

Your day trip commences with boarding at 7:30am at the Marlin Jetty in Cairns for a delicious breakfast. We then cruise to the Great Barrier Reef, where we spend up to 6 hours snorkeling, scuba diving and visiting 2 spectacular reef locations with lunch also included. You can also partake in the glass bottom boat tour with full commentary and onboard enjoy the Marine Biologist presentation about the reef, coral and marine life.

Top Deck Club passengers also receive a personal valet, personal in-water guide, a la carte breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea and access to reserved seating in the Captain's Wheelhouse Top Deck Lounge.

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RM - Outer Barrier Reef Pontoon


Rates from: $220

This trip offers a full 5 hours to dive and snorkel at a fantastic outer Barrier Reef platform. Suitable for any individual, family or group looking for great value for money during their ultimate outer reef diving or snorkeling experience. The day includes access to the glass bottom boat tours and semi-submersible tours which depart from the platform multiple times throughout the day. The vessel is an air-conditioned fast and stable catamaran with a fully licensed bar, comfortable seating and spacious outer decks. 

 

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RQ - 1 Day Outer Barrier Reef


Rates from: $200

JUNE SPECIAL:

Book adult snorkel and get 1 FREE intro dive (subject to medical conditions and limited specials available per day)

A long standing company in Cairns who offer a great day out on the outer Barrier Reef whilst giving you the opportunity to do up to 3 dives and unlimited snorkelling at two different locations. This is a new modern vessel "Reef Quest" that allows up to 4 hours at the Reef and our locations have superb coral formations and abundant colourful marine life. Takes a maximum of 80 passengers.


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SKED - Half Day Outer Reef Tour


Rates from: $130

Cairns only half day outer reef trip on a super fast, jet powered boat. Get 2 hours of snorkel time at the outer reef in half a day. This is a snorkel only boat, no dives or meals are offered on board.  Maximum of 36 passengers.

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SL - Half Day Barrier Reef Pontoon (Arlington Reef)


Rates from: $150

Arlington Reef Half Day Tour provides visitors with access to one of the largest reef systems in the Marine Park. Visitors will be among the first to re-discover this little known location from a newly renovated, activity pontoon on the Great Barrier Reef.

Take advantage of the free inclusions during the 3 hours at the pontoon, such as all snorkelling equipment, fish feeding, fully enclosed children's pool, an underwater observatory touch tank presentation to get up close with marine life, plus enjoy a light lunch.

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SL - Outer Barrier Reef Pontoon (Moore Reef)


Rates from: $229

JUNE SPECIAL - CRUISE + INTRO OR HELMET DIVE:  $279 PER ADULT / $189 PER CHILD

A fantastic day on the Great Barrier Reef suitable for all types of people with different requirements, especially good for groups and families with younger children. This company offers four (4) hours at the pontoon. A large twin hulled catamaran moors against a fixed pontoon (not floating), from the pontoon there is easy access into the water that has a large roped off snorkelling area with rest stations to hang on to. This pontoon offers a glass bottom boat and semi submersible, waterslide, guided snorkel tours, certified diving, introductory diving, helicopter tours and helmet diving. There is a touch tank presentation to experience the amazing feel of the 'safe' underwater marine life.

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SQ - Outer Barrier Reef


Rates from: $160

A long standing company in Cairns who offer a great day out on the outer Barrier Reef whilst giving you the opportunity to do up to 2 dives and unlimited snorkelling at two different locations. Our locations have superb coral formations and abundant colourful marine life.


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SS (Star) - Michaelmas Cay & Hastings Reef


Rates from: $215

Travelling with 36 passengers maximum, is a twin hulled wave piercer catamaran that visits 2 sites and provides a personalised small group tour to the Great Barrier Reef. This company is licensed to visit Michaelmas Cay and Hastings reef.  Included in your day is snorkelling equipment, guided snorkel tours, wet suits/lycra suits, prescription mask, two glass bottom boat tours, morning/afternoon tea and tropical lunch.  introductory diving and certified diving are available for an addional cost.

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SS (swift) - Outer Barrier Reef


Rates from: $226.5

A modern 29 metre high speed catamaran and is the only Cairns reef trip to visit 3 different Outer Barrier Reef locations in the one day.  This day trip to the reef is designed for adventure-minded people who wish to revel in the thrill of diving and snorkelling without compromising their comfort.  State-of-the-art computerised ride control stytems and travel speed of 32 knots ensures you a smoother, faster ride to the Great Barrier Reef.

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T6 - Premium Outer Barrier Reef


Rates from: $210

SPECIAL - 3rd Certified Dive FREE (valid limited time) - Please Enquire

Cruise to the Great Barrier Reef on board Cairns latest and most stylish reef catamaran, the T6. You will be one of just 60 guests to enjoy a day spent exploring magical coral gardens at two selected outer reefs. This is the only day vessel licenced to choose from 16 outer reef locations. Their onboard dive professionals offer friendly instruction for snorkellers, first time divers and experienced divers.

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T6 Snorkel & Dive: Exclusive Day Charters


T6 is Cairns newest reef cruising vessel and is available for private charter for your special day on the reef with your family, friends, or company group. Charters are customised to your requirements and can include island or coral cays visits as well as various sites on the outer reef.

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Tusa Dive: PADI 2 Day Referral Course


Rates from: $720

If you have completed your PADI pool and theory, you can join us for 2 day trips to the reef to complete your 4 training open water dives.  T6 is considered a premium motoring vessel that can carry 120 passengers, yet this company caps the number of passengers at 60 per day, therefore it only ever goes 50% full. This ensures ample seats for everyone and personalised service from the crew.  They are also the only Cairns day boat that is licensed for 16 sites, enabling the skipper to selectively choose the best 2 sites for you on the day. This equates to visiting higher quality reef sites as the company is dispersing less people over more reef sites every day, which slows the human impact on the sites.

 

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XPASS - Experience Co (RT)


Rates from: $349

The EXPASS gives you the ultimate savings on a variety of different packages. Package can include a 14,000ft Cairns Skydive, a full day or half day of White Water Rafting, a full day Outer Reef Cruise onboard Reef Magic or Calypso, a day on Fitzroy Island or Green Island, Canyoning Experience, Sea Kayaking or Hot Air Ballooning.  These packages are great value for those wanting an adventure packed Cairns holiday.

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