Day Tours  Great Barrier Reef From Cairns

Great Barrier Reef Day Tours

Day Tours to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef,  A trip to Cairns is not complete without spending a day out on the Great Barrier Reef. There are a number of options that are available to the visitor.


Island Tours

A few of the tour companies offer trips to the islands such as Green Island. These trips are basically land based except for the transportation.

They are excellent for those who want some beach time as Cairns proper does not have any beaches. When looking for one of these trips, pay close attention to what is included in your package.

The packages vary between companies and a single company may offer a number of different packages. Ensure that the package you are getting include the activities that you wish.

Snorkeling is often an activity that is included and it is done from a shore location. These trips are often available as either full day or half day trips.

A 9 am departure and a 1 pm departure are the most common times from Cairns and noon and 4 pm from the island back to Cairns. The island also have restaurants that provide meals if you did not have it included in your package.


Outer Reef Tours

Trips to the outer reefs are full day trips and generally provide a full day of snorkeling on two different outer reefs of the Great Barrier Reefs.

The outer reefs are a ninety minute or so journey from the harbour in Cairns.

The vessels leave a little earlier that the ones to the islands with an 7:30 boarding time and a 8 am departure most common for the day tours. Each company have their own permanent moorings approved by the Great Barrier Reef Park Authority., and they are encouraged to share the mooring with other vessels when they are not using them.

The moorings will only accept one vessel at a time and the moorings are considerable distance apart so the reef dive sites are not over crowded.  As you will be on-board the entire day, these trips include lunch as well as snorkeling equipment as a part of the basic fare.

Scuba diving is also available on these trips and some of the companies even offer snorkelers the opportunity to try a scuba dive with a resort dive program.

Reef Tours to suit Everyone

Compass Cruises the best value on the Great Barrier Reef

Offerings do differ, On the Compass Cruise vessel guest are provided a tropical buffet lunch while the boat is relocating from the morning reef location to an afternoon reef location, in total the compass will spend five hours on the reef.

Before heading back to the mainland there is an activity called boom netting. A large boom net is attached to rear of the vessel and guest enter the water and select a spot on the net to hold on too. Once everyone is settle the boat starts to tow the new and since they are holding on the guest as well. After the boom netting is complete this day tour heads back to port with a wine and cheese party en-route.

This package is offered for $109. Scuba divers can dive with an additional fee of just $55 per dive.

Reef Experience Cairns Only all inclusive reef tour

Another example of a Cairns day tour to the reef is the MV Reef Experience owned by a sister company of the Compass Cruises. The MV Reef Experience is a high speed catamaran that also provides full day trips to the outer reef.

They also start at about the same time in the morning but once you are on-board breakfast is served.   On the way towards the reef and the first location of the day, the teams Marine biologist will give a lecture for any of those who wish to find out more about the reef and what they may expect to see that day. The Day tour on this vessel includes a free scuba dive.

Certified divers are able to dive on either reef location or may purchase an additional dive and have a two dive day. Tour guest who are not certified divers have the opportunity for a resort dive. A resort dive is a short lesson followed by a tour of the reef with an instructor. The resort dive is dome on the same sites as the certified diver is using.

It may be a little shallower as the resort dive is limited to 10 metres. After the first water great-barrier-reef-fishsession, lunch is served that has been freshly prepared on board.

During lunch the MV Reef Experience relocated to a second reef and a new dive experience. After the second dive the vessels heads back to port while the guest sip wine and enjoy cheese and fruits.


Reef Sailing Tour

Enjoy a full day sailing tour to Michaelmas Cay, Ocean Spirit if a 32 metre luxury sailing catamaran

4 hours on the Great Barrier Reef, Fishing feeding presentation, snorkeling, Marine Biologist presentation, semi-submersible coral viewing with commentary

This tour is perfect cruise for bird watchers


 Reef Pontoon

Spend a glorious day visiting the outer Barrier Reef, from our reef pontoon you can snorkel, scuba dive, take a glass bottom boat tour and a scenic helicopter flight

A Reef Pontoon is great for everyone including non swimmers, elderly, wheelchair uses who would like to experience the Great Barrier Reef

Land Based Day Tours

Many divers like to take a break after two or three days of scuba diving. Cains has a number of great alternated activities that are sure to please.

You can visit another UNESCO World Heritage site, this one in the rainforest above Cairns. Visit the village of Kuranda  taking the scenic railroad in one direction and the skyrail in the other. For something a bit wilder, how about skydiving? Whatever you chose your day tour on land will be as rewarding as your day tour on water.