Insider's Guide to Cairns & the Tropical North

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Tropical Cairns puts you in the ideal position to enjoy the splendor and beauty of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef on the planet, covering an amazing 2,900 reefs, 900 islands and 2,600km (1,600 ... 

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Certified reviews by travelers like you.

Jason C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2016

Truly an experience you'll remember for the rest of your life. Everything was smooth and on time. We only snorkeled and did a snorkeling tour that was so worth the price. The tour guide was nice and extremely knowledgable. We actually went to Hanauma Bay after the reef because a friend said it was some of the best snorkeling on Hawaii and it didn't even come close to The Great Barrier Reef. Cairns, where we launched from, is a nice little touristy town with a couple things to do to keep you busy if you still have the energy when you get back from swimming.

I read that a number of people had complaints about how crowded the boat was, but in April he boat was maybe, MAYBE, half booked. That left a lot of open water for us to explore.

If I was going to give anyone tips about preparing, the two I would give are
1. If you have ANY motion sickness issues, get something for it or buy the 3 tabs they offer as soon as you get on board. A number of people were extremely ill because the waters near the shore were so choppy. One poor guy went through 6 vomit bags on the way back in.
2. Find out what people who snorkel you can find out online probably do to keep their masks from fogging up. Having to keep stopping to defog your mask will take away from your experience.

Doing what: Great Barrier Reef Cruise from Cairns

Brittany D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2016

This is a must do! The staff on board were great and there were so many of them that there was always somebody nearby to help. They took us to 2 reefs and both were absolutely beautiful and breathtaking. I don't think diving is necessary as you can see so much snorkeling but the divers had a great time too!

Doing what: Great Barrier Reef Diving and Snorkeling Cruise from Cairns

Rick F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2016

The boat is new and very clean and the staff are fantastic. even though the seas were very rough on the day we totally enjoyed the diving experience. The spots that they go out to on the reef are beautiful and full of colourful fish.

Doing what: Great Barrier Reef Diving and Snorkeling Cruise from Cairns

J

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2016

Great experience! 10 mis Heliflight 5 hours snorkeling only 250 AUD! YOU SHOULD NEVER MISS THIS.

Doing what: Great Barrier Reef Diving and Snorkeling Cruise from Cairns

Omotayo I

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2016

AWESOME EXPERIENCE I did the dive and my sister did the snorkel !!! NO COMPLAINTS, other than some food ran our before everyone was fedWOULD RECOMMEND TO FAMILY AND FIRENDS!!!

Doing what: Great Barrier Reef Diving and Snorkeling Cruise from Cairns

DANIEL

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2016

Tour muy bien organizado. El primer día sin un guía pero con traslados, viaje en el scenic train almuerzo, recorridos y vuelta en teleférico cronometricamente indicados en el brief. El segundo día se llega a la Barrera de Coral en una embarcación lujosa y con buenos servicios buffet. Incursiones con snorkel y buceo, a elección, muy divertidas. Todo el tour muy recomendable.

Doing what: 2-Day Best of Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef

Sarah

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2016

Simply amazing! First you get to ride in a brand new first class boat out to the reef. Then you get to snorkel or dive in two different locations - the best snorkeling in the world as far as I'm concerned. Even though there are lots of people this tour has everything very organized. It's easy to get away from the crowds once your in the water as well. You get plenty of time to swim with the fishes. Kuranda was also very nice. The scenic railway and riding the gondola were highlights for me!

Doing what: 2-Day Best of Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef

VICKY A R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2016

Crew was first class. Had everything organized between divers and snorklers. The reef was incredible and the food was very good. You could tell that customer service was a high priority for all employees.

Doing what: Great Barrier Reef Luxury Snorkel and Dive Cruise from Cairns

Barry H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2016

Great snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. Very professional crew. Safety conscious.

Doing what: Great Barrier Reef Diving and Snorkeling Cruise from Cairns

Linda T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2016

The tour was absolutely amazing!!! I highly recommend adding the helicopter flight to your day as well. The view is mesmerizing!!
The crew was incredibly professional and the vessel is brand new. Felt safe the whole time snorkeling and scuba diving. Thank you for a day I'll remember for the rest of my life!

Doing what: Great Barrier Reef Diving and Snorkeling Cruise from Cairns

Deb

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2016

I can't say enough about this tour except that I wish I had snorkeled two days instead of one! We went to 3 different dive sights and it was magnificent! The coral and the fish were beautiful! We also saw reef sharks. The crew were very helpful and knowledgeable. We enjoyed ourselves immensely!

Doing what: Outer Great Barrier Reef Dive and Snorkel Cruise from Cairns

David M G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2016

The helicopter was an excellent, very well-priced addition. The glass boat was quiet interesting too, although I wouldn't recommend paying extra for the marine biologist tour - it was all very rushed and not so informative, especially as much of the three-guest tour was wasted because I'd been given a mask that didn't fit me properly.

The food and wine was good though nearly missed it as there was no announcement when it was served, the staff were very organised and professional, and the snorkelling destinations were good we saw sharks, giant clams and even a turtle. The coral is quite colourful here and full of beautiful fish - better than you see in much of South East Asia where the reefs have been killed but tourists are still taken.

Doing what: Great Barrier Reef Diving and Snorkeling Cruise from Cairns

Garry L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2016

Tour was as advertised. Staff was friendly and helpful, even to the point of providing individual help to my wife who had never snorkelled before.

Doing what: Great Barrier Reef Diving and Snorkeling Cruise from Cairns

Carol J

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2016

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best, we would give it a 10!
The boat was brand new and amazing.
The staff was helpful and friendly.
The lunch was delicious and there was plenty of food.
There was ample time at each of the two dive/snorkel spots.
The coral was amazing.
They had a marine biologist on board who was very informative.
It couldn't have been better, plus we saw a sea turtle exactly like the one in the picture.
It was a marvelous day.

Doing what: Great Barrier Reef Diving and Snorkeling Cruise from Cairns

Andrina O

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2016

this 3 day pass is a big bang for your buck! on first day, i did the great adventure's outer great barrier reef at moore reef. the amount of marine life there is staggering. you will get to meet wally, the maori wrasse at the outer reefs. he's like a giant puppy- he likes getting petted and he follows swimmers around in the water.

on the second day, i hopped on the silverswift scuba diving boat to check out 3 different sites around flynn reef. it is a more intimate boat- unlike my cruise with great adventures' 150 passengers- this boat has no more than 85 folks. this is also the ultimate boat for divers- both certified and introductory dives are offered here. i learned how to scuba dive for the first time ever and loved every minute of it!

on the last day, i joined the oceanspirit caramaran at michaelmas cay. if you don't know how to snorkel, this is a great beginner session. your boat will stop several meters away from the cay and a boat buggy will ferry you to and from the beach. warning: this cay is inhabited by migratory birds so the first thing that greets you to the beach is the smell of bird poo.

Doing what: Ultimate 3-Day Great Barrier Reef Cruise Pass

Jeeyoon

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2016

Had a great time, the boat wasn't super big so it felt more intimate. The food was excellent and we had plenty of time to dive and snorkel. I definitely recommend!

Doing what: Great Barrier Reef Luxury Snorkel and Dive Cruise from Cairns

Jessica W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2016

One of the best experiences of our lives! The crew was fun and friendly. Plenty of food offered throughout the day to keep you from getting too hungry. Staff gets into the water with you and will show you interesting things along the reef. Plenty of time in both locations. The snorkel gear was in great condition and high quality. This is a small I believe family run company, and they do an amazing job. Go see the reef with them! You won't regret it, I promise!

Doing what: Great Barrier Reef Luxury Snorkel and Dive Cruise from Cairns

Zhanna K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2016

excellent. very organized and a great value. staff was professional and informative. boat was very nice with plenty of room. 3 dives for the price of one or two with others. don't bother looking any further. this is the one to book period.

Doing what: Outer Great Barrier Reef Dive and Snorkel Cruise from Cairns

Zhanna K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2016

this is by far the best value for the money. staff was outstanding. Marco was patient and just a pleasure to dive with. I cant thank him enough for ensuring us a great dive experience. We are planning another trip and will book with these guys in a second. don't waste your time looking. just go with these folks. you will be happy you did.

Doing what: Outer Great Barrier Reef Dive and Snorkel Cruise from Cairns

gezkeller

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2016

A diversity of the crew in nationality and languages spoken was impressive.
Picture souvenirs were a bit pricey! Reasonable cost for lycra/wet suit rental!
A variety of food selection of different nationality tourists was excellent!

Doing what: Great Barrier Reef Cruise from Cairns

gezkeller

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2016

The crew were very professional and organized! I loved the cubby where we placed
our snorkelling eqpts! The cost for lycra/wet suit rental was a bit pricey for AUD10, could
be cut in half. Hidden cost of AUD20 for reef fees paid at check-in, should have been
included in the price of the tour. However the reefs we visited namely Saxon and Hastings
Reef were UNBELIEVABLY BEAUTIFUL!!!! A MUST SEE and EXPERIENCE!!!
Also, THANK YOU for the free motion sickness organic tablets!!!
Food selection was great but the STEAK was a bit tough.

Doing what: Great Barrier Reef Diving and Snorkeling Cruise from Cairns

Siobhaan T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2016

This was a great day out - well organised very friendly staff - even if you don't want to dive you are left to your own devices. Husband loved it and got 3 dives in. Food was great. Be warned though you could have a very choppy ride out as we did with a lot of people being sea sick!! Beautiful clear waters and amazing views of the fish and the coral

Doing what: Great Barrier Reef Diving and Snorkeling Cruise from Cairns

Kelly F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2016

I had a great time on this trip. It was great to see the Reef and all the amazing critters that live there. My only complaint is that the crew did nothing to educate people about not touching the coral and damaging the coral. This is a fragile eco-system and it takes a long time for coral to grow. Some coral cannot come back from being stood on. Please educate all the snorkelers and scuba divers so we can have this great place for a LONG time.

Doing what: Great Barrier Reef Diving and Snorkeling Cruise from Cairns

Kari J

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2016

This was a Great Tour! The crew was very helpful and informative. We had a great trip out to the reef. When we arrived I was surprised that we were the only boat there! We had plenty of time on the glass bottom boat as well as snorkeling. Barry the Barracuda was a bit unnerving but once I was in the water and saw that he wanted nothing to do with us humans I was ok. We saw sting rays, eels, and all kinds of beautiful fish. More colorful than I have seen in Hawaii and Tahiti. My favorite was the purple star fish. They were Beautiful! What a Great Time! I would highly recommend this tour!

Doing what: Great Barrier Reef Luxury Snorkel and Dive Cruise from Cairns

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