Insider's Guide to Cairns & the Tropical North

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4.5 star rating: Recommended 361 Reviews

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  • Location:Cairns, Australia
  • Duration:8 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

Great Barrier Reef Diving and Snorkeling Cruise from Cairns

Make the most of your visit to the Great Barrier Reef on a full-day tour by fast boat, with five hours to enjoy two premium spots on the reef with snorkeling included. Have the option to scuba dive and take a helicopter flight in order to experience the reef from all angles. A delicious barbecue lunch keeps you energized for your adventure. Expert guides welcome both newcomers and experienced marine enthusiasts to enjoy a day on one of the most famous reefs in the world.


  • Full-day diving and snorkeling tour of the Great Barrier Reef with optional helicopter sightseeing flight, from Cairns
  • Enjoy five hours at two spectacular outer reef locations away from the crowds
  • Includes instruction and equipment provided by friendly and professional guides
  • Have the option to try scuba diving in a world class location
  • Fuel up for more fun with a tasty Australian barbecue spread for lunch
  • Be amazed to observe the reef from the air on an optional 10-minute helicopter ride
  • Tap your toes to live musical entertainment on the homeward journey

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What You Can Expect

Great Barrier Reef Diving and Snorkeling Cruise from Cairns

Great Barrier Reef Diving and Snorkeling Cruise from Cairns

Your Great Barrier Reef experience begins in the morning with one of the fastest trips to the reef from the Cairns mainland, covering the distance in a little over an hour. After checking in, step aboard your deluxe boat, which holds a maximum of 100 people, including expert guides who make sure that you are comfortable throughout the day.

When you arrive at the reef, head to two prime locations to take in colorful schools of fish and coral gardens. Your guides help you to get outfitted with snorkel and scuba diving equipment, and provide instruction and encouragement to newcomers and experienced people alike. Your friendly and knowledgeable crew is always available to help nervous snorkelers or divers enjoy their time in the water.

Marvel at the incredible richness and diversity of marine life as you snorkel at two prime sites on the Great Barrier Reef. If you prefer to stay dry, sit back and enjoy the new semi-submersible tour (payable on the day) with full commentary provided.

Spend five hours at the Great Barrier Reef, with an excellent buffet lunch served on the boat. The spread features an Australian barbecue with fresh fish, steak, and sausages, plus a selection of pastas, salads, and prawns.

You have a choice of included and optional activities on this tour. For people who want to learn to dive, an introductory diving course is offered. It’s the perfect chance to scuba dive at one of the world’s premier diving sites!

If you already have your diving certification, you can take up to three dives at two different locations during this excursion, with plenty of time in between for snorkeling and relaxation. Simply pre-book the initial dive, and then have the choice to purchase additional ones during your trip. All dive gear and dive computers are provided.

The guides choose from 12 exclusive moorings at six reef locations based on weather conditions and water clarity, to ensure the best experience for all activities. Generally, the tour goes to one of the true Outer Great Barrier Reef locations in the morning (Norman Reef or Saxon Reef) then heads to North Hastings Reef in the afternoon for the helicopter flights and glass bottom boat tour.

Get even more out of your day on the Great Barrier Reef with an upgrade to include a 10-minute scenic helicopter flight. Not only will you get an underwater vantage point of the reef, but you can get the overview from the air. The helicopter flight can be combined with snorkeling, diving, or both for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fully appreciate the grandeur of this natural wonder.

As you return to the mainland after a full day in paradise, snack on a cheese and tropical fruit platter while members of your talented crew provide live music and entertainment — a fun and memorable end to an amazing day!

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Customer Reviews

Stephanie M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2016

Friendly, helpful, and funny staff, and great reef locations! Must-do while in Cairns!!


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
Also, THANK YOU for the free motion sickness organic tablets!!!
Food selection was great but the STEAK was a bit tough.

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


5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

a terrific day - glass ocean - great boat and staff - would go out on this tour again without hesitation

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.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2015

So much fun! Totally worth it!

Thomas C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2015

Well planned and executed. Very careful for your safety. I was nervous and a guide took me out holding to a life ring until I felt able to go on. Good lunch and wine,cheese and entertainment on the way home. Elvis you rock! Reef coral is amazing. Not many fish or much color in summer water but we even saw giant clams and Nemo.

Ian S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

An excellent tour by a great team. I highly recommend the optional diving experience.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Had a great time on this cruise, snorkeling was so much fun, diving was awesome, food was good, and the crew were great!!

Michael B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

The experience was greater than I expected it to be. I am new to diving and the crew were exceptional in helping me understand and experience diving safely. I also enjoyed snorkeling on the reef. The locations we were at were amazing and full of life and color. The food was excellent with a good selection. The crew was personable and memorable. I strongly recommend this to anyone visiting the area who wants lifetime memories and experience the great barrier reef!

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Tour code: 3253OSPREY


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