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If snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef is on your bucket list, don’t miss this day trip from Cairns. You’ll spend five hours at two different locations on the barrier reef for the chance to see tropical marine life in the clear waters. Lunch is included on board the boat, and you have the option to upgrade to include additional adventures such as introductory or certified scuba diving or a helicopter flight over this UNESCO World Heritage site. Both water sports enthusiasts and novices are welcome!


  • 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

After boarding your deluxe boat, which seats a max of 100 people, including your experienced guides, your Great Barrier Reef day trip starts with the boat ride from Cairns out to the reef—one of the fastest rides from Cairns, with just more than an hour of cruising time.

Depending on the weather and water conditions on the day of your tour, your guides will head to one of 12 exclusive moorings at six reef locations, providing you with the best possible on-the-water experience that day. Most likely, you’ll visit one of the Outer Great Barrier Reef spots like Saxon Reef or Norman Reef in the morning, and then continue to North Hastings Reef in the afternoon.

Upon arrival at your first location, hop in the water with your provided snorkeling equipment for a look at multicolored fish, coral and other marine life. Instruction is provided for beginners, and your knowledgeable crew members are on hand to encourage and help you, if needed. (See the Itinerary for more details about the scuba diving options, as well as the optional helicopter ride.) Then snorkel again at your second location. If you’d rather not get wet, you can still check out this World Heritage–listed underwater world on a tour by semi-submersible vessel (own expense; payable on the day of your tour).

You’ll have five hours total on the barrier reef and can refuel from your activities with the onboard buffet lunch of Australian barbecue items such as fresh fish, sausages and steak, plus a selection of pastas, salads and prawns. On the return trip to Cairns, snack on a platter of cheese and fruit while members of your talented crew provide live music and entertainment to celebrate the end of your day on the sea.

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Customer Reviews


5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

The tour was very good. The ship is fast and confortable. The crew is excelente. The stops at the snorkeling points are of about 2 - 2:30 hours which is enough to see the barrier. Do use the anti-sting suit because there are many jelly fish around during january. The helicopter ride is very nice but it has its cost.

alan t

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

We left Cairns in rain but once out to sea the weather improved and later in the day we even did some sunbathing!
A really well organised trip and we took the additional option to snorkel with Abi the on board marine biologist as my wife had never snorkled before and was very nervous, I also joined her even though I had snorkled before and leant so much about the reef life.
Fabulous food and entertainment on the journey back to Cairns, the crew were so helpful at all times.
This experience was on our bucket list and the memory of it will stay forever, just do it!
Mike 72 and Carole 66

Megan R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

This was an amazing trip.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Lovely boat and views underwater are amazing, We opted for the private snorkelling tour with the onboard marine biologist as well - well worth it. She pointed out giant clams, clown fish and a shark on the edge of the reef - amazing!


5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Great tour. It was very well organized and the crew were especially great. Food was great and the snorkeling locations were catered to everyones needs.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Great trip!! Very nice crew and great stops for snorkeling. My only if was the very big line for the check in on the port and for lunch on board.

Ammaron W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2016

Great crew, excellent accomodations, and I defnitely recommend the beginner dive!

Hardy S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2016

This was a very well done tour. The day was well-organized, safe and fun. I had the helicopter option and even though it was only 10 minutes, the guide was informative and the views were absolutely stunning. The 10 cost for wet suits was worth it to protect yourself from stingers. Only things that I felt could be improved was that there was a leaky AC near our table that kept spilling water all day with no fix/attention. The food options for vegetarians were quite poor but there were a few salads.

Bernard C. D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2016

As the Reef Fleet Terminal was within walking distance of our hotel, Hilton DoubleTree Cairns, we left the hotel shortly before 07:00 to arrive at the terminal by 07:15. Down Under Tours has a counter inside the Tour Building where I got our boarding passes and then proceeded to the boat which is new and very clean. As we wanted to snorkel over the reef, all equipment is provided on board. The trip out to the Great Barrier Reef included two separate stops where passengers were assisted with gear both for snorkeling and for diving. Safety is of the utmost concern by the crew as this was covered in a meeting as well as the introduction of all boat staff who were there to assist all passengers. The views over the two areas of reef were great with many fish to be seen. Lunch was included in the tour package as well as a little entertainment by Elvis. The boat returned to the terminal by about 16:00.

Reef Lover United States of ... 

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

Wonderful tour operator, Downunder Cruise and Dive. All th staff are friendly and nice. I did my first ever scuba dive. Wonderful experience. The weather is not ideal but alll in all a great experience.

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