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Discover the underwater treasures of the Great Barrier Reef on this full-day catamaran cruise to Michaelmas Cay from Cairns. Snorkel straight from the white sandy beaches to swim among amazing coral gardens and get an up-close encounter with tropical marine life. Go deeper with an optional introductory scuba dive, or admire the reef on a semi-submarine boat tour. Chat with marine biologists to learn about the thousands of migratory seabirds that nest on the protected cay, and refuel with a buffet lunch featuring fresh seafood.


  • Full-day cruise to Michaelmas Cay from Cairns aboard a luxury sailing catamaran
  • 8.5 hours Great Barrier Reef experience with 4 hours spent on the reef
  • Snorkel and dive from the beach
  • Snorkeling and diving demonstrations, tuition and equipment
  • Informative reef tours on an air-conditioned semi-submersible submarine
  • Informative ecological presentations by qualified marine biologists
  • Hot and cold seafood buffet lunch, morning and afternoon tea

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Michaelmas Cay Dive and Snorkel Cruise from Cairns

Bird Life on Michaelmas Cay Dive

One of the largest coral cays in the region, Michaelmas Cay is located 22 nautical miles (40 km) off the coast of Cairns and makes an ideal location for exploring the outer Great Barrier Reef. After pickup at your Cairns hotel, climb aboard a luxury catamaran at the Reef Fleet Terminal. 

Enjoy a complimentary glass of sparkling wine and get comfortable on one of the sun decks or inside a cabin for the approximately 2-hour ride out to the cay. As you approach, admire the pristine white sand surrounded by clear, aquamarine water and visible reef formations. Learn about the cay’s protected status as an important nesting site for more than 20,000 migratory seabirds during presentations by marine biologists.

Once ashore, enjoy 4 hours on the island to spend as you wish. Snorkel straight from the beach with provided equipment to explore nearby coral gardens teeming with an astonishing variety of tropical fish and other marine life. Choose the dive option at booking to go even deeper with an introductory scuba dive. If you prefer not to get wet, you can still admire the reef on a semi-submersible boat tour. 

Recharge onboard the catamaran with a hot and cold buffet lunch including fresh seafood, plus morning and afternoon tea. When your time on Michaelmas comes to an end, relax on the return journey to Cairns, where your full-day tour concludes with hotel drop-off.

Customer Reviews

Carla R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

This is one of the most fantastic things we have ever done. The snorkeling is beyond compare. The water is crystal clear and the giant clams, tropical fish, and lovely coral are the best I have ever seen. The boat ride was fabulous and beautiful and the food was GREAT. The semi sub ride was a spectacular experience. The birds take up most of the island so do not plan on sunbathing. There is definitely a bit of an odor and many feathers on the sand. The area for the birds is roped off and there are surveillance no sneaking over to the bird side! If you love birds like I do, you will enjoy seeing all of the baby chicks. It was a wonderful day that I will always remember!

Margaret W H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2014

I just wish I had known I had to line up for ages to get tickets for my voucher. Rest was good. Crew nice and helpful.

Stephen K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2011

Ridiculously brilliant!!!!!


Stefano B Italy

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2010

Not so crowded as I thought, we had not many on coral reef. So many birds and fishes. I don't know how Green Island is, but I enjoyed this tour.

Lillian Y Australia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2008

I went alone and didn't snorkel but still had a great relaxing time! Met some great and interesting people.

Christopher B

4 star rating: Recommended October 2015

The Great barrier reef is so famous that you have to see it at least once, even if it's not the best barrier reef I've seen.
The boat takes you on this protected island located 2h30 from Cairns. This small sand island coming out from nowhere is special. Tiny spot occupied by a amazing number of birds !! We are only allowed to stay on a delimited area so we don't disturb too much these animals.

The water is... COLD !! What a surprise for me !! The Great barrier reef is in a cold water 21 degrees that day. Anyway, the spectacle is beautiful. The subversive boat is a very nice way too see all types of fishes and reefs. the crew on the boat is very friendly and teach us a lot about the reef's life.

The snorkeling spot is the most colored reef I've seen so far: blue, brown, pink, yellow... the go pro made a good job :

Elizabeth M

4 star rating: Recommended December 2014

It was a great area of the reef, the Catamaran was great. The service was great.
The food needs improvement, what was served was ok, just lacking in flavour.

Daniël D

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better August 2015

The information available about this tour needs to be updated. The phone number is old and not in use any more, we had to improvise and ask around to find the right tour operator apparently this has changed in the last year. Tour itself was ok but busy and very touristic.

Soyeeda M United Kingdom

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better June 2010

If you don't snorkel, don't go! Lovely island but not able to walk around it due to birds nesting. If we had known, we wouldn't have gone.

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