Cairns snorkel and dive Great Barrier Reef adventures

When visiting Cairns there are many options to start your ocean adventures and get out exploring the Great Barrier Reef. Whether it's your first time seeing the ocean or you are a true salty soul, you are sure to find the perfect trip right here in Cairns. There is a huge range of boat cruises and experiences on the market which means there’s something for everyone. Let us guide you through the products to find your ideal adventure on the Great Barrier Reef!

First up are the day trips travelling to the nearby islands as well as large pontoons located on the outer reef. These expeditions are great for families and those who like to try different activities and experiences. The day typically involves getting an early start and a boat cruise on a large comfortable vessel to your destination, either pontoon and island. Once arrived you are able to get into your ocean adventure, the island based tours usually offer a snorkelling opportunity, coral viewing from a glass bottom boat, walks or hikes and water sports activities such as kayaking or stand up paddle boarding. The pontoon based tours tend to be more involved with in water experiences typically offering snorkeling, scuba diving, guided snorkels, lifeguards, glass bottom boat and semi submarine coral viewing as well as scenic flights. The many activities and spacious layouts of the pontoons and islands means that there is plenty to keep you or the kids busy but also room to relax and spend time together.

Scuba diving next to turtle

Next up is the dedicated reef trips which head straight to the outer reef, positioning the vessel in the prime location for you to explore the stunning coral and marine life on offer. The reef experiences tend to be better suited for families who have a little older children (aged 10 and up) or those who are a little more confident in the water and are keen to explore new areas. This type of cruise typically visits two to three sites in one day with an hour or more at each site, allowing you to really get up close and personal with the marine life and fully explore the reef. Snorkelers are well accommodated however if you would like to spend a little more time underwater most companies offer scuba diving as well. Many cruises offer dive guides though some companies do allow unguided diving as well for those who are a little more confident and adventurous. If you have never been diving before and would like to give it a try there is often a chance to try an introductory scuba dive, with an instructor right there to help guide you through! Most day vessels boast a fantastic buffet lunch as well as hot freshwater showers to help you freshen up at the end of a busy day in the water.

If you are thinking the Great Barrier Reef sounds too spectacular to spend just one day exploring you may find the liveaboard cruises are the choice for you. Liveaboard cruises are once again better suited to those who are a little more confident and love to explore as well as families with older children. The cruises are very accommodating towards snorkelers, though are typically designed for and most popular with scuba divers. Joining a liveaboard cruise offers you much more time on the water allowing up to five dives in one day compared to a maximum of three on a day cruise. Along with extra time in the water you are also able to take part in unique sunrise dives, and watch as many animals become active for the day as well as daring night dives and watch as the reef comes alive in a different way! There are even in water night experiences available for snorkelers on some vessels including getting up close with reef sharks! With fantastic freshly cooked meals, hot showers and a cosy bed just moments from the dive deck and your next aqua adventure, it really is hard to pass up such an awesome experience.

Finally, if the adventurer inside you is still not satisfied or you like to really live in luxury whilst on holiday, perhaps the extended overnight voyages are for you. These excursions are typically better suited to more experienced divers as you are exploring lesser known areas further offshore. Divers are taken to remote locations and rarely explored dive sites, some of the best dive sites on the Great Barrier Reef and in the Coral Sea. Visiting areas such as the Cod Hole, the Ribbon Reefs and Osprey reef the marine wildlife and biodiversity is breathtaking. Vessels also offer more freedom on dives allowing you to plan your own dive as well as having no limits on depth or bottom time (given it is within normal safe diving practices). You will also find there are opportunities for the more highly trained divers including solo diving, Nitrox diving and Rebreather diving. Once again the spectacular diving is complemented perfectly by amazing staff who provide delicious meals and quality service, as well as a luxurious vessel to spend your time above water relaxing in style.

With such a variety of vessels and cruise options on offer you are sure to find your perfect reef adventure, whether it be for a family get away or an ocean expedition. So stop dreaming about the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and book your marine experience from Cairns today!