Great Barrier Reef, Cairns
The Great Barrier Reef is the reason most visitors come to Cairns. You can go on a variety of trips. The closest island is Green Island and there are also a number of Coral Cays that you can visit. Many of the most popular cruises go to a pontoon on the Outer Reef where the catamaran moors up for the day while you get out and snorkel, dive, swim etc. You want a wind of about 10 knots for a relatively comfortable trip by boat and good diving conditions. Anything above that and you're in for a choppy time. But don't miss this, it is worth every penny and the fish and coral are superb.
We went out to the reef on the MV Supercat. we booked over the internet before we left the UK, but there are plenty of places to book in Cairns
The Supercat is a relatively new catamaran, included in the trip are morning tea and coffee, lunch, use of snorkelling gear and instruction, scuba diving lesson and glass bottom boat trip, wet suits are available for hire [ free if you are diving ] and the Supercat visits two outer reef sites during the 5 hour trip
if you want to dive for the first time ever you are given training and an instructor dives with you, this was our first time scuba diving, and it was fantastic, our instructor was really patient with us, and we did consider doing the PADI course here, as the introductory dive can count as one of the dives on the course, but we didnt have enough time to fit it in
the trip costs A$75, plus A$80 for two dives, this includes all equipment
if you wear glasses prescription masks are available [ deposit required ]
there is a bar, and soft drinks, underwater cameras, and souveniers are available to buy
The largest living thing on planet Earth, the Great Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is approximately 2300km long and a major must see in Australia
Cairns is awash with offers of reef trips, the reef is only about 50km out from here and although there has been some bleaching of the coral there are still fabulous areas for swimming, snorkelling and diving to see the awsome beauty of the reef, some trips offer submersibles so you can see the reef without diving, and most have glass bottom boats
the reef is something you must experience if you are ever in Queensland, and if you want to learn to dive what better plce in the world to learn than here ? the depth of the reef varies considerably, in some places you can see it breaking through the waves, but its down deep that you see the really beautiful parts of it
There is nothing better than a boat trip to the Great Barrier reef. What a great mix of colourfull fish and corals.Enjoy a great lunch buffet onboard and prepare yourself for another afternoon snorkel.This is great fun.
You must must must make time in your trip to take the boat out to the Great Barrier Reef. There are plenty of trips to choose from, one for everyones budget and they run everyday.
Even if you don't swim, you can go on the semi submergable boat and the glass bottomed boat and see nearly all of what the snorkellers see without getting wet.
Snorkelling out on the reef is a must. There are probaly loads of boat trips offering this fantastic opportunity. Be careful not to touch or kick any of the coral as (i'm sure they will warn you) if takes hundreds of years to grow back and is endangered. Amazing colours, fish, coral, sea. amazing. You can't possibly visit Cairns and not go out to see the reef.
Barrief Reef is a must see. There are lot of ferries going everyday for a dive on the reef. Find out the best buy at the marina and go. Fitzroy islands is also really nice to see the reef. You should take a trip there as well.
I almost forgot to mention that you should definitely either rent an underwater camera or bring one with you to the reef. It would be a real shame to come home without any pictures of the beautiful underwater scenery. And if you're not a diver, don't worry. Neary everyone on our boat (including myself) simply snorkeled around the area. The water is shallow enough that you can see almost everything without strapping on an air tank and diving all the way down. In fact, you can reach the bottom in a lot of places simply by taking a deep breath.
The amount of underwater life way out here so close to the edge of the reef and the open ocean beyond is astounding. Everywhere you look you'll find coral formations surrounded by fish and other creatures of all kinds.
The Quicksilver boat docks at a floating platform anchored near the ege of the Outer Great Barrier Reef. From there you can see where the reef ends and the vast open expanse of the Pacific Ocean begins. Just beyond the reef, where you can see all the breakers crashing against the coral, is the greatest concentration of great white sharks in the entire world. Fortunately for us, the reef keeps most of those nasty fellows out.
I recommend that you go and see the Reef. No matter what! Even if you can not swim. Theirs all types of cruises out their that cater for your needs.
I went on Passions of Paradise and it was EXCELLENT. First class. I highly recommend it.
You cannot come to Cairns without snorkeling or diving at the Great Barrier Reef. Passing this up would be a waste of an entire vacation.
I took a cruise on the ReefQuest run by Deep Sea Divers Den. The boat leaves at 7:30 AM and returns at 4:30 PM. You get about 4 hours of quality time to snorkel, dive, and relax in the sun. Lunch is included.
For snorkeling, it costs about AU$70 for adults and half for children. Diving lessons can be conducted and prices vary for how many dives you take. Certified Divers pay about $120 for 2 dives and $150 for 3. All equipment is included. Bring an underwater camera! You can also rent one. I used a disposable and the pictures came out great.
I signed up at the Pier Marketplace near the marina where the boat is docked.
The best thing about Cairns is its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef. The diving is fantastic and you are sure to see lots of fish, anemones, reef sharks and even turtles if you are lucky. Of course there is tons of brightly coloured coral as well.
All the dive trips are pretty much the same, it takes a couple of hours to get to the reef you do your first dive, have lunch and then move onto another reef for your second dive in the afternoon and then back to Cairns.
This almost goes without saying, that you must see the reef, any way you can (or several ways)
There are many ways - snorkelling on a dive trip as we did, diving, glass bottomed boat tours, semi submersible boats, underwater viewing platforms, aquarium viewing.....
Our outer Barrier Reef snorkelling day out (4 hours out and back and 3 on the reef) was one of the very best things of our Queensland holiday.
Cairns is the best starting point for the GBR. There are trip packages you can get, everything from single day to multi-week.
I did a day trip to Green Island with my sister. We spent a full day out there snorkeling, swimming, and picnicing. It was so cool!
Wear sunscreen, though - it was cloudy on the day we went out, and we both got burned.