Best Great Barrier Reef tours for backpackers

Best Great Barrier Reef tours for backpackers

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 04/09/2024

Reading time: 3 mins

The Great Barrier Reef is a great place to visit for backpackers and locals alike.

A visit to the Great Barrier Reef is a once in a lifetime experience. There is so much to do from island hopping to snorkelling and scuba diving. The scenery is also incredible and there is a wide variety of marine life swimming among the corals.

If you’re a backpacker, you may be wondering what Great Barrier Reef tour to choose. The simple answer is any!

What to bring

If you’re a backpacker, chances are you have all your belongings with you. Because of this, packing isn’t much of a concern. However, there are a few essentials to bring on your Great Barrier Reef tour.

Some of the essentials to bring include a towel, swimwear, and a change of clothes. All of the tours include snorkel and diving gear, as well as wetsuits during stinger season. Other items to bring include a refillable water bottle, sunglasses or a hat, and reef-friendly sunscreen. If you have a waterproof camera, you may want to bring that too!

Where to stay

There are heaps of lodging options in Cairns but be sure to plan so that you don’t have to trek across the city to join a reef tour.

The Global Backpackers Cairns is a hostel that is located conveniently in the city centre. There is a kitchen, laundry facilities, a pool, free fitness classes, and more. This is a great lodging option if you want to meet other travellers and make some friends!

When you’re out on a reef tour, you don’t have to worry about your belongings. The hostel offers free luggage storage. That means you can bring the essentials and leave your other personal belongings behind.

One-day Great Barrier Reef tour

One of the best value Great Barrier Reef tours is this small group tour. You will get up to four hours to explore Upolu Reef and a free guided snorkel tour. If you’re keen to try diving, there are options to upgrade and experience a dive.

When you’re not swimming in the ocean, you can relax on board and sip on complimentary coffee or tea. There is also a free lunch and a glass of wine included in this tour!

Multi-day reef tours

If you want to spend even more time on the Great Barrier Reef, consider a two-day or three-day tour. These are both fantastic options to explore the reef even more in-depth.

Both tours include accommodation and meals. There is also storage on board so you don’t have to worry about finding a place for your belongings. You will have plenty of time to snorkel and scuba dive to your heart’s content. When you’re not in the water, soak up the sun on the boat or enjoy a presentation by a knowledgeable marine biologist.

Now it’s time to get ready for an incredible experience on the Great Barrier Reef!

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.