What is the best reef tour in Cairns?

What is the best reef tour in Cairns?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 09/02/2022

Reading time: 3 mins

Suffice to say that ANY reef tour you take in this incredible part of the world will be one of your best holiday experiences yet.

Jemma Craig/Tourism and Events Queensland

The Great Barrier Reef, located off the coast of Australia’s Queensland region is the worlds largest ecosystem, home to almost 3000 individual reefs and 1,600 species of fish, and it also happens to be one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

A chance to snorkel, dive or stay dry on board and look into the pristine blue water from above is something many people dream of. It really is magical out on the reef, and you may even spot turtles, whales and giant clams while you’re out there!

Due to needing to boat out to one of the many areas of the reef, a lot of travellers are seeking out the best tours to get them out there, and in the water. We’ve broken down a list of tours available that cater to most budgets and desires, departing from Cairns.

One Day Tours

Best for those short on time yet want to get as much as possible out of the day. These tours are a fantastic option for travellers who need someone to get them to the known best spots and create an unforgettable day on the water.

Operating daily, the family friendly tours leave from Cairns and head to a selected reef – full of colourful coral and marine life – for a morning stop. Your captain will choose the best spots to visit depending on the water and weather conditions, but you could visit Breaking Patches in the afternoon where shallow lagoons are inhabited by turtles.

Whilst out on the reef you may have the chance to experience Boom Netting – where you can ride behind the boat in the safety of a net.

You can snorkel or dive at reef sites.

Great Barrier Reef Deluxe Tour

Like the tour above, but a few added comforts. Be picked up from your Cairns accommodation, enjoy a BBQ breakfast, and your captain will decide on the day where to take you snorkelling, diving and exploring. You could find yourself at Hasting Reef, Breaking Patches, Noman Reef or Saxon Reef.

Great Barrier Reef Pontoon Adventure

A fantastic option for a fun family day out at sea, this tour takes you to Moore Reef – a floating pontoon on the reef that has endless activities.

Complete with waterslides, enclosed pools, optional Seawalker Helmet Dives (you need to be cleared for this), sunlounges on deck, snorkelling and diving, underwater observatories and marine presentations, there is something for everyone.

It includes a buffet lunch and transport on an air-conditioned catamaran.

2 or 3 Day Tours

Have a little more time on your hands? These options will have you making incredible moments and memories on board our cruise ship where you will be staying for 2 or 3 nights.

Spend your days snorkelling, diving (upgrades for this are available), relaxing on deck, learning about the reef, making new friends and enjoying stunning views in comfort at sea. These liveaboard options are a little more relaxing, as you have more time to explore and get acquainted with the reef.

However long you decide to spend at the reef, you will leave with a newfound appreciation for this beautiful part of the world.

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.