Where do Great Barrier Reef tours leave from?

Where do Great Barrier Reef tours leave from?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 01/11/2021

Reading time: 3 mins

Listed at the top of most traveller’s bucket list when visiting Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is by far the country’s greatest natural gem.

Nestled on the eastern shores of Australia, it stretches out alongside Queensland’s long coastline. Due to its huge size, many visitors are unsure of where the tours to the Great Barrier Reef start from.

Depart from Cairns

The most popular base point for Great Barrier Reef tours is Cairns. The majority of the companies offering day trips and weeklong tours start and end in Cairns, beginning their journeys at the Cairns Marlin Marina. Cairns is a stunning tropical city to visit, famous for its endless sun and sand. Over the years, due to it being the popular base point for reef goers, Cairns popularity has skyrocketed, resulting in trendy bars, stylish restaurants, and family fun attractions to pop up all over the city. We suggest when travelling here for a tour to Great Barrier Reef, you save at least a couple days to explore the rest of Cairns attractions as well!

What you can do in Cairns

  • The Restaurants

    After a full day out on the reef snorkelling or scuba diving to the depths of the ocean’s floor, you most likely will be famished. Luckily, Cairns has an amazing range of restaurants to choose from, giving you mouth-watering cuisines to finish your night off right! The restaurants use Cairns’ fantastic tropical scenery as the perfect dining backdrop, scattering along the beachfront or on storey high balconies. Due to its close quarters to the sea, seafood is the best choice on the menu, so grab a friend or partner and spilt a seafood platter for two, washing it down with some delicious sparkling wine!

  • The Shops

    Instead of going to yet another shopping centre, opt to visit some Cairns local shops. Markets are the number one spot for shopping in Cairns, with dozens dotting the city’s beaches, outer regions, or inner-city centre. No matter what you are after on your shopping trip, the markets will have you covered with stalls that offer homemade goodies, second-hand fashion, delicious gourmet treats, or ready-to-eat foods to enjoy at the market! You don’t even need to buy anything to enjoy Cairns’ market shops. The ambience is just as fun, with live music, circus performers and more entertaining those who are just having a wander!

  • Cairns Lagoon

    Cairns Lagoon

    For a truly unique city experience, head to the man-made beach that is Cairns Lagoon for a fun day swimming! This is perfect for those who have spent the previous day out on the ocean, and are after a quick journey to their next adventure, with the lagoon only being walking distance from the majority of the hotels around. Here you can snooze the day away as your soak up the sun or splash in the seawater until your hands start to prune! Located right on the Cairns Esplanade, many travellers opt to go straight to dinner after their day at the lagoon, walking straight to the bars and restaurants to enjoy a sea sunset like no other!

Related article: How much does it cost to visit 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.