Great Barrier Reef Day Tours
Visiting over the Christmas 2023 holiday period, Great Barier Reef Tours available for Christmas Day are Sunlover Cruises, Quicksilver Cruises, Reef Experience and Frankland Island. Spaces are limited so book early
There are a variety of Great Barrier Reef tours from Cairns and Port Douglas that cater to everyone, from those who are adventurous and confident in the water to those who prefer to stay dry and observe.
I am very fortunate that The Great Barrier Reef is so accessible to me, and I travel to the reef as much as possible. I have experienced the majority of the reef tours listed on this site.
It’s important to consider how much time you have to spend at the Great Barrier Reef before choosing the boat or island tour that is right for you. You may also want to consider your swimming abilities and the type of reef experience that will make you feel most comfortable. Please feel free to call me to discuss which Great Barrier Reef Day Tour or Island tour would suit you best. Happy to share my knowledge with you. Ph 07 40283567 or 0412 719 389
Finally, remember that your visit may be impacted by visibility and weather conditions, and on a clear sunny day, you’ll have the best viewing experience!
Photo Credit: Tourism Tropical North Queensland
Passions of Paradise Cairns
Departs daily 8.00 am - 5.00 pm
This Great Barrier Reef Tour is another of my favourites as a local. Why? Passions of Paradise is a true local family business operating since 1987. In 2017 they built Passions III at 30 meters. It is one of the fastest and largest sailing catamarans in Australia. Visit 2 unique outer reef locations where you can dive and snorkel. This is one of the most popular Cairns reef tours and is normally fully booked in advance!
Reef • Island • Moore & Fitzroy Island
Sat, Sun, Tue, Thu
Departs Cairns 8.00am - 5.00pm
New tour for 2024! Experience the ultimate Great Barrier Reef adventure combining 2 hours at Moore Reef pontoon + 3 hour Fitzroy Island stop over in a day! Moore reef has all of our standard inclusions, including semi-submersible, glass bottom boat including time at Fitzroy Island to relax & unwind including lunch.
Join us for a unique outer reef tour where the Sunlover catamaran docks alongside a floating pontoon stationed in a natural lagoon fringed with beautiful coral. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, family traveller, experienced diver or on your first trip to the Great Barrier Reef, our expert team will deliver a unique reef tour experience for you. Experience the ultimate adventure combining 2 hours at Moore Reef pontoon on the Outer Barrier Reef + Fitzroy Island stop over in a day! Moore reef has all of our standard inclusions with time at Fitzroy Island to relax & unwind including lunch.
Exclusive Great Barrier Reef Day Tour
Departs Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun 8am - 4pm
Premium small group Outer Reef Day Tour with focus on exclusivity and sustainability. Fully inclusive of all meals, drinks, diving, snorkelling and premium equipment. From the moment you step onboard, every aspect of your day is taken care of. Our knowledgeable staff are there to guide you and provide a 5-star experience.
Every aspect of your day is taken care of from the moment you step onboard. Our knowledgeable staff are there to guide you and provide a 5-star experience. With a maximum of only 40 guests per trip and a high staff-to-guest ratio, we take care of everything, so all you need to do is go create unforgettable memories. Perfect for divers of all levels, or those looking to try diving for the first time. Our Marine Guides and instructors will assist you with getting the most out of your reef trip, both safely and sustainably. You will enjoy unlimited snorkelling and a sumptuous selection of meals paired with complimentary beverages throughout the day. Experience a guided snorkel tour with our cutting-edge technology using our exclusive waterproof bone-conducting headsets for a unique audio commentary as you explore the wonders of The Great Barrier Reef.
Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea
This tour is restricted exclusively to ages 12 and over, ensuring an optimal experience for our guests
Great Barrier Reef Tour • Great Adventures
Departs Cairns Daily 10.30 am - 5.20 pm
Discover the Great Barrier Reef with Great Adventures for three 3 hours at the Outer Reef Activity Platform. Here you can experience the reef for swimmers and non-swimmers and enjoy the many activities available. Relax as you enjoy the sundeck with a delicious buffet lunch.
Free upgrade (Value $30) to include Green Island on your outer reef trip.
Depart Cairns at 8.30am and enjoy 2 hours on the island before continuing to the Outer Reef Platform.
Escape into a world of surprises to experience the breathtaking beauty of the Outer Great Barrier Reef. The stable reef activity platform is the perfect base for swimmers and non-swimmers to explore. Snorkel and/or dive, visit the underwater observatory, cruise in a semi-sub, or just relax on the sundeck with a delicious buffet lunch. Join us and the Great Barrier Reef’s vibrant marine life for a voyage into one of the world's natural wonders.
In addition to the activities included in your tour, there is also a wide range of optional activities to experience on our Outer Great Barrier Reef activity platform. Scuba dive(no experience required), join a snorkel tour, Scuba Doo below the waves or enjoy the Great Barrier Reef for the air with a scenic helicopter tour.
Down Under Cruise from Cairns
Departs daily 8.00am - 4.30pm
Join this amazing Cairns reef tour, and travel onboard the spacious super-yacht, Evolution, to the Outer Great Barrier Reef for your snorkelling and/or diving experience. The 35-metre 'Evolution', departs Cairns exploring 2 spectacular and exclusive outer Great Barrier Reef locations for an adventure-filled day! Optional extras available.
Departing Cairns with a record 5 hours spent exploring 2 spectacular and exclusive outer Great Barrier Reef locations for an adventure-filled day! Evolution caters to both dive beginners and certified divers. Scuba diving packages include full dive & safety briefing & specialised top-rated dive gear. Introductory divers are guided by a fully qualified dive instructor with a ratio of 4 divers per instructor. Certified divers can book a guided dive as an optional extra. Join us on the Semi-Submersible Tour, learning about the reef with our marine biologist or adding a scenic helicopter flight over the reef and enjoy a BBQ buffet lunch onboard. Finally, you'll cruise back to Cairns while enjoying a complimentary glass of wine and a snack while you reflect on your day on the Great Barrier Reef.
Sunlover Cruises from Cairns
Departs Daily 10.00am - 5.30pm
Join Sunlover Reef Cruises to discover and explore the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef. Comfortable fast, air-conditioned catamaran travels to a large pontoon located at pristine Moore Reef on the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef.Recently refurbished, and now features an upper-level sun deck and where you can experience the Sunlover Sunslide, a 30-metre spiral descent into the tropical waters.
Your day includes adventures for all ages and levels of experience - snorkel equipment, glass bottom boat, semi-submersible coral viewing vessel, an underwater observatory, a marine life touch tank,. Optional extras include scuba diving, scenic helicopter rides, Guided Snorkelling Safari and Seawalker Helmet Diving. Sunlover Reef Cruises will enhance your experience, regardless of age and ability, to discover the beauty and diversity of the Great Barrier Reef. Even if you cannot swim, you will still enjoy a complete experience with Sunlover Reef Cruises
Cruise to the Reef and Fly Return
Depart Cairns 10.00 am Return 3.30pm
Upgrade your cruise to or from the reef to a scenic helicopter flight providing reduced travel time and a unique aerial perspective that showcases the vibrant hues and sheer expanse of the reefs thriving coral gardens – an opportunity not to be missed! The 25-minute scenic flight between Cairns and Moore Reef delivers stunning panoramic views extending from the tropical rainforest-clad coastline, across the azure waters of the Coral Sea and into the very heart of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Your highly skilled pilot will share their local knowledge of the region while on the lookout for Turtles, Dolphins, Manta Rays, large schools of pelagic fish and even majestic Humpback Whales (Jul to Sep).
Green Island & Outer Great Barrier Reef Tour from Cairns
Departs daily 8.30am - 5.20pm
Enjoy the best of both worlds with this complete Great Barrier Reef and Island tour. Enjoy 2 hours on Green Island and 3 hours on the Outer Barrier Reef. Fast 45-minute catamaran ride to beautiful Green Island and enjoy 2 hours, depart Green Island to continue your day adventure and discovery with 3 hours on board Great Adventures spacious activity platform moored on the majestic Outer Great Barrier Reef.
The complete reef and island experience awaits with this exciting tour. Take a fast 45-minute catamaran ride to beautiful Green Island and enjoy two hours on this unique reef and rainforest coral cay. Then, you’ll depart Green Island to continue your day of adventure and discovery with 3 hours on board Great Adventures' spacious activity platform moored on the majestic Outer Great Barrier Reef.
It is a beautiful 6000-year-old coral cay in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park – a premier world heritage site and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Grab your snorkel gear and head to the Lifeguard patrolled beach to explore the marine world off the beach, take a stroll thru the unique tropical rainforest, laze on the white coral sand beach or take part in some of the optional activities that Green Island has to offer
Outer Barrier Reef
The stable reef activity platform is the perfect base for swimmers and non-swimmers to explore. Snorkel and/or dive, visit the underwater observatory, cruise in a semi-sub or relax on the sundeck with a delicious buffet lunch. The vibrant marine life of the reef awaits you.
Dreamtime Snorkel from Cairns
Departs daily 9.00am - 5.00pm
Step back into the Great Barrier Reef’s Dreamtime with Indigenous Sea Rangers as they recount the Dreamtime stories of the local people and help you gain a deeper cultural understanding of the diverse ecosystems that make up the Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy up to 5 hours of fun with unlimited snorkelling with 2 Reef locations in air-conditioned lounges and a licensed bar.
We acknowledge the Gimuy Walubara Yidinji , Mandingalbay Yidinji, Yirrganydji & Gunggandji people, Traditional Owners of the Sea Country on which you will travel
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Enjoy one of Cairns’ most unique & exclusive Great Barrier Reef tours. Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel invites you to step back into the Great Barrier Reef’s Dreamtime with Indigenous sea rangers on a day tour of two spectacular outer Great Barrier Reef sites. Reef sites visited may include Milln, Flynn, Hastings, Saxon, Norman or Thetford Reef. You will also experience our authentic Dreamtime experience with our Cultural Guides, sharing their stories of the history of the Great Barrier Reef. Indigenous sea rangers will recount the Dreamtime stories of the traditional people of this Sea Country and help you gain a deeper cultural understanding of the diverse ecosystems that make up the Great Barrier Reef.
Frankland Islands Reef Cruise
Departs daily 7am - 5pm
**Not available 15th January - 12th March 24
Enjoy an all-inclusive River, Reef, and Island Cruise, the sole operator permitted on the pristine uninhibited Frankland Island. Snorkel off Normanby Island's National Park beach, swim with sea turtles, and have a quick and convenient journey with the shortest open water crossing. Photo Credit: Tourism Tropical North Queensland
The only Cairns reef, rainforest and river experience. Explore and enjoy this natural paradise, no big crowds, full of marine life. Enjoy the opportunity to have this hidden gem all to yourself! Frankland Islands Reef Cruises is an exclusive Cairns Great Barrier Reef day tour. It starts with a rainforest river cruise, followed by the shortest open water crossing of any of the Cairns day tour boats, to put you right on the Great Barrier Reef.
Our destination is Normanby Island in the beautiful Frankland Islands National Park island group. Surrounded by vibrant fringing reefs, it’s home to many species of marine life, including turtles, octopuses and the ever-popular anemone clownfish, Nemo, to name a few. You have up to 4 hours to explore and enjoy this natural paradise, above and below the water.
If you’ve never snorkelled before, don’t worry – our crew will give you all the instruction and briefing you need. Flotation devices are available so you can float along with ease and enjoy the sights as you explore the reef. Experienced instructors, including our Master Reef Guides, guide both snorkel tours. They know where to find all the best marine life, from turtles and fish to giant clams and impressive corals. Want to stay dry, and view the Great Barrier Reef on the Semi-Submersible tour? You will be amazed at what you will see. Discover the pristine coral reefs without getting your feet wet from the comfort of our semi-submarine. Take a guided tour of the reefs surrounding the islands and learn about the incredible ecosystem of the Great Barrier Reef. Get up close and personal with fish, turtles and the diverse range of corals.
Ocean Spirit Cruise
Departs daily 8.30am - 5pm
Sail to the Great Barrier Reef aboard Ocean Spirit Cruises spacious catamaran to Michaelmas Cay. Snorkel or dive the pristine reef in the shallow waters of the cay. Michaelmas Cay is a National Park and a protected sanctuary for migratory seabirds.
Set sail to Michaelmas Cay on the Great Barrier Reef aboard Ocean Spirit's comfortable sailing catamaran. Snorkel or dive the fringing reef and enjoy the spectacular white sand beach and observe the myriad of seabirds that call this protected sanctuary home. Michaelmas Cay is a major natural seabird habitat and one of the most important in the Southern Hemisphere. It is home to at least 23 species of seabirds. Many breeds find this island an ideal nesting habitat and is one of the most significant bird sanctuaries on the Great Barrier Reef.
2 Day Reef and Daintree Rainforest
Experience the very best of Cairns, visiting two world heritage sites. Tours do not need to be taken consecutively and itinerary can be reversed. Day 1 - Daintree Rainforest/Cape Tribulation Day tour. Day 2 -Great Barrier Reef Day Tour
Day 1 -Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef Day Tour : Evolution with Down Under Cruise & Dive
Check-in from 7.15am - 7.45am at The Reef Fleet Terminal
Departs 8am | Returns 4.30pm
Great Barrier Reef Tour onboard Evolution
Join the luxurious and spacious super-yacht, Evolution, to the Outer Great Barrier Reef for your snorkelling experience. The 35-metre superyacht, Evolution departs Cairns with a record 5 hours spent exploring two spectacular and exclusive outer Great Barrier Reef locations for an adventure-filled day!
In the afternoon, you have the option to add additional reef activities. Join us on the Semi-Submersible Tour, learning about the reef with our marine biologist, or add a scuba dive or a scenic helicopter flight over the reef. Finally, you'll cruise back to Cairns while enjoying a free glass of wine and a snack while you reflect on your day on the Great Barrier Reef.
Day 2- Daintree Rainforest
Daintree/Cape Trib/Bloomfield Track Day Tour with Billy Tea Safaris
Includes pick up & drop off from your Cairns, Northern Beaches or Port Douglas accommodation.
Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation Tour with Billy Teas Safaris
Embark on a full-day adventure to the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the reef! Sit back and relax in comfort in a custom-built 4WD air-conditioned vehicle while listening to informative and entertaining commentary by your local naturalist guide. Group size is limited for a more personalised experience.
As one of the only tour operators to travel on the Bloomfield Track, your experience will be like no other. Spot crocodiles on a Daintree River cruise, learn about the flora, fauna and history of the Daintree on a guided boardwalk tour, take a 4WD ride through a World Heritage-listed rainforest on the rugged Bloomfield Track, enjoy lunch at a local Daintree Rainforest cafe, visit Cape Tribulation Beach and enjoy a homemade Daintree ice-cream on your journey home.
Great Barrier Reef Tour with Reef Magic from Cairns
Departs daily 9am - 5pm
The all-weather Reef Magic Pontoon is the newest and most technologically advanced pontoon on the Great Barrier Reef and is designed for a sustainable future. A 90-minute cruise takes you to this all-inclusive pontoon for snorkeling, scuba diving, helicopter flights, and more. Stay dry with a sundeck, underwater viewing, glass-bottom boat, or semi-submersible tour.
The all-weather Reef Magic Pontoon is the newest and most technologically advanced pontoon on the Great Barrier Reef and is designed and built for a sustainable future. At over 1003 sqm, with a capacity of 450 guests, with numbers kept to a maximum of 250, guests can escape the crowd and enjoy the reef. With loads of activities for all ages, you can snorkel in the sheltered coral lagoon, join our Marine Biologists on a Guided Snorkel Safari and optional extras of certified diving, introductory diving or Sea Trek Helmet Diving.
Great Barrier Reef Day Tour with Ocean Freedom
Departs daily 8.00 am - 4.30 pm
Cruise to 2 unique Great Barrier Reef sites in style and speed on a 20-metre motor catamaran. Ocean Freedom is the only boat in Cairns offering a total of 6 hours on the reef, meaning there’s absolutely no rush in the day. You get to enjoy all the complimentary water activities whilst still having time to relax and enjoy a long lazy lunch.
Maximum 75 guests, extremely personal tour - Outstanding customer service. All guests are assessed for their snorkelling and diving abilities and are appropriately assisted in ensuring that all can experience and enjoy the Great Barrier Reef.
Experience two different Great Barrier Reef locations – “Wonder Wall” on the outer edge of Upolu reef and a beautiful turquoise aquarium-like coral garden “Upolu Cay Reef”. This fast, sleek motor CAT takes just over an hour to get to the reef.
This tour is great for those who want a very small, personal, customer-oriented Great Barrier Reef tour with absolutely no rush in the day! Enjoy 6hrs of actual reef time between the two destinations. Plenty of time to do all the in-water activities, enjoy your lunch and relax!
If you’ve never dived and wish to try it, we have introductory dives - guaranteed 2 divers to one instructor! (the usual ratio is 4:1) If you are a certified diver, you can enjoy the wonders of the reef with our experienced complimentary guides.
Great Barrier Reef Day Tour with scenic helicopter flight
Departs daily 8.00am - 4.30pm
Experience the ultimate adventure value package on the Great Barrier Reef with views from above and below the Reef. Includes a 10-minute scenic Helicopter flight to see the colours of the Great Barrier Reef from the air! Full day with to two locations on the Outer Barrier Reef on board the luxury vessel "Evolution" including snorkelling, lunch and sunbathing.
Experience the ultimate adventure package and best value day on the Great Barrier Reef with amazing views from above and below. Enjoy a full day to two locations on the Outer Barrier Reef on board the luxury vessel "Evolution" including snorkelling, lunch, sunbathing and in the afternoon; you will board a Nautilus Aviation Helicopter for an incredible 10-minute scenic flight to see the magical colours of the Great Barrier Reef from the air! Departs 8.00 am Return 4.30 pm. 7.30 am Check-in at Reef Fleet Terminal, 1 Spence St Cairns
Join a fantastic Cairns reef tour, and travel onboard the spacious super-yacht Evolution to the Outer Great Barrier Reef for your snorkelling and/or diving experience. The 35-metre superyacht Evolution departs Cairns with a record 5 hours spent exploring 2 spectacular and exclusive outer Great Barrier Reef locations for an adventure-filled day! Evolution caters to both dive beginners and certified divers. Scuba diving packages include a full dive & safety briefing, specialised top-rated dive gear, and a fully qualified dive instructor.
Great Barrier Reef Day Tour with Reef Experience from Cairns
Departs Daily 8.00am - 4.30 pm
Join us onboard the high-speed Catamaran 'Reef Experience', an all-inclusive of Cairns CBD hotel transfers, breakfast, One FREE Scuba Dive, a Glass-Bottom Boat Tour, Lunch, snorkelling, and a light snack on the journey home. Great value!
Join us onboard the high-speed Catamaran “Reef Experience” for an unforgettable day visiting 2 pristine Outer Great Barrier Reef locations and discovering the breathtaking wonder of this World Heritage environment. Maximum 75 passengers. Reef Experience is Cairn’s only ALL-inclusive Great Barrier Reef Day Tour which also offers a FREE Scuba Dive and Glass-bottom boat tour. Catering for all levels in Swimming, Snorkelling and Scuba Diving, everyone will find the perfect way to experience the Great Barrier Reef. Experienced Swimmer or Snorkeler? Our crew will show you the best patches of coral and can tell you where to find the marine marvels that call the reef their home. Never Snorkelled before or can’t Swim? Friendly and professional Crew are always ready to jump in and assist everybody who needs assistance to have fun and enjoy the magic the reef has to offer, ensuring that you are comfortable with your equipment and introducing you to some of our friendly fish! A day on the Great Barrier Reef will be one of the most memorable days in your life.
Great Barrier Reef Day Tour with Quicksilver Cruises
Departs daily from Port Douglas 10am - 4pm
Transfers daily from Cairns 8am
Quicksilver Cruises welcomes all ages and swimming abilities on their inclusive platform boats at the Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy the reef at your pace, with options including semi-sub and underwater observatory for non-swimmers or those with limited mobility. Quicksilver is the only platform at the Agincourt ribbon reefs, boasting optimal water visibility on the Continental Shelf's edge.
For your experience of a lifetime, Quicksilver’s friendly crew will take you to the renowned Agincourt Reef, a jewel-like ribbon reef on the very edge of the Great Barrier Reef. From the spacious activity platform, discover an underwater world filled with a dazzling kaleidoscope of colour and brilliance.
Quicksilver departs from Port Douglas and takes you to Agincourt Reef, at the very outer edge of the Barrier Reef. Here, special reefs known as ‘ribbons’ run parallel to the Continental Shelf. Adjacent to the Coral Sea trench, these ribbon reefs are recognised as the most pristine eco-systems in the reef’s environment. Clear water provides the best possible underwater visibility, encourages rich coral growth and supports spectacular marine life. As the region’s outer reef pioneer, we chose the best location available to show you nature’s finest.
It’s a day that engages all your senses, lifts your spirit and takes you into another realm. Sharing the wonder of the world’s largest living entity, realising its breathtaking colour and majesty, seeing nature at its most perfect is an awakening and, quite simply, the memory of a lifetime. Come and experience nature’s finest with Australia’s best. At Agincourt ribbon reef, you’ll feel as if you’ve embraced paradise.
Bus transfers available from Cairns & Port Douglas as an optional extra. If not simply make your own way to the Quicksilver office at the Port Douglas Marina on Wharf St, Port Douglas. Parking is available free of charge at the Marina.
Silverswift Dive • Snorkel from Cairns
Departs daily Cairns 8:30 - 4.30 pm
Dive & Snorkel from Cairns with Silverswift, the only Cairns-based vessel to visit 3 sites in one day; it is also the fastest! You’ll be whisked away to visit 3 spectacular outer reef sites at Flynn, Pellowe, Milln and/or Thetford Reefs. Enjoy 5 hours of fun with unlimited snorkelling, hot freshwater showers, change rooms, air-conditioned lounges and a licensed bar.
Be whisked away to visit three spectacular outer reef sites at Flynn, Pellow, Milln and/or Thetford Reefs.
Silverswift is the only Cairns-based vessel to visit three sites in one day and is also the fastest! Enjoy 5 hours of fun with unlimited snorkelling, hot freshwater showers, change rooms, air-conditioned lounges and a licensed bar.
You will have the opportunity to explore spectacular coral formations and underwater gardens awash with vibrantly coloured marine creatures as you visit three different outer reef sites. Locations vary with the day’s diving and snorkelling conditions; however, each site is chosen for visual impact and ecological diversity.
A day with Silverswift is all about being in the water and experiencing the magical underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. It’s exciting, exotic and breathtaking! With our exclusive permits and remote sites, you’ll be able to dive and snorkel 3 uniquely different and ecologically diverse sites, each chosen to suit the day’s conditions. In between water activities, relax on the sundecks or in the air-conditioned lounges, and enjoy a delicious lunch for hungry adventurers!
Silversonic Reef Cruise – from Port Douglas
Departs daily Port Douglas 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Silversonic from Port Douglas takes you to explore three stunning and exclusive outer edge locations at the renowned Agincourt ribbon reefs in superb style and comfort. Spend 5 hours at the reef enjoying unlimited snorkelling and some of the best diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Includes Port Douglas hotel transfers, hot and cold Tropical Buffet Lunch & all snorkelling and dive equipment included.
A day with Silversonic is all about being in the water and experiencing the magical underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. It's exciting, exotic and breathtaking!
You'll be able to snorkel and dive 3 uniquely different and ecologically diverse sites, each chosen to suit the day's conditions. In between water activities, relax on the sun decks or in the air-conditioned lounges and enjoy a delicious lunch for hungry adventurers.