Cairns Outer Reef Diving
Cairns’ Outer Great Barrier Reef dive tours offer excellent diving conditions. Cairns operators are highly regarded in the dive industry, with a stack of records and accreditations to back-up their professionalism. Some have over 25 years experience and divers can be assured of safe diving with professional crew, boats and equipment.
All of these Cairns Outer Reef Diving trips are open water diving. This means you are scuba diving on reef sites in the open ocean. Conditions (current etc) will be dependent on the weather and time of day. Cairns Outer Reef Diving sites are generally around 60km offshore, which means good visibility year round (varies anywhere from 5m on a bad day, to 35m).
Travel time to and from Cairns to the Outer Great Barrier Reef is anywhere between 90-minutes to 2-hours. During this time, certified divers complete their safety paperwork and are issued equipment. You will be required to show your dive certification / license, so should have this with you. Dive site and safety briefings are always provided by the dive crew.
Outer Great Barrier Reef dive site depth varies, but is usually no more than 30m. These trips are suitable for divers of all experience levels. Some operators give the choice between guided and unguided dives: others insist upon guided dives with a Divemaster.
The number of dives and time spent on the reef varies between the different tour options / boats. Most visit at least two reef sites each day and the maximum number of dives you can take on a day tour is three (3). No reverse profile diving is allowed and there is no solo diving on any of the Cairns dive day tours: nitrox can be requested on some boats, but needs to be booked in advance.
Over 2,900 individual coral reefs comprise the Great Barrier Reef and there are several excellent dive sites on Cairns’ Outer Great Barrier Reef. Diving operators are licensed to visit specific reefs including, but not limited to: Saxon, Hastings, Paradise, Milln, Moore, Flynn, Thetford, Sudbury, Channel and more.
Cairns day dive boats vary from sailing ships to modern catamarans and capable monohulls. Water entry from each is generally giant stride. Each boat provides scuba divers with a choice of lycra suits (summer) or wet suits (winter) and are fully equipped with masks, fins, tanks and everything else you need to enjoy your day.
For Cairns’ Outer Great Barrier Reef dive day tours, you can choose between a day boat tour or a pontoon tour. What’s the difference? Boat tours visit at least two different reef sites, you can choose between guided and unguided diving on most boats and maximum depths reach up to 30m at some sites (although usually no deeper than 25m). Guided dives will never be deeper than 18m.
Pontoon dive trips are not the cheapest Cairns diving but are a good option if you are travelling with non-diving companions who will enjoy the extra inclusions (glass-bottom boat and semi-submersible tours and underwater observatory). The scuba diving from Cairns’ Outer Great Barrier Reef pontoons is always guided and usually no deeper than 18m. You can still explore a few different reef sites, which are usually “sheltered” by surrounding fringing reefs, which means you are less likely to experience current.
There are 11 Cairns diving day tours to the Outer Great Barrier Reef, all departing daily. We have been on all of them and can provide advice on the best trip to suit your needs.
Please note: We are not affiliated with any of the boats. We are Cairns locals, trying to help visitors have the best time they can, on the amazing Great Barrier Reef. This website is funded and built by us: we make commission from your tour bookings. We hope the information is of some assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more advice on +61 7 4041 1638 | firstname.lastname@example.org