Cairns Diving Trips – Day Tours

Cairns diving trips and scuba diving day tours depart daily, taking certified divers of all experience levels to enjoy and explore the Great Barrier Reef. If you would like to try diving and are not a certified diver then please see our page on Cairns Introductory Dives.

The Great Barrier Reef is comprised of more than 2,900 individual reefs. Cairns is the best place for Great Barrier Reef dive trips, with several reefs very close to shore and accessible for day tours, these include: Milln, Moore, Hastings, Saxon, Thetford, Briggs, Upolu, Paradise and Michaelmas Reefs, to name just a few.

Cairns has excellent Great Barrier Reef diving conditions year round, including warm, clear water, abundant corals and marine life. Water temperatures vary from 29 degrees in Summer to 23 degrees in Winter and lycra or wet suits are available on all boats.

Cairns is the closest mainland point to the Great Barrier Reef, which means less travel time and more dive time! Some operators visit up to three different reef sites during the day, giving you up to six (6) hours on the reef. Travel time is usually no longer than two (2) hours each way, generally less, depending on who you choose.

There are over 16 scuba diving day tours departing Cairns daily. They range in price, destination, boat and inclusions and cater to certified divers of all experience levels, from the novice to the advanced. It is best to review what is on offer before making your final tour decision. Day tour packages can be tailored to suit your preference and may include one, two or three certified dives, with or without equipment hire.

Swim with Turtles

Swim with Turtles

Damsel Fish

Damsel Fish

Cairns Diving Trips

Love Anemonefish

Some Cairns dive day tours visit the Outer Great Barrier Reef, others travel to coral and sand cays and tropical islands, while others visit reef pontoons. The diving at all locations is excellent, but conditions may vary: to assist with your decision making, please see the below notes.

Cairns Outer Reef Day Diving

Cairns’ Outer Great Barrier Reef dive sites offer pristine coral reefs with depths ranging from 2 – 35m. Individual features vary: some have coral caves, walls and drop offs, others have towers, bommies and swim throughs. All are home to an amazing diversity of Great Barrier Reef marine and coral life. Most of these tours offer a choice of guided or unguided diving and if you don’t have your own buddy, they’ll pair you up with someone on the boat. Travel time to Cairns’ Outer Great Barrier Reef sites is usually anywhere between 90-minutes to 2 hours. Cairns Outer Reef Day Diving.

Meet Nemo

Tusa Dive

Reef Quest Saxon Reef

Cairns Pontoon Diving

Outer Reef Pontoon dive packages are generally Cairns’ most expensive scuba diving day tours. Why? As well as scuba diving, you get to enjoy and utilize all of the other facilities and activities at the pontoon, including, but not limited to: freshwater showers and change rooms, shaded seating and sundecks, underwater observatories, semi-submersible and glass bottom boat tours and touch tanks. Scuba diving on these trips is either done straight from the pontoon itself, or with a tender transfer to nearby dive sites. Maximum depth is generally 18m: all pontoon dives are guided.

Meet Wally

Outer Reef Pontoon

Green Sea Turtle

Cairns Island and Cay Diving

Cairns scuba dive tours to sand cays and tropical islands, like Michaelmas and Upolu Cay, Green Island and Fitzroy Island, offer shallow, protected waters with vibrant, fringing coral reefs and giant clam gardens. These trips are ideal for inexperienced divers or those travelling with non-divers. Due to their somewhat sheltered locations, the currents here are generally not as strong as they can be on open water sites and there is an abundance of marine life, including large schools of parrotfish and bat fish, turtles, soft corals and more. Maximum depths are generally >15m: all dives are guided.

Departure times for Cairns dive day tours vary from operator to operator, the first boats leave at 7.30am and the final departure is at 10.30am. There are no half day tours. Standard price inclusions are the boat trip to the reef, tea and coffee, lunch and a marine biologist presentation. Some packages include additional activities and optional extras, such as scenic helicopter flights.

Sail to Green Island

Ocean Free

Ocean Freedom

Ocean Freedom

Passion of Paradise

Passion of Paradise

Cairns Diving Trips: All dive equipment is provided onboard and Divemasters / Instructors provide comprehensive dive briefings en route to the Great Barrier Reef, covering the equipment, dive signals and dive site overviews.

Sail to Uplulo Cay with Reef Day Tripper

REEF DAYTRIPPPER: Cairns scuba diving day tours

With a maximum of 20 passengers Reef Day Tripper offers a relaxed sailing small group day tour to the reef!
Sea Kayaking on the Great Barrier Reef, Fitzroy Island, Cairns

Fitzroy Island Boat Transfers – Raging Thunder

Fitzroy Island boat transfers with Raging Thunder Cruises offer a fast quick transfer service to the beautiful Fitzroy Island.
Lady enjoying the water-slide at Moore Reef.

Sunlover Cruises

Great day tour for people of all ages. Visit Outer Reef Pontoon at Moore Reef, with lots of inclusions: snorkelling, glass bottom boat and semi-sub tours, underwater observatory and more.
Tusa at the Reef

Tusa Dive T6

Tusa Dive provide quality Great Barrier Reef snorkel / dive day tours on one of Cairns' newest reef day boats, T6. Up to 5 hours on the reef, visiting 2 locations. Great service - all meals included.
Silverswift At The Reef

Silverswift Dive & Snorkel

Only Cairns Great Barrier Reef day tour to visit 3 different reef sites in one day! Part of the Quicksilver Cruises fleet. Comfortable, high speed catamaran. Up to 5 hours at the reef.
Evolution Dive Boat Cairns

Down Under Dive: Evolution

Well priced Great Barrier Reef day tour, including BBQ lunch. 5 hours on the reef at 2 reef sites. Free guided snorkeling tours, introductory and certified diving are available at extra cost. Brand new boat.
Scuba diving Green Island

Ocean Free Sailing

Unique Cairns to Green Island sailing day tour. Max number of guests = 25. Snorkelling & diving plus time on Green Island. Buffet lunch + morning and afternoon tea included. Friendly crew.

Deep Sea Divers Den: Reef Quest

Value for money Great Barrier Reef day tour. Visits 2 reef sites. Perfect for snorkellers, certified divers and those wanting to try an introductory dive. Buffet lunch included.
Reef Magic Outer Reef Scuba Diving

Reef Magic Cruises

Up to 5 hours at the reef. Outer Great Barrier Reef pontoon with fabulous coral gardens. Meet Wally! Lots of inclusions: snorkelling, glass bottom boat, semi-sub, underwater observatory and more.
Great Adventures Green Island & Reef Package

Great Adventures: Green Island & Great Barrier Reef

This is the only Cairns day tour to combine time on Green Island with a visit to a Great Barrier Reef pontoon. Best of both worlds. Suitable for snorkellers and divers.
The Passions of Paradise boat Cairns Australia

Passions Of Paradise

Australian Tourism Award Winner. Daily dive / snorkel trips to Michaelmas Cay & Paradise Reef on 25m sailing catamaran. Free scuba demonstration & guided snorkel tour. Hot / cold buffet lunch.
Fully inclusive Great Barrier Reef day tours with Reef Experience

Reef Experience

Cairns' only fully inclusive day tour, including: city transfers, trip to Great Barrier Reef, 6 hours on reef, 2 reef locations, meals, free scuba dive, marine biologist presentation & equipment.
Cairns Dive Centre Day Boat - MV Reef Kist

M.V. Reef Kist – Cairns Dive Centre (Island Diver)

Great value one of Cairns cheapest day boats to the Great Barrier Reef. Full day snorkeling visiting 2 x Reef Locations. Includes lunch and all snorkel gear.
Ocean Freedom the quickest Great Barrier Reef day tour dive in Cairns

Ocean Freedom Cruise

Locally owned & operated. 5 star service. Up to 6 hours snorkel / dive time at 2 Great Barrier Reef locations. Best reef tour lunch in town. Friendly crew, glass bottom boat tour & much more.
Great Adventures

Great Adventures: Outer Reef

Leaves later than most (10am) and provides up to 3 hours at their outer reef pontoon. Enjoy the sun deck, underwater observatory, semi-submersible and many optional extras.

Silversonic Dive & Snorkel

Silversonic provides daily reef tours departing from Port Douglas and visiting the ribbon reefs at Agincourt Reef. 5 hours at reef and up to 3 dives.

Fitzroy Island Ferries

Fitzroy Island Resort Ferries have convenient departure and return times from Cairns to Fitzroy Island, making this great for a full day tour of the Island. Depart Cairns 8:00am, 11:00am and 1:30pm.

Ocean Spirit Cruises Cairns

Ocean Spirit Cruises provide a luxury sailing catamaran to Michaelmas Cay. This trip is suited to swimmers, snorkelers and families. Often Sea Turtles are seen from the beach. All meals included.

Seastar Cruises

Seastar provides daily dive and snorkel tours to Michaelmas Cay and Hastings Reef. Up to 5 hours at the reef and 2 guided snorkel tours included.

Poseidon Snorkel and Dive

Poseidon provides daily tours from Port Douglas to the Agincourt Ribbon Reefs, visiting three (3) separate reef sites. Suitable for scuba divers and snorkelers. Great passenger to crew ratio.
Quicksilver Cruises Boat from Port Douglas

Quicksilver Outer Great Barrier Reef Cruises

The Ultimate Great Barrier Reef Cruise - Quicksilver Cruises provides the only Port Douglas Great Barrier Reef pontoon tour, departing Marina Mirage daily. Can snorkel and dive, Semi-Submarines & Underwater Observatory.

Great Adventures: Green Island – Full Day

Great Adventures offer two departure (8.30am - 10.30am) and return times (2.30pm - 4.30pm) for their full day tours. Flexible option, suitable for families.
The Frankland Islands Group of Islands.

Frankland Islands

This dive and snorkel reef day tour departs from Deeral, which is 40-minutes south of Cairns, and visits the Frankland Islands group which is surrounded by fringing reefs.
Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel Reef Boat

Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel Cruises

Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel offers a great value for money option that spends 5 hours at a beautiful reef location. Free guided snorkel tour, glass bottom boat tour and marine presentation.

Deep Sea Divers Den: Sea Quest

Value for money Great Barrier Reef day tour. Visits 2 reef sites. Perfect for snorkellers, certified divers and those wanting to try an introductory dive. Buffet lunch included.

Aqua Quest Dive Port Douglas

Aqua Quest provides daily reef tours departing from Port Douglas and visiting Agincourt Reef, St Crispin Reef, and Opal Reef. Nitrox available on board.

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Cairns Day Diving Information

Click the links below to find out more.

Do You Need Help Choosing?

Do you need help choosing a trip?

Can't decide? We have personally been on every Cairns reef and diving trip. We can help you choose the best tour, to suit your experience and budget.



Cairns Underwater Camera Hire Service

Spend over $550.00 AUD on your Great Barrier Reef tour with us and receive the latest Digital Underwater Camera Hire. Take amazing High-Resolution images and 1080 HD Video.

Not available for any tours to the Islands as fine white sand damages the seals on the cameras and makes them leak!

You need to come into our shop located on the Cairns Esplanade the day before departure to pick up the camera before 5:30 pm. You also need to supply your own SD Camera Card and drop the camera off back at our shop before 6:00pm.