Great Barrier Reef diving and snorkeling Cruise from Cairns

The best Great Barrier Reef diving and snorkeling Cruise from Cairns, is a trip that perfectly suits you and your families in water swimming abilities. There is no point going on a diving & snorkeling cruise where there is no glass bottom boat or semi-submarine especially if you do not swim, you will in fact waste the day just sitting on the boat.

You will in fact have a much better day choosing a trip that suits you and your family's swimming abilities! Read on below to get the full picture, learn how to make a better decision when it comes to choosing a Great Barrier Reef diving and snorkeling Cruise from Cairns.

GREAT BARRIER REEF DIVING AND SNORKELING CRUISE FROM CAIRNS:

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.

ReefQuest

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.

Do you need help choosing?

Can't decide?
CALL US: 07 4041 1638
Or try the form below, 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.

Choosing the right trip can mean the difference between having a fantastic day satisfying everyone in your family/group. Or everyone or at least some members of your group having a very average day perhaps even wishing for it to be over quicker.

The art of finding the ultimate Great Barrier Reef diving and snorkeling Cruise from Cairns is to ask everyone in your party can you swim? If the overwhelming majority can swim and have or would like to snorkel and even try scuba diving, then choose a day boat from Cairns.

Day boats move around, they visit two and sometimes three outer reef sites in one day. This is actually the advantage of day boats the fact that they can move around. (Pontoons or fixed platforms do not move around they are permanently moored at the one location all year round) See a list of outer reef day boat snorkeling and diving from Cairns.

If you have people or family members in your group that do not swim (Perhaps elderly or very young children) then it is best to choose a pontoon or fixed platform. Pontoons are moored at the one location all day, they are often very stable with lots of shady areas and sun decks to relax. Pontoons offer many ways to view the coral & marine life without getting wet!

Pontoons have semi-submarines, glass-bottom boats, underwater observatories, marine touch tanks, fish feeding and some even have water slides! They all include lunch, morning, and afternoon tea. View a list of pontoon day tours from Cairns, great for families with children.

All-day boats and pontoons provide snorkeling equipment which consists of the snorkel, fins, mask and some even give you a wetsuit or lycra suit. For the ones that don't they usually only charge between $5 or $10 to hire on the boat.

Great Barrier Reef diving and snorkeling Cruise from Cairns

Both day boats and pontoons offer snorkeling with the optional extra of scuba diving. Scuba diving you will wear a scuba tank on your back and breathe compressed air underwater for just over 40 minutes.

Scuba diving is easy and a really enjoyable way to explore the Great Barrier Reef. Diving gives you the chance to easily move around underwater and explore the reef with an instructor. You can easily get very close to marine animals and reef structures like Anemonefish and Anemone's, Sea Turtles, Cuttle Fish, Giant Clams, and much more.

The main requirement to try scuba diving is that everyone is medically fit with no asthma and not taking any prescription medication. PADI the World standard in dive training courses recommends that everyone allow up to 24 hours after scuba diving before flying in an airplane.

Why Visit the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns?

The city of Cairns, situated just 26 km from the Great Barrier Reef, is regarded as the gateway to the reef on the East Coast of Australia. If you book and stay in a hotel in Cairns it is usually only a 5-minute walk to the Reef Fleet Terminal (1 Spence Street Cairns). This is the main check-in terminal where all day boats and pontoons depart to the reef.

The majority day boats and pontoons depart from the Terminal at 8:30 am / 9:00 am most return between 4:30 pm and 5:30 pm.

As with all tours to the Great Barrier Reef, it is best to bring a towel, hat, and sunscreen, 50+ marine eco-friendly sunscreen is best. Talk to your local pharmacy to buy an environmentally friendly brand.

Due to the popularity of visiting the Great Barrier Reef and close proximity, the city of Cairns is to the reef is what makes Cairns the most desirable place to visit the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Departing from Cairns there are many good day tours and pontoons to choose from. There is a cruise to suit all family arrangements and budgets. Pontoons are popular as they are large, spacious, and have covered seating, sun decks, and change rooms. All of the pontoons are anchored near shallow coral gardens, which are excellent for snorkeling and trying a first-time scuba dive. These trips are great for everyone but particularly good for people who perhaps will not swim so much. (Like very young children, adults, and even elderly people who do not wish to swim). Choose a pontoon cruise if you have family members or friends in this category.

Day boats are another great option for the more active swimmer and really cater to those that have perhaps snorkeled or scuba dived before or at least are very comfortable in the water. Choose a day boat is you have an active family.

What Can You See Scuba Diving vs Snorkeling?

One of the main advantages of scuba diving is it gives you the chance to get very close to the subject you are viewing. For example, if you come across a sea turtle, snorkeling from the surface you would not be able to get very close to the sea turtle, generally, they are very nervous and scare away easily.

But scuba diving you are already at the same depth as the turtle, they tend to look at scuba divers a little differently and will generally tolerate a much closer interaction with a scuba diver rather than a snorkeler.

Another example is Nemo or Anemonefish. Snorkeling you are floating on the surface with most Anemone's living much deeper underwater around 5 - 10 meters beneath the surface. If you where scuba diving you would be able to get really close to the Anemonefish up to 60 cm away and you can spend time sitting and watching these beautiful little orange fish dart in and out of the host Anemone. This is something you cannot do while snorkeling.

Cairns Dive Adventures has done all of the Cairns reef cruises. Each offers a slightly different day and experience. We are happy to provide unbiased trip reviews and advice, to help you select the best reef cruise for your experience and budget.

Please note that 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 this information is of some assistance and thank you in advance for your support.

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.
ReefQuest

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 Day Boat

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.

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 Dive Boat with Divers

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.
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 Reef Information

Click the links below to find out more.

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.

Special

FREE UNDERWATER CAMERA HIRE*

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.