What is the best Great Barrier Reef tour from Cairns?

What is the best Great Barrier Reef tour from Cairns you may ask? Let us show you the absolute best day tour for snorkeling and scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns.

Now there are over 35-day boats operating from both Cairns & Port Douglas. To clarify and help you find which is the best day trip you need to apply the following three concepts to your search criteria.

DAY DIVING TRIPS 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.

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.

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.

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.

  1. Where are you staying, Cairns or Port Douglas?
  2. Do you have a decent budget? We don't mean crazy we mean are you in the position you can really choose any tour and budget is not a problem. It is not about the price it is about the ultimate experience and what you can see on your day trip to the reef.
  3. You are on a tight budget with not a lot of money to spare and want the best bank for your buck?

Ok, now we have the three categories out of the way lets get into it!

If budget is not a worry and you are looking for that ultimate day tour, we recommend Silverswift Dive & Snorkel. Read on to find out why!

We are staying in Cairns:

Ok great, this narrows it down to all the boats that depart from Cairns. Ignore and disregard all the boats that depart from Port Douglas. The truth is, there are magnificent dive and snorkeling options from Cairns just like there is from Port Douglas!

Now we have narrowed it down to the boats that depart from Cairns let's get into the nitty-gritty!

If budget is not a worry and you are looking for that ultimate day tour, we recommend Silverswift Dive & Snorkel. Why? It is the only boat in Cairns to visit three outer reef sites in one day. When we say outer reef, we mean the outer reef, Flynn, Milne, and Pellowe Reefs! Check out our Cairns dive sites map to get a really good idea!

  1. Why is this the best Cairns Reef Tour? Well, the boat is a fast modern twin-hull vessel that departs at 8:30 am. Due to the boat characteristics, you are at the outer barrier reef in less than 1.5 hours!
  2. You spend 1.5 hours at each reef site. You will visit three different reef sites in the one day. (This is the only boat in Cairns to do this) This is more than enough time to snorkel & explore pristine coral reef systems. For divers, you can easily complete a 45 minute certified or introductory first-time scuba dive (One dive at each reef site a total of three dives in the one day). All scuba divers are guided by professional dive instructors.
  3. Morning, afternoon tea and hot-cold buffet lunch are provided. All snorkel and dive gear is also included.

Do you have a decent budget?

How does this day trip differ from the competitors and what makes it the best?

The competition in Cairns is fierce and to be honest you will have a fantastic day on all the day boat operators. But the one main difference that does set them all apart is the reef permits they operate on. Reef tour operators pay a large portion of the money they earn to the Australian Government to own their tourism reef permit. The permits are located all over the marine park. Some areas are more beautiful than others.

Silverswift Dive and snorkel have reef permits on the outer reef, Flynn, Milne, and Pellowe Reefs!

Generally speaking the further offshore you travel the better the reef quiality gets! Why? the outer reefs are located near the edge of the continental shelf of Australia! Deep clear water from the coral sea flushes up onto the outer fringing reefs creating magnificent healthy reef eco systems.

See the video; The best Great Barrier Reef tour from Cairns:

The fact that you can dive and snorkel on three separate reef sites in one day is one of the major attractions to choose to visit the reef with Silverswift Dive & Snorkel. This is one of the major contributing factors why we think this is the best Great Barrier Reef tour from Cairns.

If you think about it, the more ground you cover in one day the more opportunity to see things. Because the more time you spend out on the reef the more you can find. As a result, moving around and exploring more areas of the reef increases your chance of seeing more colorful fish, marine life, turtles, large marine animals, and beautiful soft and hard coral systems.

You are on a tight budget with not a lot of money!

This is also fine, many travelers just want the best value-for-money day trip they can find. If this sounds like you then you cannot go past a fantastic company called Reef Experience. These guys visit two outer reef sites in one day, they have permits for Norman, Saxon, and Hastings reefs systems. These dive & snorkel sites offer magical snorkeling and diving experience. The trip also includes 1 x FREE Introductory scuba dive, hot cooked breakfast, and all snorkel gear. Talk about value for money!

In Conclusion:

If money is no problem the best Great Barrier Reef tour from Cairns is Silverswift Dive & Snorkel. If you are on a budget and looking for the best value for money day tour choose Reef Experience!

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.
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.

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.
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.
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.
Sail to Uplulo Cay with Reef Day Tripper

REEF DAYTRIPPPER:

With a maximum of 20 passengers Reef Day Tripper offers a relaxed sailing small group day tour to the reef!
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.
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.
The Passions of Paradise boat Cairns Australia

Passions Of Paradise

Australian Tourism Award Winner. Daily dive/snorkel trips to Paradise Reef, Hastings reef, and more on 25m sailing catamaran. Free scuba demonstration & guided snorkel tour. Hot / cold buffet lunch.

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.
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.
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.
Great Adventures Day Boat

Great Adventures: Outer Reef Pontoon

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.
Green Island Jetty

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.
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 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.
Fitzroy Island Beach

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.
Fitzroy Island Jetty

Fitzroy Island Adventures – Boat Transfers

Fitzroy Island boat transfers with Fitzroy Island Adventures offer a fast quick transfer service to the beautiful Fitzroy Island.
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.
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. Introductory and certified diving are available at extra cost. Brand new boat.
ReefQuest

Deep Sea Divers Den: Aqua Quest

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

Calypso Dive & Snorkel

Calypso Dive & Snorkel operate a beautiful dive boat from Port Douglas. This boat was built with divers and snorkelers in mind. A large hydraulic step is located at the back of the boat, this makes it extremely easy to get in and out of the water.

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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 5:30pm.