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Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

Free admission
Pier Marina, Pier Point Road, Cairns, Tropical North, 4870

The Basics

Seeing the entire Great Barrier Reef could take weeks, but the most important scuba diving and snorkeling spots include the Saxon, Hastings, and Norman reefs in the outer Great Barrier Reef. Join one of the area’s many snorkeling and scuba dive–centric cruises or day trips, or turn your trip into an educational opportunity by getting your PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certificate.

Alternatively, explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site from above with a cruise in a catamaran or a glass-bottom boat. Scenic helicopter flights offer an overview and will give you a sense of the immensity of this remarkable ecosystem.

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Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Diving Cruise from Cairns
Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Diving Cruise from Cairns
$141.44 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Fantastic experience. The...
Fantastic experience. The reef locations were stunning and the crew were all energetic and friendly. I would recommend down under cruise and dive to anyone wanting to experience the GBR
Shelton_B, Nov 2021

Recent reviews from experiences in Cairns & the Tropical North

star-5
One for the bucket list
Lilia_S, Jul 2021
Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour and Cruise from Cairns
Wow, just wow. Being able to snorkel to see a tiny bit of paradise that’s the Great Barrier Reef is an experience of a lifetime. Brianna and Phil were excellent in guiding us while snorkeling while Cedric really looked after us while we were on board the Endeavour. The helicopter ride back to Cairns gave us a different perspective of the reef. So much fun! You can get seasick so consider taking seasickness tablets beforehand to maximise your enjoyment.
star-5
Best Experience of the Reef!!!
Jennifer_M, Jul 2021
Ocean Freedom Great Barrier Reef Personal Luxury Snorkel & Dive Cruise, Cairns
The best experience for my family, first time in The Great Barrier Reef. The boat was very clean, in compliance with the COVID precautions. The crews are very nice, helpful, attentive and well knowledgeable. The food is a wide variety, sumptuous and delicious, too much for everyone. Highly recommended. We thank you for this great experience.
star-5
The best in Cairns!
Cath_D, Oct 2021
Ocean Freedom Great Barrier Reef Personal Luxury Snorkel & Dive Cruise, Cairns
The very best tour company to travel to the reef with. Friendly crew with attention to giving everyone a good day out with safety a top priority. Special thx to Matt, Chris, "Pete" & skipper Ben. It was a beautiful day.... can't recommend enough 👏☺️
star-5
Wonderful- thank you
Rachel_B, Sep 2021
Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Diving Cruise from Cairns
Wonderful experience and the staff were friendly with excellent service. Clean boat, goos meals, very helpful staff
star-5
Mesmerising!
Sanchita_S, Aug 2021
Ocean Freedom Great Barrier Reef Personal Luxury Snorkel & Dive Cruise, Cairns
This was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. The trip was amazing with great tour guides - Ben, Chris, Mateo, Sophie and Antoinella. Ben and Chris were very knowledgeable and shared a lot of great info and facts about the reef. We were travelling with an infant and were made to feel very comfortable in the Catamaran. The food served was great and the boat was clean and luxurious.
star-5
Best experience ever
Christine_B, Aug 2021
Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Diving Cruise from Cairns
Great experience, wonderful staff that were very friendly, knowledgeable and efficient. Snorkelling was amazing and Phill junior has us giggling with his commentary. The Evolution was kept super clean and food was great! Loved it even though I got a little sick I give them an 11 out of 10 and I’d go back again any day ⭐️
star-5
Brilliant day!
Roger_W, May 2021
Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour and Cruise from Cairns
Fantastic day. The boat Evolution has to be the best in Cairns. Spacious, clean, fast and the crew are excellent. The chopper trip home was brilliant! Brand new helicopter (had that new helicopter smell!) and the pilot was great. I asked him his background and he is super over qualified to be flying tourists around (Rescue/Oil Rig pilot). Can't recommend this tour enough.
star-5
Silversonic dive trip Port Douglas
Stephen_W, Nov 2021
Silversonic Outer Great Barrier Reef Dive and Snorkel Cruise from Port Douglas
The staff were excellent, it shows they enjoy their job, very friendly and helpful. The dive and snorkel areas we went to were great but wished we saw a bit more variety but that’s nature. The fish life was in abundance. Food supplied was excellent.
star-5
Recommend!
Jenny_X, Nov 2021
Passions of Paradise Great Barrier Reef Snorkel and Dive Cruise from Cairns by Luxury Catamaran
The weather was not that good but the tour was well orginised and staffs are friendly! Very good experience! We had a great day!
star-4
Cairns Helicopter-Tour
richard_a, Nov 2021
Ultimate Great Barrier Reef and Rainforest 45-minute Helicopter Tour
Heli-tour was great! Punctual, safely organised and delivered exactly what was advertised. Would have preferred a larger Bell or Airbus chopper but understand the economics. Definitely recommended.
star-4
Colourful
Wesley_S, Nov 2021
Seastar Luxury Outer Great Barrier Reef Island and Reef Tour from Cairns
The outer reef snorkeling colours and sea life were amazing. The staff were friendly. The boat could do with some maintenance
star-5
Love!
Nina_P, Oct 2021
Passions of Paradise Great Barrier Reef Snorkel and Dive Cruise from Cairns by Luxury Catamaran
My second time diving with passions. Love the catamaran, the crew is always super friendly and helpful, and of course the reef is spectacular. Photography is 10/10. Absolutely love their work.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia's most iconic and must-see attractions for all visitors.

  • Keep in mind that strenuous water activities are not recommended for people with medical conditions affecting the heart or lungs.

  • If you experience motion sickness, take preventative medication at least 30 minutes prior to boarding the boat.

  • A stinger suit to protect you from jellyfish is recommended to swim in the waters off Green and Fitzroy Islands or the Frankland Islands.

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How to Get There

The Great Barrier Reef runs 1,426 miles (2,300 kilometers) from Bundaberg to Australia’s northernmost tip, coming closest to the continent right around Queensland. Scuba diving excursions, snorkeling trips, and reef cruises depart from Cairns, Cape Tribulation, Port Douglas, and Townsville. The boat ride from Cairns can take 45–90 minutes, depending where you’re headed.

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When to Get There

The water is at its clearest from April to October, but the reef can be enjoyed all year round. From December to March (summertime in the Southern Hemisphere), the water temperature is around 86℉ (30℃). From May to August whales migrate to the reef, and in the spring the coral spawns.

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Reefworld

A popular way to experience the Great Barrier Reef, Reefworld consists of two giant pontoons floating over Hardy Reef, one of the site’s smaller reefs. Here, you can snorkel, scuba dive, explore in semi-submersibles, or stay dry in an underwater viewing chamber. Tours to Reefworld depart from Port of Airlie, near Airlie Beach.

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Great Barrier Reef