Welcome to Great Barrier Reef
Each year, more than 1.5 million visitors come to experience this World Heritage–listed area that stretches across 2000km of coastline. Diving and snorkelling are just some of the ways of experiencing this wonderfully rich ecosystem. There's also sailing, scenic flights and a world of DIY options for exploring the reef’s gateway towns and stunning islands
Top experiences in Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef activities
Great Barrier Reef Diving and Snorkeling Cruise from Cairns
Your Great Barrier Reef experience begins in the morning with one of the fastest trips to the reef from the Cairns mainland, covering the distance in a little over an hour. After checking in, step aboard your deluxe boat, which holds a maximum of 100 people, including expert guides who make sure that you are comfortable throughout the day. When you arrive at the reef, head to two prime locations to take in colorful schools of fish and coral gardens. Your guides help you to get outfitted with snorkel and scuba diving equipment, and provide instruction and encouragement to newcomers and experienced people alike. Your friendly and knowledgeable crew is always available to help nervous snorkelers or divers enjoy their time in the water. Marvel at the incredible richness and diversity of marine life as you snorkel at two prime sites on the Great Barrier Reef. If you prefer to stay dry, sit back and enjoy the new semi-submersible tour (payable on the day) with full commentary provided. Spend five hours at the Great Barrier Reef, with an excellent buffet lunch served on the boat. The spread features an Australian barbecue with fresh fish, steak, and sausages, plus a selection of pastas, salads, and prawns.The guides choose from 12 exclusive moorings at six reef locations based on weather conditions and water clarity, to ensure the best experience for all activities. Generally, the tour goes to one of the true Outer Great Barrier Reef locations in the morning (Norman Reef or Saxon Reef) then heads to North Hastings Reef in the afternoon for the helicopter flights and glass bottom boat tour.As you return to the mainland after a full day in paradise, snack on a cheese and tropical fruit platter while members of your talented crew provide live music and entertainment — a fun and memorable end to an amazing day!
Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation and Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary Day Tour
After pickup from your hotel, travel by comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle north along the coast, taking in rugged mountains to one side and miles of golden sand and crystal clear waters to the other.When you reach Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas, disembark to explore the wildlife park, which features native Australian wildlife in rainforest, wetlands and grasslands exhibits. See the critters up close, including cassowaries, tree-kangaroos, crocodiles, koalas and a variety of birds. You can even hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies. Next, travel another 15 minutes north to Mossman Gorge, located in the southern section of Daintree National Park. Your guide shares informative commentary as you take a leisurely walk through the rainforest to viewing decks above the Mossman River. Learn about how local Kuku Yalanji people utilize forest plants for food, shelter and medicine and look for wildlife such as the Ulysses butterfly and Boyd's forest dragon.Continue up the coast to Cape Tribulation, using the Daintree River Ferry to cross the river. Stop at the Mt Alexandra Lookout for spectacular views that extend on a clear day from the Daintree Rainforest and Daintree River across the Coral Sea to the edge of the Great Barrier Reef.Arrive at Cape Tribulation and enjoy a delicious lunch at Cape Tribulation Beach House. For your main course, choose from locally caught barramundi (fish), steak or a vegetarian option, accompanied by garden salad, chips, fresh-baked bread and tropical fruit. In the afternoon, enjoy free time to explore the white sands of the world famous beach. You can swim in the Coral Sea (in season), cool off in the rainforest pool at Cape Tribulation Beach House or stroll along the beach and boardwalk. Then return to the Daintree River for a 1-hour cruise in calm waters. Be on the lookout for birds, butterflies, reptiles and saltwater crocodiles, and marvel at the tall mangroves that line the banks.After the river cruise, your guide returns you to your hotel with a brief stop at Rex Lookout between Port Douglas and Cairns.
Kuranda Scenic Railway, Skyrail, Great Barrier Reef Helicopter Tour and Cruise
Have your camera ready aboard the Kuranda Scenic Railway to take photographs as the train winds its way around Horseshoe Bend and past Stoney Creek Falls and Barron Falls. At Kuranda Markets you'll have free time to shop for locally made arts and crafts before experiencing World Heritage Rainforest with Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Make sure to have your camera ready as you glide over the rainforest canopy and glimpse tantalizing views of Cairns' beautiful coastline. From lush tropical rainforest it's on to the blue expanse of the Great Barrier Reef and your spectacular thirty-minute helicopter flight to the Outer Reef. From the heli pontoon at Hastings Reef, you will be transferred to a high-speed vessel to enjoy a delicious tropical lunch. After lunch you will have more than two hours to snorkel and swim. If you prefer not to get wet, you can take an informative semi-submersible boat tour to see and learn about the delicate coral reef ecosystem (if time permits). Divers are not forgotten either with scuba diving available for both beginners and experienced divers at an additional cost. Then it's time to relax and enjoy the live entertainment onboard this luxury vessel as you sail back to Cairns at the end of a packed, fulfilling day.
Great Barrier Reef and Helicopter Tour from Cairns
Choose from three options for your Great Barrier Reef experience. Fly by helicopter in and out of the reef for a 4-hour excursion; fly there and return by boat for a 4.5-hour round-trip. Or get the most time on the reef if you choose the full-day excursion, traveling to the reef by boat and spending five hours exploring there before returning by helicopter to Cairns in the afternoon. More details are in the Itinerary below.All options spend time on the Great Barrier Reef aboard a deluxe boat that holds a maximum of 100 people, with 18 expert guides to show you the amazing underwater world. If you take the boat from Cairns in the morning, when you arrive at the reef you stop at two prime locations to see multi-colored coral gardens and schools of fish. Your friendly guides assist you with your snorkel or scuba diving equipment, and provides encouragement and instruction to both newcomers and experienced participants.If you are a nervous first-time snorkeler or diver, your guides do their best to help you feel comfortable and enjoy your experience. Even non-swimmers can get in the water and see the reef!You have a choice of included and optional activities on this tour. If you want to learn to scuba dive, a 10-minute SCUBA demonstration is included, allowing you to try it out before purchasing the introductory dive course. It’s the perfect opportunity to experience one of the world’s top locations for diving! (Available only on the morning boat cruise)If you already have your scuba diving certification, you can scuba dive as many as three times at two different locations during the full-day excursion, plus have plenty of time for snorkeling or relaxation between dives. Simply book the dives when you are on the boat. All dive gear and dive computers are provided.Depending on the day’s weather conditions and water clarity, your guides choose from 12 exclusive moorings at six locations for the best possible experience for all activities. Generally, in the morning the boat visits one of the true Outer Great Barrier Reef locations (Saxon Reef or Norman Reef). In the afternoon you then head to North Hastings Reef for more snorkeling and helicopter flight connections.For lunch, enjoy a tasty Australian barbecue buffet served on the boat. Select from a spread consisting of fresh fish, sausages and steak, accompanied by a selection of salads, pastas and prawns.After a memorable visit to the Great Barrier Reef, return to the mainland by boat or helicopter in the afternoon. If you return by boat, snack on a tropical fruit and cheese platter while your talented crew provides live musical entertainment.
Fitzroy Island Day Trip from Cairns
Fitzroy Island is one of the most unspoiled islands on the Great Barrier Reef, located only 18.5 miles (30 km) from Cairns. The ocean and reef surrounding the island are protected as Marine National Park and are teeming with turtles, clown fish, hard and soft corals allowing a great snorkeling experience right off the beach.Your day begins with check-in at the Reef Fleet Terminal in Cairns from 8:15am for the Fitzroy Island high-speed ferry departing at 9am. Keep an eye out for dolphins and other marine life during the 45-minute crossing or simply relax inside the cabin. On Fitzroy Island, you can enjoy the day swimming and relaxing on the beach. If you like to explore on foot, the island features excellent hiking trails that wind through the rain forest and along the coast. The underwater world offers plenty of wonders as well, with multitudes of colorful fish and coral that can be spotted when snorkeling. Admire the rainbow colors of the parrotfish, watch clown fish darting in and out of anemones and see how many types of other marine critters you can spot in the wonderland of the Great Barrier Reef. Upgrade to the Activity Pass that includes a glass-bottom boat tour, snorkel gear, the use of stand-up paddle boards, paddle skis and a floating ocean trampoline. A delicious picnic lunch is also included as part of the Activity Pass. You may be able to check out water floats and other gear for children depending on availability, making this a family-friendly way to enjoy your island experience.
Great Barrier Reef Luxury Snorkel and Dive Cruise from Cairns
Your Great Barrier Reef adventure begins with check-in at the Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal. Once on board the luxury 65-foot (20-meter) catamaran, enjoy coffee, tea, fruit and muffins prior to departure.As you cruise to Upolu Cay, relax in the air-conditioned interior deck or on the outdoor sundeck. The crew will provide a safety briefing, and if you choose the introductory or certified scuba diving option, you’ll also fill out your paperwork.Your first stop is Upolu Cay, a naturally formed coral cay situated 19 miles (30 km) from Cairns on the Great Barrier Reef. The cay's protected shallow waters make it the perfect location to explore the reef, for both snorkelers and scuba divers. Drop anchor and take a glass-bottom boat tour from the catamaran to Upolu Cay. Then jump in the stunning turquoise water for your snorkeling adventure or your introductory or certified dive among an array of coral, reef fish, and starfish. After working up an appetite, enjoy a delicious buffet lunch on board while cruising from Upolu Cay to Upolu Reef. Feast on smoked salmon, chilled prawns, cold chicken and other meats, accompanied by salad and fresh bread.You’ll soon arrive at the amazing dive and snorkel site known as the ‘Wonder Wall,’ located on the outer edge of Upolu Reef. Rising 46 feet (14 meters) from the ocean floor, the ‘Wonder Wall’ plateaus just below the water's surface, making it a perfect spot for both snorkelers and divers. Be amazed by the many different types of hard and soft coral, giant clams, turtles and reef fish of all shapes and sizes. Learn more about the reef on an informative drift snorkel tour with a marine naturalist. After a full six hours exploring the Great Barrier Reef, cruise back to Cairns as the crew serves a selection of tropical fruit, cheese, crackers and a decadent cake platter.