Best Of Australia
East CoastCape Tribulation Cairns Magnetic Island Mission Beach Airlie Beach Whitsundays 1770 Fraser Island Noosa Brisbane Great Barrier Reef Gold Coast Byron Bay Spot X Sydney
South CoastMelbourne Great Ocean Road Launceston Hobart Adelaide Kangaroo Island Port Lincoln
West CoastPerth Exmouth Broome Kimberley
Top EndAlice Springs Uluru Litchfield Kakadu Darwin
Great Barrier Reef
Down Under Cruise and Dive Evolution Great Barrier Reef Day Trip$70 – $195 Select options
Explore the Great Barrier Reef with Passions$155 Select options
Ocean Free Great Barrier Reef Green Island Sailing Trip$110 – $549 Select options
Simply Great Barrier Reef$145 – $265 Select options
The Ultimate 1 Day Great Barrier Reef Trip$205 – $589 Select options
Open Water 5 Day Dive Course with Pro Dive Cairns$890 Select options
Checking out the Great Barrier Reef is certainly one of those things that should be right on the top of your list when you come to Cairns. Those are the big two – reef and the rain forest.
Watch The Weather
It’s good to choose a nice day to go out to the reef. So once you arrive in Cairns keep an eye on what the weather is doing. If you’ve booked an open day ticket you’ll have the freedom to choose the best day to visit the reef. There are a lot of different weather websites available to give you some idea of what the weather is going to do. You can even call the tour operator you’re booked with and ask them what they’d recommend.
There are a range of different tour boats operating in Cairns and there really is something for everyone. Work out exactly what you want out of your trip because chances are there is a boat out there that is suitable for your exact needs. There are a lot of larger boats in Cairns that cater to your slightly older visitor. Backpackers generally enjoy jumping on something that is a little bit smaller, a little bit more personal. They tend to have more fun on those boats because they can interact with the crew members on board. The bigger boats have people sitting inside the boat. Some of the smaller boats actually have plenty of room out on the top deck and that is more fun. You can laze around, mix and mingle with the other guests on board and really get the most out of your experience.
If you’re a more experienced certified diver Tusa Dive is probably your best option. This boat is faster and will get you out to a couple of reefs with the opportunity to do three dives whereas on some of the other boats, you’ve only got the opportunity to dive twice.
An Easy One For Beginners
The Passions of Paradise visit Michaelmas Cay which is a lovely big sand island. It’s a good option for beginners and people who haven’t spent a lot of time in the water or are a bit nervous. This place is easier because you can walk in to the beach from the boat. It’s a beautiful sand cay arising out of the horizon as you approach it. It is really famous for its turtles. You also see a really healthy bird population on the island of up to 20,000 birds.
Where To Go
Generally speaking it is best to be heading to the outer parts of the Barrier Reef. This is a better experience because it’s not affected by run off from your rivers so you get better visibility and a more diverse range of corals and marine life under water. Other reefs you want to visit include Milln Reef, Flynn Reef, Moore Reef and Thetford Reef. You can also do these reef trips on an overnight excursion. There are a number of boats that do the 2 day 1 night or 3 day 2 night to get you out there and spend a bit more time. So if you can, consider one of these options and devote a couple of days to exploring the reef.
There’s no party boats that go out to the reef. Even though they do cater for backpackers most of the boats also attract a wide demographic on board. So you won’t find parties on board tour boats. Cairns is another story. There are heaps of good party options for you there. The Woolshed is a pretty famous nightspot. Gilligans is also very popular with backpackers.
Talk To The Crew
A lot of people who come to Cairns are a bit nervous about going out to the reef. So if you are feeling a bit nervous on the boat have a chat to the crew members on board. They will go out of their way to make sure you get in the water and tick off some of the highlights from your reef holiday wish list. If you haven’t seen Nemo or want to see a turtle, just let them know. They’re always there to help. They really love their job. Most of the time they get the biggest kicks out of actually helping people see what they want to see and making sure they get an experience they are after.
Best Place To Learn To Scuba
If you haven’t tried scuba diving it is a good opportunity up on the reef to jump in and try. You wouldn’t find any other place in the world that caters to first time divers as much as they do on the reef. Take advantage of that and get in as much as time under the water as you can. It is not our natural place for us to be under there so it is quite a unique experience. It is one of those things that once you do it a couple of times, it is a bit of a bug, and you’ll catch it and you’ll soon find yourself doing a dive course and making it something you do on all of your holidays.
Give Yourself Time
If your travel plans are flexible it’s worth spending a little bit of time in Cairns. There are over 400 activities to do, from everything from your soft adventure right through to bungee jumping and skydiving. There really is something for everyone and you can spend a good week or two and have a lot of fun. You’ve also got a number of self-drive options to get yourself up onto the tablelands and that is an adventure worth considering too. Enjoy.