The World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system – an inevitable natural wonder and the pride of Australian tourism! Located off the coast of Queensland, this 2,300km-long marine ecosystem is undoubtedly the most popular tourist destination.
The Great Barrier Reef is only a 90-minute boat ride or a 30-minute helicopter flight away from Cairns, making it the Gateway City to the Reef. Depending on what you want to do, there are numerous operators offering tours and cruises departing from Cairns. Be it Great Barrier Reef snorkelling tours, scuba diving tours, island visits or a combination of all popular reef experiences, you’re sure to find a tour that suits your level of adventure as well as your budget!
Great Barrier Reef and outer reef locations that can be explored are dime-a-dozen, all you have to do is make an informed decision by comparing the prices, inclusions and value-adds the tours offer. Exclusive reef locations that are frequented less often have the most pristine coral gardens that are home to more than 125 species of sharks, stingrays and multi-hued fish and micro-organisms.
Snorkelling is a great way to see and experience the marvels of the underwater world. For a more up, close and personal experience, nothing short of a scuba dive will do! And, it really doesn’t matter if you haven’t done it before; you’ll be briefed on how to use the snorkel gear on board your vessel and in no time you’ll be good to go!
Most of the Great Barrier Reef tours from Cairns offer introductory dives for beginners and certified dives for diving enthusiasts. An Introductory Scuba Dive is a guided experience for small groups and is perfect for snorkellers who want to transition to diving. There will be adequate instruction and coaching on board, and the depth of the dive will be limited. Not to worry, there’s ample marine life found at shallower levels, so you won’t miss out on seeing the most colorful parts of the reef.
If you want to visit the reef and don’t want to get into the water, then Great Barrier Reef cruise tours to islands or large floating platforms are perfect for you. These experiences offer attractions such as underwater observatories, glass-bottomed boats, beach time, rainforest boardwalks, and the like.
The Great Barrier Reef also has over 100 islands including the 74 Island Wonders of Whitsundays and the Northern Islands. The natural landscapes of these coral cays, dotted with secluded beaches and friendly towns, are simply a feast for the senses.