Small boat/yacht  Small boat/yacht  Small boat/yacht
© Cairns Backpackers Guide 2013
Cairns Backpackers Guide
Reef Day Trips                All you need to know There are more than 30 day trips you can do to the reef from Cairns alone. Choosing which one to go on can be a daunting task. The first thing you need to decide is which of the following types of trips you want to do: Small boat/yacht to the inner reef Medium or large boat to the outer reef Pontoon based trip Island based trip The best thing about a trip to the Great Barrier Reef is that whichever one you do , it’ll be fantastic. The only question is how fantastic it will be for you.
Pontoon based trips Pontoon based trips Pontoon based trips
Larger boats enable you to get as out as far as the outer reefs. This will be the type of trip that certified divers will want to go on but will also suit snorkellers that want to experience the outer reef without being stuck on a pontoon. All of these boats go to at least 2 different reefs. Here are some suggestions: Down Under Dive Silverswift (Quicksilver Cairns) Reef Experience Calypso (Port Douglas) Silversonic (Quicksilver Port Douglas) Tusa Cairns Dive Centre Poseidon (Port Douglas) Ocean Freedom Seastar
Pontoon based trips involve catching a large boat to a floating platform (pontoon) on the reef. The advantages of such a trip are many; they typically are more spacious and comfortable than being on a boat all day, they have glass bottom boats and semi- submersible submarines for people who don’t want to get wet. They usually offer helicopter trips from the pontoon. They suit people who might not be so comfortable snorkelling such as older people or children and are very good for families. The disadantages are that the trips are quite expensive, and only go to 1 reef location. Also, there are usually a lot of people on these trips. There are 3 such trips in Cairns, and 1 in Port Douglas: Sunlover Great Adventures Reef Magic Quicksilver (Port Douglas)
There are 3 main islands in Cairns that you can snorkel from: Green Island (Great Adventures) Green Island (Big Cat) Fitzroy Island (Raging Thunder) Frankland Island group (Frankland Island Cruise and Dive) These trips enable you to relax on tropical white sandy beaches and still get some snorkelling in. They involve a much shorter boat trip than the other options and you can do these even if you have only half a day.  If your thing is to get in as much snorkelling as you can then you will be better off giving the islands a miss.  Fitzroy Island and Frankland Island whilst they are beautiful islands, do not have anywhere near as much coral or fish than you will see on the other trips. Green Island does have lots of fish and coral but the best stuff is a long way from the beach-too far to swim too. The islands are great if you have only half a day available or as a 2nd reef trip. The following trips are available:
Medium or large boat Medium or large boat Medium or large boat Island based trips Island based trips Island based trips Sailing boats Sailing boats Sailing boats
Sailing boats can be a great way to see the reef in an intimate manner and to have a fantastic sailing experience at the same time. These yachts range from 20 to 80 guests. The downside of the yachts is that they generally take longer (2 hours +) to get to the reef and will usually be limited to the inner reefs. These reefs are still very beautiful  but seasoned divers might be happier on the outer reef which is usually deeper. Here are 4 small boats you can choose from: Small yachts Reef Daytripper Ocean Free Passions of Paradise Aquarius Sailaway Larger yachts Ocean Spirit Wavedancer (Port Douglas)