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Best Cairns Overnight Reef Tours

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Gabby Boucher
Updated Thu 20 Apr 2023

Looking for the best Cairns overnight reef tours? You're in luck! As the so-called "Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef", Cairns has a wealth of options for excursions to the Outer Reef. And it doesn't matter if you want to snorkel, scuba dive for the first time, or advance your existing dive skills. Cairns offers overnight reef tours that suit all types of travelers wishing to see the underwater masterpiece of the Great Barrier Reef!

Exploring underwater

Why Book An Overnight Reef Tour?

There are a few reasons why you should consider overnight reef tours from Cairns. These tours are more immersive than day trips, plus they are usually all-inclusive and offer more diverse activities than a day trip. Many travelers tend to book day trips because they are a quick, convenient, and affordable way to see the Great Barrier Reef. But if you have 2 days or more to spare, an overnight reef tour will give you a more in-depth experience!

Whether you want to try a simple 2-day, 1-night reef tour, or you want to stay for 3, 4, 5, or 7 days, you'll get much more quality time with the reef on an overnight trip. Stay in cozy accommodation out at sea, watch the sunrise over the ocean, try night dives, learn from experienced instructors, and dive or snorkel at multiple unique locations on the reef!


The Best Cairns Overnight Reef Tours 

Here is an overview of the best Cairns overnight reef tours, with options for snorkellers, introductory divers, and advanced divers. It can be overwhelming trying to choose the perfect Great Barrier Reef tour, simply because there are so many options from Cairns! But we'll briefly summarize some of the top options so you can pick the ideal reef experience for you!

underwater reef

Oceanquest 2 Day 1 Night

Ideal for: snorkellers, introductory divers, certified divers, budget travelers

Oceanquest is one of the most reputable and well-known boats in Cairns! Taking passengers to the Outer Reef in comfort, this tour allows ample time for snorkeling and diving in the reef over the course of 2 days. Those wishing to snorkel can hang out at the surface, and there are knowledgeable instructors on board to help any new divers out. Experienced divers can take part in a night dive in addition to 6 dives throughout the day. All equipment and food is included, yet this is one of the cheapest Cairns overnight reef tours!

Note: This tour also offers a 3 Day 2 Night option!


Reef Encounter 2 Day 1 Night

Ideal for: snorkellers, introductory divers, certified divers, budget travelers

This 35-metre catamaran hotel gives you an upscale travel experience out on the Great Barrier Reef! With an onboard chef preparing fresh meals, a licensed bar, private and shared rooms, and a spacious sun deck, you can enjoy comfort and luxury when you're not in the water! Offering snorkelling, introductory diving, and special night dives for advanced divers, you'll get to visit multiple exclusive reef sites and really immerse yourself in the tropical coral reefs outside Cairns. 

Note: This tour also offers a 3 Day 2 Night option!

Sun deck

Pro Dive 3 Day Liveaboard

Ideal for: snorkellers, introductory divers, certified divers

Another one of the best Cairns overnight reef tours is with Pro Dive. Over the course of 3 days and 2 nights, you'll explore 11 reef sites on 4 different reefs. Make the most of your time in Cairns with this in-depth exploration of the Great Barrier Reef! All the dive crew are certified PADI instructors so you can learn to dive in safe hands. You can also stick to snorkeling, and certified divers can participate in 2 night dives. 

Scuba Diving

Reef Encounter Learn To Dive Liveaboard (3 Day and 4 Day Options)

Ideal for: introductory divers

Many travelers head to Cairns so they can learn to dive on the Great Barrier Reef! With its warm water, rich marine life, and abundance of affordable tour operators, Cairns is one of the best places in Australia for learning to dive. Reef Encounter offers the perfect Learn to Dive liveaboard where you can take your first breaths underwater and become a certified, competent scuba diver alongside professional instructors. Complete 8-11 dives and learn from the masters - you'll be a confident scuba diver in no time!

Learn to scuba dive

Spirit Of Freedom: 3 Day, 4 Day, and 7 Day Liveaboards

Ideal for: advanced divers

If you're a certified diver looking for some epic experiences on the Great Barrier Reef, Spiti of Freedom may have the perfect tour for you. The 3 day tour is suitable for newly certified or experienced divers, wheras the 4 day and 7 day tours are better for advanced divers. On these incredible overnight reef trips, venture beyond the tourist circle and explore pristine, secluded underwater locations. These tours geared towards confident divers means you can dive into unique reef sites such as Cod Hole, Osprey Reef, and Ribbon Reefs. Enjoy optional night dives and shark dives, and complete anywhere from 11-24 dives!

Shark underwater

Check out our full list of the best Cairns overnight reef tours here! Call us at (07) 4082 7470 or chat with us online if you have any questions!

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