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Cairns Helmet Diving

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Talia Jones
Updated Mon 13 Mar 2023

A woman wearing a diving helmet underwater

Cairns is the home of the world famous Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. People travel from far and wide to tick the Great Barrier Reef off their bucket-lists. Scuba diving and snorkelling is the most popular activity to do on the reef but did you know you can actually experience the underwater world without even getting your hair wet?!

Helmet diving in Cairns is a unique activity that involves wearing a large helmet filled with air and walking along the bottom of the seafloor. If you are interested in helmet diving in Cairns, you can choose to try it out on a trip to Green Island or pick from one of the three pontoons located on the Great Barrier Reef.


What is Cairns Helmet Diving?

A man with a diving helmet on, underwater surrounded by fish

Helmet diving in Cairns is a unique form of underwater diving that involves wearing an air-filled helmet which looks a bit like something an astronaut would wear while you walk along the seafloor. The hose is connected to fresh air which allows you to breathe normally underwater. The best part about helmet diving is that absolutely no experience is required, you don’t even need to know how to swim! You just need to ensure you’re comfortable being underwater in the ocean. 

Besides looking a bit like Sandy from Spongebob Squarepants (a fictional squirrel who lives underwater and wears a helmet filled with air), the activity is a whole lot of fun! It lasts for roughly 25-30 minutes which is plenty of time to say hello to the friendly marine life that you’ll be immersed in. Can you imagine being underwater on the Great Barrier Reef, meeting all of the incredibly unique tropical marine life?


How do you Helmet Dive in Cairns?

Two girls underwater wearing diving helmets surrounded by fish
Photo: Tropical North Queensland

Prior to submerging yourself underwater, you’ll undergo a safety briefing and be given a set of instructions to follow. Helmet diving is safe and suitable for those aged 12 years and over and those who are in reasonable health. The activity is completed in small groups with a certified scuba diver leading the way to ensure everyone remains safe and comfortable.

To begin your dive, you’ll gear up and the instructor will ensure your helmet is air-tight and that it all fits correctly. You’ll then walk down a submerged platform that leads you to the underwater world. Don’t stress if you feel your ears blocking, you can simply equalise your ears which your instructor will teach you how to do beforehand. You won’t go much deeper than 4 metres which means you won’t have to equalise your ears too much!

Once underwater you can walk around, pose for photos, feed the tropical fish, and be amazed by the active sea life. To communicate with your instructor you will use various hand signals. These will be taught to you during the safety and instructions briefing. Lycra suits and wetsuits are usually provided if you need them. 


Where can you Helmet Dive in Cairns?

A group of people underwater wearing diving helmets having their photo taken by a scuba diver
Photo: Tropical North Queensland

Cairns has several locations available where you can experience helmet diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Green Island is one option, the other is a day trip to one of three Great Barrier Reef pontoons.

Green Island is a beautiful sand island located 28km off the coast of Cairns. The island is a tourist hotspot as it is full of natural wonders and countless activities to do. Besides exploring the island, scuba diving, snorkelling, and dining in the fine restaurants, you can also go helmet diving! Add a Seawalker Green Island Helmet Dive to your trip to Green Island day tour!

The three Great Barrier Reef pontoons in Cairns all offer helmet diving. You’ll likely see similar marine life in each location but the reefs will be different. Look out for green sea turtles, Nemo (clown) fish, manta rays, and you might even be lucky enough to come face-to-face with a friendly reef shark! Pick from our Quicksilver day tour which will take you to the stunning Agincourt outer reef Pontoon, the Sunlover day trip to the Moore Reef pontoon or Reef Magic’s pontoon day tour. If Helmet Diving isn’t enough, each location offers introductory scuba dives and snorkelling opportunities or you could simply relax on board the pontoon on one of the many banana lounges. 

If helmet diving on the Great Barrier Reef wasn't already on your bucket-list, it is now!


For more information on Helmet Diving in Cairns or any Cairns related questions, contact our local travel experts on (07) 4082 7470 or live chat on our website!

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