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Compare Great Barrier Reef Day Tours From Cairns

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Gabby Boucher
Updated Wed 13 Mar 2024

There are so many Great Barrier Reef day tours from Cairns that it can be hard to choose which one to book! We've created this guide to compare different Cairns reef tours so you know what to expect. Every tour offers something unique, from the reef sites visited to the fun add-ons to the number of people on board. Take your time choosing the perfect Cairns reef tour so you can have the best possible experience!

girls posing on a boat tour going to the great barrier reef

Great Barrier Reef Day Tours From Cairns

Tour Pax # of dives Prescription masks Pick Ups Scenic Flight Boat tours Other Upgrades Locations visited
Passions of Paradise 90 2 Extra cost Extra cost N/A N/A Marine Biologist Experience Norman/Hastings or  Flynn/Milln/Moore

Silverswift 80 2 for intro, 3 for certified Included Extra cost N/A N/A Flynn/Milln/Pellowe/Thetford
Ocean Freedom 75 2 Included Extra cost N/A Glass bottom boat tour included Upolu Reef/Upolu Cay
Divers Den 80 3 Included N/A N/A N/A Guided dives available  Norman/Saxon/Hastings
Sunlover 300 1 N/A

Extra cost

Available for extra cost Glass bottom boat or semi-sub included Helmet diving Moore Reef
Reef Experience 100 2 Extra cost

Cairns: included Outside the city: Extra cost

N/A Glass bottom boat tour included Dive guide or marine biologist tour available Norman/Saxon/Hastings/Breaking Patches
Reef Daytripper 20 1 N/A Extra cost N/A N/A Upolu Reef
Evolution 150 3 Included (requires deposit) Extra cost Available for extra cost Semi-submersible boat tour for extra cost Gold Class Option Norman/Saxon/Hastings
Seastar 36 2 N/A Extra cost N/A Glass bottom boat tour included Hastings/Michaelmas Cay
Great Adventures 290 2 Available upon request Extra cost Available - subject to availability Semi-submersible boat tour included Add a visit to Green Island Moore Reef
Dreamtime 65 3 N/A Extra cost N/A N/A Guided snorkel safaris available Norma/Saxon/Hastings/Thetford or Flynn/Milln/Moore
Down Under Dive 150 3 N/A Extra cost Included N/A Half day option also available Norman/Saxon/Hastings
Ocean Spirit 100 1 intro dive only, cert not offered N/A Extra cost N/A Semi-submersible coral viewing tour included Marine biologist guided snorkel tours available Michaelmas Cay
Ocean Free 25 2 Included Extra cost N/A Glass bottom boat or semi-sub for extra cost Activities on Green Island Green Island
Reef Magic 250 3 Extra cost Extra cost Available upon request Glass bottom boat or semi-sub included Helmet Diving and guided snorkel safaris Moore Reef
Tusa 40 2 (cert divers can do 3 shorter dives) Included Included N/A N/A Norman/Saxon/Hastings/Thetford/Pretty Patches/Michaelmas

Which Great Barrier Reef tours have scuba diving?

All of the tours mentioned above offer intro or certified scuba diving, and most of them offer both. You can complete between 1 and 3 dives in one day, though the costs may vary. Make sure you read each tour page in depth to determine whether scuba diving is included or if it costs extra. Introductory dives include a lesson with an experienced instructor so you can feel safe and calm as you take your first breaths underwater! If you are a certified diver, make sure you bring your dive card to show to the staff on board. 

dive instructor teaching a girl how to scuba dive

Which Great Barrier Reef tours have glass bottom boats?

Boat tours are a fun way to see the reef from a new perspective. Whether you want to see the reef without getting wet or you're just not a confident swimmer, these tours offer a fun extra activity on the reef. Cruise through the water on a glass bottom boat or a semi-sub and view the reef up close from the comfort of the vessel. Your guide will share interesting info about all the cool creatures and corals you see. 

glass bottom boat tour cruising over the reef

Other types of Great Barrier Reef Tours

These are our top Great Barrier Reef day trips, but there are other ways to see the reef in Tropical North Queensland as well. You can spend multiple days on the reef with a liveaboard. Spend anywhere from 2 to 7 nights sleeping out on the reef and snorkelling or diving at a vast number of reef sites. 

Or you can visit a tropical island on the reef and combine snorkelling with bushwalking and beach lounging. Green Island and Fitzroy Island are the two most popular islands to visit on the Great Barrier Reef, as are the Frankland Islands. You can also book reef tours from Port Douglas, or book a scenic flight over the reef and the rainforest. 

Visit Green Island on one of these day trips from Cairns!

aerial view of Fitzroy Island jungle, beach, and ocean

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