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Cairns Information

Opal Reef

Opal Reef is found on the Outer Great Barrier Reef and is best visited from Cairns. It takes about an hour and a half to reach from the shore and sits on the edge of the continental shelf. It’s a huge reef with many individual reef sites with each offering a unique experience. Different currents and coral formations provide homes to a variety of fish and other marine animals, meaning what you will see will depend on which site you visit! Tour providers choose the best sites based on the conditions of the day, ensuring you are able to have the best experience possible and enjoy the reefs at their best!

Upolu Cay and Reef

Upolu Reef offers an inner reef experience on the Great Barrier Reef and a spectacular place to explore and visit, teeming full of marine life! Unlike some reefs in the marine park, it supports both inner and outer reef species, giving you a diversified insight into life here on the Great Barrier Reef. Upolu Cay is located within Upolu Reef, so you can visit both in one trip - if the cay is above water! As Upolu Cay is very tiny and has very little elevation, it can actually become completely submerged during high tides!

Thetford Reef

Thetford Reef is a small horseshoe-shaped reef that is great for both snorkelling and scuba diving. It has a beautiful combo of sandy sea beds teeming with life and colourful coral bommies that are host to many coral species and vibrant tropical fish! The reef itself is about 2km long and has several individual sites, each more unique than the last!

Pellowe Reef

Pellowe Reef is found in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park near Milln Reef, Thetford Reef and Moore Reef on the edge of the continental shelf. This stunning site is visited from Cairns and is located about 35 nautical miles offshore, and is visited by both overnight and day trips! Pellowe is a more rare reef site to visit as the conditions must be just right, making it a special treat for those who do get to visit it. Tides and weather conditions must be ideal as this area has strong currents that can be dangerous to divers and snorkellers, and as safety is extremely important, you will only be able to go here if all the conditions are met! While a small reef, it offers a large variety of marine life to make each and every trip interesting to its visitors. Visibility ranges as far as 20m and depth here range from 5 - 20m and the reef has exciting wall dives and swim-throughs, making it a particularly great site for scuba divers.

Moore Reef

Moore Reef shares a coral space with Elford Reef and hosts a huge variety of coral environments. Moore Reef ranges from 1 - 25 metres in depth, making it great for scuba diving, with plenty of reefs that are great for snorkelling. It’s a favourite reef for many visitors, as it promises a huge variety of marine life, coral formations, and reef types! It has drop-offs and sea caves, making for diverse experiences each and every time, giving guests a memorable Great Barrier Reef experience. It is located close to Fitzroy Island and are often visited in conjunction with the island!

Milln Reef

Milln Reef is found close to Thetford Reef and sits close to the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. It’s a preferred reef for many day boats as it offers a huge variety of marine life close to the shoreline, taking about 30 minutes to reach.

Flynn Reef

Flynn Reef is a coral reef found 20km east of Green Island in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. It is located on the Outer Reef and is about 60km offshore from Cairns. The ride out to the reef cruises past other colourful reefs, pushing you to the edge of the marine park and onto this much-loved and visited site! You can look forward to seeing plentiful marine life here as well as a vast seascape that boasts both variety and excitement! 

Low Isles Reef

The Low Isles is a coral cay found in the Great Barrier Reef and is made up of Woody Island, Low Island and 55 acres of coral reef. The stunning cay is found only 15km northeast of Port Douglas, making it a popular spot for daytrippers leaving from the mainland, as you can reach in the cay in as little as 30 minutes! This reef site is teeming full of life and colour, offering an amazing snorkelling destination on the inner reef where visitors can swim in the coral lagoon, viewing the amazing marine life from above. Scuba diving isn’t allowed at this location, unless for scientific purposes, so tours only offer snorkelling to visitors! 

Michaelmas Cay

Michaelmas Cay is a sandy cay found on the western tip of Michaelmas Reef. It's a small sand island that is surrounded by reef and boasts a population of sea birds and vegetation. It is only 350 metres long by 50 metres wide, but is surrounded by a large, diverse coral reef. It is considered to be a fringing reef or middle reef, close to the edge of the Outer Great Barrier Reef.  It is a popular destination for day boats and snorkel trips and takes about 90 minutes to reach from Cairns, being located only 40 kilometres away. The cay has limited access and can only be visited between 9:30am and 3:00pm and has restricted access points, further limiting its visitors and making it a quiet and spectacular place to visit.

 

Hastings Reef

Hastings Reef is on the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef and spans 10 square kilometres and is located about 50km southeast from Cairns on the mainland. 

Hastings is horseshoe shaped and has a large reef wall that makes up the edge of the reef, with reef flats and other coral formations making up the rest of the reef. The reef flat can be as shallow as 1 - 3 metres with deeper parts of the reef reaching an average depth of 13 metres, making it great for both snorkelers and scuba divers as it’s viewable from above and below! 

Agincourt Reef

Agincourt Reef is found on the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. It is made up of several ribbon reefs that run parallel to the continental shelf. 

Ribbon reefs, such as those found at Agincourt, are considered to be the most pristine ecosystems in the Great Barrier Reef, making them great for both snorkelling and scuba diving. Agincourt Reef is located 65km off the coast of Port Douglas and is often visited by tours departing from here, taking only about 90 minutes to reach.

Essential packing list for Cairns

Cairns is a top destination for anyone coming to Australia. It is considered to be the key to the Great Barrier Reef and boasts a huge array of day trips and overnight trips that venture to the Great Barrier Reef and beyond. It has a humid, tropical climate that requires visitors to dress in light clothing and lather up sunscreen, not to mention the need to stay hydrated! 

Scuba Diving Medical Questionnaire

Diving is an exciting and demanding activity. It is important to ensure you are medically fit to dive before trying out this fun underwater activity! The purpose of establishing fitness to dive is to reduce risk of diving related medical conditions that may endanger you or those around you. For this reason, all divers must fill out a medical questionnaire to rule out any known or suspected pre-existing conditions that may affect your ability to dive. Such conditioned are generally an indication of the person's psychological suitability for diving and has no reference to their diving skills.

Things to do in Cairns

Cairns itself has much to offer to its visitors! There are the nightly markets, the Cairns lagoon, bars, shops, restaurants and more. It has plenty of things to keep you busy in the day and night and has something for every type of traveller. It is family friendly, but also has plenty to do for solo travellers, honeymooners and more.

Cairns Hostels

If you’re a backpacker, spending your time and money on accommodation might not be your top priority. Most travellers who are backpacking are usually keen to save their money for experiences and tours rather than on bed and board. That’s where the invention of the hostel comes in. They are usually pretty cheap and allow for a few types of accommodation, meaning if you want to super save, you can stay in a dorm, or if you’re keen to have privacy and not to spend ton, you can get a private room in a hostel.

What Are The Millaa Millaa Falls?

Millaa Millaa Falls are one of the most famous waterfalls in Northern Queensland, and certainly the most famous in the Atherton Tablelands. They are the most photographed waterfalls in Australia, known for their beauty and stunning surroundings. The waterfall stands 18.3 metres tall and those brave enough to swim in the cool waters can actually climb up behind the falls for a whole new point of view of the falls and surrounding rainforest.

What Kind Of Reef Is Near Cairns?

There are three major types of coral reefs that exist around the world, two of which are common to the Great Barrier Reef near Cairns. The types of reef are barrier reefs (hence the name of the Great Barrier Reef) and fringing reefs, both common to the Great Barrier Reef, as well as atoll reefs, which are rare.

Things To Do In Kuranda

Kuranda is a village located in the Atherton Tablelands, 25km Northwest of Cairns. It is known as the 'Village in the Rainforest' and is full of fun and amazing things to do and see. Many visitors make their way by driving up the Kuranda Range, the Kuranda Scenic Railway or by gondola, all of which offer a different perspective of Kuranda and the surrounding area.

Cairns Swimming Lagoon

Situated on the Cairns Esplanade is a pristine swimming lagoon, perfect for the whole family, free of charge, and open to everyone. It is home to the iconic Woven Fish of Cairns, which are often photographed and have become a beacon for those looking to explore the beautiful tropical city. They sit in the middle of the Lagoon, often surrounded by playing children and relaxed tourists, who have come to enjoy this icon of Cairns for themselves. 

Things To Do On Green Island

Green Island is a small resort island located 27km offshore of Cairns and boasts a variety of activities to fill your days of relaxation and exploring. Whether you're enjoying the island on a day trip from Cairns or are spending time on their 46-room resort, Green Island is a quaint oasis from which you can explore the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. With so much to do, Green Island is the perfect way to spend your next tropical escape.

Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef

Cairns is a beautiful coastal town, located in Far North Queensland and a launch point for visiting the world famous Great Barrier Reef. It is a mecca for tourism, with not only the reef at it’s doorstep, but also the Atherton Tablelands, Port Douglas, the Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation and the Kuranda Rainforest all within reach. Cairns is tourist friendly, with many types of accommodation available for all types of travellers, as well as much do within city limits in between days of exploring, including a beachfront lagoon, shopping, spas and amazing restaurants.

Things To Do With Kids In Cairns

Visiting Cairns can be a great family affair with lots of things that are kid and family friendly. Here are some things you can do with the kids during your time visiting this beautiful and fun city!

Cairns Night Markets

The night market is a must-see if you’re visiting Cairns. It’s an iconic market that has anything and everything you would want in a market. 

What Is There To Do On Fitzroy Island?

Fitzroy Island is a tropical island located off the coast of Cairns where guests can snorkel, bush walk, kayak, do a glas bottom boat tour, use the ocean trampoline or simply relax on the beach. 

Where is Green Island?

Green Island is a coral cay located off the shores of Cairns and is a popular tourist destination in Northern Queensland. 

Josephine Falls

Josephine Falls is one of the many waterfalls in North Queensland and is perhaps one of its most famous. Home to a natural waterslide, it's a favourite for those looking for unique experience and want to see the beauty of Northern Queensland. 

What Is Sea Walking?

Sea walking is the coolest new way to explore the sea with little to no experience spending time under the sea. The concept allows you to walk on the seafloor while you feel relaxed and at ease with your surroundings as you breathe normally. 

Lake Eacham in the Atherton Tablelands

Lake Eacham was formed over 12,000 years ago by molten magma and is found in the Atherton Tablelands in Northern Queensland. 

Weather in Cairns

What is the weather like in Cairns? Cairns is located in Northern Queensland, and is lucky enough to enjoy a tropical climate. Temperatures stay warm all year long, with warm water temperatures and enjoyable nights. 

Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation is a popular tourist destination in Northern Queensland, Australia. It is a coastal area located within the Daintree Rainforest, with both beautiful forests and beaches within its borders. Considered to be where the rainforest meets the sea, it is one of the more unique places in Australia and has become a top tourist destination.

What is the Daintree Rainforest?

The Daintree Rainforest is located north of Cairns and is the largest continuous rainforest in Australia. It is home to thousands of species of plants, animals as well as over 12,000 species of insects. It’s full of huge green trees, countless waterfalls, and stretches from Mossman Gorge all the way up north to Cape Tribulation. The west is bordered by the MacDonnell Range while the east of the forest meets the edge of the Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef.

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