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Cairns Great Barrier Reef Cruises & Tours

Looking for all the best Cairns Reef and Island tours to the Great Barrier Reef? Get the best deals and discounts on reef tours from Cairns here! Explore the Great Barrier Reef on one of these top-rated tour operators and spend the day exploring the vibrant coral reefs and marine life on snorkelling and dive cruises. You may also view the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef on glass bottom boat tours without even getting wet! Island tours to Green Island or Fitzroy Island are another option if you prefer the freedom and flexibility to swim and snorkel from shore with easy access to amenities and dining options. View our entire range of Cairns Reef and Island tours and book your tour instantly with NO booking or credit card fees!

Home » Cairns » Reef & Island Cruises
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Fitzroy Island Full Day Trip
Fitzroy Island Full Day Trip by Fitzroy Island Adventures
4.4

Enjoy a 45-minute Fitzroy Island Ferry to the pristine waters of Fitzroy Island Cairns with a full day trip with 6 hours on the island to roam and explore.

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Green Island Full Day Cruise - 9am Departure
Green Island Full Day Cruise - 9am Departure by Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises
4.9

Enjoy a scenic cruise to the popular Green Island and spend hours exploring the beautiful coral cay with a full day cruise from Cairns departing at 9am.

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Great Barrier Reef Cruise to Great Adventures Pontoon
Great Barrier Reef Cruise to Great Adventures Pontoon by Great Adventures

Experience the best of the outer reaches of the stunning Great Barrier Reef from a well-equipped reef facility. Transfers not included.

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    Fitzroy Island Half Day Trip
    Fitzroy Island Half Day Trip by Fitzroy Island Adventures
    4.2

    A great trip if you are limited on time and don't mind a sleep in. Spend just over 2 hours on Fitzroy Island, still enough time to discover its beauty.

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      Green Island Half Day Cruise - 9am Departure
      Green Island Half Day Cruise - 9am Departure by Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises

      Spend part of the day exploring the beautiful Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef with a half day tour departing Cairns at 9am.

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        Experience Oz Gift Vouchers Woman On Sail Boat Give The Gift Of Memories

        Let your special someone choose their own experience.

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        Great Barrier Reef Cruise + Green Island 1 Day Tour
        Great Barrier Reef Cruise + Green Island 1 Day Tour by Great Adventures

        FREE UPGRADE to the complete reef and island experience in one day!

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          Premium Great Barrier Reef Cruise to 3 Reef Locations
          Premium Great Barrier Reef Cruise to 3 Reef Locations by Silverswift

          This luxury catamaran is designed for the thrill of diving & snorkelling, & is ready to whisk you away for a day of fun. Hotel transfers are not included.

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            Michaelmas Cay Sailing Cruise
            Michaelmas Cay Sailing Cruise by Ocean Spirit Cruises

            Cruise to Michaelmas Cay, a picturesque reef and island surrounded by magical gardens teeming with an incredible diversity of marine life.

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              Great Barrier Reef Dive and Snorkel Cruise to 2 Reef Locations
              Great Barrier Reef Dive and Snorkel Cruise to 2 Reef Locations by Down Under Cruise and Dive

              Explore the best of the Great Barrier Reef both in & above the water with this great value full day cruise package from Cairns & visit several great sites!

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              Great Barrier Reef Cruise to Quicksilver Port Douglas Pontoon
              Great Barrier Reef Cruise to Quicksilver Port Douglas Pontoon by Quicksilver Cruises
              4.6

              Visit the iconic Great Barrier Reef’s outer regions on a Port Douglas reef tour and discover a world of extraordinary beauty. Hotel transfers not included.

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              Great Barrier Reef Dreamtime Cruise with Indigenous Sea Rangers
              Great Barrier Reef Dreamtime Cruise with Indigenous Sea Rangers by Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel

              Step back into the Great Barrier Reef's Dreamtime with Indigenous sea rangers on a cruise to 2 spectacular outer reef sites.

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                Green Island Full Day Eco Adventure
                Green Island Full Day Eco Adventure by Great Adventures
                4.6

                With the choice of 2 daily departures, this Green Island cruise offers up to 7 hours on the island with a choice of snorkelling or glass bottom boat tour.

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                  Great Barrier Reef Cruise to Reef Magic Cruises Pontoon
                  Great Barrier Reef Cruise to Reef Magic Cruises Pontoon by Reef Magic Cruises

                  This outer Great Barrier Reef experience to the Marine World pontoon includes all your snorkelling gear, buffet lunch, glass bottom boat tours & much more.

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                    Cairns Harbour and Dinner Cruise
                    Cairns Harbour and Dinner Cruise by Spirit of Cairns

                    The Spirit of Cairns Dinner Cruise is a romantic evening out on the water filled with dining and immaculate sunset views.

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                      Port Douglas Premium Great Barrier Reef Cruise to 3 Reef Locations
                      Port Douglas Premium Great Barrier Reef Cruise to 3 Reef Locations by Silversonic

                      Enjoy over 5 hours exploring 3 stunning different reef sites from Port Douglas. Transfers from Port Douglas hotels are included.

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                        Green Island and Great Barrier Reef 1 Day Adventure
                        Green Island and Great Barrier Reef 1 Day Adventure by Great Adventures

                        Embark on an exciting and scenic journey to the Great Barrier Reef with this Green Island and Outer Reef Platform Cruise from Cairns.

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                          Great Barrier Reef Sailing Cruise
                          Great Barrier Reef Sailing Cruise by Passions of Paradise
                          4.9

                          Travel to the Great Barrier Reef on a magnificent 25 metre custom designed sailing catamaran. Includes a visit to 2 unique destinations and a buffet lunch.

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                            Great Barrier Reef Cruise and Scenic Helicopter Flight Package
                            Great Barrier Reef Cruise and Scenic Helicopter Flight Package by Down Under Cruise and Dive

                            Book this outstanding Great Barrier Reef tour and scenic helicopter flight package from Cairns to see the best of the reef from both the sea and the air.

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                            Green Island Full Day Discovery Adventure
                            Green Island Full Day Discovery Adventure by Great Adventures

                            Just 45 minutes from Cairns aboard a fast catamaran, you will find yourself a world away on Green Island, a 6000 year old coral cay.

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                              Green Island, Kuranda Skyrail and Scenic Railway 1 Day Package
                              Green Island, Kuranda Skyrail and Scenic Railway 1 Day Package by Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises

                              Experience some of the Cairns region's best attractions; Green Island, Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and the Scenic Railyway, in one day. Book online here!

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                                Port Douglas to Low Isles Sailing Cruise
                                Port Douglas to Low Isles Sailing Cruise by Wavedancer

                                A tropical island paradise awaits in the Low Isles - set like an idyllic and unspoilt jewel in the Great Barrier Reef. Transfers not included.

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                                Great Barrier Reef Scenic Flight & Cruise Packages
                                Great Barrier Reef Scenic Flight & Cruise Packages by Nautilus Aviation

                                Experience the Great Barrier Reef from above with a helicopter flight and up close on board luxury vessel, Evolution.

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                                  Reef Cruise, Skyrail & Scenic Railway 2 Day Package
                                  Reef Cruise, Skyrail & Scenic Railway 2 Day Package by Down Under Cruise and Dive

                                  Combine a reef cruise, the Skyrail and Scenic Rail, into one great 2-day package for the ultimate sightseeing adventure in Cairns.

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                                    Cairns 3 Day Reef + Kuranda Skyrail and Train + Daintree Rainforest Package
                                    Cairns 3 Day Reef + Kuranda Skyrail and Train + Daintree Rainforest Package by Down Under Cruise and Dive

                                    This great value Cairns 3 Day Package includes a Great Barrier Reef Cruise, Kuranda Skyrail and Train Tour and Cape Tribulation & Daintree Rainforest Tour.

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                                      Great Barrier Cruise from Mission Beach
                                      Great Barrier Cruise from Mission Beach by Mission Beach Dive

                                      Spend the day exploring the Great Barrier Reef with this full day cruise from Mission Beach visiting two locations with all equipment and meals provided.

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                                        Whale Watch Cruises from Cairns
                                        Whale Watch Cruises from Cairns by Whale Watching Tours Cairns

                                        Join this Cairns adventure and you can enjoy a 90 minute whale watching cruise plus up to 4 hours free time on Fitzroy Island.

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                                          Great Barrier Reef Snorkel Trip from Cape Tribulation
                                          Great Barrier Reef Snorkel Trip from Cape Tribulation by Ocean Safari

                                          Join us for an exhilarating ride to snorkel the pristine untouched Great Barrier Reef off the Daintree Coast at Cape Tribulation.

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                                            Frankland Islands Reef Cruise & Island Day Tour
                                            Frankland Islands Reef Cruise & Island Day Tour by Frankland Island Reef Cruises Jetty

                                            The Frankland Islands Reef Cruise and Island Day Tour is your chance to discover the Frankland Islands and all that it has to offer.

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                                              Kuranda Riverboat Cruise
                                              Kuranda Riverboat Cruise by Kuranda Riverboat
                                              4.3

                                              Cruise around one of the world's most ancient tropical rainforests with Kuranda Riverboat's scenic and informative water adventure.

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                                                Great Barrier Reef Overnight Snorkel and Dive Sail Tour
                                                Great Barrier Reef Overnight Snorkel and Dive Sail Tour by Coral Sea Dreaming

                                                Book an overnight 2 day/1 night snorkel and dive cruise from Cairns to discover the Great Barrier Reef with cosy cabins, all equipment and meals included.

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                                                  About Cairns Great Barrier Reef Cruises

                                                  The Great Barrier Reef is such a drawcard to Tropical North Queensland that one of the first things most visitors to Cairns will want to do is head down to the Cairns Reef Terminal and join one of the many local operators for an adventure out into its wildlife-rich waters. While enthusiasm for this is understandable - it's one of the world's most incredible natural wonders, after all - the need to determine exactly which reef cruise to take is a key decision that first needs to be made.

                                                  Cruises of the reef from Cairns typically come in two major varieties: larger vessels that cater to big groups and provide a number of convenient facilities while also often helping cut down on price and smaller tours that limit guest numbers and visit more exclusive parts of the Great Barrier Reef for increased monetary investment.

                                                  Add in the option to head to nearby islands and cays or more accessible trips - including Green Island, Fitzroy Island, Michaelmas Cay, Upolu Cay, Coral Cays and more - and there's a dizzying array of options for experiencing what the reef has to offer.

                                                  We outline each of the main reef cruise options from Cairns below to help clear up any confusion about which cruise is best for you.

                                                  Experience Green Island With Day Cruises

                                                  Ranking perhaps top of Cairns' day trip destinations is Green Island, with its convenient location just 27km off the coast making it both accessible and reasonably priced. As a result, it's the ideal choice of reef cruises for those who are short on time or looking to bring the family along for the trip - the island is a coral cay that, while immensely popular and sometimes crowded, still provides an excellent "taster" of the reef/island snorkelling environment.

                                                  Tours to Green Island allow travellers to experience a sheltered marine environment without overpowering currents and still provides a decent cross-section of marine life encompassing fish, clams, rays and the occasional turtle. Green Island is also well equipped with facilities and offers a number of additional activities - such as glass-bottom boat and semi-sub trips, scenic flights, a wildlife park and its famous SeaWalker underwater walking experience - to provide a great amount of variety.

                                                  Explore the beautiful Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef in Far North Queensland, with a full or half-day cruise from Cairns.


                                                  Experience Green Island Cruises

                                                  Enjoy Peace & Seclusion at Fitzroy Island

                                                  Like Green Island, Fitzroy Island is also relatively easy to access from Cairns and lies only slightly further offshore, however, it's far less visited and as a result better for those who put enjoying a little more seclusion and peace as opposed to its neighbour.

                                                  While Fitzroy Island is lacking in the facilities and extras that Green Island comes with, in exchange the island offers some great opportunities for on-island exploration in addition to its obvious reef offerings in the surrounding waters. The island is quite hilly and is largely covered by rainforest, with a number of great walking tracks on which to embark.

                                                  Snorkelling is available just offshore and of a very enjoyable quality, with plenty of active marine life to witness up close and more slices of water to have to yourself without sharing with other travellers. Diving is also a possibility here, and as a result, a cruise to Fitzroy Island might serve as a better alternative for the more confident or advance reef-goer than Green Island.


                                                  Experience Fitzroy Island Cruises

                                                  Experience Pristine Sand at Michaelmas Cay

                                                  Striking a nice balance between the marine beauty of the Outer Reef with the convenience of the close proximity to Green Island, Michaelmas Cay offers a lovely white-sand environment along with some easily enjoyable snorkelling for all ability levels.

                                                  Sitting around 40km off Cairns' coast, the cay has a gentle and beautiful sloping beach along with a section of vegetation that attracts huge quantities of rare seabirds that help add an additional spectacle and feeling of life to a visit here. Cruises to Michaelmas Cay are also quite a bit rarer than to the other true "islands", and thus you'll be able to enjoy some pristine sand all to yourself.

                                                  Quality snorkelling is available just off the cay where sea turtles, rays, giant clams and even the occasional manta ray can be encountered, while coral quality is quite beautiful and offers a striking colour. Both hard and soft corals can be found here, and they're all viewable just offshore. A Michaelmas Cay cruise serves as a pleasant alternative to the more populated islands without the extended time and money needed to visit the Outer Reef.


                                                  Experience Michaelmas Cay

                                                  Travel to the Outer Great Barrier Reef

                                                  Those wanting to see the reef at its absolute best and most colourful will need to book a cruise to the Outer Great Barrier Reef - the edge of the reef that lies furthest out towards the edge of the continental shelf. These tours take more time and often require more money, but the sheer beauty and gorgeous marine life they offer is a snapshot of this wonder at its best; inner islands can't match the combination of water clarity and quantity of colourful marine life that the Outer Reef boasts.

                                                  The Outer Reef is a large area where numerous individual reefs can be found, and cruises to the Outer Reef typically orient around a particular reef or pair of reefs depending on which company you travel with.

                                                  The likes of Flynn Reef, Hastings Reef, Milln Reef and a number of others all feature prominently on Cairns cruise itineraries, with each having its own distinct character and emphasis on either diving or snorkelling, respectively. While they require a full day to experience, given that the Great Barrier Reef is often a once in a lifetime proposition, investing in an Outer Reef cruise from Cairns can make for some unforgettable memories.


                                                  Experience the Outer Great Barrier Reef