The Great Barrier Reef is home to a wide array of plants, fish, and plankton. It’s the most diverse ocean ecosystem in the world. Spanning around 1,430 miles, it is composed of around 3,000 reef systems. Cairns and Port Douglas are two of the best islands from which to experience the Great Barrier Reef.

Cairns, nicknamed the “gateway to the Great Barrier Reef” is located on the northern coast of Queensland. It offers a great blend of city, forest, and island life. Great Barrier Reef tours from Cairns typically include snorkelling and liveaboard dive adventures.

Great Barrier Reef tours from cairns and port douglas

Port Douglas, on the other hand, is a small town paradise that sits along the coast of the Coral Sea. It has a year-round temperature of 26 degrees, making it an ideal vacation spot no matter the season. It’s accessible from Queensland by a short trip on a ferry or plane–both of which offer a splendid view of the Great Barrier Reef. Read on for our top picks for tours of the reef!

Cairns Tours

Cairns offers a great number of reef tours that offer great options both for those who want an in-water experience and those who want to experience the surface. Because Cairns is a coastal city, the tours from Cairns are a lot more modern and tech-inclined than other tours of the Great Barrier Reef. The tours we list below are perfect for those who want to explore the beauty of the reef but still stay connected.

Sunlover Reef Cruises

If you are looking for an extraordinary experience, Sunlover Reef Cruises is ideal for families and big groups of friends. It has something for everyone. It’s a 40-km journey on a semisubmersible Catamaran with a sun deck and waterslide that splashes right into the sea. It also features an ocean-enclosed pool for the kids, combining fun and safety. There are also options for those who want more in-depth water activities like diving the Seawalker helmet dive.

  • 8 hours
  • Coral viewing on semi-submersible vessels
  • Glass bottom boat tour
  • Introductory dive (optional)
  • Two licensed dives (optional)
  • Seawalker helmet dive (optional)
  • Underwater observatory
  • Sunlover slide
  • WiFi
  • Ocean-enclosed pool for the kids
  • Restrooms on board
  • Showers & changing rooms on board

Great Barrier Reef Snorkel & Dive from Cairns

This is a quicker option for those who want a guided tour of the reef but might not be all that interested in deep diving. This tour features a guided glass bottom boat tour where tourists can see the beautiful sea life that lines the coast. It also features two stops along the reef which offer snorkelling enthusiasts a chance to see various corals and ocean life.

  • 6 hours
  • Two stops along the Great Barrier Reef
  • Seafood buffet
  • Coffee & tea (all day)
  • Snorkel briefing
  • Guided glass bottom boat tour
  • In-water assistance
  • Showers & changing rooms on board

Port Douglas Tours

Port Douglas might be a bit farther from the city than Cairns, but the journey is well worth it. Even just the trip there is an experience in itself. The tours from Port Douglas tend to be more immersive and remote, offering tourists a chance to get away from metropolitan life.

Quicksilver Outer Barrier Reef Tour

Quicksilver Tours offers guests a semisubmersible catamaran tour of the Agricourt Reef which boasts of the clearest water on the Great Barrier Reef. This is perfect for those who want to experience immersion on the reef without going through the trouble of getting their dive licenses.

  • 7 Hours
  • Great visibility on the Agricourt reef
  • Includes morning and afternoon teas
  • Coral viewing on semi-submersible vessels
  • Short lecture by marine biologist
  • Qualified supervision by lifeguards

Great Barrier Reef Luxury Tour

This option is perfect for diving enthusiasts. The tour is equipped with licensed instructors who can guide you through your underwater adventure. Snorkelling is also an option–both come with an in-depth briefing for beginners. This tour also features a tropical lunch buffet with exotic fruits and fresh seafood.

  • 8 hours
  • Dive and snorkelling briefings
  • Scuba diving (with licensed instructors)
  • Guided snorkelling tours
  • Tropical lunch buffet
  • Hotel pick up and drop off

Wave Dance Low Isles Great Barrier Reef Sailing Tour

This tour is ideal for those who are interested in experiencing the Great Barrier Reef and the coast surrounding it. In addition to the traditional glass bottom boat tour and snorkelling experience, the tour also has a guided beach walk. Led by a Marine Biologist, the guided walk focuses on the ecosystems of the coast.

  • 6 to 8 hours
  • Glass bottom boat viewing of the coral
  • Guided snorkelling
  • Lifeguard supervision
  • Tropical island lunch
  • Guided beach walk with Marine Biologist

Booking the right tour is a must for your dream vacation on the Australian coast. Having all the information you need before your holiday getaway will give you the chance to sit back and relax. Click back to this article anytime and pull up any information you need on your next vacation!