Reef

With more than 100 ways to experience the Great Barrier Reef, Tropical North Queensland offers the ultimate adventure on the world’s largest and most spectacular coral reef system.

The Great Barrier Reef spans more than 2,000 kilometres, has 3,000 reef and coral cays, more than 1,500 fish species, 400 types of coral and some of the world’s best tropical islands.

No visit to Cairns is complete without spending time at the Great Barrier Reef, take a plunge into one of the Seven Wonders of the World and discover why this is the largest, most spectacular coral reef system on earth.

Cairns is not short of scuba diving courses, tour operators, day trips, equipment suppliers and everything you could need to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef. Diving, snorkelling, sailing, cruising or island hopping, the choice is yours.

For a longer stay, you can book a night staying out on the reef as part of a liveaboard cruise.

Alternatively, get a magical bird’s-eye view of the reef by booking a scenic helicopter flight over the reef. Dive with Minke Whales for a really spectacular adventure, parasail from an island for an adrenalin rush or spy on baby turtles making their first dash to the freedom of the Coral Sea.

If you don’t want to get wet, it is possible to see coral and fish from a semi-submersible boat, an underwater viewing area, or even at the Cairns Aquarium.

Cairns is one of the best places in the world to get hooked. Whether you like marlin fishing, game fishing, reef fishing, sport fishing, fly fishing, estuary fishing or just sinking a line into the water, then this is the place to be.

Departing daily, there are reef trip options available to suit a range of budgets. Travel to the outer edge of the reef where you can snorkel, have a tropical buffet lunch, watch fish-feeding and marine presentations or take a ride on a glass bottom boat or semi-submersible.

Snorkelling
Snorkelling is the most popular way to experience the Great Barrier Reef. It’s as simple as putting on your mask, snorkel and fins and then you are all set to glide alongside Maori Wrasse and Parrot Fish.

The snorkel mask magnifies everything, giving you an amazing underwater view, floating over coral gardens, watching colourful marine life below you.

Diving
The Cairns coastline is the ultimate destination for diving with dive trips designed for all skill levels and budgets.

Diving the Great Barrier Reef allows you to explore coral reefs and their marine life close-up.
See a colourful Nudibranch, watch a giant Clam close as you waver your arm above it, or spy a Manta Ray. Find Clownfish (Nemo) as they dart in and out of an anemone, encounter a reef shark on a wall dive at the edge of the continental shelf and marvel at schools of Pelagic fish.

Whether you want to learn to dive, do an introductory dive, enrol for Advanced Diver Training, go diving on a day trip or do a live-aboard dive adventure there is a tour to suit you.

Beginner courses and resort dives are popular ways to be introduced to the Great Barrier Reef. Daily reef excursions offer introductory dives with professional tutoring, allowing first-time divers the chance to get a taste for the sport while exploring the marine wonderland.

Certified divers, with an internationally-recognised SCUBA certificate card, can do multiple dives in a day. Live-aboard trips give you the most time out on the Great Barrier Reef and can range from two to seven days, with private charters that can be arranged for even longer periods.

Divers must be 12 years or older, complete a medical questionnaire and participate in a briefing.

Some medical conditions such as asthma will prevent you from diving and you cannot fly until 12 hours after the completion of a single dive.

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