Great Barrier Reef Tours

Cairns is a great place to visit the Great Barrier Reef.

Along with Port Douglas, Cairns is the best place in Australia to take a trip to the Great Barrier Reef.


great barrier reef trips
The reef is much closer to the mainland here than further south, and the fact that it's quicker reached makes it cheaper than what you would pay down south.

Some tours take you out to the reef, others (or you can just catch the ferry) go to Fitzroy Island and Green Island, where you can snorkel to watch the reef.

The tours depart from The Pier Marina, Marlin Jetty or Trinity Wharf. Most often they start about 8am and return latest 6pm.

Most tours include breakfast and lunch.

The use of snorkelling gear is also included in price.

Below are some of the most popular tours that depart from Cairns.

The full list is in the Destination Guide.

Day Trips to Fitzroy Island

Fitzroy Island outside Cairns is a popular island to visit.

I did it more than 10 years ago, before the digital cameras and before I was into photography, but despite that you can see how beautiful and colourful the island is.

I did it as a day trip and it was great, although there is a beautiful resort on Fitzroy Island if you want to stay a while and make the most of your trip.

cairns marina

There is a bar and a kiosk that sells lunches, and if you stay over night there is a restaurant that is only open night time.

But even if you don't stay and only visit on a day trip, you can still use the resort facilities.

fitzroy island cairns

The corals are right off the beaches which makes it a great place to snorkel and watch the coral reef animals.

It is also a great place to walk along the beaches, or just laze a day away.

fitzroy island

Fitzroy is a continental island as opposed to Green Island that is a coral cay. It means it's larger and hillier than Green Island.   

There is some beautiful rainforest, and you can experience it on an easy stroll called the Secret Garden Walk.

If you want to get more active, there is the steep (and longer) walk to the top of the highest point of the island - the Lighthouse and Summit Trail.

Once you are at the top you can walk to a lookout point where there are views over Coral Sea and the Little Fitzroy Island.

fitzroy island australia

I will be back on my next trip to Cairns
, and will be uploading fresh photos here :-)

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Plan and Bring to the Trip... the full Destination Cape York Travel Guide

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This complete 300 pages travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks, at least 30 guaranteed FREE camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to the Cape), at least 40 best swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things - from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception, how to deal with the national parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery gear by my vehicle-recovery-guy partner). Not to mention locals' tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)

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