The Great Barrier Reef is a fragile natural wonder that can be visited on these eco-conscious tours from Cairns and beyond.
The main thing to consider when planning a tour to the Great Barrier Reef is what kind of impact you want your trip to make. This delicate ballet of the marine world is under serious threat and struggling. Only environmentally friendly tour options should be considered. If you go at all. Nevertheless, there are minimal impact tours available that can and do provide visitors with one of the most remarkable tours they’ll ever take. It’s the Great Barrier Reef’s very own catch-22. Here are the very best, environmentally conscious Great Barrier Reef tours from Cairns.
Great Barrier Reef Cruise by Premium Catamaran from Cairns
On your way out to the first reef of the day, chosen from a list of sites that have been approved for snorkelling, the crew of this luxury catamaran will inform you about the marine eco-system you are about to witness. At the site it is possible to snorkel or dive down (extra fee), experiencing the full majesty of one of the planet’s most abundant, fragile and unique environments. After pulling yourself away from this watery wonderland, kick back and sunbathe on board the boat. Lunch is provided. Tours run on most days of the year and last nine hours. From $161 per person.
Outer Great Barrier Reef Full-Day Tour with Lunch
This Great Barrier Reef tour from Cairns visits two snorkelling sites on the outer reef, allowing you to spend up to five hours exploring the water in total. As with all tours on this list, snorkelling equipment and safety lessons are included in your fee. For those who wish to get a closer view of the reefs, there is an option to head under the water in a semi-submersible, for an additional fee. Lunch is provided in the form of a BBQ (in true Aussie style), with vegetarian options also available. From $161 per person.
Cairns to Great Barrier Reef Cruise & Scenic Helicopter Flight
To take things listed in the previous tours to another level, hop aboard a modern, state-of-the-art ship with computer-guided systems that aim to reduce the chances of seasickness. In addition to the five hours allotted for exploring and snorkelling, this tour’s highlight is a ten-minute helicopter ride that takes off from, and lands back on, a floating pontoon, giving you an altogether more thrilling view of the reef from the sky, before returning back to the surface to snorkel some more. From $227 per person.
Great Barrier Reef “Reefsleep” 2-Day Experience
There’s now a whole new way to experience the Great Barrier Reef, which is to spend the night on a pontoon above it, 40 miles from the shoreline. When the sun sets, the fleet of tourist boats returns to shore, leaving the reefs in peace. That’s the perfect time to enjoy the reef without the crowds. You’ll sleep beneath the stars in a specially-constructed tent and have access to the pontoon dock’s underwater observatory, which is included in the fee, along with four meals. Please note that this tour starts further south in Airlie Beach. From $438 per person.
Great Barrier Reef “Reefsuites” 2-Day Experience
An even more enthralling way to stay overnight at the Great Barrier Reef is in a Reefsuite. These specially-constructed rooms, accessed by boat from Airlie Beach, sit beneath the water, with a floor-to-ceiling window in both the room and bathroom, providing a window onto the marine world. It’s undoubtedly one of the world’s most unique hotel room experiences, allowing you to continue experiencing the marine world even after you’re out of the water and dried off. Book in advance to ensure availability. From $709 per person.