Cairns
Day Trips

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Our most recommended Cairns Day Trips

Cairns: Daintree, Mossman Gorge & Cape Trib Tour & Cruise

1. Cairns: Daintree, Mossman Gorge & Cape Trib Tour & Cruise

Embark on a day trip where the rainforest meets the reef. See natural sights including the Great Barrier Reef, experience a wildlife cruise, and participate in a smoke ceremony as you go. Start your adventure with a scenic coastal drive from Cairns to Port Douglas, the far north’s very own great ocean road with panoramic views of the sparkling Coral Sea. The first stop is Mossman Gorge, which is in the southern sector of the world-famous Daintree National Park. The gorge has been carved out by the cold mountain waters of the Mossman River, which winds through large granite boulders, bordered by lush green rainforest. It’s a magical place and you’ll be welcomed by the traditional owners, the Kuku Yalanji people, who will also cleanse you of evil spirits during a smoke ceremony. Also, enjoy a refreshing swim in the cascading waters. Cross the mighty Daintree River and head to the beach for lunch. Experience waterfront dining and enjoy the sand between your toes. After lunch, it’s time to explore the ancient rainforest environment on an interesting guided tour of the Marrdja Botanical Boardwalk. Highly trained guides will give expert rainforest interpretation, which will inform and impress. Be amazed at the huge diversity you will encounter, you will discover everything from low-lying ferns and shrubs, to the massive rainforest canopy and even mangrove ecosystems - all in one short easy walk. You can choose to taste locally made ice cream, at your own cost, and prepare for a photo opportunity at the Alexandra Range Lookout, which provides sweeping views over the Daintree River, its rainforest delta, and out to the Coral Sea. In the afternoon, experience a wildlife cruise on the river. During the cruise, you may see a crocodile, while learning about the fragile ecosystem of this impressive serpent-like river system. On the return journey to Cairns, drive through Port Douglas, a picturesque beachside village with a laid-back vibe and loads of bars and cafes.

From Cairns: Fitzroy Island Return Catamaran Transfer

2. From Cairns: Fitzroy Island Return Catamaran Transfer

Depart from Cairns Marina and visit Fitzroy Island, a national park covered in lush tropical rainforest and boasting granite outcrops, open woodlands, mangroves, coral beaches. Walk to the lighthouse, dine at the restaurant, or relax at the famous Nudey Beach, voted the best beach in Australia. With up to 6 hours of free time, you will be able to explore the island through self-guided rainforest walks. Soak in the magic of the Great Barrier Reef by snorkeling, diving, and kayaking. At Fitzroy Island, you can snorkel the fringing reef only meters from the beach. You also have the option to bring a picnic lunch or purchase a casual lunch from the Fitzroy Island cafe. Extra activities include Foxy's Bar & Café, Pacific Island Store, snorkel hire, dive, and activities center - all available on the island at an extra cost.

Cairns: Outer Great Barrier Reef Full-Day Tour with Lunch

3. Cairns: Outer Great Barrier Reef Full-Day Tour with Lunch

Tour the Outer Great Barrier Reef by boat with time to snorkel and explore this world-famous National Park. Complement your experience with a gourmet buffet lunch, glass of wine, and a light snack. Board your high-speed vessel, and visit some of the most beautiful spots in the Outer Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy a seamless experience with knowledgeable staff to ensure a safe and fun-filled tour. Stop at 2 spectacular Outer Great Barrier Reef destinations and snorkel with equipment and lessons provided. Feel free to jump in the water and explore this natural wonder up close. Later, sit down for a delicious barbecue lunch with salad before taking off for the second half of the tour.

Cairns: Outer Great Barrier Reef Pontoon with Activities

4. Cairns: Outer Great Barrier Reef Pontoon with Activities

Sit back and relax on a catamaran cruise from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef, where you enjoy a raft of water activities from Moore Reef's pontoon. Encounter an outstanding landscape of marine life, enjoy a choice of activities including snorkeling, including a visit to the underwater observatory. Prior to departure from the marina, sip on some complimentary tea and coffee. Depart from Cairns’ Marlin Marina at 9:30 AM and enjoy a cruise out of the harbor. Witness the stunning landscape before the catamaran makes its way out to open seas. Sail in air-conditioned comfort onboard the catamaran to the state-of-the-art activity pontoon at Moore Reef. Moore Reef is a prime location on the Outer Great Barrier Reef, abundant with soft corals and marine life. Learn about the reef and its diverse ecosystems on the outward journey with presentations given by resident marine experts. Upon arrival at the pontoon at 11:30 AM, choose from an array of activities suitable for both swimmers and non-swimmers alike. Make use of the inclusive snorkeling equipment, with wetsuits and lycra also available at an additional charge. Alternatively, watch the daily fish feeding presentations, or take a trip on the glass bottom boat or semi-submersible tour with marine experts providing commentary. Soak up the rays on a spacious sun deck, or make a splash on a theme park-style waterslide. See the reef without getting wet in the underwater observatory, and get up close and personal with marine creatures like sea cucumbers and starfish.

Cairns: Full-Day Glass Bottom Boat or Snorkel Tour

5. Cairns: Full-Day Glass Bottom Boat or Snorkel Tour

Discover the lush rainforest of Green Island on this full-day tour and encounter some of the many marine animals that call the island home. Climb aboard the modern, air-conditioned catamaran "Reef Rocket" to cruise over to this idyllic part of the Great Barrier Reef, and enjoy a full-day reef tour just 45-minutes from Cairns. Snorkel and dive among the reef fish and coral gardens, or stay dry on a spectacular semi-submersible submarine or glass-bottom boat to discover the underwater life in comfort. Alternatively, simply laze on the white sandy beach and soak up the sun.

From Cairns: Fitzroy Island Full-Day Adventure Tour

6. From Cairns: Fitzroy Island Full-Day Adventure Tour

Discover Fitzroy Island on a day tour from Cairns. Enjoy a scenic ferry ride and explore the many hiking trails. Admire the marine life native to the coral reef as you snorkel or observe from a glass-bottom boat. Choose from a range of packages, including transfers for you to explore on your own, or a package including snorkel or glass-bottom boat activities. Explore the Island's 339 hectares of lush rainforest that covers 94 percent of the island and is protected and managed as a National Park. Walking trails are suitable for all levels of fitness, allowing you to explore areas of the island at your leisure. The fast catamaran departs from the Marlin Marina, with check-in directly on the vessel. Cruise south along the calm waters of the coastline to reach Fitzroy Island in just 45 minutes, giving you up to 7 hours to explore the tropical island.

Great Barrier Reef Snorkel & Dive Full-Day Adventure

7. Great Barrier Reef Snorkel & Dive Full-Day Adventure

Climb aboard the Silverswift luxury catamaran, custom-designed for the thrill of diving and snorkeling, and enjoy a day of fun and adventure on the Outer Great Barrier Reef. Perfect for adventure-minded people, you’ll enjoy 5 hours of aquatic fun for unlimited snorkeling, up to 3 certified dives, and introductory diving. This is the fastest dive trip from Cairns to the outer reef, giving you more time to play. It is also the only day dive trip from Cairns that visits 3 sites in one day. Explore spectacular coral formations and underwater gardens awash with vibrantly colored marine creatures, as you visit the outer reef sites of Flynn, Pellowe, Milln and/or Thetford Reefs. Snorkel briefs are conducted at each site and a guided snorkel tour is included in your day. Introductory diving is available for those with no prior experience, and you’ll have an expert dive instructor by your side to guide you through an unforgettable adventure. Certified divers can experience up to 3 dives at 3 different sites, with all dives guided to maximize your experience. On board, your friendly crew will encourage you to relax and enjoy the vessel’s comforts, including a delicious hot and cold tropical buffet lunch. Silverswift also features spacious sundeck areas, hot freshwater showers, change rooms and a licensed bar. The large dive and snorkel platform provides easy water access for all water activities. With a state-of-the-art ride control system, a smooth journey is ensured, even when travelling at up to 32 knots.

From Cairns: 40-Min Scenic Reef Window Seat Airplane Flight

8. From Cairns: 40-Min Scenic Reef Window Seat Airplane Flight

Experience bird's eye views of the Great Barrier Reef aboard a high-wing airplane with guaranteed window seats on a 40-minute scenic flight from Cairns Airport. Make your way to the Cairns Airport to climb aboard the panoramic flight. Then, experience the ultimate views of the reef system and surrounding landscape, including Green Island, Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. Discover for yourself why the reef is considered one of the "7 Natural Wonders of the World. "Marvel at the contrast of colors as you fly over the Coral Sea and look down on some of the 2,900 reefs and 900 islands that make up the reef system. Get an informative commentary from your pilot as you fly over Arlington Reef, Upolu Reef, Michaelmas Reef, Oyster Reef, Double Island and Palm Cove.

From Cairns: Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Diving Tour

9. From Cairns: Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Diving Tour

Explore the stunning biodiversity of the outer Great Barrier Reef on this diving and snorkeling tour from Cairns. Sail on s boat 3 sun decks, 2 air-conditioned indoor saloons, a spacious dive deck, and a sunken platform for easy water access. Have drinks and a packed lunch. Depart Cairns in the morning for the outer reef on this 8-hour tour. Whether you are a snorkeler, first-time SCUBA diver, or already certified diver, join a once in a lifetime adventure aboard a luxury day trip to the great barrier reef. Enjoy a light morning tea and a delicious pre-packed picnic lunch. Complimentary tea, coffee, and chilled water are served throughout the day (snacks, soft and alcoholic beverages are also available for purchase). Discover the Great Barrier Reef in the easiest way possible: with a snorkel - it is as simple as breathing. If you have never snorkeled before, don't worry, a briefing is held on board, explaining how to put and use the snorkeling gear. The private reef locations are approximately 70 kilometers (about 43 miles) offshore, these unique sites offer superb coral formations and an abundance of coral and marine life including inquisitive Nemos, Turtles, Stingrays and Wally the friendly Maori Wrasse. Visit 2 different reef locations daily, these are chosen en-route considering weather and sea conditions to ensure the best in-water experience. Visit either Normank, Saxon or Hastings Reef.

From Cairns: Great Barrier Reef Cruise by Premium Catamaran

10. From Cairns: Great Barrier Reef Cruise by Premium Catamaran

Hop aboard a catamaran for a day trip to remember to the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkel, dive, or swim in the water, enjoy a delicious buffet lunch, and take in the marine wildlife. Meet your crew at the Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal, pay the reef levy, and hop aboard the luxury catamaran. The crew will select reef locations depending on the day's conditions from Flynn and Milne reef or further north at Norman and Hastings reefs. All offer diverse reef structures teeming with exotic marine life. Feel the wind in your hair as you set sail for the outer Great Barrier Reef. Relax with morning tea on the way, get to know the crew and learn all about the marine eco-system from a marine expert. Review snorkeling techniques with the crew during the journey. Arrive at the first outer reef location, where you can snorkel, dive or swim in the water. You may also choose to sunbathe, or chill on the boat on the upper sun deck or the netted deck trampoline at the bow of the boat. You can avail complimentary guided tours from the staff. A dedicated dive tender is available for experienced certified divers who want to explore deeper waters. All certified divers receive a complimentary dive guide. First-time divers will receive a free 10-minute scuba instruction in the water from qualified PADI professionals. Savor a fresh tropical buffet lunch prepared onboard. Treat yourself to a selection of hot and cold dishes including buffet meats, salads, and tropical fruit. Travel to the second outer reef location for the day for your choice of activity. Look out for corals, exotic marine life such as parrotfish, reef turtles and 'nemo' fish. End the day as the captain hoists the sails, and cruise back to Cairns. Enjoy a cold drink from the bar (own expense) and relax on the boom netting. Alternatively, watch presentations about the marine life from the passionate eco-certified staff.

Other Sightseeing Options in Cairns

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What people are saying about Cairns

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 738 reviews

The team were fabulous, friendly and knowledgeable. We’re British so had a lot of questions. The journey was not too long and didn’t cause my hubby any sickness which is a win in itself. NOW the touristy important bit, the sea was crystal, there was so much to see snorkelling, and to be honest if you just lay in the water the life came to you. I got to see an octopus outside of an aquarium which is a real thrill. Everything on the island was clean and easily accessible. We couldn’t have asked for more. Thank you

Incredible day, great staff and food. Boat is quite large/new, and excellent snorkle equipment! We liked the snorkeling too (diving is not a must in our view, as it is very similar to snorkle there)

Great tour, awesome tour guide and fun along the way. Water holes were a lovely swim and the scenery just beautiful too see. Highly recommended

The crew were very informative on trip out to green island. The glass bottom boat was fantastic guide was also informative

The guide Stu is the best!! He makes everything a big adveture!! I really enjoyed!!