Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling
Is snorkelling Australia’s Great Barrier Reef on the top of your bucket list? It is such an unforgettable experience that people travel from all over the world to do it.
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the biggest living thing on earth – it is ENORMOUS! A teeming mass of coral that is visible from space. Looking beneath the surface of the turquoise water gives you a glimpse into this thriving underwater world of bright colours and strange creatures.
The reef is not one single reef. There are around 2,900 different individual reef formations that make the Great Barrier Reef. Reef Experience travels to several different reef locations, including:
Norman Reef – cascading reef walls and spectacular reef structures, full of life and the home of our friendly Maori Wrasse, Frank!
Saxon Reef – a shallower reef that structures are more scattered. The marine life here is diverse and plentiful.
Hastings Reef – ideal for snorkelling due to its shallowness and famed for its gardens of coral and ample Giant Clams
Breaking Patches Reef – another shallow reef that boasts fantastic snorkelling with its rolling hills of spaghetti coral, a soft coral that flows and dances with the movement of the water.
Michaelmas Cay – 43 kilometres north of Cairns you will find a vegetated sand cay. A fringing reef surrounds this cay with a vast amount of large clams. Michaelmas Cay is a protected seabird sanctuary. The Cay provides valuable protection in rough weather for the operators that are lucky enough to have a permit to visit Michaelmas Cay.
What to Expect on your Cairns Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling tour
Choosing the right tour
We have taken the guess work out for you and researched the best tours on offer and present them so that you can find which one suits you best.
Everyone’s expectation of what they want on a reef tour differs from yes I want to get in the water to know I want to see it which is where underwater observatories come into the picture.
Excellent customer service is rated very high when we research out tours as well as fun and personal service.
Do not worry if you have never swum in the open ocean before because we have many options to make getting in the water more accessible, such as flotation vests, these are fantastic and make floating around on the surface of the water completely effortless.
Snorkel noodles, if you are a more confident swimmer, we recommend taking a snorkel noodle under your arms. It gives you that extra bit of flotation so you can relax and enjoy the views, you are on holiday after all.
We also have experienced crew members that will take you on a guided tour with you holding onto a floatation ring, a fantastic option that we include free of charge for those who are not confident swimmers or who are particularly nervous about getting into the water. We are here for you!
Once you see all the magic that the reefs have to offer, it won’t feel so scary any more. It is a uniquely fantastic experience, that will last in your memories forever. We predict by the end of the day you won’t want to get out of the water!
Mask, snorkel, fins and stinger suit (stinger season only) are all provided for you! Reef Experience also provide reef-friendly sunscreen, breakfast, lunch and tea and coffee is available all day, so you needn’t worry about a thing! Just bring a towel and some sunnies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I get Seasick?
Every day is different and so is every person. If you are worried about seasickness, we recommend taking travel calm medication which is available onboard. We recommend that you take the pill before leaving the marina as it takes about 30 minutes to take effect. Once you are seasick, the medicine will be of no help.
How long does it take to get to the Outer Barrier Reef?
It will take around 90 minutes or so to get out to the reef by boat, or you can take a 30-minute scenic helicopter flight.
Are there Turtles?
Yes! We have 6 of the seven species of turtles here on the GBR. The most common species being the Green Sea Turtle and the Hawksbill Turtle. If you would like to get up close and personal with one, we suggest approaching them very slowly and from their side. If you approach too quick or from behind, they may get scared and swim off, and at 35km/hr you won’t be keeping up! Remember not to touch, only look.
Can I find Nemo?
Of course! There are around 30 different species of Anemone-fish on the reef, and you are sure to see at least one. Ask our friendly staff where to look, they know all the spots.
Will I see Sharks?
Yes! But only if you are lucky! The Sharks we have here on the Great Barrier Reef are small reef sharks, they are quite harmless and don’t like to be around people, you will most likely get
a glimpse of one before it disappears like a moody teenager they want to be left, alone man!
Should I worry about Sting Rays?
No! Stingrays are perfectly calm and harmless unless you are planning on tackling one, you don’t need to worry about them at all and should consider yourself very lucky to be able to spot one!
We look forward to welcoming you on board to show you Australia’s fantastic Great Barrier Reef.