Michaelmas Cay and Michaelmas Reef

  • Location: Latitude  16°34’56.2″S Longitude 146°01’09.1″E
  • Depth: 0-20 metres
  • Visibility 10 to 15 metres
  • Access Boat
  • Size 1.8 hectares

Michaelmas Cay is a sand cay located 40 kilometres from the coast of Cairns.  This cay has a great reef around the proximity of the cay.

Michaelmas Cay and Reef are within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.  This site is limited to a maximum of 50 visitors on the cay at any time.

Close to the Outer Reef, it’s the biggest of a trio of neighbouring coral sand cays. It features excellent snorkelling opportunities and supports the early learning of exploratory divers. Michaelmas Cay vegetated with a beach conducive to paddling the waters among reef fish.

There are 14 dive sites at this reef location offering a range of different underwear adventures.

This location provides safe anchorage during inclement weather.


Michaelmas Cay is an important bird nesting and roosting ground which provides a sanctuary to twenty-four species of sea birds.  Twentyseven thousand migratory birds visit this sand cay.   The middle of the sand cay has vegetation that covers an area of 1.5 hectares of the island.  As many as 30,000 birds can be present at any one time.

Sooty Terns and Crested terns have an important rookery on Michaelmas Cay.

Marine Life

This reef location has an abundance of green sea turtles and giant clams.  Scuba divers and snorkelers can see the brightly coloured tropical reef fish and reef sharks.

Along the reef wall are swim-throughs, small caves and gullies.  The shallows offer perfect snorkelling over shallow coral reefs.  The bommies provide divers with plenty of interesting marine life, including batfish and crayfish.

Next, scuba divers should watch for eagle and cow tail rays at this location.

Michaelmas Cay

Nearby Reefs