Explore the Magnificent Thetford Reef in Cairns

  • location: Latitude 16°48’23.6″S Longitude 146°10’30.4″E
  • Access by boat
  • Depth Range: 5-20 metres
  • Visibility: 15-20 metres
  • Suitable for snorkelling and scuba diving.

Welcome to Thetford Reef, an aquatic paradise nestled within the breathtaking wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, right off the coast of Cairns, Australia.  Prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey as we unveil the secrets of this natural wonder and help you plan your dream visit.

Nature’s Masterpiece

Thetford Reef, a jewel in the Great Barrier Reef Crown, is a testament to the beauty of nature.  With crystal-clear waters and an explosion of vibrant coral formations, it’s a world where colour knows no bounds.  Dive into an underwater realm alive with marine life, where every nook and cranny tells the story of this incredible ecosystem.

Thetford Reef is one of the Cairns Southern Reefs, located 70 kilometres east of Cairns.  This reef site is considered an essential reef for tourism and recreational use.

This reef is closer to the mainland than other more popular but distant sites.  This is a two-kilometre-long reef that seems to have it all.  With good visibility, plenty of colours, and many coral heads, several sites have canyons and passages to explore.  This reef has several large bommies and numerous swim-throughs.

This protected lagoon offers snorkelers and scuba divers several bommies to explore with a vast array of smaller fish.

It is ideal for first-time introductory divers, making it a popular choice for Prodive’s learn-to-dive course.

Excellent overnight anchorage and shallow-water diving are available at this reef location.

What to Expect at Thetford Reef

1.  Vibrant Marine Life

Prepare to encounter various marine life, snorkelers, and divers.  Encounter playful clownfish, graceful sea turtles, and majestic rays as you explore the reef’s depths.

2.  Pristine Coral Gardens

Boasting pristine coral gardens that house an astonishing diversity of corals, marvel at the intricate shapes and colours that make this reef a living work of art.

This reef has large Gorgonian corals, Boulder Head corals, and soft corals.  Keep an eye out for pygmy seahorses in the Gorgonian Coral.

Marine Life

This reef has anemones, damselfish, butterflyfish, and Angelfish out for pipefish, giant clams and Rabbitfish.

3.  Crystal-Clear Waters

The waters surrounding Thetford Reef are exceptionally clear, providing ideal conditions for snorkelling and diving.  Experience unparalleled visibility as you immerse yourself in this underwater wonderland.

When to Visit

The best time to visit is during the dry season, from June to October.  During these months, the weather is mild and the water visibility is at its peak, ensuring an optimal experience for explorers of all skill levels.

Responsible Tourism

We are committed to preserving the beauty of Thetford Reef for generations to come.  Our tour operators prioritise responsible tourism practices to protect this delicate ecosystem.  Please follow our guidelines during your visit to help us in our conservation efforts.

Plan Your Thetford Reef Adventure

Getting There

To reach Thetford Reef, book a boat tour from Cairns.  Several reputable operators offer day trips, making it convenient for you to experience this natural wonder.

What to Bring

Don’t forget to pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the Australian sun.  If you plan to snorkel or dive, bring swimwear, a towel, and an underwater camera to capture the magic of the reef.

The popular dive sites

Popular reef sites include 360 and East meets West, Cathedral, and Blue Lagoon.

Silverswift and Prodive visits have moorings at this reef.

Thetford Reef FAQS

A. Thetford Reef offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Australia’s underwater world.  It’s a breathtaking destination that showcases the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, making it a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.[/toggle

Thetford Reef Map

Book in Advance

To secure your spot and ensure availability, it’s advisable to book your Thetford Reef tour in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.

Why Thetford Reef?

Thetford Reef is more than just a destination; it’s an opportunity to connect with nature in its purest form.  Whether you’re an avid diver, a snorkelling enthusiast, or simply seeking a serene escape, Thetford Reef promises an experience that will leave an indelible mark on your heart.

Come and be a part of the magic at Thetford Reef, where the natural beauty of Australia comes to life beneath the waves.  Your journey to this underwater paradise awaits.

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