Snorkelling & Diving
There are hundreds of diving and snorkelling tours available along the Great Barrier Reef, ranging from half day trips to islands and cays to week long ”liveaboard” trips to the Ribbon Reefs and Coral Sea! With so much choose we have developed an easy to follow list below, to help you choose the right trip for you.
Don’t forget to follow our Reef Etiquette when diving and snorkelling! And check out our tips for Enjoying Your Reef Trip!
Some things to consider in choosing a reef trip
- Have you snorkelled / dived before? How confident are you in the water? Most boats offer flotation devices and will teach you how to snorkel.
- Would you feel more comfortable visiting a reef around an island or platform, or you happy to visit reefs further from shore? Islands and reef platforms are particularly good for people who suffer badly from sea-sickness, and islands/cays are also popular with birdwatchers.
- Would you prefer a small boat with less people on board, or would you feel more comfortable on a bigger boat?
- Do you want to travel on a fast motor boat, or would you enjoy sailing (if conditions permit) for part of the trip?
- Do you want to go on a glass-bottom boat or semi-submersible trip? These are great for people who aren’t very comfortable in the water.
- Would you like to go on a guided snorkelling trip with a marine biologist? Many boats offer this, and Reef Teach can also arrange a private marine biologist to accompany you for the whole day if you wish (check out our Underwater Naturalist option)!
- If you haven’t dived before, would you like to try scuba diving on your trip? Please note that some medical conditions, including asthma and diabetes, may prevent you from diving – please click on the link for more information on dive medicals and medical questionnaires.
- If you’re an experienced diver, how many dives would you like to do in a day? 2 is the norm but a few boats offer 3, and on liveaboards you can usually do 4 including a night dive.
- Do you want to dive guided or unguided? Most diving is unguided but some boats offer guided dives which are great for less experienced divers, but not ideal for underwater photographers.
- Will you be bringing your own diving equipment or do you want to hire it on onboard? Please note that in Queensland you are beaking the law if you dive without a snorkel and a safety sausage.
- Do you have any special needs (e.g. diet, physical abilities) or interests (e.g. sharks, wreck diving, NITROX, etc)?
- You may also want to choose an eco-certified operator. Find out more about what this means and what companies have to do to beome certified from Ecotourism Australia.
Do you live in or near Cairns?
If you live in North Queensland and are looking for new dive buddies, you might want to consider joining the Nautilus Scuba Club. The club hosts monthly meetings and discounted dive trips in the Cairns region and beyond.