Cheap Great Barrier Reef Trips from Cairns
Cairns has come a long way since its beginnings as a boggy swamp and rollicking goldfields port. Considered the gateway to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, it is a city in tropical Far North Queensland. Its Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park tells the stories of indigenous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with music and dance. Cairns Esplanade, lined in bars and restaurants, has a swimming lagoon. Northwest of the city, Daintree National Park spans mountainous rainforest, gorges and beaches. Cairns is unabashedly geared towards tourism with its countless resorts, tour agencies, souvenir shops and a million reminders of its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef. The city center is more boardshorts than briefcases, and you'll find yourself throwing away all notions of speed and schedules here, thanks to heady humidity and a hearty hospitality that can turn a short stroll into an impromptu social event. Fittingly, Cairns is awash with bars, clubs, eateries and cafes suiting all budgets. There's no beach in town, but the magnificent Esplanade Lagoon more than makes up for it, and the northern beaches are but a local bus ride or short drive away. With so much to see and do, Cairns is a great place to experience, and there are several options for exciting activities and tours to see the Great Barrier Reef.
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Take an exciting ride in the Evolution, a state of the art high-speed vessel, and explore some of the most beautiful spots in the Outer Great Barrier Reef. With the boat cruising at up to 30 knots, and safe and comfortable seating for up to 140 passengers, you'll have less travel time and spend more time at the Reef. This five-hour tour will visit two spectacular Outer Great Barrier Reef destinations. Snorkel equipment and lessons are provided, so feel free to jump in the water and explore this amazing natural wonder from up close. Later, enjoy a delicious barbecue lunch with salad before you take off for the second half of the tour. Experience the excitement of a Semi-Submersible tour (extra option), and get a whole new perspective of underwater wildlife. This tour will spare you the big crowds and gives access to exclusive protected Reef locations. Professional, friendly and attentive staff will ensure that this is a safe and fun-filled experience.
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Treat yourself to a full day of adventure surrounded by 55 acres of the most famous coral reef in the world. With clean, sandy beaches and calm waters ideal for snorkeling, the coral cay of Low Isles lies just 9 miles off the coast from Port Douglas and provides an excellent tropical base for exploring Australia's Great Barrier Reef. After pickup at your Cairns or Northern Beaches hotel, travel to Port Douglas, where you'll climb aboard a luxury 98-foot catamaran with room for up to 200 passengers. On the short voyage to Low Isles, admire the scenery from the spacious sun deck or sip a cocktail inside the comfortable air-conditioned lounge. When you arrive on the island, slip on provided snorkeling equipment and splash into the clear, calm lagoon waters to explore the fantastic coral formations. Join a snorkeling tour led by a marine biologist, or set off on your own. Swim among a variety tropical fish, giant clams, seagrass and intricate coral formations. Be sure to keep an eye out for the green sea turtles frequently found near the island. If you prefer not to get wet, you can still appreciate the reef on a glass-bottom boat tour. Back on the island, enjoy a delicious buffet lunch and soak up the sun on the sandy beach. If you like, join a guide on a nature walk to learn about the history of Low Isles and identify native plant and flower species. After several hours of adventure and relaxation, enjoy the luxurious return cruise to Port Douglas. Your full-day tour concludes with drop-off back at your hotel.
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Boasting a lush rainforest that is home to over 120 native plant species and colorful bird life, Green Island is a paradise coral cay island that is surrounded by reef gardens and abundant marine life. Climb aboard the modern Reef Rocket catamaran and cruise over to this idyllic part of the Great Barrier Reef, just 45 minutes from Cairns. The speed of the catamaran allows for a full 2 hours on Green Island, whether you pick the morning or afternoon tour. Snorkel to see soft coral gardens and shoals of colorful reef fish, or stay dry on a spectacular glass-bottom boat tour to discover the underwater reefs in comfort. You can even add-on a semi-submersible tour to get closer to the marine life. Alternatively, simply laze on the white sandy beach and soak up the sun.
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Choose from three options for your Great Barrier Reef experience. Take a helicopter to Hastings Reef floating helicopter pad, with transfer from there to a high-speed 100-foot vessel that holds a maximum of 100 people. Eighteen expert guides lead activities, assist with snorkel or scuba diving equipment, and provide instruction to both newcomers and experienced participants. Even non-swimmers can get in the water with flotation devices and see the reef Optional activities include scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world's top dive locations. A complimentary 10-minute demonstration is provided before purchase of the introductory dive course. The full-day excursion has time for a total of three dives at two different locations for already certified scuba divers. The dives can be booked on the boat, and dive gear and dive computers are provided. Your guides choose from 12 exclusive moorings at six locations for the best possible experience on the day of your tour. Generally, the boat visits one of the true Outer Great Barrier Reef locations in the morning. The afternoon features North Hastings Reef for snorkeling and helicopter flight connections. A tasty Australian barbecue buffet lunch is served on the boat. The spread may include fresh fish, sausages, steak, salads and pastas. At the end of your tour, return to the mainland.
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