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Sunlover Reef Cruises - Cairns Great Barrier Reef Day Tour

Spend a day exploring the Great Barrier Reef with this cruise out to the Moore Reef pontoon, which includes snorkelling, a semi-sub, & lunch.
Cairns, Australia
Duration
Duration
8 hrs
Start & End Time
Start & End Time
8:30 am to 5:30 pm
Pick-Up & Drop-Off
Pick-Up & Drop-Off
Not included
Minimum Age
Minimum Age
All ages
Meals
Meals
Included
Start & End Location
Start & End Location
Cairns

What's Included

  • Get up to $20 cash back per person when you book with us
  • A full day at a permanent pontoon on Moore Reef, part of the outer Great Barrier Reef
  • Various activities to explore the underwater world, including snorkelling & equipment, semi-submersible & glass bottom boat tours
  • Enjoy access to the underwater observatory, touch tank & fish feeding presentations, & an exciting waterslide
  • A gourmet tropical-inspired lunch prepared by the talented team at Nu Nu Restaurant in Palm Cove
  • Return transfers from Cairns on board a comfortable, stable, & air-conditioned catamaran
  • The option to upgrade the return journey to Cairns to a helicopter transfer
  • Departs from  the meeting point at Reef Fleet Terminal, 1 Spence St, Cairns

What's Excluded

  • Optional activities, including guided snorkel tour, Seawalker helmet dive, SCUBA dive, or scenic helicopter flight
  • Underwater photography
  • Wetsuits
  • Prescription mask 
  • Lockers 
  • Snacks from a selection at the bar onboard the catamaran

What to Expect

Join this unique outer Great Barrier Reef tour where the catamaran docks alongside a floating pontoon stationed in a natural lagoon fringed with beautiful coral. The marine biologists, dive instructors, qualified lifeguards and cruise attendants have only one goal: to share their passion for the Great Barrier Reef and ensure you make memories that will last a lifetime.

 

With a range of included activities and exclusive use of the custom-designed floating pontoon, all ages and abilities can explore and enjoy the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef. See the clear water, colourful coral, abundant fish life, friendly resident turtles, and Maori wrasse – Moore Reef is the ultimate destination to experience all that the outer reef offers.

 

The crew has also partnered with Palm Cove's Nu Nu Restaurant to offer a brilliant onboard lunch menu. Curated by Master Chef guest judge Nick Holloway and sourced from the far reaches of Tropical North Queensland, you'll enjoy a tropical banquet included in your Moore Reef experience. 

 

Included Activities

 

The custom-designed floating pontoon makes the reef easily accessible for visitors of all ages and swimming abilities and is the base for many included activities. 

 

Snorkelling

 

Snorkelling is the most popular activity and one of the best ways to see the Great Barrier Reef. From the moment you push off the snorkel platform, you enter a world of dazzlingmarine life, including the resident sea turtles and Maori Wrasse 'Wally'. In addition, see hundreds of species of hard and soft corals, sea stars, giant clams, sea cucumbers, clownfish (aka Nemo), parrotfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, and much, much more.

 

With a snorkelling area that covers 7000 square metres, there's plenty of space for you to explore the Great Barrier Reef! If you have never snorkelled before or aren't a strong swimmer, the friendly team will provide full instructions on how to use the snorkelling equipment provided – snorkel, fins, mask, buoyancy vest and lycra suit. 

 

The snorkelling area has been designed with your safety in mind. There are four rest stations for you to relax and re-energize and an elevated tower where the trained lifeguards are always on watch. Confident swimmers can check out the spectacular 15-metre deep drop-off and canyon at the farther reaches of the snorkelling area.

 

Glass Bottom Boat Tour

 

Enjoy a spectacular top-down view of coral and marine life without getting wet. With the reef only half to three metres under the glass, the glass bottom boat tour offers a clear and close-up view of hard and soft corals, giant clams, anemones, fish and more, explained by one of the marine experts. You might even spot a sea turtle! Tours depart regularly throughout the day.

 

Semi-Submersible Boat Tour

 

When you sit in the hull of the semi-submersible boat, your window is below sea level giving a 'fish eye' perspective of the Great Barrier Reef. From the comfort of your seat, experience the wonder of the reef as you cruise over stunning coral gardens, past staggering drop-offs, and spot amazing marine animals.

 

Touch Tank & Fish Feeding

 

Observe and interact with some unique marine species during a presentation from a marine naturalist. Held around a shallow tank, you will be invited to gently touch, feel and learn before the marine animals are released back into the ocean.

 

Later in the day, watch hundreds of colourful fish swarm near the pontoon for feeding as the marine expert answers questions and explains the fish you can see.

 

Waterslide

 

The pontoon is home to the only waterslide on the Great Barrier Reef. Swirling eight metres down from the sun deck on a 30-metre spiral into the tropical ocean, see if you can beat 110 slides in one day – that's the record!

 

Available all day and supervised by lifeguards, the waterslide is a hit with big kids and little kids alike. 

 

Underwater Observatory

 

Located at one end of the pontoon, the underwater observatory is a room below sea level with a huge window allowing you to look out on the fish and coral of the reef while staying dry! It's open all day, so simply descend the stairs to enjoy the view whenever you like.

 

An excellent viewing time is during the fish feeding presentation when hundreds of fish swarm near the window.

 

Optional Upgrade Activities

 

Take your Great Barrier Reef experience to another level with optional upgraded activities.

 

Guided Snorkel Tour

 

A marine expert guides you on a personal 35-minute snorkelling tour of the Great Barrier Reef, exploring areas not accessible by others and highlighting brilliant corals and fascinating marine life in a small group of up to six guests. Learn about the Great Barrier Reef marine ecosystem on this guided tour suitable for all abilities, including those who need assistance in the water. Spot Nemo the clownfish, giant clams, rare species of fish and coral, sea turtles and much more. 

 

Introductory Scuba Dive

 

Don't miss the opportunity to try Great Barrier Reef scuba diving! The experienced PADI dive instructors provide a safe environment to experience scuba diving for the first time, guiding you through every step. A purpose-built sheltered dive platform offers a safe, pool-like training environment where you learn how to use the equipment under the caring guidance of the instructors, making sure you are comfortable before descending guide ropes to the reef. A maximum group of 4 divers per guide ensures intro diving is safe and fun. This activity is available for guests aged 12 and over.

 

Certified Scuba Dive

 

With a range of stunning locations, amazing marine life, first-class equipment, and PADI qualified instructors, certified divers can explore the Great Barrier Reef from the Moore Reef pontoon. Dives take up to 50 minutes to a maximum depth of 18 metres, and divers must present their certification on the day.

 

Seawalker Helmet Dive

 

Experience the Great Barrier Reef's underwater world without getting your hair wet! This fully escorted experience takes you three and a half metres below sea level, where you walk along the underwater platform amongst spectacular reef fish. The experienced PADI dive instructors make this a fun, and safe experience for guests aged 12 and over and a photographer is also at hand to capture your underwater journey.

 

Seawalker helmet diving is a fantastic option for those who are not able to swim but want a truly unique reef experience. All guests must review the medical checklist before booking.

 

Scenic Helicopter Flight 

 

Experience the Outer Reef from a unique new perspective. Departing from the floating helipad at Moore Reef, you'll take a 10-minute flight to view this wonder of the world from the air. Keep your eyes peeled for manta rays, turtles and other marine life and make a memory of a lifetime.

 

Where we Visit:

  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Moore Reef activity platform

Frequently Asked Questions

This varies every day. The maximum is approximately 200 people but most often is fewer. This is aligned with social distancing requirements. 

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The Great Barrier Reef is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many of our visitors, who have a wonderful experience no matter the weather. 

 

Cairns has a tropical climate and experiences hot, humid summers and cooler, dry winters. Often when the weather is cloudy or rainy in Cairns it can be the complete opposite on the outer Great Barrier Reef. However, if you wish to change the date of your tour then we are more than happy to do so for you (subject to availability, adequate notice and inline with our cancellation policy).

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The water is between 5 and 12m in depth off the pontoon, depending on the tide. The crew supply life jackets free of charge for extra buoyancy and resting stations are dotted throughout the snorkelling area.

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Cairns is located in Tropical North Queensland so the water temperature is very pleasant all year round. Approximate average water temperatures throughout the year are:

  • December-February 29C or 83F
  • March-May 25C or 76F
  • June-August 22C or 72F
  • September-November 25C or 76F
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Sea conditions vary every day. The pontoon and catamaran are very stable and safe. If the rare occasion occurs and it is deemed that it isn't safe to operate due to sea conditions, passengers will be offered travel on an alternate day or will receive a refund.

 

Passengers who are prone to motion sickness are advised to take necessary precautions such as motion sickness medication prior to travel.

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There is no minimum age. We have had infants just a few weeks old travel to the Great Barrier Reef with us. We have a specially built ocean enclosed pool for smaller children so they too can enjoy a paddle in the sea. There are minimum age requirements for optional activities such as SCUBA diving.

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Yes, it's important for us to have an accurate record of every single person travelling with us. Whilst children 3 years and under travel free, you need to advise us there is an infant travelling with you when you make your booking. 

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No. The only requirement is that you are able to move freely around the pontoon and catamaran. The water is accessible by stairs fitted with handrails.

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The catamarans are equipped with gangways for boarding from the Cairns Marina and to the pontoon. These gangways are narrow so it is advised that you get in contact with the booking team prior to your tour date to ensure your ability to board comfortably and safely. Disabled toilets are situated on the aft deck of both boats. There are also portable ramps for use to assist in wheelchairs crossing hatchways and onto the gangways as required.

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Yes. There are a large number of included activities that allow non-swimmers to experience the reef, such as semi-submersible and glass-bottom boat tours, underwater observatory, fish feeding and touch tank presentations or simply relaxing on the upper-level sundeck.

 

There are also extra activities that non-swimmers can book:

  • guided snorkel tours with one of our experienced Marine Naturalists; they have a large floating life ring and can guide you amongst the coral reefs, while offering 100% safety
  • Seawalker Helmet dive
  • scenic helicopter flights
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We have an international team who can speak many languages including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German, Spanish and French. Important medical forms, health and safety messages are also available in selected languages for guests. 

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Simply pack a bag as if you were going to the beach for the day. Suggested items include:

  • swimming costume and beach towel
  • sunscreen (SPF 30+) reef-friendly is recommended
  • sun-protective clothing such as a t-shirt or rash vest, hat and sunglasses
  • cash or credit card for onboard purchases, snacks and optional activities (we accept AUD$, VISA, MasterCard, Amex, Unionpay, Royalpay) 
  • camera (you can also hire an underwater digital camera from our photographers Calypso Reef Imagery onboard)
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Yes, secure lockers are available for hire on the boat for small personal belongings. We suggest leaving any unnecessary valuables at home or at your hotel.

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Yes, the team will be able to provide assistance to you when getting on and off the catamaran. However as space is limited onboard, they encourage you to pack light or use a baby carrier where possible.

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It takes approximately 2 hours to get to Moore Reef pontoon from Cairns (with a brief pick up / drop off at Fitzroy Island).

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You can expect to have 4 hours reef time.

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The following are available for hire or purchase on the day.

  • underwater photography - hire an underwater camera or purchase print or digital photos captured by the Calypso photographers
  • wetsuits - $10 hire (no charge for people doing SCUBA/helmet dives)
  • prescription mask - $5 hire + $50 deposit
  • lockers - small coin-operated lockers are located onboard the catamaran 
  • snacks - from a selection at the bar onboard the catamaran
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There are toilets located on the catamaran, which are accessible at all times when the catamaran is docked at the pontoon. This is also freshwater rinse showers and change rooms on the pontoon.

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The Operator offers prescription snorkel masks for those who are short-sighted. Available from -1 to -6 strength levels, the masks can be hired for $5 with a $50 deposit refundable on return. Please enquire with the team onboard.

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There is no crèche onboard so the crew can’t care for children. Anyone under 12 years must be directly supervised at all times by an accompanying adult. All children under 18 years must be supervised and are the responsibility of their accompanying adult.

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Policies

Terms & Conditions:

  • All bookings are to be reconfirmed 24 hrs prior to travel
  • Optional activities are subject to a medical checklist. Passengers wishing to partake in these optional activities must be a minimum of 12 years old, and passengers aged under 18 years old must have a consenting parent or legal guardian with them
  • The Operator accepts no responsibility or liability for any direct or indirect loss or damage of any kind
  • On occasion, the tropical weather conditions can cause cancellations and or changes to schedules and activities. The Operator reserves the right to vary prices, schedules, vessels and any activities without notification
  • Anyone under 12 years must be directly supervised at all times by an accompanying adult. All children under 18 years must be supervised and are the responsibility of their accompanying adult

Cancellation Policy:

Customer requested cancellations within 24 hours of travel will result in a 100% cancellation charge. This includes no-shows. Cancellation charges may be waived at the discretion of The Operator if the cancellation is a result of: 

  • ill health (a medical certificate may be required)
  • minor changes to the number of guests travelling
  • rescheduling within reason 

Pickup Locations

  • 201 LAKE STREET @ 08:40
  • ABSOLUTE BEACHFRONT B&B (Moore & Trinity Bus Stop) @ 08:20
  • ACACIA COURT HOTEL (Lake St ) @ 08:40
  • ACCOMODATION ON SHERIDAN @ 08:40
  • ADOBE MOTEL @ 08:40
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