Cairns
Boat Tours & River Cruises

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Our most recommended Cairns Cruises & Boat Tours

Daintree, Mossman Gorge & Cape Trib Tour with Cruise & Lunch

1. Daintree, Mossman Gorge & Cape Trib Tour with Cruise & Lunch

Start your adventure with a scenic coastal drive from Cairns to Port Douglas, the far north’s very own great ocean road with panoramic views of the sparkling Coral Sea. The first stop is Mossman Gorge, which is in the southern sector of the world-famous Daintree National Park. The gorge has been carved out by the cold mountain waters of the Mossman River, which winds through large granite boulders, bordered by lush green rainforest. It’s a magical place and you’ll be welcomed by the traditional owners, the Kuku Yalanji people, who will also cleanse you of evil spirits during a smoke ceremony. Also, enjoy a refreshing swim in the cascading waters. Cross the mighty Daintree River and head to the beach for lunch. Experience waterfront dining and enjoy the sand between your toes. After lunch, it’s time to explore the ancient rainforest environment on an interesting guided tour of the Marrdja Botanical Boardwalk. Highly trained guides will give expert rainforest interpretation, which will inform and impress. Be amazed at the huge diversity you will encounter, you will discover everything from low-lying ferns and shrubs, to the massive rainforest canopy and even mangrove ecosystems - all in one short easy walk. You can choose to taste locally made ice cream, at your own cost, and prepare for a photo opportunity at the Alexandra Range Lookout, which provides sweeping views over the Daintree River, its rainforest delta, and out to the Coral Sea. In the afternoon, experience a wildlife cruise on the river. During the cruise, you may see a crocodile, while learning about the fragile ecosystem of this impressive serpent-like river system. On the return journey to Cairns, drive through Port Douglas, a picturesque beachside village with a laid-back vibe and loads of bars and cafes.

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From Cairns: Fitzroy Island Full-Day Adventure Tour

2. From Cairns: Fitzroy Island Full-Day Adventure Tour

Fitzroy Island was once part of mainland Australia, before being separated by rising waters. Over time a fringing coral reef surrounded the island, providing a sheltered home to a variety of fish and coral species. Explore this marine wonderland on a day tour from Cairns, crossing by ferry to enjoy wilderness hiking trails and snorkeling adventures. Choose from a range of packages, including transfers for you to explore on your own, or a package including snorkel or glass-bottom boat activities. Explore the Island's 339 hectares of lush rainforest that covers 94 percent of the island and is protected and managed as a National Park. Walking trails are suitable for all levels of fitness, allowing you to explore areas of the island at your leisure. The fast catamaran departs from the Marlin Marina, with check-in directly on the vessel. Cruise south along the calm waters of the coastline to reach Fitzroy Island in just 45 minutes, giving you up to 7 hours to explore the tropical island.

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Cairns: Full-Day Glass Bottom Boat Snorkel Tour

3. Cairns: Full-Day Glass Bottom Boat Snorkel Tour

Discover the lush rainforest of Green Island on this full-day snorkel tour and encounter some of the many marine animals that call the island home. Climb aboard the modern, air-conditioned catamaran "Reef Rocket" to cruise over to this idyllic part of the Great Barrier Reef, and enjoy a full-day reef tour just 45-minutes from Cairns. Snorkel and dive among the reef fish and coral gardens, or stay dry on a spectacular semi-submersible submarine or glass-bottom boat to discover the underwater life in comfort. Alternatively, simply laze on the white sandy beach and soak up the sun.

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From Cairns: Green Island Eco Adventure

4. From Cairns: Green Island Eco Adventure

Boasting a lush rainforest that is home to over 120 native plant species and colorful bird life, Green Island is surrounded by coral gardens and abundant marine life. The tropical island, just 45 minutes from Cairns offers the unique opportunity for a combined reef and rainforest tour. And with the choice of 3 daily departures, the Green Island eco adventure is perfect for a half or full-day experience with up to 7 hours on the beautiful Great Barrier Reef island. Your cruise includes the choice of an informative glass bottom boat coral viewing tour, or use of snorkeling equipment to snorkel directly off the sandy white beaches. Whether you’re up for adventurous activities or island relaxation, you’ll be spoilt for choice. You can explore the island’s lush rainforest with a leisurely self guided walk, see the reef from the glass bottom boat coral viewing tour, snorkel from the beach, or take a refreshing dip in the island swimming pool. With an abundance of optional activities, you can scuba dive, take an offshore snorkel excursion, walk underwater with Seawalker helmet diving, kayak, or even take to the sky in a scenic helicopter flight. There's even the Marineland Melanesia crocodile habitat on the island! The island’s well appointed day visitor facilities include a pool bar, dive shop, plus restaurant and food outlets, where a delicious range of lunch, snacks and refreshments can be purchased.

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From Cairns: Great Barrier Reef Cruise by Premium Catamaran

5. From Cairns: Great Barrier Reef Cruise by Premium Catamaran

Hope aboard a catamaran for a day trip to remember to the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkel, dive, or swim in the water, enjoy a delicious buffet lunch, and take in the marine wildlife. Meet your crew at the Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal, pay the reef levy, and hop aboard the luxury catamaran. The crew will select reef locations depending on the day's conditions from Flynn and Milne reef or further north at Norman and Hastings reefs. All offer diverse reef structures teeming with exotic marine life. Feel the wind in your hair as you set sail for the outer Great Barrier Reef. Relax with morning tea on the way, get to know the crew and learn all about the marine eco-system from a marine expert. Review snorkeling techniques with the crew during the journey. Arrive at the first outer reef location, where you can snorkel, dive or swim in the water. You may also choose to sunbathe, or chill on the boat on the upper sun deck or the netted deck trampoline at the bow of the boat. You can avail complimentary guided tours from the staff. A dedicated dive tender is available for experienced certified divers who want to explore deeper waters. All certified divers receive a complimentary dive guide. First-time divers will receive a free 10-minute scuba instruction in the water from qualified PADI professionals. Savor a fresh tropical buffet lunch prepared by the onboard chef. Treat yourself to a selection of hot and cold dishes including buffet meats, salads, and tropical fruit. Travel to the second outer reef location for the day for your choice of activity. Look out for corals, exotic marine life such as parrotfish, reef turtles and 'nemo' fish. End the day as the captain hoists the sails, and cruise back to Cairns. Enjoy a cold drink from the bar (own expense) and relax on the boom netting. Alternatively, watch presentations about the marine life from the passionate eco-certified staff.

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Cairns: Outer Great Barrier Reef Pontoon with Activities

6. Cairns: Outer Great Barrier Reef Pontoon with Activities

Sit back and relax on a catamaran cruise from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef, where you enjoy a raft of water activities from Moore Reef's pontoon. Encounter an outstanding landscape of marine life, enjoy a choice of activities including snorkeling, including a visit to the underwater observatory. Prior to departure from the marina, sip on some complimentary tea and coffee. Depart from Cairns’ Marlin Marina at 9:30 AM and enjoy a cruise out of the harbor. Witness the stunning landscape before the catamaran makes its way out to open seas. Sail in air-conditioned comfort onboard the catamaran to the state-of-the-art activity pontoon at Moore Reef. Moore Reef is a prime location on the Outer Great Barrier Reef, abundant with soft corals and marine life. Learn about the reef and its diverse ecosystems on the outward journey with presentations given by resident marine experts. Upon arrival at the pontoon at 11:30 AM, choose from an array of activities suitable for both swimmers and non-swimmers alike. Make use of the inclusive snorkeling equipment, with wetsuits and lycra also available at an additional charge. Alternatively, watch the daily fish feeding presentations, or take a trip on the glass bottom boat or semi-submersible tour with marine experts providing commentary. Soak up the rays on a spacious sun deck, or make a splash on a theme park-style waterslide. See the reef without getting wet in the underwater observatory, and get up close and personal with marine creatures like sea cucumbers and starfish.

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From Cairns: Luxury Great Barrier Reef Snorkel & Dive

7. From Cairns: Luxury Great Barrier Reef Snorkel & Dive

Depart in the morning for your once in a lifetime adventure to the spectacular Outer Great Barrier Reef aboard this modern, luxury vessel. The friendly crew will ensure you get the most out of your day on the reef, whether you’re a snorkeler, trying SCUBA diving for the first time, or you are an experienced diver.  Purpose built, the vessel boasts 3 large sun decks, 2 air-conditioned indoor saloons, a spacious dive deck, and a sunken platform for easy access in and out of the water. This new vessel has everything you need to experience the Great Barrier Reef in unrivaled comfort, and numbers are capped at 80 to ensure everybody has a great day.  You will have the opportunity to snorkel or dive at 2 exclusive reef locations across your day, allowing you to see an abundance of marine life that calls the Great Barrier Reef home. The reef sites are chosen on the day by the experienced skipper, depending on weather and sea conditions to ensure the best in-water experience.  If this is your first time snorkeling, don’t worry — it’s fun and safe for the whole family. You can see the best of the Great Barrier Reef just floating on the surface, including colorful coral, many fish species, and other wildlife. Free guided snorkeling tours are available, meaning you won’t miss a thing. These free tours are great for those who aren’t as comfortable in the water. All of the snorkeling equipment required is supplied as part of your trip, including a wetsuit or stinger suit.  If you would like to try diving but don’t have a diving licence, then why not try an introductory dive? You can see the underwater world in the care of an experienced instructor. If you are already certified, you can go guided or non-guided during your time on the reef — it's up to you.  You will enjoy a light morning tea, afternoon tea of fruits, cheese and crackers, and a delicious pre-packed picnic lunch. Complimentary tea, coffee, and chilled water are served throughout the day (snacks, soft and alcoholic beverages are also available for purchase). Whether you are a snorkeler, first-time SCUBA diver, or already certified diver, you will love this once in a lifetime adventure aboard a luxury day trip to the great barrier reef.

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Cairns: Green Island & Great Barrier Reef Sailing Tour

8. Cairns: Green Island & Great Barrier Reef Sailing Tour

Board a classic sailboat with its crew and grab a Danish pastry, a piece of fresh fruit, and tea or coffee. Settle in the aft section or anywhere on the foredeck. Once all guests have boarded, the boat pulls away from the dock and the sails are hoisted. Lend a hand or just relax and watch. Enjoy the journey as your full-day program begins and Cairns disappears in the distance. Within 2 hours, arrive at the exclusive Great Barrier Reef mooring that’s just 1-kilometer off Green Island. From there, Pinnacle Reef awaits, and it’s just a step off the boat. After a snorkeling briefing, receive your snorkeling equipment, including a wet suit or lycra suit and snorkeling jacket. Be assisted as needed for the first snorkeling adventure. The crew will conduct many small, personal snorkeling tours that can be enjoyed throughout the day. Pinnacle Reef is a coral garden featuring several outcrops that allow for easy viewing. Expect to see hard and soft corals and numerous schools of colorful reef fish meandering through the coral garden. Stingrays, turtles, and black-tipped reef sharks (very shy and perfectly safe) are also a common sight. Enjoy a personal first dive (optional extra) with just 2 divers per instructor. No previous experience is required. If you are a certified diver, expect a small group with a complimentary dive guide. This tour is great for conservative diving, but not for deeper water or drift dives. After a morning of snorkeling and/or diving at this exclusive site, enjoy a large smorgasbord lunch back on board the boat. Feast on fresh Tasmanian salmon, prawns, mixed meats, chicken, and 3 different salads. Enjoy some land time on Green Island and relax on the beach or enjoy island activities (not included in the tour price). The short transfers to the island are by dinghy. You can opt to enjoy a cocktail at the island’s resort, walk across the island along an interpretative trail, or visit Marine Land Melanesia where you can see crocodiles (in captivity) and other marine life. Glass bottom boat tours and semi-submersible tours are also available. If you are interested in any of these optional island extras, inform the skipper when boarding the boat in the morning so that they can be booked. Note that the cost of these options is payable directly to the island operators on the day. You’ll have 4.5 hours to enjoy the reef and island, and how you divide your time between the reef and the island is up to you. Some opt to spend all day on the reef. After a day of reef and island activities, set sail for the return trip. Enjoy fresh fruit, cheese, and crackers, a glass of wine, and finally, a piece of cake to end on a sweet note. You’ll arrive back in Cairns at around 5:00 PM to 5:15 PM.

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Cairns: Outer and Coral Cay Snorkel and Dive Cruise

9. Cairns: Outer and Coral Cay Snorkel and Dive Cruise

Step foot on a super-fast, luxury 20m CAT, feeling welcomed and pampered, and embark on an ocean-filled journey of discovery. After your early boarding from Marlin Marina, breathe in the morning ocean breeze as you sail to one of two snorkel and dive destinations. From there, explore the ocean's brilliant fish and coral reefs. At the stunning Upolu Coral Cay Reef, learn about graceful blue-spotted stingrays, tenacious green sea turtles, bright damsel fish, and other amazing creatures that call this reef their home, as you observe them from a glass bottom boat. You’ll then have the chance to see these inquisitive creatures up close, while snorkeling within the incredibly clear, turquoise water. The second snorkel and dive site is the fascinating ‘Wonder Wall’, located on the outer edge of Upolu Reef. Enjoy snorkeling on the top of the wall for easy viewing of all the marine life and coral. Sign-up for the optional, certified or introductory guided dive, encountering a huge variety of aquatic flora and fauna, including hard and soft corals, giant clams, fans, turtles and a vast assortment of colorful tropical fish as you descend and meander along the side of the wall .  In between visiting these two sites, enjoy a smorgasbord lunch fit for a king. Savor smoked salmon, prawns, three types of cold meat, a chicken platter, three fresh salads and a variety of breads. After a relaxed six hours of diving and snorkeling, spend the trip home indulging in even more delicious food, arriving back at Cairns at around 4:30 PM.

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Daintree & Cape Tribulation Small Group 4WD Tour

10. Daintree & Cape Tribulation Small Group 4WD Tour

Explore Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation on a small group tour. Ride a 4WD vehicle as you spot wildlife, catch incredible views, and try regional food along the way. After being picked up in a 4WD around 7:00 AM, make your way north along the Captain Cook Highway. Stop first at the Daintree Cruise Centre for a cup of coffee and biscuits before setting out to explore the Daintree River on a 1-hour guided cruise. During your cruise, you may spot estuarine crocodiles, from youngsters to massive 4-meter adults. Learn about the birds and wildlife that make this area their home. Then, make your way to the Alexandra Range Lookout, located in the heart of the rainforest, to enjoy spectacular views of the rainforest, the ocean, its surrounding reefs, and the majestic Daintree River. At the Jindalba boardwalk, you'll go on an informative 45-minute guided tour to experience the Park's beauty up close. See ancient 900-year-old palms, and keep your eyes peeled for the elusive Boyd’s Forest Dragon. Enjoy lunch at Lync Haven, an animal refuge, where you'll be treated to BBQ lunch steaks and tasty garden fresh salads, fish, or a vegetarian burger. After lunch, have a look at some of the animals here which include different species of python snakes and Boris the Estuarine Crocodile. You can even hand-feed some of the Kangaroos in care — an amazing experience. Your journey continues, heading further north to Emmagen for an afternoon tea stop. You’ll have ample time to enjoy a beautifully refreshing swim in this amazing freshwater mountain stream. Then, indulge in a feast of exotic tropical fruits and enjoy a sample cup of traditional Billy Tea, made in a traditional Australian Billy (by your guide) and damper, all of which enhance the tranquil surroundings. Head to Cape Tribulation beach itself for a leisurely stroll along the beach to admire the views. Those feeling a little more energetic can take the short botanical boardwalk to the Cape Tribulation beach lookout. After Cape Tribulation beach, if there's time, stop at Daintree’s hidden secret, the Daintree ice creamery. Your taste buds will be tantalized with exotic tropical fruit homemade ice cream. As the day comes to the end, head back toward Cairns. You will be dropped off at your accommodations at around 6:30 PM.

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What people are saying about Cairns

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 618 reviews

Fabulous day. Very organised, all the staff were super friendly. Great food and plenty of it. Plenty of time on the reef . We had a magical day. We saw several turtles and a reef shark too! Thank you to ocean freedom. So glad we chose your boat .

Amazing trip, in the deep sea you will the amazing world. Crew are very friendly, caring and safe. I recommend highly about the trip

Great travel time to/from the Island & snorkelling straight off the beach is perfect for families with young kids

Have morning coffee before you hop in. It’s a great trip but bring lots of snacks.

everything good except the chicken wings in the buffet.