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Boat tours in Cairns

Aside from its overall natural beauty and perfect temperatures, Cairns is home to the famous Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest natural coral reef, and it can be seen all the way from space! Check the boat tours in Cairns and don’t wait for your chance to get up close and personal with the astonishing underwater sites and exotic creatures that call this marvel of nature home.

If you’re looking for a day of fun in the tropical sun, look no further. Enjoy one of the numerous boat tours available in Cairns and take in the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef as well as the rainforest that surrounds it. Embark on a diving adventure through the natural wonders with award-winning experts, fulfill that lifelong dream of snorkeling with exotic sea creatures, or simply kick back, relax, and enjoy dinner under the most beautiful sunset imaginable.

What is there to see on a boat tour around Cairns?

The Great Barrier Reef

The first and most obvious attraction to see on a boat tour in Cairns is the world’s largest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef. Just about every boat tour is centered around this marvel of nature, so you don’t have to worry too much about picking the wrong package and not getting to experience its majesty.

The Daintree Rainforest and River

Just north of Cairns is the Daintree Rainforest, one of the most biologically diverse Rainforests on Earth. Experience the magic of this 180 million year old ecosystem first hand as you spot crocodiles, birds, snakes, butterflies, fish, and plenty of other tropical creatures.

Green Island

Take a day trip to the center of the Great Barrier Reef and explore Green Island, one of Australia’s protected Marine National Parks. Once there, enjoy all the amenities available at the Green Island Resort, take a load off and relax on the beach, or take a walk and spot all the natural wonders of this coral cay.


If you’re up for one of the longer excursions, why not opt for a two-day cruise that includes a trip to the mountain town of Kuranda? Take in the sites of the rainforest from above on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and the Kuranda Scenic Railway. Once in Kuranda, make your way to the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary and the Rainforestation Nature Park, where local experts and park keepers will be your guides as you experience all the local flora and fauna firsthand.

What kinds of activities do boat tours in Cairns offer?

Because of its famous coral reefs and proximity to the Daintree Rainforest, Cairns has become an international hub for tourism and there are many wonderful options available for taking to the open water and exploring the Great Barrier Reef and its surrounding areas.

Snorkeling and diving

There is no more magical place on Earth to go snorkeling or scuba diving than in the Great Barrier Reef, so it’s no surprise that this activity is offered on just about every boat tour in Cairns. Teams of experienced and friendly experts are available in all price ranges to guide you on the adventure of a lifetime.

Riverboating through the rainforest

The Great Barrier Reef isn’t the only natural wonder to discover in Cairns, as the area is also flanked by gorgeous rainforests. Enjoy a relaxing day on the Daintree River as you spot crocodiles, participate in smoke ceremonies with aboriginal land owners, and learn from seasoned experts about the area’s one of a kind ecosystem.

Helicopter Rides

If you’d rather mix things up and not spend the entire day on a boat, there are many options available for a scenic ride in a helicopter. Choose to take a boat to Green Island and then helicopter back, vice versa. This is one of the best ways to take in the Great Barrier Reef from multiple viewpoints.

Dinner Cruises

Enjoy a glass of wine on a luxurious catamaran as you drift across the clear ocean waters, and then sit down to a meal of fresh seafood and local produce that should have your mouth instantly watering, all while taking in the breathtaking sunset. Dinner cruises are the perfect romantic Cairns activity.

Jet Boat Ride

Get ready for the thrill of a lifetime as you take a jet boat ride out from Cairns and around Trinity Inlet. Hold on tight and ride with an experienced captain who will expertly spin and slide the boat along the water, and keep your eyes peeled for crocodiles and other exotic animals as your captain informs you about key points along the way.

How long does a boat tour in Cairns usually last?

There are many options available for boat tours in Cairns. For those looking for a quick adventure or simply a meal on the open water, there are packages available for as few as 3 hours, and some even include a helicopter ride. For those looking to extend their time on the water and take their time with their adventure, there are options that go for a full day and even multiple days in a row!

How much does a boat tour in Cairns cost?

Boat tours in Cairns come in all shapes and sizes, but expect to spend around AUD 200 on average for a full day trip to the Great Barrier Reef, AUD 100 for trips to the Green Island, and AUD 70 for a jet boat ride, while combos including a helicopter ride or several places to visit during the same day are the most expensive options.

When is the best time of year to take a boat tour in Cairns?

As luck would have it, the peak season for visiting Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef lasts for quite some time, from the beginning of June all the way to the end of October. Outside of these months, light rain is common and temperatures can be chilly, but if you can make it to Cairns during peak season, you’re in for clear skies and temperatures in the mid 60s to 80s.