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Scuba diving tours in Cairns

Cairns, Australia is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations for a lot of reasons. For one thing, its tropical temperatures make the nearby Daintree Rainforest all the more enticing. On top of that, Cairns is also home to the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef and one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

The Great Barrier Reef is an ideal location for a scuba diving adventure! Whether you’re looking for a relaxing cruise package or an exhilarating swim with indigenous reef sharks, Cairns is the tropical paradise you need to consider for your next vacation.

What will I be able to see while scuba diving in Cairns?

Explore the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is huge, and most of the scuba diving and snorkeling packages in Cairns feature stops at two different locations within it, at the very least. Due to local weather conditions and other factors, the spots on any given itinerary are subject to change, but whether you end up at Norman Reef or Stanley Reef, you’re guaranteed to have the experience of a lifetime!

Get close up to marine life

The tropical temperatures and untouched natural splendor of the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns make it the perfect breeding ground for exotic underwater plant and animal life. As you swim through the reef, spot creatures like hard and soft corals, reef fish, giant clams and turtles - but watch out for sting rays!


In case regular old marine life isn’t exotic enough for you, in Cairns you have the opportunity to get up close and personal with indigenous reef sharks at the Cairns Aquarium Reef Tank. Get a quick medical check, and then it’s into their underwater world to check out reef sharks, large stingrays, and other majestic sea creatures in a controlled environment that couldn’t be safer.

Do I need to have experience scuba diving?

No experience required! Cairns, and specifically the Great Barrier Reef, is one of the world’s premiere spots for scuba diving and snorkeling. So of course, there are options available for all levels of experience!

If you do happen to be a beginner, there are courses available that range anywhere from introductory to comprehensive. The experts on hand have decades of experience and are fluent in multiple languages to make sure that everyone gets the hands-on expertise they need to guide their once-in-a-lifetime snorkeling scuba diving adventure!

What types of scuba diving packages are available in Cairns?

Scuba diving and snorkeling luxury cruises

Where there’s scuba diving, there’s snorkeling! The two go hand in hand, and every luxury scuba diving cruise offers snorkeling in addition to scuba diving for all experience levels! The cruises also offer guided tours, presentations from local experts including certified marine biologists, catered meals, and stops at two exotic scuba diving and snorkeling locations along the Great Barrier Reef.

Snorkel and diving tour with indigenous sky rangers

Get an indigenous perspective on the Great Barrier Reef with this unique tour experience that promises to tell the reef’s ten thousand year old creation story. The tour package includes all the necessary equipment, morning tea and buffet lunch, a marine biology presentation, and a visit to two premium Great Barrier Reef diving sites, with diving instruction on hand if needed.

Dive with sharks at the Cairns Aquarium Reef Tank

Whether you’re an experienced diver or a first timer, the Cairns Aquarium Reef Tank is the ideal stop for adrenaline junkies seeking a thrill. The team of experts will perform a medical check, make sure the included diving equipment fits just right, and then guide you through their underwater world where you’ll come up close and personal with reef sharks and large stingrays - among other animals!

How much will a scuba diving package in Cairns cost?

For a full day experience scuba diving in Cairns, expect to spend about 200 AUD. That price includes a comfortable and quick catamaran cruise to your scuba diving locations on the Great Barrier Reef, morning tea and coffee, a catered lunch, snacks, introductions from trained experts to both snorkeling and scuba diving, presentations from experts including marine biologists, and all the necessary rental fees and safety equipment.

How long can I expect a scuba diving in Cairns trip to last?

For a full, rich experience scuba diving and snorkeling on a luxury cruise in Cairns, expect to spend a full day out on the water. That time includes morning tea, guided tours, scuba diving instruction, stops at a minimum of two dive locations along the Great Barrier Reef, and a catered lunch. The other tour package as well as the dive with sharks package will last around three hours.

When is the best time to go scuba diving in Cairns?

The best time to go scuba diving in Cairns is anywhere between June and October, which is actually Winter in Australia. This is peak tourist season for good reason; temperatures tend to stay steady between the low 60s and mid 80s (so not too hot but definitely not freezing) and it doesn’t rain nearly as much as it does during the rest of the year.

The waters are clear which makes this the perfect time to take in the beautiful sights in the Great Barrier Reef, plus you’ll be avoiding what the locals call “stinger season,” which means you won’t have to worry about avoiding jellyfish!

Travel Tips

For the most part, scuba diving and snorkeling in Cairns is an easy-going and carefree experience. But like anything else, there are a few small things you should keep in mind!

  • The minimum age for scuba diving in Australia is 12 years old
  • Scuba diving is generally not wheelchair accessible
  • Don’t forget to bring a passport or some other easily recognizable form of identification
  • Don’t forget to bring a hat, a towel, sunscreen, and sunglasses!
  • In case you need to cancel, make sure you do so at least 24 hours before your scuba package is scheduled to begin.