Small Group Reef Tours | Cairns | Snorkelling & Diving | 2 Reef Sites

Tour Code: 88

Departing: Cairns

Free Guided Snorkel Tour
  • One of the most popular and highly personalised small group Great Barrier Reef tours from Cairns. With so many fantastic reef sites to choose from, the experienced skipper and crew will show you the best of the best on the day! 
  • On our small luxury reef trip from Cairns guests may snorkel and enjoy a FREE guided snorkel tour.  We visit 2 different reef sites every day.   
  • This vessel is not only eco-friendly but also does Vegan Fridays!  If you like to stay healthy on your holidays be sure to pick your travel day to suit your style.
  • You must book early to reserve you space on the best Cairns snorkelling and scuba diving tour.

Included In Price

  • Cruise on a fast & modern air conditioned catamaran
  • Two unique reef destinations
  • High quality snorkel & dive equipment
  • Free snorkelling tuition
  • Free floatation belts
  • Complimentary guided snorkel tour
  • Free guided  dives for certified divers
  • Morning tea which includes fresh brewed coffee and muffins
  • A chef prepared buffet of hot and cold dishes includes prawns & fresh tropical fruits
  • Afternoon cheese platter
  • On board marine naturalist presentation by our eco accredited guides
  • Recognised by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park as a ‘High Standard Operator’ having achieved the highest level of accreditation for environmentally friendly practices

Cairns most popular boat for snorkelling, diving and sailing. Visit two of the Outer Barrier Reef’s amazing sites on this award-winning day tour. A choice of 24 reefs to visit each day. Simply the best Great Barrier Reef tour in Cairns.

What to Expect

This is Cairns most popular small group Great Barrier Reef tour for snorkelling and diving tour for a good number of reasons. The yacht provides a luxurious and adventurous snorkelling and diving journey from Cairns with our award-winning Great Barrier Reef tour crew looking after you for the day. This spacious 25 meter sailing catamaran, designed for both comfort and speed, ensures that your travel to the Outer Great Barrier Reef is as enjoyable as your time in the water. Explore two pristine Outer Barrier Reef diving and snorkelling sites, specifically selected each day based on weather and sea conditions to provide the best underwater visibility and snorkelling experience possible.

Features and Highlights

  • Luxurious Catamaran: Depart on our Great Barrier Reef tour from Cairns and set sail in style on a 25-meter catamaran equipped with modern amenities, ensuring a swift and comfortable journey to begin your day snorkelling and scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef.
  • 2 Selected Reef Sites to Explore: Each day the boat captain will choose to visit two of the 24 exclusive reef moorings owned by our company based on the optimal weather and reef conditions and less crowded experience.
  • Marine Life Encounters: Expect to swim with turtles and see an array of sea creatures like batfish, giant trevally, and vibrant shoals of reef fish. Our sites are a haven for underwater photography and marine observation.
  • Educational Experience: Learn from our marine interpreter during guided snorkelling tours and enjoy presentations that enrich your understanding of the reef's ecosystem.
  • Gourmet Dining: Enjoy a tropical buffet lunch aboard, featuring fresh prawns, fruits, and a variety of hot and cold dishes, all prepared daily on board.

Snorkelling and Diving Adventures

  • Snorkelling for All Skill Levels: Whether you are a first-timer or an experienced snorkeller, you'll appreciate the comprehensive briefing and personalised guidance available. All necessary snorkelling equipment is provided on this Great Barrier Reef tour from Cairns..
  • Scuba Diving Opportunities: Dive into the deep with introductory scuba diving sessions for beginners or join a guided tour if you're a certified diver. Discover the underwater wonders of the Great Barrier Reef with our experienced dive instructors.
  • Family-Friendly Activities: The Great Barrier Reef tour is designed to cater to guests of all ages, with activities that keep everyone engaged, from young children to adventure-seeking adults.

Conservation Efforts

  • Sustainable Practices: We are committed to the Great Barrier Reef's preservation, employing eco-friendly practices like using biodegradable sunblock, participating in coral planting projects, and conducting marine life surveys.

This Great Barrier Reef tour from Cairns not only offers a gateway to one of the world's most spectacular marine environments but also provides a comfortable, educational, and memorable experience for all participants. Whether you're looking to dive among the coral, learn about marine conservation, or simply enjoy a day at sea, this tour promises an unmatched reef adventure.

Book early or miss the opportunity to enjoy one of the best sailing, diving and snorkelling tours in Cairns.

See all Great Barrier Reef tours in Cairns and Port Douglas.

Sailing in Cairns - Travel In Style

From Cairns you’ll travel to the Outer Barrier Reef in your purpose-built, spacious and luxurious 30 m (98ft) sailing catamaran. Built for comfort as well as speed, your yacht is licensed to carry 130 however the operator carries a maximum of 110 to give guests personal attention. Having an award-winning local operator and friendly crew enhances the special experience.

The yachts bow is the best vantage point to watch the world go by as well as a great place to see dolphins surfing the boat’s bow wave. The huge top deck area is an ideal  spot to relax on as you cruise to the Outer Reef. On the return trip the sails will be hoisted and you’ll travel at a respectable 12 to 14 knots or at a more relaxed pace, if less windy.

Lunch on The Great Barrier Reef

You are kept well sustained for your sailing journey. When you board, freshly brewed coffee and tea with muffins are served before departure. For lunch you’re treated to a tropical hot and cold buffet, prepared freshly on board, which includes prawns, meat, breads and cheeses as well as vegetarian salads, noodles, rice and fresh local fruit to suit all preferences. There’s also a fully stocked bar with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase throughout the day. On the return journey, platters are served by the crew with a variety of dips and cheeses for you to enjoy.

Naturalist Presentation

As you head out into this amazing eco environment and World Heritage site, an eco-approved marine naturalist will present an immersive talk on the marine and wildlife you’ll encounter on your trip.

Find out why Parrotfish are aptly named, the strange behaviour of Nemo (clown fish) and understand more about the small creatures that make up the corals of the Great Barrier Reef. Learning more about the life you are seeing will enable you to appreciate this diverse and amazing environment even more.  The presentation is given in a friendly and informative way that makes it ideal for children as well as the ‘oldies’

Snorkelling Tours From Cairns

For all people wishing to go snorkelling there is a full brief given beforehand. So if you are a first time snorkeller or just a bit rusty, you will have support and help from the friendly staff.  All your snorkelling equipment is included in the sailing  tour costs – fins, masks, (and prescription masks) snorkels and flotation devices (noodles and vests).  FREE guided snorkelling tours take place throughout the day.  Seeing this amazing underwater world through your mask is like discovering a whole new universe!  

Exclusive Snorkelling and Scuba Diving Reef Sites

Two unique outer reef locations will be visited on your tour visit. With a choice of 24 exclusive moorings and stunning underwater vistas, on the day the sites are chosen that are best suited to the weather. The exciting site choices include:

Paradise Reef

This reef certainly lives up to its name.  This pristine reef is the perfect place to snorkel or dive on and is indeed a little piece of paradise.  Paradise Reef is a hard coral reef that features ribbons of smaller reefs. You may also meet a real VIP celebrity – Wally the resident Maori Wrasse.

Long Bommie

This dive site features aptly a long bommie. A ‘bommie’ is an Indigenous word for mountain, so this dive site has a wonderful feature of having a large coral outcrop that runs the length of the site. Along the length of the bommie you will see glimmering shoals of reef fish and an array of colourful marine life and hard and soft corals. 

Split Bommie

Split Bommie is located on Hastings Reef. A bommie is an Aboriginal word for mountain and it is this large coral mountain (with a split through it) that dominates this site. You can snorkel and dive around this feature that harbours an array of marine life. 

This snorkel and dive site on the Hastings Reef hosts a wide range of small critters and an array of marine life. Protected from strong winds, a shallow lagoon offers great diving and snorkelling. Divers can be dropped at the “Twins”, two bommies that rise from 20 metres.

Pretty Patches
This whole dive site is pretty! The tightly grouped bommies make for great diving in up to 18 metres. As you snorkel and dive, you’ll see a high concentration of giant clams and an array of intricately shaped hard and soft corals with stunning marine life. This operator is one of only two companies with a permit to access this reef.

Breaking Patches
Exclusive to the operator, this site offers great fish spotting, including Coral Trout and Red Emperor. A shallow Reef is ideal for snorkellers with a good wall to 18 metres for divers.

Little Tracey
Shallow walls and crevices delight snorkellers and divers at this site on Flynn Reef. Coral and small colourful reef are highlighted by the water clarity.

Point Break
Also at Flynn Reef, this site showcases many small bommies with profuse coral and fish life and offers clear calm waters when the northerlies set in.

Stepping Stones
Many coral bommies that “step” out from the boat make for great diving, especially in strong winds which means diverse coral and fish life can be observed in safe conditions. Also snorkellers can access the brilliant shallow reefs that make Hastings Reef one of Cairns’ most popular.

Being the closest reef to Cairns makes Upolu Reef very popular and especially the  Extasea mooring which is in a shallow sandy lagoon fringed by coral and home to many varieties of soft coral. Behind the boat, the reef drops down to 18 metres.

Alan’s Wall
One of Cairns’ best sites, Alan’s wall at Norman Reef offers an amazing deep water dive with swim-throughs alongside an 18 metre drop. Snorkelling along the wall edge in clear water  is enjoyable as is observing myriad fish life including sharks and Maori Wrasse.

Shark Mountain
On Norman Reef, here at Shark Mountain you will probably see a shark and also the ‘mountain’ – a huge bommie that is a great dive to 20 metres plus. Scuba divers will also be interested in the small shipwreck while snorkellers are always happy with the many fish and coral that makes this site one of Cairns best.


Extra Onboard Optional Activities

Introductory Scuba Dive
Get up close and personal to all the amazing fish life on the Great Barrier Reef; this is a great opportunity.  The conditions on the Great Barrier Reef are perfect for beginners. Glass visibility, warm water and minimal currents make for easy and relaxing diving. You’ll have a highly experienced instructor and all the quality equipment is regularly serviced. A full briefing will be given and you will be in a small group of 2-8 people. This underwater adventure will have you jowl to jowl with turtles, coral trout, Nemo (clown fish), barramundi and fish of all sizes and colours.  

Certified Scuba Dive
If you’re a certified diver, diving the Great Barrier Reef is what divers’ dreams are made of! The dive tour includes the cost of your equipment such as wetsuits and dive computers, so you don’t have to pack anything!  All the equipment is serviced regularly and of top quality, so you can feel comfortable and safe on your dive.

There is a wonderful array of dives that can be experienced on this tour, from drift dives, to wall dives to swim throughs. You’ll be taken to the best dive sites of the day, chosen to take consideration of the day’s weather conditions.  Divers can enjoy up to two scuba dives at the exclusive sites.  Ensure to pre-book to avoid disapointment.

Read our safety tips on Scuba Diving  

Your Day Sailing On The Great Barrier Reef from Cairns

07:00 Check-in at Passions of Paradise desk, Reef Fleet Terminal
08:00 Depart Cairns Marlin Marina for first location
08:30 SCUBA Diving briefings for Introductory and Certified Divers
09:30 Snorkelling lesson for new and returning Snorkelers
10:00 Arrival at first location (to chosen on the day)
12:00 Lunch - chef prepared on board
12:45 Transit to second location for second round of water activities
14:30 Departure to return to Cairns
17:00 Arrival back to Cairns Marlin Marina

Upgrade Your Sailing Tour - Be A Marine Biologist For The Day

Embark on an exceptional and captivating experience by participating in our innovative conservation and education programs. This opportunity allows you to immerse yourself in a day of hands-on scientific activities, contributing valuable data for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Engage in real-world science and play a vital role in monitoring our sites, making a meaningful impact on the preservation of this natural wonder.

This is private touring option on board Passions of Paradise regular day trip for individual travelers joining a small group of 6 other participants.

A family of two adults and two children age 4 to 14 get a private guide for the day - with no other participant.

•Meet & Greet with your personalized Master Reef Guide at check in
•Reserved seating for the day
•Morning and afternoon tea
•Visit to two Outer Great Barrier Reef locations.
•Personalized training in marine conservation
•All research materials & data collection tools
•Fully supervised in-water activity at both locations assisting our team in data collection
•Chef prepared lunch (allergies catered for on request)
•Winter wetsuits or sunsuits in summer months
•Prescription masks
•Afternoon debrief and data entry on the way home with your host

Immerse yourself in an entire day of exploration led by a knowledgeable expert, actively contributing to the continuous preservation efforts of this renowned natural marvel. This experience goes beyond mere observation – it invites you to actively shape the Reef's sustainable future with Passions of Paradise.

Tailored for small groups and independent travelers, this exclusive opportunity is limited to a maximum of 8 participants and requires advance reservation. Please note that due to the occasionally technical nature of this program, it is best suited for experienced and confident snorkelers. Children are welcome to participate when accompanied by their participating parents or guardians.

See all Great Barrier Reef tours from Cairns and read all about the best things to do and see in carins on our Blog. 


Tour Languages Offered
  • English
Departs From


Departure Time
  • Check in: 7:00am at the Passions of Paradise counter located at the Reef Fleet Terminal
  • Check in closes at 7:50am
  • Boat departs at 8:00am
  • Boat returns at 5:00pm (approx)
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Two different reef sites chosen by the Skipper on the day
Months of Operation

January - December

Days of Operation


Does not operate 25/12 and 01/01


9 hours (approx)

Available for Purchase / Hire
  • Additional dives can be booked onboard (subject to availability) however we highly recommend pre booking your first dive as it will sell out.
  • 2nd intro dive: $60
  • 2nd cert dive $55
Fitness Level Required

Low, Medium


Scuba Diving Restrictions

  • Certain medical conditions and medications may preclude some people from scuba diving.
  • Participation is subject to a medical questionnaire completed on board with the tour operator
  • Minimum age for scuba diving is 12 years.
  • Flying after scuba diving: a wait of 12 hours is recommended after one dive, 18 hour after 2 dives and at least 24 hours after multiple dives, before ascending to an altitude of 300 metres or greater.

Advanced Dive Medical Intro Dive Medical

Read more about Diving Safety on the Great Barrier Reef.

Additional Information
  • All diving is subject to the completion of Queensland medical questionnaire. Certain medical conditions and prescription medication may preclude passengers from scuba diving in Queensland. Examples include but are not limited to; diagnosed asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, heart problems, lung problems, ear problems, high or low blood pressure, current cold, cough, flu, chest infection, chronic sinus conditions, fainting or seizures, any non-over the counter medications including those for the treatment of anxiety and depression.
  • Additional dives can be booked on board on day of travel
Eco Certifications
Advanced Ecotourism Certified
Eco Climate Action Leader
Eco Green Travel Leader

Hat & Sunscreen, Swim suit, Sunglasses, Towel and Cash or Credit Card for onboard purchases

Customer Reviews

Average Rating


Reviewed on February 18, 2018

Really good day, but this was too long to go to the Reef and to come back to Cairns. Good staff, good information given about the day, etc Not enough to eat for everyone...

Response From Barrier Reef Australia

Thanks for your response Laura. The Tour Specialists are always happy to help with the best reef bookings to suit and that Free Dive offer was certainly great value. The Outer Reef is a lot further from Cairns than people realise and it can sometimes catch our guests by surprise. We are pleased you enjoyed your day.

Charles K

Reviewed on November 23, 2017

The Passions of Paradise reef tour was a fantastic adventure. The catamaran was almost new, with lots of room. The crew could not have been more friendly and accommodating. The lunch was first rate fare. All in all a great way to experience the Great Barrier Reef.

Response From Barrier Reef Australia

Thank you Charles! We are glad you enjoyed your day out with us and can't wait to get you back on the Great Barrier Reef soon!

Nick P

Reviewed on September 30, 2017

Amazing tour, the best boat, friendly crew!

Response From Barrier Reef Australia

Wow Nick! It is always great to hear to hear we exceed expectations and hopefully provided a little bit of reef education on your Amazing tour too! We look forward to having you back on the best boat in Cairns & the Great Barrier reef soon.

Ashlea V

Reviewed on May 18, 2017

Taken to two beautiful reefs with wonderful staff

Response From Barrier Reef Australia

Thanks for your feedback Ashlea. The Tour Specialists are pleased you enjoyed your time on the Great Barrier Reef with this fantastic small group reef tour.

Olivia W

Reviewed on September 18, 2016

The crew keep us informed during the whole journey to the reef and it was nice and relax, worth the amount of money spent on the day trip. The dives were amazing, if you took the second dive you didn't have the opportunity to see the island which was unfortunate.

Response From Barrier Reef Australia

Thanks for your feedback Olivia. We are pleased you enjoyed your day on the Great Barrier Reef and took the opportunity to enjoy an Introductory Scuba Dive. This small group tour is ideal for first time divers. Hopefully we will see you back again soon to spend some more time exploring the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and more.


Reviewed on June 05, 2016

Fantastic! Had a beautiful calm day snorkelling on both Paradise Reef and Michaelmas Cay. The variety and colours of the many fish species was amazing. Ended up being quite an expensive day out with all the extra add-on expenses (bus transfers, ECM, underwater camera hire, stinger suit) but it's not something you do every day.

Response From Barrier Reef Australia

Wow Ann, we are thrilled you enjoyed your Great Barrier Reef cruise and had great weather too! Michaelmas Cay & Paradise Reef do offer a great variety of hard & soft corals and the amazing marine life is easily visible via the Glass Bottom Boat tours offered. I does get a little expensive with the additional activities but they do enhance your overall experience

  • Child price applies to children 4 to 14
  • Infants 3 and under travel free
  • Family Price: 2 adults and 2 children
  • Minimum age to dive is 12

All cancellations must be in writing.

We understand things may change, so we have made cancellations very easy.

In every instance we always recommend you purchase travel insurance for life’s last-minute hiccups.

Please see our terms and conditions for details prior to booking.

Operators policy:

  • If cancellation occurs more than 24 hours prior to travel a full refund will be provided.
  • If cancellation occurs less than 24 hours prior to travel no refund will be provided.


  • Passions of Paradise offers an exclusively in-water experience. A basic level of fitness and comfort in the water is required to participate in snorkelling.
  • All passengers must complete a medical questionnaire on board prior to participating in water activities in accordance with Queensland Health and Safety Regulations.
  • Passions of Paradise reserves the right to cancel the day tour due to poor weather conditions, mechanical problems, or use another vessel, or travel to different reef sites. We offer a two-destination itinerary, however at times the weather may make one of these destinations unsafe or impractical to visit on those days, we may only visit one location. In poor weather it is the Skippers discretion to decide which locations to visit; keeping passenger safety, the safety of the vessel, and passenger comfort in mind. There are no refunds issued for an itinerary change. We will endeavour to sail as much as we can each day, however wind speed and direction determine if or how long this occurs. The Skipper will inform everyone of our sailing plans each day. Should the trip be cancelled due to poor weather or mechanical breakdown, we will refund 100%.

Small Group Reef Tours | Cairns | Snorkelling & Diving | 2 Reef Sites

Tour Code: 88

Departing: Cairns

Free Guided Snorkel Tour



Prices are AUD, per adult and include all levies fees and taxes.

Child: au$160.00
Family: au$740.00

Tour Code: 88



15 yrs & over

4 - 14 yrs

0 - 3 yrs

Ages of Children
(Discounts May Apply)
1300 231 118
+61 427 074 745
1300 231 118
+61 427 074 745

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