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Cairns

Outdoor activities

Our most recommended Cairns Outdoor Activities

From Cairns: Fitzroy Island Return Catamaran Transfer

1. From Cairns: Fitzroy Island Return Catamaran Transfer

Depart from Cairns Marina and visit Fitzroy Island, a national park covered in lush tropical rainforest and boasting granite outcrops, open woodlands, mangroves, coral beaches. Walk to the lighthouse, dine at the restaurant, or relax at the famous Nudey Beach, voted the best beach in Australia. With up to 6 hours of free time, you will be able to explore the island through self-guided rainforest walks. Soak in the magic of the Great Barrier Reef by snorkeling, diving, and kayaking. At Fitzroy Island, you can snorkel the fringing reef only meters from the beach. You also have the option to bring a picnic lunch or purchase a casual lunch from the Fitzroy Island cafe. Extra activities include Foxy's Bar & Café, Pacific Island Store, snorkel hire, dive, and activities center - all available on the island at an extra cost.

From Cairns: Great Barrier Reef Cruise by Premium Catamaran

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

Hop 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 onboard. 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.

From Cairns: Fitzroy Island Full-Day Adventure Tour

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

Discover Fitzroy Island on a day tour from Cairns. Enjoy a scenic ferry ride and explore the many hiking trails. Admire the marine life native to the coral reef as you snorkel or observe from a glass-bottom boat. 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.

Cairns: Outer Great Barrier Reef Full-Day Tour with Lunch

4. Cairns: Outer Great Barrier Reef Full-Day Tour with Lunch

Tour the Outer Great Barrier Reef by boat with time to snorkel and explore this world-famous National Park. Complement your experience with a gourmet buffet lunch, glass of wine, and a light snack. Board your high-speed vessel, and visit some of the most beautiful spots in the Outer Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy a seamless experience with knowledgeable staff to ensure a safe and fun-filled tour. Stop at 2 spectacular Outer Great Barrier Reef destinations and snorkel with equipment and lessons provided. Feel free to jump in the water and explore this natural wonder up close. Later, sit down for a delicious barbecue lunch with salad before taking off for the second half of the tour.

Cairns: Outer and Coral Cay Snorkel and Dive Cruise

5. 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.

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.

From Cairns: Green Island Eco Adventure

7. 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 2 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.

Spirit of Cairns: Waterfront Dining Experience

8. Spirit of Cairns: Waterfront Dining Experience

A Cairns Dinner Cruise is the perfect way to end a perfect day in paradise.  Set sail aboard a newly refurbished 26-meter catamaran on the calm waters of Trinity Inlet, for an evening of dining, entertainment, and panoramic mountain and city views. The ultimate in waterfront dining, your cruise includes a delicious dinner with a focus on local and fresh produce, a complimentary beverage on arrival, and views of the Trinity Inlet. A selection of beverages and cocktails are also available for purchase from our fully licensed bar. Throughout the evening you will cruise the waterways of Cairns, exploring the beauty of the natural harbor, and sailing past the waterfront and restaurant precincts. Watch the day transcend into night, against a backdrop of rainforest-clad hills, as the twinkling night lights of the city appear. 

Kuranda: 1-Hour Rainforest ATV Tour

9. Kuranda: 1-Hour Rainforest ATV Tour

Explore a secluded estate atop the majestic Barron Falls on a personalized ATV tour with a friendly local tour guide. The estate, owned by a local family since 1969, is surrounded by a UNESCO World Heritage Rainforest and is home to the elusive cassowary and other Australian wildlife. You’ll feel secure and prepared after receiving a training session at the beginning of the tour. Confidently ride through the rainforest and take in the atmosphere of this vibrant flora. Follow the ancient timber logger tracks and discover unique trees. As you venture through the forest, your tour guide will share amazing facts and stories from the history of the pioneers. Get your blood pumping as you ride through the water of a permanent creek crossing. Bite into a piece of fresh fruit straight from the tree. The property houses a gorgeous orchard of 600+ trees. If you're lucky, you may be able to spot a cassowary. This blue-headed flightless bird is related to ostriches and emus and makes its home in these rain forests. Although it’s incredibly rare to see these elusive birds in the wild, several cassowaries make their home on the estate, and many visitors have had the chance to lay eyes on this rare and beautiful bird.

From Cairns: Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Diving Tour

10. From Cairns: Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Diving Tour

Explore the stunning biodiversity of the outer Great Barrier Reef on this diving and snorkeling tour from Cairns. Sail on s boat 3 sun decks, 2 air-conditioned indoor saloons, a spacious dive deck, and a sunken platform for easy water access. Have drinks and a packed lunch. Depart Cairns in the morning for the outer reef on this 8-hour tour. Whether you are a snorkeler, first-time SCUBA diver, or already certified diver, join a once in a lifetime adventure aboard a luxury day trip to the great barrier reef. Enjoy a light morning tea 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). Discover the Great Barrier Reef in the easiest way possible: with a snorkel - it is as simple as breathing. If you have never snorkeled before, don't worry, a briefing is held on board, explaining how to put and use the snorkeling gear. The private reef locations are approximately 70 kilometers (about 43 miles) offshore, these unique sites offer superb coral formations and an abundance of coral and marine life including inquisitive Nemos, Turtles, Stingrays and Wally the friendly Maori Wrasse. Visit 2 different reef locations daily, these are chosen en-route considering weather and sea conditions to ensure the best in-water experience. Visit either Normank, Saxon or Hastings Reef.

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Frequently asked questions about Cairns Outdoor Activities

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Other Sightseeing Options in Cairns

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What people are saying about Cairns

Great experience at the pontoon. Nice vessel, though very bumpy ride going there (almost scary). Rough waters during our visit, even the glass-bottom boat ride was very bumpy. No semi-submersible, which is a bit of a bummer. Good lunch, good gear, good thing that there are delegated “watchers” in case anyone gone too far, so we felt safe. We loved the snorkeling experience! And we regret not availing of the snorkeling tour with the marine biologist.. overall, I’m glad we booked this tour as it made our first Great Barrier Reef experience really great!

This is by far the most family friendly reef trip we have been on. Our grandson had dreamed of coming up here from Victoria for 3 years. His wish was fulfilled and more. Thank you to all the staff and captain for making a little boys dream come true.

Amazing reefs locations and the crew were super friendly and engaging. I would highly recommend

Amazing experience. Crew was very nice and helpful. Had a great day and saw amazing reef/fish.

It exceeded my expectations. The staff/crew were amazing, friendly and helpful.