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Boat trips to Barrier Reef

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Northampton
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Boat trips to Barrier Reef

We plan to be in Cairns for a few days next year as part of our latest Australia trip. Does anyone have any info about boat tours to the great barrier reef from Cairns? As we aren't the greatest fans of boats, we wanted to know how long the trips are, what are sea conditions like etc. Of course we plan to snorkel, what are the conditions for that like. We ahve read that helicopter trips are available as an alternative, maybe they are a bit too expensive. Thanks for any help

PS any hotel recommendations?

Hobart, Tasmania
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1. Re: Boat trips to Barrier Reef

We were in the same boat (excuse the pun!) as you last year when we first visited the area.

WE found a trip with GreatAdventures that was perfect for us.

it was an outer reef/Green Island combined day trip.

Check out greatadventures.com.au/tours/green-island-gr…

Departing at about 9am, we had a 30-40 minute quick, calm cruise across to Green Island, where we had about 2 hours to spend. at the island there is a resort, so it was busy, but there were plenty of sun lounges, glass bottom boat, underwater viewing observatory and plenty of water sports and snorkelling also.

at about 1100 we boarded the boat for about an hours cruise to a fixed pontoon on the outer reef. here there was a semi submersible submarine, underwater viewing, scuba-doo (little ride on bikes that dive underwater!) and snorkelling.

The snorkelling was absolutely fantastic, and the staff very helpful. we found the combination of the island and the fixed pontoon perfect, as it meant we saw a diverse range of things in the day, without being on the boat for too long.

They also offer helicopter transfers, or short tours from a platform on the reef, but not sure of price for these.

if you tend to suffer from seasickness, they supply ginger tablets, and my best recommendation is sit outside, at the REAR of the boat.

this allows fresh air, plus the rear of the boat doesnt move around as much as further forwards does.

Good luck, and enjoy your trip!

Northampton
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2. Re: Boat trips to Barrier Reef

Thanks for your reply, we appreciate it. If the conditions are fairly calm (can't guarantee!) we would be OK I think. We really want to snorkel etc at the reef, so the only issue is getting there. Flying is an option but quite a bit more expensive it seems.

Thanks again

Hobart, Tasmania
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3. Re: Boat trips to Barrier Reef

The best option for the weather is to wait until you arrive before you book. the Tour Operators will have a good idea of the weather for the next few days, and will be able to advise you on the best day to travel, so long as you are reasonably flexible with your itinerary.

Northampton
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4. Re: Boat trips to Barrier Reef

At the moment we plan to be in Cairns for 4 days so maybe thats the best option, thanks again for your advise.

Astoria, New York
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5. Re: Boat trips to Barrier Reef

We just got back a few weeks ago and did a tour with Passions of Paradise. They are highly recommended by a lot of people that you will talk to there and have won many awards. We had a great time with them. They take smaller groups out so it's a little more personal. Plus, they first take you to a sand cay (michaelmas cay) where you can ease into snorkelling before journeying off to the reef in the middle of the ocean. As far as getting seasick, I am very prone to it and wasn't bothered at all. You need to check the weather conditions before you book a tour. Most places have them listed three days in advance.

Have a great time!

Hobart
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6. Re: Boat trips to Barrier Reef

My visit to Cairns was a couple of years ago, but I went out with two operators

The better of the two was the Green Island sailing:

http://www.oceanfree.com.au/oceanfree.html

nice and small and "low key" so it had a friendly feeling.

Also the scuba part seemed better with the instructor/student ratio at 2 students : 1 instructor - much better than the 6:1 of the previous day with the other service.

I get seasick and was ill on a catamaran. The sailboat was nice and you get a feel for what direction the boat is going and i fared better.

Northampton
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7. Re: Boat trips to Barrier Reef

Thanks Altermood and Natt. I think we will do it anyway, what's a bit of vomit between friends!! we'll probably book it on the day, if we book it before we leave England we have more time to think about it. We also plan to be in Sydney later this same trip, and we will most likely book to do the bridge climb. Are we sacred of heights as well as maybe seasickness---maybe I am more uncomfortable than my wife but I think if we book it before we get there then I'll do it and worry later!!

Hobart
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8. Re: Boat trips to Barrier Reef

Thats the spirit - a sense of adventure never killed anyone.

Well actually it does - but you sound like you can make a judgement about whats fatal and what just stretches the "comfort zone" :)

But in all seriousness I really do suffer for terrible seasickness. But put me in a kayak/yacht or small boat and its all good. I think it has something to do with your brain knowing where its going like a car.

The bigger the boat and the worse it gets - unless its huge where the waves are simply an annoyance rather than a factor.

Its odd I am a strong swimmer but the first tour I mentioned was so off putting I could hardly swim. The second (all of one day later) I was 4 hours in the water without even touching the side of the boat.

Anyway I am sure you will have a ball of a time - the reef is amazing

But pack your sunscreen its so easy to loose track - and the water is amazing for the reflections!

Northampton
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9. Re: Boat trips to Barrier Reef

All fear gone and I'm still sitting here in England in the COLD! not even there yet

Thanks again

10. Re: Boat trips to Barrier Reef

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