Day Trips

The Great Barrier Reef is an ideal location for trips to the reef. Some of the most exotic and rare diving and snorkelling in the world are a short distance from the city of Cairns, courtesy of dozens of reef tour companies. This exotic playground twice the size of Tasmania is waiting to be explored.

A day trip to the Great Barrier Reef is a holiday you won’t forget. Beautiful reefs, exotic fish, clear warm water and the hot sun combine to make a glorious experience. Whether you are interested in deep-sea diving among giant wrasse, or paddling in shallow water surrounded by tiny fish on the edge of a sandy cay, the Great Barrier Reef is a place you must visit.

Day trips offer a great choice for the diver or snorkeller who is short on time. A lot of day trips visit the magical inner Great Barrier Reef, heading off to places like Green Island, Michaelmas Cay, Fitzroy Island, and reefs in close proximity to these places.

Some tie up to a mooring (permanent place marked by marine parks so that anchors are not used) and some vessels commute to huge pontoons/platforms permanently placed on the outer edge of the reef, and offer a huge variety of options to view the reef, especially good for the non-water person.

The average day trip departs the marina at approx 8.00am, returning at approx 5.00pm. They can include morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.  Some operators include basic equipment and some include the whole kit.

Diving can be enjoyed by everyone in a day trip whether you’re a certified diver or a new visitor to the underwater world. Extras can be purchased such as Introductory Dives, Snorkeling Tours, Semi-submersible rides and Glass-bottom boat rides. However, a lot of Day trips cater for those who wish to do a combined snorkel/dive package.

Recommended 'Day Trip' Operators

In Alphabetical Order

ABC Dive & Snorkel Port Douglas

12 passengers only! ABC offers a real alternative to mass-market tourism. Truly unique scuba diving & snorkelling, on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef.  Premium Guided Scuba Diving. Fun Family days and Small Private Charters. Enjoy the outer Great Barrier Reef with just a handful of people. No need to compare there is nothing to compare us with! Our Reef Experiences are unique! Abc Scuba Diving Port Douglas.


Adrenalin Dive

Adrenalin Snorkel & Dive, operating since 1987 is Townsville’s premier dive operation. Offering liveaboard trips, day trips and PADI dive courses to the Great Barrier Reefs and the mighty SS Yongala Wreck, Australia’s BEST Dive.  Adrenalin Snorkel & Dive, operating since 1987 is Townsville’s premier dive operation. Offering liveaboard trips, day trips and PADI dive courses to the Great Barrier Reefs and the mighty SS Yongala Wreck, Australia’s BEST Dive.


Brisbane Dive Academy

Brisbane Dive Academy is a family-owned and operated PADI Career Development Centre with a reputation that is quickly becoming second to none. We are the only PADI Career Development Centre between Townsville and Sydney to be able to offer the full range of diver training from a Discover scuba in the pool all the way through to IDC Staff Instructor courses and Tec through to Trimix.  Our team of instructors is led by Owner and PADI Course Director Mick Wheatley, with a team of IDC Staff Instructors, Master Scuba Diver Trainers and Open water scuba instructors we are leading the way for diver education in Queensland.


Cairns Dive Centre

Cairns Dive Centre has been operating in Cairns and Fitzroy Island for over 30 years.  CDC offers day trips and liveaboard trips for the snorkeler and diver. CDC also offers learn-to-dive courses from Open Water to Dive Master. We are a PADI training centre.  On Fitzroy Island, we have a Dive Centre.  You can snorkel, try an introductory dive, certified diving, hire a coral viewing sea kayak, or take a day or night glass bottom boat tour. For people staying on the island for extended trips, they can take a trip on Sunkist to the outer Great Barrier reef or even learn to dive.


Cruise Whitsundays

Cruise Whitsundays is an exciting and innovative day cruise operator in the Whitsundays region, Queensland – Australia.  Run by an experienced tourism team, Cruise Whitsundays provides an exciting selection of day cruise experiences or activities and resort connection services.


Coral Sea Dreaming


Divers Den

Divers Den has been proudly operating for over 40 years, we are not only one of the largest but also the longest established Great Barrier Reef operator in Cairns. In 2017 we have expanded into Port Douglas with our newest vessel AquaQuest and a brand new retail store. Whether you’re a first-time snorkeller or an experienced SCUBA diver your safety and enjoyment is our priority.


Gold Coast Dive Adventures

Gold Coast Dive Adventures offers regular offshore boat dives (outside the Broadwater). Powered by The Scuba Coach, we are your top rated local dive operator for all diving needs.  Explore the wrecks and reefs which make the Gold Coast one of the best and most diversified underwater playgrounds in the world. Joining our trips is easy. You can book online and add any required hire equipment on the check-out page including optional hotel transfer.  We operate a custom built 6m dive boat, equipped with a powerful engine, tank rack, ladder, shade canopy and all legally required safety equipment. We limit maximum numbers to ensure your boat dive is comfortable with plenty of room to gear up and to relax in between dives. On all our double dives, we provide snacks, fresh fruit slices and hot soup in between dives. We also offer courtesy spray jackets during the winter months.


Hervey Bay Dive Centre

Hervey Bay Dive Centre provides local Wreck Dives including the Ex-HMAS Tobruk and bespoke Swim with Whale tours departing from sunny Hervey Bay.  Hervey Bay Dive Centre provides Swim with whale and dive tours departing from sunny Hervey Bay.


Ocean Free/Ocean Freedom

Ocean Free and Ocean Freedom – “Ocean Free sail to Green Island + the Great Barrier Reef” and “Ocean Freedom cruise to Upolu Cay & Outer Edge Upolu Reef” are operated by the “Cairns Premier Reef & Island Tours” team ! First class service with that friendly Ozzie touch! A choice of a luxury high speed 20M CAT – “Ocean Freedom” to 2 stunning locations – Upolu Cay and “Wonder Wall” on the outer edge of Upolu Reef or a beautiful 16M sailing vessel “Ocean Free” to the famous Green Island + Reef. Two extremely personal tours carrying low passenger numbers offering more of a day out with “family and friends” than a “commercial tour”.Ocean Free& Ocean Freedom also work with the Australian Reef and Rainforest foundation to help protect 2 of the natural wonders of the world.


Passions of Paradise III

Experience the Great Barrier Reef aboard Passions of Paradise the current Australian Tourism Award winner for Adventure Tourism!  Sailing daily, let our friendly, dedicated staff introduce you to another world teeming with exotic fish life, coral gardens, and spectacular views. Specialising in introductory and certified diving, our guests participate in the eco-friendly exploration of the world’s most amazing ecosystem. Certified divers navigate the best sites from our specially designed dive tender, while introductory divers and snorkelers see the reef in calm, shallow waters.  Passions of Paradise own over 24 permits to visit every reef destination from Cairns. each day our itinerary is tailored to suits the day’s conditions guaranteeing the best possible reef experience! Some of our reef locations include Flynn and Miln (visiting The Whale, Three Sisters), Norman (the Edge, Shark Mountain), Hastings (Stepping stones, 1770) plus more! 


Tusa Dive are local day dive operators based in Cairns. We have more than 30 years of experience, and access to 16 unique reef locations. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world, composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for 2,600 km (1,600 mi) along the coast of Queensland, in Australia’s Coral Sea. Labelled as one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, and a World Heritage listed region, visitors come from the all over the planet to visit this incredible icon… Our Great Barrier Reef. Experienced scuba divers and snorkellers alike can travel to the outer reefs in ultimate comfort on board Cairns’ newest and best reef day boat, the TUSA 6. Launched in August 2011, the 24m TUSA 6 was custom designed for Great Barrier Reef cruising, cairns diving and snorkelling, and each day visits two unique reef locations from Tusa’s choice of 16 spectacular dive and snorkel sites.


Yongala Dive

Come and get wrecked… out of Ayr! S.S.Yongala Wreck – we have the fastest trip to the wreck and run every day! Departing 7.30am – Returning 2pm – BBQ til 3pmSpecialise in offering certified divers day trips to the S.S Yongala. We also offer a full range of dive courses from Open water to Divemaster and including Nitrox and Gas Blending courses. We have onsite accommodation available in a in a lovely old Queenslander for our dive guests.  Yongala Dive is a PADI 5 Star Dive Resort and the only dive centre based in Ayr. Although only established in 2003 we were proud to earn a Tourism Development Award in 2006 and a Judges Enouragement award in the North Queensland Tourism Awards in 2009 and have gained a reputation for providing a professional service while still offering passengers a ‘laid-back’ day. With an on-site Diver’s Lodge what better way to experience the S.S.Yongala Wreck. 


If Day Trips is not your preferred option, Try Live-Aboards