First trip ever to Australia and me and Manhar were clear about one thing – We have to visit Great Barrier Reef. I mean how can you miss something that is a true wonder in every sense – something that is 2,300km long , deemed as largest living structure on planet Earth that is visible from the outer space , home to around 10 percent of the world’s total fish species and composed of coral dating back perhaps as much as twenty million years. Truly spectacular – isn’t it? So we knew we had to visit great barrier reef and so the next big question was – how. A guided tour was the obvious and most logical choice for us and after searching for hours on internet to find the perfect , most knowledgeable, safe, environment friendly , local expert tour company , we narrowed down to REEF MAGIC CRUISES. N I am glad to report our choice was right and our experience was unforgettable. All thanks to wonderful and experienced staff of Reef Magic Cruise. So here is a list of few questions I have tried to answer that will definitely help you in planning your visit to Great Barrier Reef.
What is the starting point of the day trip to Reef?
If you really want to visit the Great Barrier Reef , Cairns and Port Douglas are two cities where you can base yourself. We based ourselves in Cairns and visited Reef from there. We did take a day trip to Port Douglas to enjoy the beaches and Daintree Rainforest. If you end up booking your day trip with Reef Magic Cruises , they depart from Cairns.
Which tour company to book and when to book ?
It goes without saying that if you are coming to this far , book your trip in advance. Each ship can only hold a finite number of visitors and in high season they do sell out. So I will highly suggest not to wing it , book it in advance. I will highly recommend Reef Magic Cruises and you can book your trip here . This company has best price and trust me it is total value for money.
How much does the tour cost?
The base ticket price for this day trip with Reef Magic Cruises is AUD 239. This includes:
1) Transportation to the Reef in high speed Catamaran.
2) 5 HOURS to explore the Outer Great Barrier Reef
3) Marine biologist presentation en route to the reef
4) All snorkelling equipment with instructions for beginners
5) Semi Submersible AND Glass Bottom Boat tours
6) Underwater Reef Viewing Observatory
7) Fish Feeding and identification session with the Marine Biologist
8) Morning and afternoon tea plus delicious chef prepared buffet lunch
On top of this you have the choice of optional activities to indulge in at extra cost. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES at EXTRA COST are:
1) Guided Snorkel Tours – AUD 39
2) Introductory & Certified Diving – AUD 129
3) Snuba – AUD 129
4) Helmet Diving – AUD 129
5) Scenic Helicopter Flights – AUD 189
Note : For more information on availability and prices , click here .
What will you need to take with you to the Reef?
If you are taking this tour with Reef magic cruise, you will get almost everything on boat from snorkel gear to food to drinks to even ice creams. For additional activities like diving , you will get the entire gear on board. The boat even has fresh water showers. We took the tour in the month of August , which is kind of shoulder winter month, so the water was a bit chilly. The cruise company had neoprene wet-suits of all sizes for all the passengers so that everyone could enjoy in cold water without feeling cold. In addition to these things , you might want to bring :
1) Comfortable sandals.
2) Comfortable clothing with an extra set of clothes for safety in case your clothes get wet.
3) Hat to enjoy the sundeck on cruise boat.
4) Camera specially go -pro.
8) Bottled water
9) N most importantly Dramamine…In case you forget , you will get it on the boat too. I personally found the water too choppy and fell too sick. Dramamine was indeed the life saver.
Is Lunch provided on Reef?
This was such a pleasant surprise for us. Being vegetarians it was even more pleasant that they had vegetarian options in the lunch buffet. Salads, pasta, noodles and tropical fruits , after a morning in the water – the food was all we needed. In addition to lunch , the cruise company also provided cookies, tea and coffee. One gets incredibly hungry after snorkelling and the crew made sure that we were well fed.
What will the day trip look like?
TO visit the reef with Reef Magic Cruise , you will be going to Marine world which is a newly established Outer Reef platform located on the Eastern end of Moore Reef. Marine World is a two-story pontoon with a spacious lower deck with ample undercover seating in case you are not a sun loving kinda person, an upper sundeck with sun lounges, underwater observatory, children’s safety swimming enclosure and easy access to the water for snorkelers and divers.
Note : Pantoon was a huge reason why we chose Reef Magic Cruise because it is stable and calm, even in rough weather. You will always feel safe.
From Cairns your day will start at about 8 am which is check-in time at the Reef Fleet Terminal. In case you have not made an advance booking , this is the time to get to the terminal and try your luck for the same day tour. After check-in , head to the Catamaram – you will have around 20 – 30 mins to explore Marlin Marina. The Tour will depart at 9 am. So be there on Catamaran before that time.
It will take about 90 mins from Cairns to reach the Moore Reef. On your way , the Marine Biologists of the crew will promptly try to spot whales and other sea animals in the sea ,so pay attention to the announcements. The crew will also take this time to explain the amazing range of activities available at the Marine World pontoon, including snorkelling, the underwater observatory, glass bottom boat tours and semi-submersible tours, which are all included in the ticket price.If you have opted for additional activities like Scuba and Snuba , the staff will go over the instructions , your groups and the time of your group. You are expected to be with your group at the right time at the time of your activity.
Once you reach the Marine world , head to the lower deck to grab your snorkel gear , wet suit and fins. You can enjoy snorkeling for as long as you want. If you have opted for additional activity like introductory Diving or Snuba diving head to the diving spot at your time slot. The experienced crew of Reef Magic Cruise will take care of you.
I opted for Snuba and Manhar opted for Scuba and we both were really happy with the choice of our optional activities. Looking at reef up so close is so heavenly and every now and then , Wally ( the most loving fish everrrr) , passes by you , literally giving you a smile as if saying “Welcome to my world.”
Note : There are health risks involved with diving and flying in the same day. Plan accordingly.
Around 4 , 4:30 the cruise will make its way back to Cairns. You will get the option to buy the photos the crew might have clicked of you in water or while boarding the cruise. You will reach back Cairns by 5:30 – 6 pm.
The Great Barrier Reef is a treasure trove of once-in-a-lifetime experiences but as you probably already know, it is in big trouble. About 50 percent of the reef’s coral cover has already been lost, and the generally agreed-upon estimate is that it all could be gone by 2050 unless major action is taken. If you plan to visit the Reef , visit it responsibly . I know that the possibilities for exploration are limitless , just pick the one that is least intrusive to the sea life. Pay attention to instructions of the tour companies as they really know how to enjoy the reef while having minimum impact on the corals. I hope this helps you in planning your trip to Great Barrier Reef. If you need more help , leave me a comment and I will be more than happy to help you. Thank you so much for stopping by.
PhotoCredits – PhotoStains and Reef Magic Cruises.