Do you operate every day?
We currently operate every Monday, Wednesday & Saturday plus additional selected dates during school holiday periods. **PLEASE NOTE operating dates and departures are subject to change – for live availability please check within the booking cart**
How long is the boat ride to the reef?
Our fast, stable motor catamaran delivers you to the Outer Reef in only 90 minutes leaving more of your day to enjoy the reef.
What is the itinerary for the day?
Boarding commences at 8.15am with final boarding at 8.45am from Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal. Our vessel departs Cairns Marlin Jetty at 09:00 arriving at the first reef by 10:30, leaving the reef at 15:30 and arriving back in Cairns by 17:00.
Activity times will be advised on the day and are dependant on passenger numbers and interest in each activity.
How long do we spend at the reef?
You will have approximately 5 hours to explore the reefs which is up to 2 hours longer than similar Outer Reef Cruises. You can snorkel just off the boat, join a guided snorkel tour, enjoy lunch and still have time to relax on the deck with a cool drink! You have time to do as much or as little as you like without the rush. Most guests will have travelled a long way to visit the Great Barrier Reef and with so much to see and do it is not something you want to hurry.
Do you offer coach transfers from my hotel?
We offer a coach service from Cairns from $25 per adult (return) & $35 per adult (return) from the Beaches.
Do you have half day options?
Unfortunately not. The Outer Reef requires a full day to experience properly. Take the time to see the best of the reef, you won’t be disappointed. Our seasonal Whale Watching Tours are conducted in coastal waters closer to Cairns with half day options available as well as half day options to Fitzroy Island. We also have half day options to Green Island & the Low Isles.
Do I need to pre-book the optional activities?
No, but it is cheaper for you to do so. You may wish to speak to our friendly crew prior to selecting activities so we can suggest activities best suited to your swimming ability (or lack of). Pre-booking optional activities guarantees availability and also help us with crewing the boat with the right number of staff we will require for each activity. Cancellations by us of any pre-booked activities are always subject to a full refund.
Will I see a turtle? Will I see a shark? What will I see?
The Great Barrier Reef contains thousands of different species of marine life. We cannot guarantee what marine life you will see on your day of travel, however there will be many different species of fish, coral and molluscs.
Giant green sea turtles are found around the Great Barrier Reef and are frequently sighted at our reef sites. Reef sharks are quite common and a wonderful sight to see.
Where is Milln, Flynn & Thetford Reef?
Milln, Flynn & Thetford Reef are in Gunggandji Sea Country and are home to some of the best snorkelling and diving on the reef! You don’t want to miss getting in the water here.
What other Reef sites could you visit?
Our other magnificent Reef sites visited are in Yirrganydji Sea Country, these include Norman, Saxon & Hastings Reef .
Is the reef better from Cairns or Port Douglas?
This depends more on the actual reef site visited rather than the departure point. Both Cairns & Port Douglas locations have professional operators with access to world class snorkel and dive sites. Our tours depart ex Cairns but if you want a Port Douglas experience then head to Calypso Snorkel & Dive for daily reef cruises.
Where will I generally find the best quality reef – the Outer Reef, a Sand Cay or Tropical Island?
There are a range of reef options available however if you only experience the reef once you will want to see it at it’s best. While Sand Cays and Islands offer a reef experience of sorts, Outer Reef locations such as Milln and Flynn are chosen by those wanting superior coral quality, colour and overall diversity of reef life. Located further off-shore away from coastal rivers and streams, Outer Reef locations are found in clean coral sea water with higher coral densities and less sediment (sand) resulting in maximum water clarity in all weather conditions.
So what is the reef like where we go? Is there noticeable bleaching or damage?
Both Flynn Reef and Milln Reef sites are highly regarded as some of the best quality coral reef locations in the region. Tropical cyclones and storms or higher than average summer temperatures can effect the extent of bleaching but are a natural part of the reef life cycle.
What if the weather is bad?
In poor weather we are happy to move your booking without charge to the next most suitable day, subject to availability. In the rare event we deem the weather too bad to travel and you are unable to reschedule a full refund will be provided.
Will I get sea sick?
Hopefully not. This depends largely on the individual. Travelling on our fast, stable catamaran ensures the smoothest possible ride arriving at the stable Marine world platform in the shortest amount of time (90 minutes). If conditions are forecast 15 knots or below it will generally be smooth going.
At 20 knots and above it can get a little bumpy at times however our skippers are skilled in picking the best route to our destination. If you are prone to other common forms of motion sickness such as travelling in a car or plane you may wish to take precautions. We have both natural Ginger Tablets as well as medicated Travel-Calm on board however these are preventative, not a cure, so should be taken approximately 30 minutes prior to departure for maximum benefit.
What is the temperature of the water?
December-February 29c, 83f
March-May 25c, 76f
June-August 22c, 72f
September-November 25c, 76f
Is there shelter and shade on the boat?
Our boat has sheltered area throughout for your comfort.
Do you still go out if it is raining?
Yes we do. You’re going to get wet anyhow and its more the wind and swell that determines the quality of your day not so much the rain. Even if it is raining in Cairns there is still a good chance conditions at the reef will be fine.
Can I cancel my tour or change my tour date?
Yes, you can cancel or amend your tour to a different date (subject to availability) if you notify us 24 hours or more prior to travel.
If you need to cancel or change dates within 24 hours of travel a 100% cancellation fee applies
Please note a ‘no show’ (where passengers do not turn up to the specified pick-up point or departure point without notification) automatically incurs a 100% cancellation fee.
Can I book an open dated voucher?
You can, however travel on the date you desire is subject to availability. It is your responsibility to contact us at least 3-4 days prior to confirm your actual travel date. If the booking date on your voucher is in a different rate period to that in which you travel a small extra charge may be payable to cover any rate increase.
I’m staying in Cairns but considering visiting the reef from Port Douglas. Is this possible?
You can but it is 65km’s (90 mins) in a bus from Cairns to Port Douglas and return. If you are staying in Cairns or the Northern Beaches of Cairns (Trinity Beach, Palm Cove, Kewarra Beach) we would advise you to travel on a Cairns based boat such as us or Reef Magic. It makes no sense having to get up extra early & extend your day when you can relax over breakfast and spend more of your day at the reef, not in a car or bus.
Can I travel with Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel if I’m staying in Port Douglas?
You can however please refer to above FAQ. We would recommend you choose a Port Douglas Cruise based boat to save the inconvenience of unnecessary travel time.
What’s the best day to travel?
Christmas day always runs full with Christmas orphans (travellers away from home) however no particular day of the week is busier or more suitable than the next. Pick the day with the best weather during your stay in Cairns and get out there! Low winds are more important than sunshine for an enjoyable reef day.
Do you ever cancel?
On very rare occasions, tours can be subject to the effect of weather or unforeseen circumstances. If a tour does not operate for any reason, passengers will be offered a full refund or an alternative day of travel.
Can I pay with Credit Card? EFTPOS? Travelers’ Cheques?
We happily accept both Visa & MasterCard as well as having EFT facilities both at check-in and on the boat. Travelers’ Cheques must be in $AUD with supporting identification / photo Id such as passport. No personal cheque’s will be accepted without prior clearance. The nearest foreign money exchange is Global Money Exchange, located at 69 Abbott St, Cairns City. Phone ahead for opening hours on +61 7 4031 7272
Is the trip suitable for children and babies?
Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel is suitable for all ages, however if you have babies we recommend you spend your day at our family friendly Reef Magic Cruises pontoon which include infant enclosed swimming area and more space for the family. Adult supervision is required at all times for children under 16 years of age and is not the responsibility of Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel. Floatation devices such as buoyancy vests and noodles are available. Snorkelling equipment, Wet suits and Lycra suits are also available in children’s sizes.
Diving is available from 1st April 2023. If would like to dive when booking this product please contact our res team for availability.
Should I be concerned about Jelly Fish or Marine Stingers?
While certain species of Jelly Fish can be found in tropical waters at any time of year, the majority are harmless to man. Official ‘Stinger season’ in Cairns is from November to May when water temperatures suit the few species of concern.
While incidents involving serious stings are extremely rare our crew are trained to recognize sting types and apply appropriate first aid assistance if required. To greatly reduce your chances of an encounter with a jellyfish protective lycra suits are available for free and come in a range of sizes from XS to XXL. Our lycra suits are also excellent sun protection.
Are there sharks at the reef?
Yes! Sharks form a vital part of the worlds marine eco system. Most are shy and quite harmless such as the common white tip reef sharks which only grow to approximately 5ft and are very timid.
An encounter with a reef shark is a magical experience but enjoy it quickly as they will generally swim off in the opposite direction if they feel they are being watched or if you get to close
I am driving to the marina, where can I leave the car?
The Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal / Marlin Marina is located at 1 Spence Street. Opposite us is the Pier Marketplace Shopping Centre and Shangri-La hotel. You can park outdoors behind the Pier Marketplace for approximately $1.20 cents/hr or under the Shangri-La in secure parking for around $15/day.
If you don’t mind a short walk there is a $4 car park outside Trinity Wharf on Wharf street, a flat 5 minutes walk from our check-in.
Parking is free in the street after 12 noon on Saturday and all day on Sunday.
Can I take a pram on board the boat?
The Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel vessels are pram-friendly with ramp access and wide aisles. Please notify us if you are bringing a pram on board.
Can we sit anywhere on the boat?
You are free to sit where ever you please, except areas signed as staff only. We have an air-conditioned cabin on lower deck or breathe in that fresh clean air outside on the upper rear deck.
For your own safety try not to move around the boat too much when the boat in underway, especially in rough weather.
What do I need to bring?
Hat, Towel, Sunscreen, Sunglasses, something to swim in, a dry change of clothes, cash or credit card for optional activities and onboard purchases such as souvenirs, professional photos from our on-board photographer or a drink from the bar.
Do you supply towels?
Unfortunately we are not able to hire or lend towels. The best idea is to bring one from your hotel or accommodation.
Are there toilets, showers & changing rooms at the reef?
There are toilets on the boat accessible at all times throughout the day. Fresh water rinse showers and bathrooms are available.
What’s on the lunch menu ?
- Lemon Myrtle Roast Chicken breast, Native Dukkah Crusted Smoked Kangaroo Loin, Champagne Leg
- Ham, Roast Beef, Australian Salami
- Roast Vegetable and Native Pepper leaf Frittata
- Local Caught Chilled Endeavour Prawns
- Sweet and White Potato Salad – Dill and Shallots – Homemade Dijonaise (gf / df)
- Scorched Eggplant and Pearl Cous Cous Salad – Szechuan and Black Vinegar Dressing (vegan)
- Mt Molloy Garden Salad – Tomato, Cucumber, Red Onion – Snow pea Sprouts and Carrot (gf /vegan)
- Red and White Coleslaw with Zesty Lime Aioli – Carrot and Red Onion (gf / df)
- White and Grain dinner rolls, Garlic and Herb Focaccia bread served with Butter Portions
- Davidson Plum Chutney, Lemon Aspen and Honey Vinergerette, Sweet Chilli and Lemon Myrtle Sauce
Is there morning & afternoon tea?
Yes, we offer Seasonal Tropical Fruit Platters with Fresh Coconut Shavings / Wattleseed and Banana Muffins / Lemon Myrtle Shortbread Cookies and Chocolate and Aniseed Myrtle Cookies
Is the snorkeling equipment also in child sizes?
We have snorkelling equipment in both adult and child sizes. Fins range from children’s size 1-3 to Adults 11-13 and masks are in adult and child fittings. Wet suits and lycra suits are also available in sizes ranging from XS to XXL. Swim vests are also available in most sizes for those wanting some extra flotation while snorkelling.
Do you have baby-sitting or child minding facilities?
No, parents are responsible for supervising their children at all times. Our friendly crew can help organise the timing of your activities so that one parent is always free to attend to the children.
Do you have lockers on board?
No. While theft is very rare on board we suggest valuables are better off left in your hotel room or with the concierge rather than brought to the reef.
Are there facilities for the disabled?
There is ramp access from the wharf to the vessel. However, passengers are required to negotiate at least one set of stairs on the vessel depending on tides and loading position so the assistance of a carer is highly recommended.
We do not have a wheel chair accessible toilet or shower unfortunately. Access to the water and sundeck all require stairs to be negotiated and would require a carer to be present if the customer can not walk unassisted.
The best idea is to give us a call and talk through the level of disability and we can suggest suitability or not.
How deep is the water?
The Outer Reef Wall is a renowned dive location by local dive enthusiasts and keen snorkellers and reaches depths of over 30m.