Snorkel Great Barrier Reef

"Snorkel Great Barrier Reef - the largest reef in the world!"

So you've decided upon a trip to the Great Barrier Reef - fabulous! But how will you see the reef. Once you get to Cairns Australia or Port Douglas you'll be bombarded with options and tour operators all wanting you to have the best reef experience possible!

You'll be asked to choose from flying to a deserted cay, diving with minke whales, visiting a pontoon, going to Green Island, seeing turtles, introductory dive courses, dive and snorkel spots via high speed catamarans, sailing boats and small liners or keeping dry on a glass bottomed boat or helmet dive.

The page below is aimed to give you some guidance as to who I would pick. Obviously they are a personal recommendation but I have at least been on them and can compare for you! Given I don't stay in Cairns when I travel to North Queensland (I just don't like it!), most of the trips below depart from Port Douglas.

Best Ways To See And Snorkel Great Barrier Reef

Here are a few options for you to consider:

  • If you want to do this 5 star then have a look at Sailaway where you get to go to Low Isles, a tropical island right in the heart of the reef. So you can relax on the beach, enjoy a guided snorkel tour, go on the glass bottomed boat. The boat itself is a sailing catamaran so fairly luxurious. Turtle viewing also available. It seems from my last visit that Low Isles has become more popular and is replacing Green Island which has started to become a bit tatty.
  • Poseidon is the one for you if you want to swim with dwarf Minke whales as these guys have a special permit not held by many. But they are also well known locally for offering top quality snorkel, introductory dives and 3 unique dive sites for those who already have their PADI. They have over 45 different options with some being more exclusive for smaller groups.
  • Wavelength has dedicated itself to snorkeling so is a good option if you only intend to snorkel great barrier reef. You get to go to 3 different sites some on the outer barrier reef which offers great reef and fish life. The groups are kept small too taking just a maximum of 30. A good option for snorkelers
  • If 30 people still sounds like too many then try Synergy II who only take a maximum of 12 guests to the outer reef for snorkeling trips. Clearly this will be more expensive but if you want to feel pampered then this could be the one for you
  • Quicksilver is probably the most well known of the large trips out to a pontoon style visit to the reef. The journey is about an hour and half and you can choose what activities you want to do - diving, snorkeling or staying dry! This is generally the cheapest way to see the reef given the number of people they take
  • For anyone who gets seasick but still wants to enjoy the reef then I'd consider Reef Sprinter as this is a speed boat that only takes 15 minutes to get to Low Isles Reef. You get to stay on the island and snorkel for an hour and a half and then they bring you back again. A maximum of 14 passengers only

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