When planning your trip to visit The Great Barrier Reef, it can be a little overwhelming deciding what type of tour you should choose, where - out of the thousands of reefs and hundreds of islands - you should go, and it can be even stressful to pick one that guarantees you're going to be safe while having the best time on board or underwater.
I will dare to say that there are as many tours as there are reefs! So you might want to do your research before getting carried away with sales and promotions.
I went for a day trip to Arlington Reef with Sunlovers Reef Cruises and it was an amazing experience!
Arlington Reef is one of the largest reef systems in the world-heritage Marine Park and their floating activity pontoon is the only way to view its intricate maze of soft corals & unique underwater community.
Departing from Cairns Marina, the travel time to their pontoon at Arlington Reef is about 1.5 hours. I recommend you to have breakfast before departing as on board the options are very limited, hence you'll get unlimited complimentary coffee, tea and biscuits.
Your boarding ticket will give you access to 3.5 hours snorkelling (with snorkelling gear, life jackets & stinger suits), glass bottom boat ride, entertainment on board, talks and presentations by marine biologists, and a tropical lunch (buffet - BBQ style). If you're vegetarian, they also have veggie options available.
For an extra fee, you can enhance your experience hiring underwater cameras (if you don't own one, I highly recommend you to do this), you can also do an Intro Scuba Diving, a SeaWalker Helmet Dive or even a Helicopter tour, that will take you back to Cairns Marina at the end of the day.
During the trip, the experts on-board will be explaining all the safety rules and what to expect for the day during your day at the reef.
Once there, you won't believe your eyes! It's a very special life experience. You'll get to see giant clams, star-fish, different types and sizes of all kind of marine life and you even will be able to take a selfie with Nemo!
This tour is an incredible value for money option if your visit to Far North Queensland is a short one.