Cairns Great Barrier Reef Diving

What You Need To Know

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Cairns’ Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s natural wonders and a drawcard to scuba divers from around the world.

Divers are astounded at the diversity of marine life. More than 1,500 species of fish roam across the 2,800 individual reefs that comprise this system. Six of the world’s seven marine turtles are found here and Cairns scuba divers regularly enjoy encounters with these gentle marine residents.

Diving conditions on the Great Barrier Reef are wonderful year round, with summer providing warm waters and excellent visibility and winter offering the chance to dive with Minke Whales.

Certified divers can choose from a wonderful selection of Cairns day tours and liveaboard dive trips to the Great Barrier Reef.

Cairns Diving Day Tours start at just $200, which includes two certified dives, equipment, lunch and boat transfers to and from the reef. Diving day tours can be tailored to suit your budget and experience. For confident divers, choose an operator that allows unguided diving on the Outer Great Barrier Reef. For those who have not dived for a while, perhaps choose a day tour to one of the reef’s cays or pontoons. Diving day tours can be combined with scenic helicopter reef flights, reef massage and marine biologist presentations.

Cairns Liveaboard Diving trips depart Marlin Marina every day. Pending your itinerary and budget, you may choose an overnight dive tour to Cairns Outer Great Barrier Reef, or an extended diving expedition to the northern Ribbon Reefs, including the world famous Cod Hole. Accommodation options on liveaboard dive trips range from shared bunk-style cabins to spacious double bed rooms with ocean views. Liveaboard day tours can last up to seven days and options are available for accompanying non-divers if required.

If you have not dived before, why not try an introductory dive? These are available on most Cairns diving day tours and include on-board tuition and equipment. Australia has the international reputation as being the safest place to scuba dive in the world, making it an excellent place to learn to dive.

Cairns Learn to Dive Courses start every day of the week and can be combined with a liveaboard trip to the Great Barrier Reef, or day tour options. Choose between two internationally recognised dive certifications (PADI or SSI) and learn to scuba dive safely, with practice sessions in a swimming pool, before heading out to explore the Great Barrier Reef. On the successful completion of a Cairns learn to dive course you will be certified as an Open Water Diver and able to dive anywhere in the world. Advanced and Rescue Dive Courses are also available in Cairns.

Please note: anyone wanting to participate in a Learn to Dive course must successfully pass a Dive Medical which complies with Australian Standards AS 4005.1. These can be completed in Cairns. A number of medical conditions will prevent you from scuba diving including, but not limited to, asthma, heart conditions, diabetes and epilepsy.

Cairns Great Barrier Reef Scuba Diving Top Tips

  • Motion sickness can be avoided by taking preventative medication, such as Kwells. This should be taken at least 30-minutes prior to departure and again during the trip, according to instructions.
  • Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef are a tropical destination. For your comfort, we recommend regularly applying a high factor sun screen throughout the day and taking advantage of the complimentary lycra and wet suits (pending the season) that are included in scuba diving reef packages.
  • Cairns dive tour operators do provide all equipment needed for scuba diving: some have discounted packages for divers who choose to bring their own equipment.
  • Rent an underwater camera for your Great Barrier Reef diving adventure. It is cheaper to do this in Cairns, rather than on-board camera hire.