Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling

Is Great Barrier Reef snorkeling at the top of your bucket list?  It is such an unforgettable experience that people travel from all over the world to experience.

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the biggest living thing on earth – it is ENORMOUS!  A teeming mass of coral is visible from space. Looking beneath the surface of the turquoise water gives you a glimpse into this thriving underwater world of bright colours and strange creatures.

The reef is not one single reef. There are around 2,900 different individual reef formations that make the Great Barrier Reef.  Reef Experience travels to several different reef locations, including:

Norman Reef – cascading reef walls and spectacular reef structures, full of life and the home of our friendly Maori Wrasse, Frank!

Saxon Reef – a shallower reef where structures are more scattered. The marine life here is diverse and plentiful.

Hastings Reef – ideal for snorkelling due to its shallowness and famed for its gardens of coral and ample Giant Clams

Breaking Patches Reef – another shallow reef that boasts fantastic snorkelling with its rolling hills of spaghetti coral, a soft coral that flows and dances with the movement of the water.


What to Expect on your Cairns Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling tour

Day Tours and liveaboard tours trips are affordable, with crew highly regarded for their excellent customer service.

It will take around 90 minutes to get to the reef.

Do not worry if you have never swum in the open ocean because we have many options to make getting in the water more accessible, such as flotation vests. These are fantastic and make floating around on the water’s surface effortless.

Snorkel noodles, if you are a more confident swimmer, we recommend taking a snorkel noodle under your arms. It gives you that extra bit of flotation so you can relax and enjoy the views. You are on holiday, after all.

We also have experienced crew members that will take you on a guided tour with you holding onto a floatation ring, a fantastic option that we include free of charge for those who are not confident swimmers or who are particularly nervous about getting into the water. We are here for you!

Once you see all the magic the reefs offer, it won’t feel so scary anymore. It is a uniquely fantastic experience that will last in your memories forever. We predict by the end of the day, you won’t want to get out of the water!

Mask, snorkel, fins and stinger suit (stinger season only) are all provided for you!  Reef Experience also provides reef-friendly sunscreen. Breakfast, lunch and tea and coffee is available all day, so you needn’t worry about a thing! Just bring a towel and some sunnies.

Click here if you would like to know about scuba diving.


Frequently Asked Questions


Will I get Seasick?

Every day is different, and so is every person. If you are worried about seasickness, we recommend taking travel calm medication available onboard. We recommend taking the pill before leaving the marina, as it takes about 30 minutes to take effect. Once you are seasick, the medicine will be of no help.

Are there Turtles?

Yes! We have 6 of the seven species of turtles here on the GBR. The most common species being the Green Sea Turtle and the Hawksbill Turtle. If you want to get up close and personal with one, we suggest approaching them very slowly and from their side. If you approach too quick or from behind, they may get scared and swim off, and at 35km/hr you won’t be keeping up! Remember not to touch, only look.

Can I find Nemo?

Of course! There are around 30 species of Anemone-fish on the reef, and you are sure to see at least one.  Ask our friendly staff where to look, they know all the spots.

Will I see Sharks?

Yes!  But only if you are lucky!  The Sharks we have here on the Great Barrier Reef are small reef sharks, they are quite harmless and don’t like to be around people, you will most likely get a glimpse of one before it disappears like a moody teenager they want to be left, alone man!

Should I worry about Sting Rays?

No!  Stingrays are perfectly calm and harmless unless you are planning on tackling one, you don’t need to worry about them at all and should consider yourself very lucky to be able to spot one!


Best snorkeling tips

  1. Choose the right location: Look for clear water, vibrant marine life, and calm waters.
  2. Choose the right equipment: Make sure your mask, fins, and snorkel fit properly and are comfortable.
  3. Practice proper breathing: Breathe slowly and deeply through your mouth using the snorkel, and clear it if necessary.
  4. Keep a low profile: Avoid making sudden movements or splashing around too much, as this can scare away marine life.
  5. Respect the environment: Avoid touching or damaging coral, and don’t remove any marine life from their habitat.
  6. Stay safe: Stay within your comfort level, swim with a buddy, and be aware of any potential hazards, such as strong currents or marine life, that may pose a threat.

We look forward to welcoming you onboard to snorkel Australia’s Great Barrier Reef!

Next, discover Cairns best snorkelling tours