Departing daily from Cairns Marlin Marina for a short 45 minute boat ride, the award winning Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises operates half-day and full-day reef trips to the tropically enchanted Green Island, an idyllic and lush coral cay on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, situated off the divine tropical coast of Tropical Far North Queensland. Green Island is reputed to be the most popular island National Parks within Australia's Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
The beautiful coral cay of Green Island is a protected Marine National Park, topped with emerald rainforest and surrounded by white sandy beaches and magnificent coral reefs that beg to be explored. Visitors to Green Island can choose to explore the island and its facilities, Certified or Introductory scuba dive, Seawalker helmet dive on the ocean floor or enjoy a guided snorkeling trip to the outer edge of the Green Island Reef. Visitors can view the vast array of marine life and corals by participating in snorkeling, glass bottom boat or semi-submarine coral vieweing tours. For those less adventure bound, simply walking around the island or laying around and relaxing on the island and soaking in the sights and sounds is also highly recommended!
Activities on Green Island
Activities offered include snorkelling, semi-submarine and glass bottom boat coral viewing tours, scuba diving, Seawalker helmet diving, buffet lunch, time to explore Green Island or simply relax on the white sandy beach. Our friendly crew will help you to organise your activities to make the most of your time on Green Island.
- Lycra Suits are available for hire.
- Introductory Dive $158 (subject to medical questionnaire)
- One Certified Dive $112 (subject to availability on the day)
- Snorkel gear & glass bottom boat tour $16
- Seawalker Helmet Diving $168
- Boat Snorkel Trips $44 Adult, $29 Child, $117 Family
- Marineland Melanesia $19 Adult $9 Child
The Beautiful Coral Cay of Green Island
The beautiful coral cay of Green Island is a protected Marine National Park, topped with emerald rainforest and surrounded by white sandy beaches and magnificent coral reefs that beg to be explored. Visitors to Green Island can choose to explore the island and its facilities, scuba dive, Seawalker helmet walk on the ocean floor or enjoy a guided snorkeling trip to the outer edge of the Green Island Reef. Visitors can view the vast array of marine life and corals by participating in snorkeling, glass bottom boat or semi-submarine coral vieweing tours. For those less adventure bound, simply walking around the island or laying around and relaxing on the island and soaking in the sights and sounds is also highly recommended!
The Cairns Green Island Reef Cruise
The tropical paradise that is Green Island is located 15 nautical miles (27 kilometers) off Cairns shores. As a passenger you will cruise there aboard either the MV Big Cat, for full day tours, or the Reef Rocket, for half day tours. The MV Big Cat is a 30 metre air-conditioned catamaran with spacious, luxurious cabins and decks to enjoy Queensland's warm, tropical climate. It's slightly smaller cousin, the 24 metre (89ft) Reef Rocket, is a catamaran that can travel at a swift 22 knots (40.74 km/h) and reaches Green Island only 45 minutes after departure. Whichever half day or full day reef tour option you choose, your time spent at Green Island will be the ultimate island getaway.
Full Day or Half Day Great Barrier Reef Tours
Whether you want to stay for a full day or merely spend a half day tour on Green Island, Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises has a cruise to suit you. Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises offers a range of packages where you can choose to include the activities you want to do, or you can take it easy and relax on the idyllic sandy beach. Do as little or as much as you please. Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises are fun for the whole family, as there is so much to see and do for all ages in the one day.
What is there to see on Green Island?
Even if you are not a swimmer you can still see the Great Barrier Reef up close. The choice of enjoyable activities on and around Green island include snorkeling, exploring aboard the glass bottom boat, introductory and certified scuba diving, trips aboard the semi-submersible coral viewing tour, Marineland Melanesia where you see the largest crocodile in captivity and sometimes rescued Green Sea Turtles, browsing through Green Island Resort shops, beach hire activities such as canoeing or surf skiing, and so much more.
As you travel to Green Island aboard Big Cat Cruises you will be presented with an informative snorkeling demonstration and presentation on how you can make the most of your time at Green Island. The licensed bar offers refreshments all day long, and a buffet lunch is served aboard the Big Cat for those who have chosen the full day option.
Green Island also offers a range of fun, affordable activities including cruises, scuba diving, snorkeling, wind surfing, glass bottom boat, reef scuba dives, kayaking, bird watching. Visitors may choose to visit some of the shops for access to further activities, such as 'Beach Hire' for hiring lounge chairs, umbrellas, volleyballs, canoes, surf skis and windsurfing skis.
The semi-submarine, lets you explore the underwater world in comfort with a lively fish feeding display and commentary. The 30 minute submarine tour, which can seat 27 passengers, is an extra option for you to consider when booking as it allows passengers to explore the underwater world of the reef in comfort without getting the slightest bit wet! With commentary given by the crew, passengers sit below water level while being treated to a diver's view of the coral reef and marine life as well as lively fish feeding. Kids just love it and it is a perfect option for the non-swimmer.
Great Barrier Reef Glass Bottom Boat Tours
A favourite among reef tour enthusiasts is the glass bottom boat coral viewing tours with fish feeding and commentary. This commentated reef tour shows passengers how truly diverse the reef coral gardens really are, along with how they interact with the wonderful array of sea life. As with the semi-submersible tour, the excitement of lively fish feeding is included from the side of the glass bottom boat. The glass bottom boat carries up to 35 passengers, and lasts 30 minutes. Great for the kids and the whole family and again let's those non-swimmers enjoy the delights of the Great Barrier Reef
Snorkel and swim in the clear cool sapphire blue island waters, at your leisure from the sheltered, sandy beach, or choose instead to go on a supervised snorkeling trip. The supervised snorkeling trip takes those wishing to snorkel to the wonders of the outer edge of Green Island Reef for a trip that treats participants to an extraordinary panorama of marine life. We highly recommend you take this guided snorkel tour if you want to see some spectacular coral as the reef around Green Island is very shallow and coral thrives in deeper colder water.
Scuba Diving- Seawalker Helmut Diving
Scuba diving is available for both accredited and first time introductory scuba divers. Scuba divers are taken to the spectacular outer edge of gorgeous Green Island reef for their unforgettable diving experience. Those wanting to experience the wild side of diving can opt to go Seawalker Helmet Diving - an innovative way of seeing the reef! The Seawalker is ideal for both swimmers and non-swimmers between the ages of 10 and 70. Helmet divers walk along a predetermined track at the bottom of the reef, coming face to face with the Great Barrier Reef's coral and fish life. Helmet divers receive a 10 minute briefing before beginning their hands-on journey under the sea! This activity must be pre-booked and a medical questionaire completed before diving.
Green Island Day Use Facilities
Picnics and day-use areas are provided on the island for visitors, which include much needed facilities such as toilets, showers, telephones and food. The northern side of the island has a patrolled swimming area where visitors can immerse themselves safely in the glistening ocean. Green Island also has short and easy walking tracks through the National Park, the most popular of which being the 1.3km boardwalk that takes hikers from the jetty and resort area of the island through the rainforest to the south-east beach, which usually takes between 20-50 minutes to complete on a return trek. There are self-guided walk brochures offered at the Green Island Resort information counter that allow visitors to explore Green Island at their own pace. This convenience makes the island a popular destination for half day or full day trippers from Cairns and North Queensland.
Full day tours depart at 9am, allowing 5 hours on Green Island. Half day trips leave either in the morning or in the afternoon, departing at either 9am or 1pm, and allow visitors to Green Island for over 2 hours enjoying this magical island paradise. Coach transfers from Cairns and Cairns Northern Beaches hotels can also be arranged for this option.
All full day and half day tours must be booked at least 48 hours in advance of your travel date, and all tours are operated in English unless otherwise specified. Reef cruises operate daily from Cairns, in Tropical North Queensland, with a choice of optional extras that also should be pre-booked especially during peak periods of travel like the school holidays.
What to Bring
Passengers are advised to bring along sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, a towel, swimming costumes, credit cards or driver's licenses (for deposits on snorkeling gear), and cash for drinks and snacks. Sunscreen and souvenirs can all be conveniently purchased from onboard the boats themselves.
Environmentally Friendly Reef Cruise
Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises have made a large effort to be highly environmentally-conscious, and recently re-certified at "Advanced Ecotourism" level. In further efforts to remain eco-friendly, the Big Cat catamaran had recently undertaken a comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions audit as part of the Australian Government's Green house Challenge Plus program and the Tourism Tropical North Queensland Planet Safe partnership program.
Green Island beaches have in the past won two awards in the annual Keep Australia Beautiful Clean Beach Challenge â€“ "Cleanest Beach" and "Resource Recovery Award", ensuring all visitors are treated to pristine beaches, water and reef.
Green Island Ecology
Green Island has been one of Cairns' primary tourist attractions for nearly fifty years. Originally named "Dabuukji " by the local Aboriginal people, Green Island was formed by waves of sand deposits, coral and other debris moving onto coral foundations approximately 6,000 years ago. Seeds and spores carried from the mainland by the wind and birds have fertilized the island and enabled the unique growth of plant life. The rainforest on Green Island supports a diverse group of birds and insects. Green Island is home to 126 native plant species, a myriad of birdlife. The surrounding coral reef is surrounded by mesmerizing towers of kaleidoscopic coral gardens.
The outer edge of Green Island reef is home to multitudes of corals and marine life, including giant clams, fish, turtles, starfish, stingrays, sea anemones, eels, sponges, sea urchins and other reef life. Green and hawksbill turtles can also be seen offshore. You can rest assured that your visit to Green Island will be filled with memorable experiences with the local wildlife as you get a chance to observe them up close in their natural habitat. Today there is a rich diversity of vegetation on Green Island that includes beach and dry coastal plants, the most diverse of all the coral cays in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The island is covered in tropical vine forest that is supported by both rainwater and a small freshwater lens that is located beneath the island itself. In some places, the canopy of the island's rainforest can reach up to 25 metres in height! The small coral cay island is approximately 15 hectares in size and has a circumference measuring roughly 1.5 kilometers. The edges of the island are a combination of compacted coral and elegant sandy coral beaches. The island's interior is predominantly rainforest, and has plenty of space for people to escape to.
Our Tip: Although the snorkelling off the beach at Green Island is fun you are encouraged to take the guided snorkelling adventure, glass bottom boat and semi-submarine to enable you to see the coral and marine life at its best due to the fact that Green Island is a shallow water Island. Green Island offers a fun full day tour or half day tour to suit the whole family and fold up prams are welcome if you are travelling with little one's.
Full Day Green Island
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Cruise to Green Island aboard a modern catamaran with 5 hours to enjoy Green Island (4 hours on 11am departure) FREE CHOICE of snorkelling gear or a glass bottom boat tour ($16 extra to do both) Snorkelling demonstration and reef presentation en route to Green Island. Use of Big Cat vessel during time at island as an air-conditioned base Island rainforest boardwalks
Half Day Green Island
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Cruise to Green Island aboard "Reef Rocket" a modern catamaran. 2 hours to enjoy Green Island. FREE CHOICE of snorkelling gear or a glass bottom boat tour ($16 extra to do both) Snorkelling demonstration and reef presentation en route to Green Island. Island rainforest boardwalks
18 Sep 2012
My family and I did a full day out at Green Island on the recommendation of the Hilton tour desk. We loved it. The fish and the coral just off the beach and along the jetty are amazing. There are colourful fish everywhere, sea turtles, beautiful coral - just fantastic. On Green Island you can relax on the beach or stroll up for a bite to eat and a cold drink at the restaurants. The island is small enough to walk around. The crew on the Big Cat and the Reef Rocket were friendly and helpful. Overall the boat trip out was lovely and the crew both informative and friendly. Green Island was beautiful and we will be going back
06 Sep 2012
I found this tour amazing as the Island was so pretty and so much to do there aswell. We started the morning with doing the boardwalk through the forest and seeing the awesome Nautical Museum, where the largest croc in captivity in Australia was. (He was HUGE!!) I did the semi submarine tour and also snorkeled as the snorkel gear was included. I went the hole kit and kaboodle and went on a senic helicopter ride, seeing the coral from above is just so mind blowing as you dont realise how big the Great Barrier Reef really is.
22 Aug 2012
The trip to green island was fantastic. The whole Family had a great day. There is plenty to do and my wife and I had a great stroll around the whole island. Brilliant day thank you.
11 Mar 2012
I had an incredible trip out with these guys. The island is beautiful. There were a lot of different activities to do there, but I was quite happy just to relax on the beach and do some light snorkelling.
30 Nov 2011
My kids loved green island. I have a 7, 13 and 14 year old. I wanted a trip that kept them all happy. Being on the island made it easier for me to keep an eye on my youngest in the water. But there was still coral for the older children to go snorkelling and my son even had his first dive. The island literally had everything on it from an ice cream store to an animal park. next time I would definately book a room in the resort.
05 Oct 2011
So many things to do ans so little time. I was in Cairns for a work conference and took half a day out to see some reef. The island is beautiful the people are friendly and i had a great time. I definately want to go back though, I should have done the full day, because I want to do a Helicopter Scenic flight and maybe try scuba diving. Thanks Big Cat.
18 Sep 2011
I am proud too say I did everything on the island. I went parasailing, helmet diving, scuba diving, saw the biggest crocodile in captivitiy, went on a helicopter scenic flight, glass bottom boat and semi-sub. But I was lucky enough to spend 3 days in the island resort. AHhhhMAZING! I had an incredible time. But I would like to thank BIG CAT in particular because the staff were just wonderful, they gave me really good tips about what to do on the island. They were incredibly accomodating and one of their staff member in particular even listened to all my adventurous stories on the return journey. Thank you for an excellent holiday, I will be back because of their service.
07 Sep 2011
Isle of wight
I did the outer barrier reef another day, but I really wanted to just chill on an island for the day. I was suprised by just how many building there are. Like I ate ice cream, had a massage, took a scenic helicopter ride, checked out the underwater observatory and saw the animal park. I had a fantastic time, everyone was just really nice... they want you to have a good time. Thanks Immy.
06 Jul 2011
Such a relaxing day on an island. not once did i feel rushed, I could do as many or as little of the activities as I pleased. Nice easy day, really calm out there beautiful weather.
15 May 2011
Schofields, Sydney, NSW
Missing Cairns already. We went on 3 boat trips with different companys and by far the Big cat to Green Island was the best. We snorkled and saw heaps of beautiful coloured fish and coral big and small, hubby swam with a turtlle. Glassbottom boat was Excelent for my 10 yr old who was to scared to swim with the fish & she saw nemo and 2 small sharks. We walked around the whole Island, saw lots of jumping fish and my 7 yr old spotted 3 sting rays, it was so exciting. The best place to SNORKLE BY FAR, we will be doing the trip again when we visit Carins next year and will try all the other activities, especially the submarine. THANK YOU BIG CAT Reef Cruises you made our holiday. We will be recommending you to everyone.
10 Feb 2011
I saw a big fish and little turtle. Swam in really clear water and found lots of coral. The beach was sandy and there was lots to see and do. I explored the whole island and did lots of acitivities. Very nice morning.
09 Feb 2011
Just wanted to put a quick note on here, because I really enjoyed my day out with big cat. The food was excellent and the staff were really friendly. Couldn't have asked for anything more for my first trip to the reef. Thanks for a great day out.
30 Jan 2011
We went to Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef when we visited Cairns and it was fabulous. All the facilities you could possibly need with 4 Children. The crew were really helpful. It was a great day Thankyou
25 Jan 2011
I loved my day out in Green Island. I found there was so much to do on the island from seeing the crocodiles in marine land melanesia to parasailing above the reef. I found that the staff on Big Cat Cruises were extremely friendly and the food was excellent. They maintained a really high standard of customer service throughout the day. Having never been to the reef before, I found they gave me an experience I will never forget. I would recommend them to anyone.
04 Jan 2011
We went on the Green Island trip yesterday. We booked for a half day and we were enjoying ourselves so much we asked to change to a full day halfway through the morning. I have to say the crew were so accommodating and even managed to include us in the lunch. Great people and a great islnd experience. Thank you for being so flexible and helping us.
19 Dec 2010
Do as much or as little as you like at Green Island. Take the time to relax and enjoy the beach with a cocktail or get involved in guided snorkel tour, scuba diving or the seawalker! Green Island is simply a 45 minute boat ride from Cairns. Packages range from the simple choice of glass bottom boat or snorkel gear to adding optional extras in such as the semi-submersible, lunch and so much more! We had a wonderful day out there doing all the activities and had alot of fun.
17 Dec 2010
I travelled on Big Cat Cruises last year and it was fantastic, I found Green Island a great location.
17 Dec 2010
We had a great day on green island so much to do for couples and families and not far out from cairns. We did green island in the morning before flying out.