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Cairns Islands Tours on the Great Barrier Reef 

The Frankland Islands offers visitors to Tropical North Queensland an unforgettably exclusive Great Barrier Reef dive and snorkel experience.

These islands set themselves apart from other reef tours in that there is only one reef operator able to visit this spectacular group of five breathtaking continental islands surrounded by fringing coral reef.

Normanby Island is the largest of the Frankland Islands, and is the destination for guests aboard the Frankland Islands Dive & Snorkel Tour for a full day Great Barrier Reef trip. The island boasts an abundance of plant and wildlife species, vibrant and colourful rainforest which is met by beautiful, unspoilt beaches and brilliant coral gardens which are home to tropical fish, giant clams and, most notably, green sea turtles; a popular calling card for Frankland Islands and a number one attraction for our adventurous divers and snorkellers.

With maximum daily passenger numbers of 100, and a high crew to passenger ratio, a Great Barrier Reef day trip to the Frankland Islands ensures you an intimate, personal and unforgettable tropical Island experience from Cairns.

Activities for the Day

Your Frankland Islands Cruise and Dive Great Barrier Reef adventure begins with guests being picked up from their holiday accommodation via air-conditioned coach (Northern Beaches departs 6:55am while Cairns City departs 7:45am) and transferred to the Frankland Islands departure point in Deeral, south of Cairns (an approximate 40 minute drive). Upon boarding, guests are offered complimentary morning tea including freshly brewed tea or coffee and biscuits, as the days adventure really begins.

A gentle and peaceful cruise along the Mulgrave River starts the day on a pleasing note. Frankland Islands cruise and dive is the only reef trip to include a river cruise in your day out so you can see the bio diversity of the rivers and maybe spot crocodiles in their natural habitat along the way from your safe position in the boat.

Mangroves shroud the calm waters teeming with wildlife while spectacular views of rainforest-clad hills loom in the distance. The Frankland Islands river cruise offers a tranquil and scenic start to the day, whilst also providing guests with the opportunity to enjoy the diverse range of Tropical Far North Queensland's scenery; an advantage which not all visitors to the Cairns region are lucky enough to experience.

When approaching the estuary head of the Mulgrave-Russell River, the islands of the Great Barrier Reef emerge spectacularly and almost instantaneously. This is truly a sight to behold. The five islands which make up the Frankland Islands rest atop the waters of the Great Barrier Reef, appearing as havens of emerald rainforest and foliage, golden beaches swimming amongst a sea of sparkling sapphire.

The ocean cruise takes about only 25 minutes yet provides guests with spectacularly endless views of the Coral Sea, Islands and Australian mainland.

The open water cruise from the mouth of the Mulgrave estuary to Normanby Island is the shortest offered in Tropical North Queensland, which is also ideal for travelers who suffer from sea sickness. Once the Frankland Islands Cruise and Dive vessel reaches Normanby Island, the boat is securely anchored and guests can begin to explore this tropical paradise at their own leisure.

Guests on board can choose, if they so wish, to separate themselves from the group, enjoying a peaceful and tranquil retreat. All visitors are offered beach tents as sun shelters to use as their own for the day, and are able to leave their belongings in these for easy access. There are also many packages available catering to individual tastes and budgets.

Scuba Diving - Intro or Certified

Frankland Islands are also perfect for first time divers and certified divers. The shallow waters are perfect to ease yourself in the water and for the more advanced divers the pristine underwater world will amaze you.

Introductory or certified dives (please bring your certifications) MUST BE PRE-BOOKED as spots are limited - Minimum age 16

Optional Extras Payable on Day of Travel

  • Wetsuit Hire
  • Prescription Mask Hire
  • Glass Bottom Boat Or Semi-Submersible Tour
  • Guided Island Walk
  • Advanced Snorkel Safari
  • Sea Doo (motorised scooter) - 30 minutes rides
  • Stand Up Paddle Board - 30 minutes hire
  • Sea Kayak - 30 minutes hire

Semi-Submersible or Glass Bottom Boat experiences

However, for those wanting to experience the wonders of the reef without getting wet, or if you are afraid of the water and its sea creatures then a Semi-Submersible or a Glass Bottom Boat tour of the reef are available.

Enjoy an up-close-and-personal encounter with the Cairns Great Barrier Reef.

Guided Island Walk

The guided island walk and informative environmental commentary is truly an opportunity not to be missed. These guided walks are informative, descriptive and interactive.

You will see and hear about things you probably would have walked straight past or not even seen. Guides entertain their visitors whilst educating them, once again providing an Australian Great Barrier Reef experience paralleled by no other.

Advanced Snorkelling Tour

This is a more advanced snorkel tour for more advanced snorkellers departing from a boat on the southern wall. This tour is the best way to get hands on education by qualified Marine Biologists. 

Cruising the crystal waters learning about the different corals and huge variety of fish speices and turtles. Our waters have 6 of the 7 worlds Sea Turtles and they just love this location in the Great Barrier Reef.

After a full day experiencing the rainforest, reef and beaches of the exotic Normanby Island, guests embark on the return journey to Cairns.

A 3:00pm departure from the island allows guests to appreciate the tropical Australian scenery bathed in the late afternoon light as they reminisce about their Frankland Islands Great Barrier Reef experiences.

Travellers holidaying in Cairns will arrive back at their accommodation around 5:15pm and guests staying on the Cairns Northern Beaches around 5:35pm.

If you have your own vehicle or rental car you can also self drive to Deeral.

The perfect way to spend the day – book your Frankland Islands Cruise and Dive Great Barrier Reef experience today!

What to Bring:

  • Hat
  • SPF 15 or greater Sunscreen
  • Swimmers
  • Towel
  • Comfortable shoes for beach combing
  • Shoes may get wet on boat transfers to and from the island
Great Barrier Reef Tours | Frankland Islands Reef Cruises | Snorkel & Dive
  • Location: 169 Ross Road, Deeral, QLD 4871
  • Duration:

    9 hours (approx)

An exclusive Great Barrier Reef island tour with only 1 boat per day and only 100 guests on the island. The ultimate relaxing reef trip for snorkellers and scuba divers. This is one of Cairns favourite reef trips. Morning and Afternoon Tea, Tropical Lunch (including Prawns), Protection Suit (Summer Only) River Cruise with Commentary on the Mulgrave River, National Park and EMC, Use of Snorkelling equipment including tuition or Coral viewing glass bottom boat tour (you can also include both options)

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Bianca B

25 Aug 2012


What a beautiful Island! I swam with 2 turtles! The guided snorkelling tour was so informative as well as the guided island walk. A very relaxing national park Island to chill out on and only one boat heads there each day.

Michael Roxas

16 Jun 2012


Incredible Reef Trip. THANKS!!!

Kaylie Rummery

07 May 2012

Western Australia

Thank to your tour desk team for recommending Frankland islands to me. It really was the sort of island experience I was looking for. I wanted to get away from the crowds and find my own bit of beach and relax. I did some snorkelling and saw some really massive turtles. Such beautiful, magestic creatures. The island itself was quite fun to explore as well, there are some really nice rock pools on the far side of the island. I would really like to come back on day and maybe pay to camp on the other island, that would just be an incredible trip.

Kara Marland

23 Apr 2012


My family loved Frankland islands. It was really good for my two boys the water got gradually deeper so I felt comfortable with them swimming/playing in the shallows. The glass bottom boat and semi-sub were were great giving us a chance to see the reef deeper out where I wouldn't have been able to take the boys. I would definitely recommend booking the all inclusive package because the tours of the island and the water are worth it. It's with a marine biologist, whose really nice and lets the group touch things like starfishs etc. All in all it was a wonderful day. Thanks heaps.

Michael Barnes

18 Mar 2012

Luton, England

Fantastic Trip! I got to explore three very different eco systems. The first being the chance to see a crocodile natural habitat in the estuary. The second being the tour of the island I particularly enjoyed the tour of the rock pools and getting to see and hold a starfish. and of course the reef itself is so beautiful. I didn't have a lot of time in Cairns and I really feel that this trip gave me a really nice overview of the area. I tried snorkelling for the first time and was very impressed I saw a small turtle and a stingray. I took a gazillion photographs to take back home. Everyone will be very jealous. Frankland islands is just beautiful I would recommend it to anyone. All the best, Barnsy

Jake Marsh

21 Jan 2012


Thank you to the staff for a wonderful day out. The island was everything promised to us.

Melanie Fields

05 Dec 2011


I have been to many of the island off of Cairns and Franklands is my favourite. The coral is better and there was far more marine life. The best bit about it, is that there are less people. I must have counted about sixty people the day I went, so my partner and I could go off on our own and find a secluded bit of beach.

Marcia Williams

11 Nov 2011


Thank you to the ladies in palmcove her recommended frankland islands. I had the best day in the sun and saw so many turtles.

Heidi Sternberg

08 Sep 2011


I went out on a choppy day and I get easily sea sick. I chose the island specifically because it was such a short distance from the land and it certainly made the difference. we were there so quickly i barely had time to notice I was on a boat. And while swimming the island actually protects snorkelers from the rougher winds. I would recommend this to people like myself who were not born to be sailor's.

Djerami Callope

26 Jun 2011

Torres Strait

I saw so many turtles and a stingray. The coral was stunning and water was so clear. This was the ultimate reef experience and I would recommend it to anyone. Excellent service by the staff and delicious food.

Kate Evans

15 May 2011


Best trip out to the Reef. I was really nervous about going out on a boat, because I get really bad sea sickness. But the trip out was so calm and short, only like 30 minutes out there. I saw a crocodile in the river as we were leaving. Kool! And the island is so pretty, the water is so clear and there is so much to see. I could live there! thanks to the crew :) such a good day out.

Joe Denton

14 Mar 2011


Thankyou thankyou thankyou to my friendly guide at the tour specialists for recommending Franklands to me. It was such a quick trip across to the island and then my wife and I got this feel of being on a secluded spot of beach. It was so clean, a very personal tour and the staff were brilliant.

Mikhail Dostoevsky

27 Feb 2011


Thankyou to the staff on Frankland Islands for allowing me to see the Great Barrier Reef in the best possible way. The island is magnificent and the ocean surrounding it is full of marine life. I could find all the colours in the rainbow on the ocean floor. Certainly a once in a lifetime experience, and definately an unforgettable one. 'Spasiba' meaning thank you all the way from russia.

Jordan Smith

10 Feb 2011


Frankland Islands is the most awesome way to see the reef. I got to swim with two turtles and watch one come up for air, it was all kinds of incredible. After backpacking for so long, it was such a nice day just to relax on the beach and go for a snorkel as and when I felt like. Its my holiday and they let me do it my way. Thank you to the crew for the many laughs and food, such good food.

Lilly Radcliffe

09 Feb 2011


WOW! this trip lived up to every expectation that I had about the Great Barrier Reef. I am a keen environmentalist and I was very proud of the way Frankland Islands is being maintained. It honestly is the most pristine, untouched group of islands. I am so very happy with quality of service I recieved. I would recommend this day out to everyone.

Dawn James

24 Jan 2011

Gold Coast

Wow, What an amazing day. It was so relaxing and the weather was brilliant. Thanks to Pia for looking after us so well and helping to keep our daughter occupied. So natural and so peaceful we loved this trip and recommend it to our friends. I could not believe it when I was swimming next to a turtle WOW !!!

Blythe Rallo

19 Dec 2010


Lots of turtles, marine life and colourful corals! Frankland islands is a deep water island, therefore the corals are able to grow properly. Don't miss out on the semi-submersible tour and the guided island walk!