Tips To Enjoy Australia's Great Barrier Reef From Cairns And Port Douglas in Safety
If you suffer from chronic sea sickness we suggest that you visit a chemist and have them prescribe you some sea sickness tablets that you can begin to take the night before your Cairns or Port Douglas Great Barrier Reef tour to ensure the medication is in your bodies system prior to you boarding the boat for your day trip to the Great Barrier Reef.
Another thing to remember is to never lie down when you begin to show signs of seasickness, sit up straight and look out to the horizon. Advise a crew member that you do not feel well and they will get you some ice to chew on, a sick bag and some ginger tablets.
We also recommend you choose a Great Barrier Reef tour boat that has stabilisers to reduce the boat motion as you cruise our to the reef such as this reef trip from Cairns and this reef trip from Port Douglas.
Non - Swimmers Tours To The Great Barrier Reef
If you are a non-swimmer but wish to also see and enjoy Australia's Great Barrier Reef tours with family and friends then take a look at our selection of non-swimmer reef tours such as these reef trips that take guests to a stable platform on the reef, that allows you to see the reef with all of the interactive activities on the pontoon.
You may visit the Great Barrier Reef via a boat or take a helicopter from Cairns or Port Douglas out to these stable pontoons or platforms that sit out on the reef permanently. These permanent floating structures have all the equipment for you to see and enjoy the reef just like all of the scuba divers and snorkellers without the need to get wet.
Glass Bottom Boats - Semi Submersible Submarine Tours
From the platform you can ride around the reef in a semi-submersible submarine or a glass bottom boat to see all of the divers down below, the corals and the huge variety of marine life that call the Great Barrier Reef home.
Scenic Helicopter Flights
You may also wish to see the reef from above the waters surface and you may do so on a scenic helicopter flight. These scenic flights can be booked to come from Cairns or Port Douglas to the outer Barrier Reef platform or you may take a 10-15 minute scenic flight whilst already out at the pontoon.
Please note scenic helicopter flights need to be booked well in advance at all times as there are only 6 - 7 seats per helicopter departure from Cairns or Port Douglas.
Each one of the Great Barrier Reef platforms has it's own underwater observatory where you can sit/stand and watch all of the underwater activity. You can even have your family and friends dive down to the glass window so you may take a picture of them all in front of you.
Another great activity for the non-swimmer is the fish feeding and marine biology presentation that is condicted each afternoon.
Children's Swimming Enclosure
If you have children the platforms or pontoons also have safe swimming enclosures where your young children can paddle around under parental supervision. Please note there are no baby sitting services whilst you are out on the Great Barrier Reef your children are your responsibility.
Flotation Equipment For Non-Swimmers
We all know each one of us is different and not all of us grew up in countries where swimming was second nature or part of our culture so each and every reef tour operator has on board flotation equipment for guests to ensure they can also enjoy snorkelling and experiencing the delights of Australia's Great Barrier Reef like everyone else.
The flotation equipment normally consists of life jackets or pool noodles (long foam banners)
Multi - Lingual Great Barrier Reef Tours
Many of the Port Douglas and Cairns Great Barrier Reef tour operators have multi-lingual crew members that assist overseas guests in understanding the days itinerary and safety procedures. Brochures and safety manuals are also written in many languages and handed to guests on check in. Just ask us when booking for the languages spoken or on offer for the day of your travel to the Great Barrier Reef.
Your Safety Is Your Responsibility
The Great Barrier Reef boat tours and charters have put in place all the information and best practices to ensure the safety of all passengers and crew. It is also your full responsibility to take care of your family and friends and ensure everyone is following the advice and procedures give by the boat crew at all times.
Jellyfish on Australia's Great Barrier Reef
This is an issue we seem to have to deal with all of the time so we called in a jelly fish expert Dr Lisa Anne Gershwin to answer all those questions that visitors to the Great Barrier Reef have so please follow this link and read her 1 in a million chances story of being stung by a killer jelly fish.
Sharks On The Great Barrier Reef In Australia
Well so far we have been lucky with no snorkellers or scuba divers being taken on the Great Barrier Reef that can be confirmed so far and no wonder as there is so much food out there for them. Also the water temperatures are so tropical it is not really and ideal place for Great White Sharks or any other predatory sharks to be without good reason.
If you love diving with sharks and other marine life like Dwarf Minke Whales then you need to take book yourself a liveaboard dive and snorkel tour from Cairns.
Dangerous Fish & Mollusks
Before touching cone shells or fish that you think may be friendly or pretty, just ask the reef boat crew about the safety of these marine creatures first as they may look harmless but in reality they may endanger your life.
No Smoking On the Great Barrier Reef in Australia
All of the reef tour boats in Australia have a no smoking policy. This ensures the comfort of other guests and the potential of pollution in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef and its marine life.
Alcohol, Snorkelling & Diving On The Great Barrier Reef
Alcohol and in water activities do not mix so the consumption of alcohol is not permitted until all in water activities have ceased. Guests are not permitted to carry personal quantities of alcohol or any other banned substance on board the reef tour boats.
As Cairns and Port Douglas are tropical destinations we always recommend you apply 50+ sunscreen several times per day to exposed skin. For in water activities we recommend sun suits and full lycra suits to protect your body whilst snorkelling. Hat's and sunglasses are also recommended to protect your eyes at all times.
Children's tender young skin needs 100% protection so please ensure they have full body sun suits on at all times with a hat and sunscreen on their faces along with sunglasses to protect their eyes.
If you really are scared of being seasick and having your Cairns or Port Douglas Great Barrier Reef experience totally ruined then we suggest you take a scenic helicopter flight out to a stable platform or pontoon that is moored on the reef permanently.
You will fly around 500 feet above the water seeing turtles, whales, manta rays and of course the amazing coral reef structures and the tropical islands that lie just off Cairns and Port Douglas. You will be pleasantly surprised at just how economical it is to book a combination tour of a scenic helicopter flight with a day out on a platform on the reef.
Australia's Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and you have travelled so far to see it so you cannot afford to have your whole experience ruined by seasickness or by trying to save less than $200 by taking the risk of going by boat.
If you did not want to go to a platform on the reef with other guests and you want to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef with just yourself and your partner or your family then a private helicopter flight may be the next best option as you can fly to a solitary coral sand cay and spend half the day snorkeling all by yourselves.
Again this is not so expensive for such a one off wow factor for your Tropical North Queensland holiday and what better way to see the Great Barrier Reef from above and below the waters surface and not feel seasick at all?
Make sure you fill out your medical questionnaire truthfully for your own safety reasons and the safety of fellow divers.
Tell the dive instructors if you have had recent surgery, or you are suffering from a cold or chest infection. Advise them if you are on any medication or you suffer from epilepsy or asthma.
Scuba diving puts pressure on your body so you need to be in ship shape order to scuba dive as once you are down below it could go wrong if you have not been honest in your medical questionnaire.
Scuba diving Cairns Great Barrier Reef and scuba diving Port Douglas Great Barrier Reef in Australia has one of the worlds highest safety standards and it's the place people come to just learn how to scuba dive correctly and safely in one of the most diverse amazing places Australia's Great Barrier Reef in Cairns and Port Douglas.
Swimming on the Great Barrier Reef is relatively safe for everyone just as long as you are aware of your surroundings and you follow the direction of the boat crew and swim within viewing distance of the lifeguard lookouts and stay within the roped off areas around the pontoon.
If you are not such a strong swimmer then please let the Great Barrier boat crew know and they can set you up with a floatation vest or a pool noodle so that you can float around the ocean till your hearts content.
As mentioned above the Great Barrier Reef does not have any surf or great tidal changes that can whip you away out of site but just be aware of how far you do swim away from the boat or the pontoon and always keep an eye on your family members to ensure they are not stretching themselves too much.
If you do feel you are getting very tired and unable to swim anymore then lie on your back with your hand in the air and wait for a lifeguard to spot you and send the rubber ducky over to come and pick you up and return you back to the boat or pontoon platform.
Never ever panic as that makes the situation far worse. Just concentrate on floating on your back and they will be there to pick you up in no time at all.
Safe Snorkeling Tips On The Great Barrier Reef
Snorkelling is very easy and even young children two to three years old can snorkel. We have a saying here at The Tour Specialists and The Cairns Holiday Specialists that if you snore you are a natural born snorkeler as snorkelling is just a matter of breathing thru your mouth into the snorkel apparatus and not thru your nose.
You could even practice breathing thru your mouth prior to your arrival in Cairns to ensure you are ready to go when you get here.
If it is quite a windy day on the reef and you are snorkeling about then you just may experience salt water invading your snorkel. If this occurs you can either push it out with a big blow without having to take your head out of the water or start to tread water and take your snorkel out of your mouth and empty the contents.
Whatever you do do not swallow the salt water as not only is it not very tasty it can make you quite ill and if you drink way too much of it you can potentially drown yourself. People that come from countries where swimming is not a natural everyday thing to do should heed these warnings.
Do not keep your face down in the water and start to panic about the water in your snorkel, just lift your head up and clear the water out manually.
If you get water in your mask again do not panic just tread water and lift the bottom section of your mask to let the water out. Another way to let the water out of your mask is to push the top section or bar of your mask and it will free the bottom section and let the water escape without you having to take your mask right off.
This is the preferred way to do it as it will not require as much effort as it would taking the mask completely off.
Fitting Your Mask And Snorkel
The first trick is to ensure your snorkelling mask has been put on properly and has enough suction to not allow water to seep inside and it is also important to not breathe thru your nose in your mask as you will fog up the glass.
If you are unsure of how the mask should fit then just ask a crew member to help you choose the right size snorkel for your face. For those men with big fuzzy beards and moustaches, leaking water into your masks is always a problem as you cannot get a good seal around your face.
All facial hair needs to be totally out of the way along with any fringe hair as you will not get a good seal.
For those of you that have too many laugh lines or wrinkles then the same thing applies even though at least you can stretch and move these laugh lines to get a good seal on your snorkel equipment.
Each one of the Cairns and Port Douglas Great Barrier Reef boats carry all different size masks, snorkels and fins to suit all sorts of shapes and sizes.
There is a lot of hype about with regards to Cairns and Port Douglas being a destination that has deadly Irukandji jelly fish or marine stingers.
Oceans all over the world have the same marine creatures, some in more places than others due to water temperatures and environment.
When a jelly fish sting occurs in other parts of the world like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Fiji or other far off places you never get to read about it in the newspapers as its not front page news because the incidences of a jelly fish sting are so rare and they never ever actually record it.
However only in recent years some of our specialist jelly fish researchers like Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin are assisting these countries to put safe practices in place for tourists following the research and models of the Cairns tourism reef operators industry.
However Cairns and Tropical North Queensland have inherited a reputation as a prominent place to possibly be stung by an Irukandji jelly fish from November to May which is the Australian summer, which is not quite true or as nearly frequent as the media like to purport.
The main reason Cairns has this dangerous jelly fish reputation is because researchers have been coming to Australia since the 1940's and documenting and researching the Irukandji and other marine stinger jelly fish in the waters of Australia's Great Barrier Reef thus all the research records are here and referred to constantly by researchers from all arounf the world.
No other countries have dedicated long term records on the life and cycle of Irukandji jellyfish like those held here in Cairns.
See below an interview comment from prominent jelly fish researcher Dr Lisa-Ann Gershwin.
Response From Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin
"Yeah, basically, this is where the hub of safety, research and scientific knowledge on Box jelly fish and Irukandjis has been recorded. It's not that they are "more numerous" here, per se; it's that it's more pro-active here in terms of knowledge and prevention, and has been since the 1940's. It's just a historical tradition that the scientific research and data hub is here - it could have quite easily been anywhere else in the world in terms of need or actual interest in the subject of Jelly fish which not too many people find interesting apart from maybe myself and my colleagues and yourself Christina as it affects tourism to Cairns during the Green season which is a real shame as there is nothing to be scared of at all."
If you are still worried about travelling to the Cairns and Port Douglas Great Barrier Reef during November to May then please take the time to read the whole interview so that you have the correct perspective on the level of danger for you and your family with regards to jellyfish sting probabilities.
Swimming in Cairns north Queensland is actually a much safer place than swimming in other countries at this time of year due to the safety standard of our reef tourism operator's practices.
By law Australia has no responsibility to tell tourists that there are things in the oceans that may just hurt them because as educated adults they should know this anyway.
It's the same as telling them that when they cross the road be careful as you have a high risk of being hit by a car. Well they should they no know this anyway? Mind you the chances of being hit by a car gives you a hundred or million times higher chance than ever being stung by a jelly fish.
The reason it is so safe to swim on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland all year round is as mentioned above due to the safety standard practices that the Cairns and Port Douglas marine tourism operators have put in place along with the research input from the Irukandji jelly fish researchers like Dr Lisa Ann Gershwin.
One of the reasons why jelly fish researchers love to see a potential (and not always confirmed by the newspaper first) Irukandji jelly fish sting in the headlines is it means more potential research fund money so they want to see it blasted world wide so they can continue the research with donations coming in from the government and other contributors.
Unfortunately this has contributed to a billion or trillion dollar or more blow to the Queensland tourism industry for ever and a day because the whole story is never ever shown in a newspaper article just the highly emotive bits to scare people.
If it was presented in true research documented paper style and they tried to publish it in main stream media no one would read it nor would they be able to sell the newspapers.
From the years of research that has been done in Cairns and north Queensland the tour operators and the marine industry can predict the potential days that marine stinger jelly fish may be present in the waters so they do advise guests on the life guard patrolled beaches to not swim on those days unless they swim in the patrolled designated areas of the beaches and Dr Lisa-Ann Gershwin has just released the on an app in the Google app store.
All of the Great Barrier Reef tour operators carry full piece lycra swim suits for guests to cover up from head to toe during the times where jelly fish just may be present. Guests are not forced to wear these lycra suits if they do not want to but they are encouraged to do so not only for their own safety and piece of mind but so that if by any chance they do get a sting it does not disrupt the other guests day out on the Great Barrier Reef and having to return back to Cairns or Port Douglas early so they can receive medical attention.
Not only is it illegal to touch or take coral from Australia's Great Barrier Reef but it is also potentially dangerous for you to do so.
If you are cut by the coral it can turn into a very nasty infection and in a tropical environment that can be big trouble if you have not treated the wound with antiseptics and bathed it constantly and looked after it. Should it turn nasty then seek medical attention as you may need a course of antibiotics to really attack the infection.
Be aware if you try and take coral from the Great Barrier Reef whether it is dead and lying on the beach or you break off a brightly coloured piece you will be punished with a hefty fine from the authorities.
It takes some species of coral hundreds of years to grow so every piece is precious and has a reason for its existence in the underwater world. Leave it for others to see and enjoy also.
Never ever walk on the coral. Not only because you will cut your feet but you will be destroying delicate reef systems that will take many many years to recover. Snorkel over the top until you are well clear and then tread water to check your position.
More Great Barrier Reef travel tips from the Cairns Tour Specialists.
Port Douglas Reef Tours | Great Barrier Reef Tours | QS
- Departs From: Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina Port Douglas
6.5 hours (approx.)
Port Douglas Reef Trip, Outer Barrier Reef cruise from Port Douglas with the most awarded reef cruise company in Australia Instant book on line or call 1300 761 612 MV - QS Cruises also has the added bonus of traveling out to one of the most spectacular Outer Barrier Reef pontoon sites on the Agincourt Ribbon Reefs from Port Douglas Queensland Australia. This reef trip is the perfect choice for those that suffer seasickness and those that wish to see and do as much as possible on the Great Barrier Reef in one day. Fly out or back in a helicopter to see the reef from above and then dive down below to see it up close. This is one Port Douglas reef tour you will remember for a lifetime.
Cairns Great Barrier Reef Tour | Sand Cay Experience | Michaelmas Cay
- Departs From: Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal
8.5 hours (approx)
Great Barrier Reef Tours Cairns. Cruising to Michaelmas Sand Cay a solitary sand cay in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, spend a day snorkelling and diving . Instant book on line or call 1300 761 612 The most popular luxury day tour from Cairns. Enjoy a leisurely day on board this luxury sailing catamaran visiting the unique location of Michaelmas Cay where you can do activities as you like. Snorkelling, viewing the ocean depths in a semi-submersible submarine tour, trying a scuba diving lesson, taking a walk to see the huge amount of migratory birds nesting on the cay or just relaxing and soaking up the sun on this gorgeous little oasis in the middle of the reef. Perfect Cairns reef tour for non-swimmers and families as you can wade slowly into the water from the beach.
Cairns Reef Tours | Green Island Snorkel Tour | FULL DAY Great Barrier Reef Tour
- Departs From: Reef Fleet Terminal, 1 Spence Street, Cairns
5 Hours on Green Island - 9:00am Departure (Big Cat)
4 Hours on Green Island- 11:00am Departure (Reef Rocket)
Return to Cairns at 5:00pm for both tours
Choose from a number of ferry departure times and get yourself, your family and friends of to Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef for the day. Enjoy a myriad of both land and in-water activities such as Seawalker Helmet diving, scuba diving, snorkelling, guided snorkel tours, a visit to Marineland Melanesia to see the worlds largest and oldest crocodile in captivity A full day tour to Green Island just a 45 minute ferry ride from Cairns really is great fun
Helicopter Flight Cairns & Great Barrier Reef Package | Snorkel Dive | NT-SL
- Departs From: Cairns
Fly/Cruise 6 hours (approx)
Cruise/Fly 6 hours (approx)
Fly/Fly 4 hours (approx)
Cruise/Cruise with 10 minute scenic flight 8 hours (approx)
Come and take a helicopter scenic flight with us over the magnificent Great Barrier Reef out to a pontoon where you can spend the day snorkelling, diving, riding about in a semi-submersible submarine or a glass bottom boat or enjoying a relaxing snorkel adventure with a marine specialist. Scenic helicopter flights are available for 10 minutes or longer you can even fly from Cairns out to the pontoon on a 25 minutes scenic flight. Ask our team to book a flight to suit your dreams desire and see the Great Barrier Reef from above just like you see in the brochures
Cairns Great Barrier Reef Tours | Dive-Snorkel | Scuba Doo | Pontoon | GBRA
- Departs From: Reef Fleet Terminal, 1 Spence Street
7 hours (approx) or less depending on options
Take a fast boat ride out to a Great Barrier Reef pontoon from Cairns to begin a day of fun and adventure aboard the activity platform. You can take a scenic helicopter flight, enjoy a guided snorkel tour, take and introductory scuba dive, ride around the reef in a semi-submersible submarine, enjoy a glass bottom boat adventure and watch and learn as the marine biologists feed the fish and tell you all about the Great Barrier Reef and it's inhabitants.
Cairns Great Barrier Reef Helicopter Flight | 30 Minutes | NT
- Departs From: Cairns
30 minutes approx.
Take off on a scenic helicopter flight from Cairns over the world famous Great Barrier Reef to see it in full perspective for a 30 minute flight. Fly over beautiful Green Island, Arlington Reef, Vlassoff Sand Cay which is a popular place for wedding proposals and wedding ceremonies, then Upolu Sand Cay and back to Cairns city checking out all the marine life along the way.
Cairns Snorkel & Dive Day Tour Cairns | Pontoon | Great Barrier Reef
- Departs From: Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal
8 hours (approx)
Pontoons are great for families or for guests that may not be confident swimmers and they are great for those who are very active and like to try absolutely everything on offer. Try a scenic helicopter flight over the Great Barrier Reef, scuba diving, Seabob, Helmet Diving, Semi-submersible submarine tours, glass bottom boat tours, underwater observatory and even more!
Great Barrier Reef Tour | Cairns Pontoon | Dive-Snorkel | Helicopter | Glass Bottom Boat
- Departs From: Reef Fleet Terminal Cairns
90 minute cruise each way
4 hours on pontoon
Times are approximate
Moore Reef is one of the most popular dive locations for certified scuba divers when travelling to the Great Barrier Reef with families and friends as the reef system here is very pristine and full of marine life and not many other reef charter boats. This floating pontoon has all the toys to keep everyone busy all day long from young children to the teenagers to grandma and grandpa.
Cairns or Port Douglas Helicopter Flight to a Secluded Sand Cay | NT
- Departs From: Cairns & Port Douglas
3 hours (approx)
There is nothing more decadent or romantic than taking a private helicopter ride to a solitary sand cay in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef of Australia for a casual swim or maybe you have chosen this adventure as that ideal location for the well thought out marriage proposal. You can just relax with a picnic hamper and take some time out of your busy lives to just enjoy the magnificent scenery. Book early as these scenic flights are very popular
Cairns Great Barrier Reef Helicopter Flight | 30 Minutes | NT
- Departs From: Cairns
30 minutes approx.
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the worlds iconic masterpieces from Mother Nature herself and there is no better way to see her creativity than by boarding a 30 minute scenic helicopter flight from either Cairns or Port Douglas. Your pilot will do some low level flying around the reef, islands and sand cays to show you how brilliant it is to see the lace work of the coral formations just down below. Your camera button simply will not stop clicking
Cairns Helicopter Flights | Reef Trip Combo | Snorkel & Dive | GBR-RM
- Departs From: Cairns, Great Barrier Reef
Reef time 4.5 hours approx.
Fly out to a Great Barrier Reef pontoon and spend the day snorkelling & scuba diving and then board your helicopter for the flight back to Cairns. This really is the rock star way to see the Great Barrier Reef. If you wish you can also take the high speed catamaran out to the platform and then take a 10 minute scenic helicopter flight from there so you can see all the snorkellers & scuba divers below as they explore all the corals and marine life. Seeing the reef from above the water and below the water is the ultimate experience that will leave you with memories for a lifetime so book a scenic helicopter flight when you book your dive & snorkel tour in Cairns
Green Island Resort
Stay on the Great Barrier Reef at the tropical hideaway Green Island Resort and enjoy the romance and the tranquility of this luxurious resort.
Big Sale on Now!
- Cairns closest and most popular holiday island on the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns
- FREE Ferry Transfers
- FREE glass bottom boat tour
- FREE use of snorkelling equipment
- FREE use of non-motorised in water activities
Ask about our 3 Night Package Deal with BONUS Outer Reef Trip
Fitzroy Island Resort
Cairns' newest Island Resort with Hotel Rooms and self Contained Suites only 45min from Cairns.
Exclusive Offer On Sale Now But Be Quick!
- FREE Night Bonus Offers
- Swim Up Bar
- Onsite Restaurant & Foxy's Bar
- Games Room, Cinema Room
Hilton Hotel Cairns
Located on Cairns Waterfront near the Reef Fleet terminal the Hilton Cairns offers 5 star accommodation and a great base to explore Cairns and The Great Barrier Reef.
- Stay 3 Pay 2 Deals
- Children Stay FREE (under18yrs, using existing bedding)
- 5 star Cairns city hotel located on the waterfront
- 24 hour room service
- Tour Desk
- Multi-lingual staff
- Selection of restaurants
Lizard Island Great Barrier Reef
Peppers Blue on Blue Resort - Magnetic Island
Magnetic Island located off the Coast of Townsville offers a great escape from the hustle of bustle of every day life. Enjoy hotel or fully self contained holiday apartment style accommodation as you explore the Island.
- Breakfast Bonus Offers
- FREE WiFi