I hope to fly to Cairns next month and plan to use it as a base for a trip to Cape Tribulation & Daintree National Park and another trip out to the reef for some snorkelling.
Can anyone recommend tour companies for these 2 trips? Will it be ok for me to book when I arrive in Cairns or do I need to book further in advance?
You can book when you're there. The very next day might be booked full, but the day after that should be no problem. (At least, that was my experience in August; the same should hold for November, though.)
For Cape Trib, I went with Down Under Eco Tours. It was a looong (exhausting) day, but not nearly as rushed as it might've been (if still more rushed than I'd have liked, of course; such are tours). Our group was pretty small (12 people iirc) - out of necessity, as only mini-busses will fit on the ferry over the Daintree River. The rainforest boardwalk and canopy tower were interesting, we had quite a bit of time to stroll over the beach at Cape Tribulation, I loved the lunch location (set in the middle of the rainforest; shared with one other group by the same company), the crocodile spotting was pretty good, and Mossman Gorge on the way back was totally gorgeous - that was the one location where I really wish we'd spent more time. (Since it's close to Cairns and has a good road going to it, if you have the time, I'd recommend renting a car and visiting that yourself for a day; should be quite a few walking tracks around the place.)
For the reef I went to Green Island; wouldn't recommend that - I'm sure there's much nicer places around.
[ Edit: Edited on Oct 12, 2008, at 4:20 AM by Sander ]
Hi, both times I have been in Cairns and wanted to go out to the reef I have been able to book either the day before or a couple of days in advance. I have been on a trip to Green Island and to the outer reef and the outer reef trip was the better of the two for snorkelling. The coral around Green Island was mostly dead and the water was a bit murky, whereas at the outer reef it was beautifully clear with heaps of fish and coral. Check my photos! The boat ride to the outer reef is quite long though, so if you get seasick like a couple of my friends remember to take sea sickness tablets!
I hired a car the first time I was in Cairns and went to Mossman Gorge and then the Daintree and Cape Tribulation which was excellent, I think car hire was about $45 a day. I didn't do any tours, but saw mini busses around so there are a few options.
- * I forgot to add, it's well worth going into the Atherton tablelands from Cairns to look at the waterfall circuit - very pretty.
[ Edit: Edited on Oct 12, 2008, at 5:29 PM by aus_tim ]