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Great Barrier Reef & Whitsundays

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1. Posted by HafJafMark (Respected Member 291 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I will soon be going to Cairns and travelling down teh coast. Im going to book a sailing trip in the Whitsundays and was considering doing a snorkeling trip off Cairns or Port Douglas to the great Barrier Reef.

Is there much point in paying to do both or are they quite similiar?

Has anyone done a dive here?
If so do you need a PADDY Certificate?
How long do the dives last?

2. Posted by hitesh_g (Budding Member 18 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I was in Cairns November 2005 and went snorkeling with 'Reef Encounter' cruise. Website:
We stayed aboard for 1 night and 2 days, although they have longer stay packages too.

The crew is *** Absolutely *** wonderful and go out of their way to make sure you have a great time. On our 2day/1night package we had 6 dives, each lasting a little over an hour; including one night dive (per night). They've got well-maintained dive gears, and their meals are awesome too. Oh yes, the cabins (i.e your private room for sleeping/shower etc) are also very clean and well maintained.

On the 2-day package, they take you to 3 different reefs; on an extended trip they take you to one more reef site I believe.

If you want to do Scuba, they do require a diver's certificate.

No tips about the Port Douglas snorkeling, sorry :(

Hope this helps; if you need any info on Cairns - let me know.

Have a fun trip !!

3. Posted by stevieh (Respected Member 615 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hi there,
I did a Reef Cruise from Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays, with a company called FantaSea, who were equally wonderful.
And they did a guided Scuba dive under their pontoon at the reef. If you wanted to go ff on your own, you'd probably need the certificate. They did ask questions about health though - particularly ear trouble, for obvious reasons.
The reef is accessible all the way along the coast from the Whitsundays north, so you don't have to do it in both places, but there's no harm if you can afford it!

4. Posted by richymac (Budding Member 13 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I left Cairns about 10 days ago and i did my first dive there, i would say just get theit and their are so many places along the esplanade and around there where you can book an introductory dive and go for a snorkle or option of a second dive. i would say go for a smaller boat they still have the same saftey standards but you have a more personal experinece. some boats go out with over 300 people, and by all acounts you see as many people as fish on the reef.
I have now done 4 dives on the east coast and i have not got my PADI license as i think most place will do guided dives and to get PADI open water you need to spend 2 days in a classroom which was not the reason i came to oz!!!
But i hope you enjoy it i loved it


5. Posted by magykal1 (Travel Guru 2026 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Can't comment on the reef trip from Cairns, but I found sailing in the whitsundays fantastic.