Great Adventures Review Green Island & Great Barrier Reef

If you can’t decide between a Cairns reef or island day tour – no problem – do them both in one action packed day with Great Adventures. This full day itinerary includes 2 hours at Green Island and 3 hours at the Outer Great Barrier Reef, as well as morning and afternoon tea, buffet lunch, snorkelling equipment, a reef presentation, underwater observatory, and semi-submersible tours. It ticks all the boxes and provides plenty of time at both destinations, to really experience what they have to offer. We snorkelled off the beach at Green Island and from the pontoon at the outer reef. Highlights included seeing 2 sea turtles, anemonefish, a super friendly humphead maori wrasse and 2 simply giant cowtail stingrays. Diving from the pontoon we explored coral walls and bommies and visited the coral nursery. Cruise. Snorkel. Dive. Explore. Great Barrier Reef. Green Island. We did all with Great Adventures and it was an amazing day.

Great Adventures Review - Green Island

Great Adventures Review, Green Island and Great Barrier Reef Adventure. Fast boat, smooth transfers and friendly crew. No corners were cut when planning this tour, it ticks all the boxes for a great day.

Great Adventures Review Green Island & Great Barrier Reef

This full day tour is a fantastic experience, showcasing both Green Island and the Great Barrier Reef, and making them accessible to people of all ages. Lots of activities are included in the tour price, including snorkelling, with equipment provided at both Green Island and at the Outer Reef pontoon, semi-submersible tours and an underwater observatory. Optional extras include certified or introductory scuba diving, a guided snorkel tour, Scuba-Doo underwater scooter experience and scenic helicopter flights. The day begins with boarding the Great Adventures’ catamaran in Cairns from 8am, for an 8.30am departure; during the 45 minute transfer to Green Island, the crew help you plan your day and activities. They provided everyone with a schedule of times and a map of Green Island, pointing out key locations including the island’s Dive Centre, which is where you pick-up your snorkelling equipment, and noted the time to return to the boat, for the onwards trip to the Outer Reef.

“Everyone from Great Adventures was super helpful and very friendly. From the check-in staff to the crew on the boat, the Dive Centre team and our dive guide, they all went above and beyond to make sure we had a great day. The catamaran was stable and comfortable, and there was plenty of time to enjoy Green Island. From bird watching, to snorkelling off the beach, relaxing on the sand and tucking into an ice-cream by the pool, it was all time well spent. Continuing onwards to the Outer Reef, our dive guide provided a briefing on the equipment and our dive, which we did as soon as we got to the pontoon. Water entry was down a submerged staircase from the pontoon into the ocean, and our dive time was 45 minutes. Then we enjoyed lunch, did some snorkelling and did a semi-submersible tour. The day was well planned and paced, and we arrived back to Cairns right on schedule, at 5.30pm.” – Julie Johnston

Green Island & Outer Reef Snorkelling with Great Adventures

The Great Adventures catamaran arrived at Green Island at 9.15am, giving us 2 hours to explore and enjoy the beaches, fringing reef and island facilities. Snorkelling equipment was included in the tour price and was available for collection from the island’s Dive Centre. Once that was in hand, we made our way down to the beach, where we encountered several species of birds, including black noddy terns, sooty terns and seagulls. The clear water beside the jetty was teeming with small fish and we set out to explore the shallows. Highlights of the snorkelling was seeing a striking blue anemone, green sea turtle, 2 massive cowtail rays and starfish amongst the sea grass. Please note there are two places you can snorkel at Green Island, beside the jetty (which is where we snorkelled) and ‘just around the corner’ at another beach, which has life guards present. This second beach also has beach hire, including comfortable sunlounge recliners. As guests of Great Adventures, you’re also welcome to swim at the resort pool and grab an ice-cream or refreshment (additional cost) on the island. We were advised to be back on the jetty at 11.20am, to catch the 11.30am boat to the Outer Reef (and make sure you’ve kept your boarding pass, as you will need to present it), and looked forward to the next part of our day.

We visited the Great Adventures pontoon at Moore Reef. This split-level pontoon has a top level ‘sundeck’ for relaxing, a shaded middle level with table and chair seating, changing rooms and the dive deck, and a lower level which includes the submerged platform for scuba divers and underwater observatory. Water access for snorkellers is from a platform on the middle level, which is lowered into the sea with a seat to put on your mask and fins. It was low tide when we snorkelled and some parts of the reef were visible above the surface. Meanwhile, beneath the surface, the water was teeming with fish of all shapes and sizes. We saw large schools of colourful chromis, rabbitfish, parrotfish, butterfly fish, angel fish, coral trout, giant trevally and more.

Great Adventures Dive Review Great Barrier Reef Pontoon

Great Adventures provide certified scuba diving and introductory diving (no experience necessary) on their outer reef pontoon. All Great Adventures scuba diving is guided and dive time is generally 45-minutes, per dive. All equipment is included in the dive price, which is in addition to the tour price. The dive briefing is provided on the boat, as it makes its way to the Outer Reef from Green Island. Water access for scuba divers is on the dive deck, which is located on the middle level of the pontoon. Here you put your gear on and walk down some stairs into the water, to a platform around waist height. Once everyone is ready, the divers descend to commence their exploration of the reef. At the mooring blocks underneath the pontoon, our dive guide Maroos pointed out a Schultz pipefish, which was pretty cool as I haven’t seen one of those before. We explored the coral walls and bommies during the dive and saw several anemonefish, titan triggerfish, coral trout and humphead maori wrasse – we also spent some quality time with a hawksbill sea turtle. A highlight of the scuba dive for us, was visiting the underwater coral nursery where coral is being propagated in conjunction with the Coral Nurture program. This was a fantastic opportunity to see different species of coral being grown on platforms, providing habitat for tiny schools of fish.

After the dive, it was lunch time on the pontoon. There was a hot and cold buffet, which included bread rolls, deli meats, prawns and a selection of salads, potato gratin, Japanese curry and a vegetable stir fry. Cool water was provided and included, or you could purchase other beverages on the catamaran, which stayed moored to the pontoon for the duration of your reef time. Next on our list was a semi-submersible trip, which was accompanied with commentary explaining what we were seeing. The final activity of the day for us was the marine presentation, which was delivered on the snorkel platform and included feeding some giant trevally and a humphead maori wrasse. There were other optional extras we could do, including a guided snorkel tour, scenic helicopter rides and the Scuba Doo underwater scooter, but we did not participate in these on this visit. At 3.20pm it was time to board the boat and at 3.30pm we commenced the journey back to Cairns. During the return trip we grabbed some beverages from the bar, enjoyed the complimentary cake, cheese and crackers and filled out the dive log. Great Adventures got us back to Cairns right on time, at 5.30pm.

Here Are Ethan’s Thoughts

Going out on an amazing flat day with Great Adventures was really fun. First we took a boat ride out to Green Island, where we went snorkeling and saw a cool blue anemone and had some ice cream. Then it was on to another boat, for the trip to the Outer Reef pontoon. We had 1 dive there, and I loved seeing one of the Coral Nurture program’s coral nurseries. Back on the pontoon, we had some lunch and went snorkeling. We then went on a semi submersible, to look at the reef without swimming. My glass out experience with Great Adventures was great!

Great Adventures - Snorkeling Green Island

Questions About This Great Adventures Tour

Is the Great Adventures Green Island and Great Barrier Reef tour worth it?

Yes, this tour provides the perfect balance between island time and reef time. Everything is taken care of for you. A great choice for those who want to enjoy in water and out of water activities.

Do you have enough time on this Great Adventures tour to do everything?

Yes, there is enough time on the Great Adventures Green Island and the Great Barrier Reef Tour to do everything. Our day did not feel rushed at all. All of the timings worked really well.

Is the Great Adventures Green Island and Great Barrier Reef tour family friendly?

Yes, the Great Adventures Green Island and the Great Barrier Reef Tour is family friendly. Our family of 3 did it – 2 adults and 1 child – and there were lots of other families enjoying the day when we were there.

Will kids enjoy this Great Adventures tour?

Yes – the kids will enjoy this Great Adventures tour. We know not all children are scuba divers and some children are not super comfortable in open water. This tour ticks the boxes for everyone. Easy snorkelling off the beach at Green Island – a great way to get them ready for the Outer Reef – a snorkelling platform on the pontoon, plus the semi-submersible and underwater observatory. Of course, the certified and introductory scuba diving too (minimum age for introductory diving is 12 years old).

What’s the diving like with Great Adventures?

All scuba diving with Great Adventures is guided diving, by professional and friendly dive guides. All equipment is provided in conjunction with the dive price. The Great Adventures scuba diving on this tour is conducted at the pontoon, not on Green Island. Water entry is easy, down a submerged set of stairs into the water. Dive time is generally a maximum of 45 minutes.

Where do you go diving on the Great Adventures Green Island and the Great Barrier Reef Tour?

The scuba diving component of the Great Adventures Green Island and the Great Barrier Reef Tour is from their pontoon, which is moored at Moore Reef on the Great Barrier Reef.

How many dives can you do on the Great Adventures tour?

You can do 1 scuba dive on the Great Adventures Green Island and the Great Barrier Reef Tour.

Can I try scuba diving with Great Adventures?

Yes, you can try scuba diving with Great Adventures on this tour. There is no experience needed for an introductory dive. The minimum age to participate is 12 years old. All introductory dives are guided and equipment briefings, are provided on the way to the reef. There are certain medical conditions that may prevent you from diving, including asthma and epilepsy.

Can I dive unguided with Great Adventures?

No – all scuba diving is guided diving with Great Adventures.

What is the snorkeling like on Great Adventures?

We thought the snorkelling on Great Adventures was excellent. There was lots of marine life and corals in the top few metres of the water, and the reef was a very short swim from the pontoon. You also had the option of being in the water for the reef presentation and fish feeding, which was very exciting. All of the snorkelling equipment was provided and included in the tour price. We did not do the guided snorkel tour.

What is the snorkelling like at Green Island?

Being able to snorkel straight off the beach at Green Island is awesome. We have done lots of Green Island snorkelling and we usually see a green sea turtle every time. The water is usually clear and relatively shallow. You can read more about this, in our Green Island Snorkelling Review.

What is there to do on Green Island?

There is lots to do on Green Island. You can explore the rainforest on boardwalks. Visit Marineland Melanesia, which is home to the largest saltwater crocodile in captivity in the world. Snorkel off the beach. Relax on the beach. As a guest of Great Adventures you are also welcome to swim in the resort’s swimming pool.

What is the Great Adventures Outer Reef pontoon like?

The Great Adventures outer reef pontoon is a split-level pontoon, providing a stable ‘base’ while you are at the Great Barrier Reef. It has 3 levels. The top level is a sundeck, with sunlounges and tables and chairs. The middle level is the main level and is where the buffet lunch is served. It also has tables and chairs, as well as the equipment station for snorkelling equipment, changing rooms and the dive deck. The lower level includes the underwater observatory and the dive platform, which is accessed by an internal staircase.

What is the food like on Great Adventures?

The Great Adventures Green Island and the Great Barrier Reef Tour includes morning and afternoon tea, as well as a hot and cold buffet lunch. Morning tea is a selection of biscuits and muffins, with tea and coffee. Lunch includes a selection of deli meats and salads, bread rolls, chilled prawns, potato gratin, a Japanese curry and vegetarian dish. Afternoon tea is a selection of cake and cheese with crackers.

Is the Great Adventures Green Island and the Great Barrier Reef Tour suitable for non-swimmers?

Yes – the Great Adventures Green Island and the Great Barrier Reef Tour is suitable for non-swimmers. There are lots of ways you can engage with and learn about the Great Barrier Reef on this tour, without swimming. See below.

  • Gaze down into the waters from the Green Island jetty, to see lots of fish swimming in the waters.
  • Sit in the shallows on the beach at Green Island. Look for starfish in the sand.
  • Visit Marineland Melanesia at Green Island, which has a wonderful array of aquariums with clownfish, a coral nursery, hawksbill sea turtle and saltwater crocodiles.
  • Visit the underwater observatory on the Great Adventures Outer Reef pontoon.
  • Take a scenic heli flight over the reef, from the Great Adventures Outer Reef pontoon.
  • Jump on a semi-submersible tour on the Great Adventures Outer Reef pontoon.
  • Catch the reef presentation and fish feeding at the Great Adventures Outer Reef pontoon.
  • Sit on the submerged step at the pontoon, to have reef fish swimming around you.

Great Adventures Review What You Need To Know

The Great Adventures Green Island and the Great Barrier Reef tour caters to people of all ages. When we travelled, there were young independent travelers, families with children of all ages, including infants in prams, as well as older guests and tour groups. The itinerary of this tour provides a relaxed pace with plenty of time to enjoy Green Island and explore the Great Barrier Reef. The crew are very friendly and helpful. The boat is comfortable and provides a stable ride. All meals and snorkelling equipment is provided and included, with great optional extras available, including scuba diving, scenic heli flights and more. Boarding at the boat commences in Cairns at 8am for an 8.30am departure. You have 2 hours to enjoy Green Island, departing the island for the Outer Reef at 11.30am. You have 3 hours to explore and enjoy the Outer Reef from the Great Adventures pontoon, departing to commence your return to Cairns at 3.15pm with a stopover at Green Island before ending in Cairns around 5.30pm.

  • 2 Hours at Green Island
  • 3 Hours at the Outer Reef
  • Outer Reef Pontoon
  • Meals & Snacks Included
  • Snorkelling Equipment Included
  • Dive Equipment Included in Dive Price
  • All Dives Are Guided
  • Introductory Dives
  • Certified Dives
  • Guided Snorkel Tours
  • Daily Departures from Cairns
  • Wear Sunscreen & Sunsmart Clothes

About the Author

Julie was born in Cairns and grew up running around in the cane fields south of the city. She has explored, breathed and loved everything about our amazing Cairns region her whole life. Excited to be able share this wonderful place with our son and see it all again through ‘new’ eyes. Watch this space for more info on the people, places, destinations and things you can do up here.

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