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Outer Reef Pontoon Experience from Cairns

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Cairns City, Australia
Outer Reef Pontoon Experience from Cairns
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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon8 hours  (Approx.)
iconOffered in: English and 6 more


Enjoy the natural delights of the Great Barrier Reef on an activity cruise from Cairns that gives you several ways to experience this renowned underwater world. After traveling by catamaran to a pontoon moored on the reef, you can observe marine life on a glass-bottom boat or semi-submersible vessel; go snorkeling to spot sea turtles; get your hands wet in the touch pool; upgrade to include a Seawalker Helmet dive; or upgrade to include an introductory or certified scuba dive. A buffet lunch is included, and the pontoon is equipped with showers.
  • Full-day Great Barrier Reef cruise
  • See the underwater sights without getting wet from a glass-bottom or semi-submersible vessel
  • Enjoy a buffet lunch
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Snorkeling equipment
Glass bottom boat and Semi-Submersible tours (unlimited)
Sunlover waterslide and spacious sun deck
Great Barrier Reef and fish feeding presentations by our marine experts
Underwater observatory and ocean enclosed pool
Coffee and/or Tea
WiFi on board
Fresh water showers and change rooms
Environmental Management Charge (EMC)
Additional cost: Wetsuit and prescription snorkel mask
Additional cost: Guided Snorkel Tour, Intro or Certified Diving, Seawalker Helmet Dive, Heli Filghts
Additional cost: professional photos or camera hire
Additional cost: Secure lockers
Additional Cost: Hotel Transfers can be added directly with Sunlover
1 Spence St , 1 Spence St, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

The Sunlover reservations desk is inside the Reef Fleet Terminal on the ground floor. All guests must check in and collect their boarding pass between 8:30 am and 9:15 am. The boat departs from the A finger right beside the terminal.

9:30 AM
This activity will end right where it started.
Your day on the Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, begins as you depart Cairns by high-speed catamaran, listening to commentary from a marine naturalist about the array of marine life that call the reef home (safety and snorkeling instructions are also provided). Arrive at a spacious pontoon moored on the outer reef, your base for the day, where you can spend your time however you wish to make the most of your experience on the water.

The pontoon is equipped with Wi-Fi, change rooms, and showers. A buffet lunch is provided for beverages, you may purchase soft drinks and alcoholic drinks from the onboard bar, as well as additional snacks or ice cream. For protection from the elements, Lycra sun suits are included or you can hire neoprene wetsuits (additional cost); the Great Barrier Reef is home to jellyfish and other stinging species (jellyfish season is November to May).

After ample time on the pontoon, your day trip ends with the return cruise to Cairns.

Included activities

If you prefer to stay dry, take a glass-bottom boat ride or tour by semi-submersible vessel to spot clownfish, starfish, clams, anemone coral and more. Watch a fish-feeding demonstration, and check out the onboard touch tank for a hands-on look at marine life. When you want to cool off, jump in the water with your provided snorkeling equipment to look for resident sea creatures like Dolla the turtle or Wally the hump-headed Maori wrasse. Watch for manta rays, clownfish and maybe even whales in the winter months.  

Optional upgrades

Seawalker Helmet diving: Take a walk on an underwater platform to enjoy the thrill of scuba diving without the scuba requirements. No diving experience is necessary to participate in this guided activity, and numbers are limited to six people per group to provide personalized attention.

Introductory dive: If you’re a beginner scuba diver, take an introductory dive with a group.

Certified dive: If you are an experienced diver, enjoy two certified dives.
Stop At:  
Great Barrier Reef
Sunlover's Marine Base at Moore Reef on the Outer Great Barrier Reef is teeming with colourful coral and abundant marine life in every colour of the rainbow.
Duration: 4 hours 
Admission Ticket Included
Pass By:  
Fitzroy Island
On our Moore Reef Daily experience we make a brief stop enroute and on the way back from the reef to pick up and drop off passengers. Fitzroy Island is favourite trip for Cairns' locals with 99% of its landscape covered in lush tropical rainforest as well as granite outcrops, open woodlands, mangroves and coral beaches. Learn more about the marine life of the Great Barrier Reef with a visit to Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre or the Reef Restoration coral nursery, take a bushwalk to the Summit or Lighthouse, snorkel straight off the beach or simply relax on the sandy shores of the famous Nudey Beach - voted the best beach in Australia. Inquire about our Fitzroy Island Transfers, which give you 6 hours to explore this paradise. Or, for the ultimate tropical island and reef experience combine it with a Moore Reef Daily cruise and save.
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Minimum age is 12 years for SCUBA diving and Seawalker Helmet dive
  • Please ensure you bring your dive certification for Certified SCUBA dives
  • All dives are subject to an on board medical checklist, please contact us for more information.
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 308 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Sunlover Reef Cruises
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What is the policy on sanitization during Outer Reef Pontoon Experience from Cairns?
A:The policies on sanitization are:

  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
See all safety measures taken by Outer Reef Pontoon Experience from Cairns.
What is the social distancing policy during Outer Reef Pontoon Experience from Cairns?
A:The policy on social distancing is:

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
See all safety measures taken by Outer Reef Pontoon Experience from Cairns.
What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during Outer Reef Pontoon Experience from Cairns?
A:The policy on staff health & safety is:

  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
See all safety measures taken by Outer Reef Pontoon Experience from Cairns.

Traveler Photos

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Traveler Tips

  • "It costs extra, but I would do it all over again." See review
  • "Seasickness pills are a great suggestion, as there were a lot of people suffering." See review
  • "I would recommend this trip for those with varying ages in your group including non-snorkelers." See review


318 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 318 reviews
The adventure was very...
, Nov 2021
The adventure was very good but clouded by the Capitain lack of respect yelling at me and my son and at the crew. I got out of the snorkeling area by mistake. Passages should be told of the areas you are allowed to swim! Disappointed therefore I rate the experience as average. I paid $600 and I will not pay it again. Sorry but the incident was truly upsetting. I understand that safety is first but he the Capitan must not show lack of respect to passenger and crew!
Snorkelling the Barrier...
, Oct 2021
Snorkelling the Barrier Reef was amazing. We loved the semi-submersible and the glass bottom boat. The staff were extremely friendly, helpful and knowledgeable.
Best. Day. Ever.
, Oct 2021
Amazing - honestly one of the best experiences we as a family have experienced. The water was crystal clear - an abundance of marine life including turtles. Right from the beginning of the day - the crew were so friendly and funny. The captain of the vessel was so professional. The pontoon was next level AMAZING. We didn’t want to stop snorkelling so we chose not to do the sub experience…. We didn’t want to waste a single moment. The food was lovely - catering to our fussy eaters. We would recommend this tour to everyone…….
The crew were attentive...
, Oct 2021
The crew were attentive and made sure our needs were catered to. Our dive master (Matt) was exceptional to the extent that I felt 100% at ease with him looking after my son for a 2nd dive alone with Matt. Very friendly, empathetic and knowledgeable. The facilities were excellent and overall we felt completely safe and comfortable in being out of our comfort zone. Back end booking, and admin staff first rate... friendly and efficient.
The best day out
, Oct 2021
The whole day was excellent had a great day on the reef and the food was very nice and the staff were very friendly and helpful
2 travelers found this review helpful
Only go on this tour if you have young children
, Oct 2021
This tour good if you have small children if you have older children or no children pick one of the other smaller tours on the smaller boats for a better experience. There were far too many small children on this tour which impacted the experience.
Great way to see the reef
, Oct 2021
We did this with kids and friends and it was a great day for everyone. We felt safe at all times and loved the relaxed feel while still constantly doing something. I'd happily go again.
Great day
, Sep 2021
Fantastic staff!!!! Lovely food. Great to have the glass bottom boat and semi submergable for older people who don't snorkel
Highly recommend
, Sep 2021
Highly recommend this tour. The staff were all lovely and it offered so many activities. The snorkelling was amazing! Great for families or people unsure if they want to swim as they have the semi-submersible and glass bottom boat as well.
Happy days 👍
, Sep 2021
Diving and seeing sea cucumber and turtle 👍A really good snorkeling experience. Friendly and knowledgeable staff who are curtious in their instructions 😊

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