We are going to be at the Cairns area for 5 days with a 3 yr old starting 11/8. We like to do an outer reef cruise. A pontoon at the destination would be nice for the child. Looks like my options are QUicksliver to Agrincourt reef, Reef magic to Moore reef, Sunlover to Arlington reef, Great Adventure (to Moor reef?). Do I miss any? I would appreciate if some experts could give an comparison of these tours. Some of us wants to try an introductory dive, so nice diving is desired. We got seasick, so calm trip and calm condition while on the pontoon is must (Should we be concerned about sea condition this time of the year?). Not being too crowded is nice, but not required, preferablly staying away from the tour groups.
We also want to do another tour to islands or cays. We acturally wanted to stay on Green Island for couple nights, since it sounds like a great place for chilrend and the snorker who is afraid of deep water. But I read so many negative reviews on the forum, especially with day trippers crowding the island, destroying the reef. , I question if this is the best choice. How is the snorkel off green island, I am not expceting something as spectaular as in outer reef, but don't want to look at dull, dead reef either. Shhould I go ahead with Green Island, or look at day trips to Lower isles, or other small cays, would prefer a shorter trip to get to the island.
We haven't decided where to stay yet (Between Cairns and Port Douglous), I think that will be determinted by what reef tours we take.
Currently, we scheduled one day for the Daintree. From what I read, Kuranda itself is very touristy. We are not into shopping, etc., more into natural adventures, is it a good idea to skip Kuranda. I suppose I would got my taste of rain forest from the Daintree trip, I might be missing the cable car over rain forest expereince.
Since we are not the tour group type, we would prefer to self drive, are we really going to miss out a lot? I would try to get some nice maps and books at local bookstore. How is the driving condition. We have driven in the US and Europe, driving on the "wrong side" might be the only concern. Do we need a 4x4. We like to see more, but with a young child, we probably won't be doing the real tough driving either, therefore not paying for the extra unless it has big advantage.
Can we rent the car in the airport and return in the city before heading out to the islands?
Thanks you, I have read lots of very helpful comments, look forward to your expert views