We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Wonderful Day on the Outer Reef”
Review of Great Adventures

Great Adventures
Ranked #55 of 161 Tours in Cairns
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: With Great Adventures you can explore the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef on any day of your holiday, be it at the spacious outer reef activity platform or the tropical reef and rainforest surrounds of Green Island. Cruises depart daily from Cairns aboard modern fast catamarans. All cruises are accredited with Advanced Ecotourism Certification, ensuring guests have the opportunity to learn about and appreciate this magnificent World Heritage environment.
Reviewed September 22, 2012

My husband and I were staying on Green Island for 5 nights and decided to do the Outer Reef trip with Great Adventures on one of the days following a recommendation from a couple that we met in the Resort.

We were collected at Green Island at 11:30am (it leaves Cairns at about 10:30 I think) and it took 55 minutes to reach the Norman Pontoon on the Outer Reef. The Pontoon is amazing - it is huge for starters with heaps of tables, a dedicated area for sun lounges, an underwater observatory and a Semi- Submersible affording amazing views of the fish, coral and edge of the reef without getting wet - perfect for older participants. The cost of the trip also includes your snorkel and fin hire, the buffet lunch (see below) and a piece of carrot cake or chocolate cake on your way out to the Pontoon. (Yum)

The snorkelling was absolutely stunning - best coral I've ever seen and the water seemed just so much clearer than my previous snorkelling experiences at Green Island and the Whitsundays. For that reason alone the money spent on the trip was well worth it.

The Buffet Lunch was served between 1-2pm. On the day we were there the hot options were a vegetable curry, a beef curry and a chicken stirfry with boiled rice. The cold options included large prawns, salad, coleslaw, bread rolls and cold meats like chicken and ham. I think there was fruit on hand as well.

There are plenty of add ons offered by staff along the way for extra $$$, eg. helicopter ride, scuba diving, Scuba Doo, photographs, etc however we didn't take up any of those options. I was disappointed to overhear a crew member trying to sell the stinger suit hire by telling a guest that it was currently stinger season, when September most definitely is not.

We left the Pontoon at 3:30pm and headed back to Green Island (and then back to Cairns). When I first heard that we would only be spending 3 hours at the Pontoon it sounded too short, but as it turns out the timing was perfect.

You spend a lot of time on the catamaran getting to and from the Pontoon. Tea and coffee, cold drinks, snacks and icecream is available to buy on board and there is a cold water dispenser. There are also plenty of toilets.

I've been on a lot of day trips or tours on my own over the years - this one probably wouldn't be great for that. You would have to work hard to find other people to chat with or pass the time with on this trip.

2  Thank KJ74Sydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (521)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
  • More languages

438 - 442 of 521 reviews

Reviewed September 7, 2012

We thought this was expensive when we booked but this company really know what the are doing. On the boat out there were lots of staff if we wanted to ask questions, they were also selling add ons and we did do another boat trip further out. When you get to the island you can go and get the snorkelling gear that's included, but the glass bottom boat is worth doing if you are a less confident swimmer (like me). On the boat trip further out the team on the boat kept a careful watch and helped haul me out of the sea when I found the snorkelling too difficult; the children and my husband were OK and the lifeguarding duty was still taken seriously and they were watched the whole time. The food on the island is good, usual Oz prices I thought. You can find a bit of beach that is a bit more deserted but it wasn't too crowded by the lifeguards either. (It was low season). We walked round the whole island in 1/2 an hour.The trip out, exploring Green Island, finding food and drink and the return journey were all really easy. I last did this trip in 1989 and still really enjoyed it with my children this time; there are less fish than last time though and we only saw one ray as opposed to 20 or 30 last time. The only slight criticism is that you have to pay for umberellas on the beach, we needed shade for the children at times and a nominal fee would have been OK but it was too expensive. The positive is all the staff are knowledgable and really enjoy their role. If you see Yoo Yi in the dive shop or on the boat say Hi from us, a real credit to the company. Take the first boat out and the last boat back. We went twice because we enjoyed it so much. Lots of bathrooms and lots of pay for lockers so you can go and swim or sunbathe to your hearts content.

Thank MomDawn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2012

Don't believe all of the negative reviews. I'm wondering if some of these people took the same tour as we did. We were staying on Green Island, so we cannot comment on the people who got dropped there for a few hours to snorkel. People staying on the island have a separate private area just for them. We only took the reef tour. We were picked up at the dock at Green Island and it took about an hour to get to the outer reef. On the way, they captain and crew noticed three hump backed whales. Two adults and a baby. They stopped the boat and we were able to get amazing pictures of the whales playing and breaking water and blowing water from their blow holes. What a treat. When we got to the pontoon, we chose to take the submersible tour first, which was included in the cost. It was a great way to get a look at the beautiful sights to come. We then had a wonderful buffet lunch and the lines were gone by then. We were given stinger suits and snorkel equipment from the friendly staff. The staff members spoke English, Chinese, Japanese and Spanish. The staff may have tried to talk people into signing up for things that were not included, however all you needed to do was say no and they left you alone. While snorkeling we saw sharks up close and personal. We followed a sea turtle for over 5 minutes. The coral was amazing and there were so many different beautiful species of fish, you couldn't even count them. We had a wonderful day and would suggest this tour to everyone.

1  Thank Roy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2012

We had never been to Cairns or the Great Barrier Reef before and we knew we wanted to go out there. I got a million hits when I googled a day trip to the Reef before I left home and it was impossible to know if I chose a nice ride. I did! Everyting was beautifully set up and worth the money. The whole thing took 7 hours. The trip out to the outer Reef took approx 2 hours and we thought the boat was crowded and thought how is this going to be once we reach the pontoon. Once we were out there, everyone kind of dissapaered into their own space and we never felt like we were crowded or that we had to spend much time in line. We got served a nice lunch and of course, best of all, got to snorkle amongst the great fish. All in all, a wonderful day. Thanks great Adventures!

Thank Vronge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2012

The staff is mostly Chinese, with great difficulty speaking English. They were very nice but it was difficult to communicate with them.
The lunch buffet was a simple one, it was not really an open buffet. We had to stand in a long line for someone to slowly serve us.
The Scuba-Doo was the worst deal of all. We paid about $140 each and they rushed us into it , rushed us through a predetermined round under the water and spent most of the time taking pictures with their own photographer who then later charged $20 for each picture.
The entire experience of the Scuba-doo from getting to the launch site and back was less than 20 minutes.
The visit to Green Island was not worth it because we were there for two hours with little to do. There were a few things to do, such as eat, see a crocodile show, or go on a submarine, but all for more money. We would've rather spent more time at the Great Barrier Reef than at Green Island.

2  Thank Wagd861
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Great Adventures also viewed

Cairns Region, Queensland

Been to Great Adventures? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing