How much time to snorkel GBR?



How much time to snorkel GBR?


Well this all depends on what your interests are. But the number one thing for sure you definitely need at least one full day to really get a taste and experience the reef. One day at the very bare minimum.


The Great Barrier Reef stretches 2,300 kilometers down the eastern coast of Australia. Covering 344,400 square kilometers, an area the size of the UK, it is more than twice the size of the next largest coral reef on the planet Belize.


The Great Barrier Reef has over 1500 species of fish, 600 coral species and 30 different whale and dolphin species, it is one of the most biodiverse and complex ecosystems on the planet.


Check out this quick little David Attenbourgh clip below to give you an idea:

But you will find many different species of coral growing in one area and not another. With that certain types of reef fish like to hang around certain types of corals and not others. Think of it like a city, you will find all the various communities that live in a city. Chinatown, Little Italy, Little India and so on. This is the same for the Great Barrier Reef.


Could you visit and experience all of New York City in One Day? I think not, there is so much to see and do. This is the same for the reef.


So with this in mind, one day out snorkeling on the reef is great, but there is a whole lot more to see than what you can find in one day.


If you are comfortable in the water and love to snorkel then check out some of these Cairns Snorkeling Tours.


What Else Can You Do In Cairns?


So if you plan to spend just one day out snorkeling on the reef than there are a few other land-based activities you should also think about experiencing while you are in Cairns.


Number one is visit the World Heritage Listed National Park of Daintree and Cape Tribulation.  Rainforested mountains sweep down to long sandy beaches. One of the most biologically diverse areas in the world, the Cape Tribulation area was included in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area in 1988.


Cape Tribulation Day Tours from Cairns and Port Douglas depart daily. General hotel pick-ups start at around 7:30am in the morning and return to your hotel at around 6:30pm. So quiet a long day to visit this region, but well worth it.


Another day trip as an option is to visit the small little rainforest village of Kuranda. Now some people say this is a little bit touristy and with the souvenir shops and shopping available you would maybe think the same, except. The highlight of visiting Kuranda village is by Scenic Train and Skyrail.


The Kuranda Scenic Train was originally designed to transport cargo to and from Cairns to the inland towns of Mareeba, Atherton and the Gold Fileds of the late 1890’s. But as time moved on this route became more famous from the amazing natural views of the surrounding areas of Cairns and the Tropical Rainforest covered mountains.


In 1987 after many years of debate a Skyrail concept was conceived, this was followed by 7 years of pre-construction feasibility studies, an Environmental Impact Study and numerous other reports and assessments, and consultation and approval processes with local, state and federal governments and local communities. After the go ahead construction of the Rainforest Skyrail commenced in June 1994.


Today Skyrail is a modern state of the art cableway system that travels 7klm over the tree top canopies from the coastal mountains of Smithfield to Kuranda Village.


Fantastic views can be experienced from the Kuranda Scenic Train and Skyrail. Once of the most convenient ways to visit this beautiful little tropical village in the rainforest is on a Kuranda Day Tour.




If you are planning to come to the Cairns region for a holiday spare at least 3 days to get a taste of what the Tropical North has to Offer.


Number one visit the Great Barrier Reef, snorkel or trying diving on one of the many day boats. Number two visit Cape Tribulation and Daintree National Park. Number three visit the beautiful little village of Kuranda.


If you have a little more time you might then be interested in visiting the reef over a 3-days. Spending more time on the reef allows you to see more of the reef, marine animals and underwater world that is The Great Barrier Reef.


You can also combine trips from both Cairns and Port Douglas to make the most of your time. Visit our Cairns 3-Day Ultimate Reef Pass for more information on how to save money over 3 days visiting the reef.


As a small locally run travel agency, we have hand picked what we believe to be the top 3 day tours visiting the reef, rainforest and waterfalls in Cairns. Please see our Cairns Tour Packages page for more information.


Ask your questions below?

Clint Carroll

Clint Carroll - Chief Travel writer and Scuba Diving enthusiast at Cairns Tour Info. Follow him on Twitter.

Do you need help choosing?

Can't decide? We have personally been on every Cairns reef and diving trip. We can help you choose the best tour, to suit your experience and budget.


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