Reef Magic vs Quicksilver Reef Tour – How to Choose Tips!


Reef Magic Pontoon and Semi-Submarine

Reef Magic vs Quicksilver Reef Tour – How to Choose Tips!


Welcome to our latest article on which is the best reef tour between the two big heavyweights of the Cairns Great Barrier Reef Tour industry! – Reef Magic vs Quicksilver Reef Tour – How to Choose Tips!


Ok, just before we jump into this article I wanted to say thank you for reading. The best way to learn about something is to research, exactly what you are doing now!


I hope you find this article useful, we get so many people asking this very common question. Which is the best reef tour? Is it Reef Magic of is it Quicksilver?


I wanted to try and write as clearly as possible to help you understand the main differences between these two great companies.


At the end of this article, you should be able to clearly choose the best Cairns Reef Tour for you!


So let’s jump straight into this battle of the century which is the best Cairns Reef Tour is it Reef Magic Cruises or is it Quicksilver Outer Barrier Reef?



Quicksilver Pontoon on Agincourt Ribbon Reef


To answer this question correctly you need to ask yourself a few questions, this will then help you decide which is the best one for your situation.


You first need to ask yourself a few Questions:


Are you staying in Cairns? Have you booked your hotel in Cairns? Are you planning to stay in Cairns the whole time during your visit to Cairns?


Yes, I’m staying in Cairns:


If the answer is yes then in general I recommend travel to the Great Barrier Reef with Reef Magic Cruises. The reason why is Reef Magic Depart from Cairns at 9:00am in the morning.


If you are staying in a Cairns hotel. It is generally only a 5-minute walk to the Reef Fleet Terminal to check in on the day of your tour.


Reef Magic spend 5-hours at Moore Reef. Moore Reef is a spectacular reef system located just over 45klm offshore from Cairns so the travel time is about 1-hour and 15-minutes.


Once you arrive at the Reef Magic Pontoon you have over 5 hours to Snorkel, Trying the Semi-Submarines, Glass Bottom Boats, Underwater Observatories and of course, eat lunch.


Reef Magic do provide a large extensive buffet lunch with many options to choose from. Everything is provided in your ticket price so you only need to bring a towel, hat, sunglass and sunscreen and perhaps a camera.


You also have the option to add a scenic Helicopter Flight, Scuba Diving, Helmet Diving or even a special Guided Snorkel Tour, these are charged extra.


Reef magic return to Cairns at 5:00pm in the afternoon so a complete day out on The Great Barrier Reef.


No, I’m not staying in Cairns, We stay at the Northern Beaches:


Now going back to our questions above if you are not staying in Cairns, perhaps you are planning at staying at one of the many Northern Beaches like Trinity Beach or Palm Cove.


If this is the case then I would highly recommend visiting the Quicksilver Outer Barrier Reef tour.


The reason why? Staying at the Northern beaches you are already nearly half way up to Port Douglas! The small seaside town of Port Douglas is where the large Quicksilver boat departs from. It’s called the Reef Marina.


So because you are already staying half way up the road to Port Douglas you might as well continue the rest of the journey and go to the reefs from Port Douglas.


Check in at the Reef Marina in Port Douglas is at 9:15am in the morning. The large Quicksilver boat departs the Reef Marina at 10:00am. (Please Note: There is also FREE Car Parking so you can leave your car all day no problem.)


So one minor difference you may have noticed Quicksilver do leave 1-hour later than Reef Magic, this is mainly to give people time in the morning to drive up to Port Douglas and meet the boat.


This does mean you spend a little bit less time out on the reef, but you do get to see the true Outer Barrier Reef systems. So this is a payoff worth taking a chance on I think, especially if you are already staying in the Northern Beaches or Port Douglas.


Quicksilver have the advantage of visiting the very Outer Barrier Reef.



Now many companies in Cairns claim to go to the Outer Barrier Reef. But as you can see on the map below Quicksilver really is the only Pontoon company to spend their day on the Agincourt Ribbon Reefs. Located on the very Outer limits of the Great Barrier Reef. So this is a definitive advantage when it comes to clarity in the water.



Generally the ribbon reefs offer better visibility in the water, so clear protected reef systems that are located the furtherest away from land, humans and any other unnatural man made issues. The Agincourt reefs are famous for a reason. They are home to some of the most spectacular coral and fish species known to man.


A full day out with Quicksilver Cruises you will experience Semi-Submarines, Underwater Observatories, all Snorkeling Equipment, Morning & Afternoon Tea and Buffet lunch.


Departing from the Reef Marina in Port Douglas at 10:00am. Returning to Port Douglas by 5:30pm. You can have the Quicksilver bus pick you up at your Cairns or Northern beaches Hotel, or if you have your own car just drive to Port Douglas to check in.




So in conclusion if you are staying in Cairns then you should travel out to the Great Barrier Reef with Reef Magic Marine World.


If you are staying at the Northern Beaches or Port Douglas then you should visit The Great Barrier Reef from Port Douglas with Quicksilver Outer Barrier Reef Cruises.


If you still can’t decide, flip a coin, heads for Reef Magic or Tails for Quicksilver it’s that easy!  Both companies offer fantastic service, both have their subtle differences.


But at the end of the day both companies are in fact fantastic! You cannot go wrong with either company.


This is why I mainly focus on the location where you will be staying. For this is the one thing you have control over and can mean spending more or less time traveling to the check-in counters depending on which company you are looking to travel with.


If you have the money …… go with both! Both companies visit very different parts of the reef and both are spectacular!


So hopefully this little article has given you some cold hard facts and we hope we have helped you to make up your own mind on the big question – Reef Magic vs Quicksilver Reef Tour – How to Choose Tips!


Until next time happy travels everyone and if you have any further questions please leave a comment in the notes field below!



Clint Carroll

Clint Carroll is the Manager of Cairns Tour Advice & Booking Centre. An adventure travel enthusiast, travel blogger, avid scuba diver and founder of based in Cairns, Australia. Connect with Clint on Twitter.


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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