If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that I’ve finally made it to the Great Barrier Reef. Diving the Great Barrier Reef has been on my bucket list for a while, and I was so excited to finally do it right at the end of my working visa in Australia. This is all of the info on my tour.
Great Barrier Reef: Where to Book A Dive or Cruise
I booked my tour through Backpackers World in Cairns – I figured it would be easiest to go to a place where someone can help find the right tour for me.
I told them I was on a budget, and they recommended Down Under Cruise and Dive. They helped me find the best day to go. We chose a day where the wind wouldn’t be too crazy and we booked it in.
Great Barrier Reef: How Much You’ll Spend
I paid $195 for the full day on the boat. This includes snorkel gear, all diving gear (but does not include wetsuit rental), a full buffet lunch on board (they cater to vegans!), and wine, cheese, and crackers on the way back. This included an introductory dive – I’m not certified to dive, so this was the best option for me. I’ve never dove before. If you aren’t into diving, the cost will be lower, and you’ll get to snorkel at two reef locations.
There were lots of add-ons to the cruise – you could book a second dive, you could book a helicopter tour, a submarine tour, rent a wetsuit, rent an underwater camera. They also had beer and assorted drinks available for purchase. I didn’t rent a wetsuit – that is primarily for if you’re worried about being cold or getting cut by coral.
Great Barrier Reef: What To Expect
Check in at the dock was at 7:30 AM. The boat left the dock at 8:15 AM. On the way to the reef, we had a briefing on what to expect for the day – including the time tables, our dive groups, and what reefs we would be visiting. We went to Norman Reef in the morning, and Hastings Reef in the afternoon. These reefs are both on the Outer Great Barrier Reef.
Down Under Cruise and Dive: Pros and Cons
This is a budget cruise. They offer a lower price ($200) by using a larger boat with more people. It’s nice to save about $100 by going for the budget option, and there was plenty of room on the boat for everyone to have a seat and space to put backpacks/day bags.
The problem with having that many people on the boat is that when it’s snorkel time, you have roughly 100 people snorkeling in the same area. There were a few times that I was almost kicked by someone else’s flippers. While diving we had four divers to one instructor.
I spent the afternoon snorkeling and laying in the sun. On the way back, I drank wine, ate crackers, and made friends with some New Zealanders. It was a magical day.
Stay tuned for detailed posts on my first diving experience (and what went wrong), and what I’d do differently about visiting the Great Barrier Reef!