This premium reef cruise combines the outer Great Barrier Reef with a coral cay island.
In only 1¼ hours the fast air-conditioned Reefstar 1 can take you from Cairns to magnificent Michaelmas Cay, the largest of the local uninhabited coral cays. Cruising past Green Island, Upolu cay and Oyster reef this is the first boat to arrive. After an enjoyable time here it is a short 20 minute cruise to the splendid Hastings Reef, sitting on the very outer edge. This is where the corals thrive, well out from the coast away from the influence the rivers and streams, adjacent to the clear waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Included in your Day
- Morning/Afternoon Tea
- 2 Fully Guided snorkel tours
- Quality Snorkel Equipment
- Wetsuit / Stinger Suit
- Prescription Masks
- Buoyancy Vest if needed
- Noodle if needed
- "Reef Brief" reef talk
- Glass Bottom Boat Tour (30 minutes)
- Island Walk
- Fully Air Conditioned
Located 22 nautical miles from Cairns, Michaelmas Cay is the largest of the uninhabited coral cays in the Cairns region and is home to up to 35 different species of sea birds. This is the first vessel to arrive at Michaelmas Cay. Very few tour boats are now permitted access to this sensitive island and there are only three vessels which travel daily that are permitted the right to use the Cay on their trips.
Unlike other cays, it is always above water no matter how high the tide. Environmental restrictions placed on the cay have considerably reduced the numbers of people who can visit, creating the unique situation, where the island and reef remain essentially untouched in a pristine state. Those visiting will notice when diving or snorkelling that the corals appear wholly unspoiled.
Similarly the birds are not intimidated by people on their island, as chicks they see people every day and consider these harmless creatures to be a natural part of their environment. Likewise the fish are accustomed to people swimming around, so much so you can approach most very close, usually within an arm’s length, before they move slightly away, just to keep that “comfortable” distance.
Michaelmas Cay is the SAFE and easy way to snorkel and dive. It truly is the simplest destination to try snorkelling and diving by far. Being such a large cay it protects the waters around it and combined with its gently sloping beach, provides a simple and familiar entry into the calm water. As you head out the water gradually becomes deeper, with the reef so near on the low tides you can actually walk to the first coral only a few metres from the water’s edge. The result is that you remain more relaxed not worrying so much about swimming and being calmer, you can enjoy the reef more.
Hastings Reef 30 nautical miles out from Cairns which is the preferred location for corals, well away from the coast and the effect of the rivers and streams; out here on the very edge of the Pacific Ocean is where the corals thrive. Of course with the healthy corals there are many dynamic and colourful fish.
For divers and snorkellers you are swimming in the clear ocean water which provides the utmost visibility. Hasting is a typical outer reef, on most days a line of breakers marks where the deep ocean swells break onto the reef wall. The reef itself is shallow on top, with steep sides reminiscent of cliffs falling away into the surrounding water. Reefstar moors on the calm side at one of the most interesting locations and although the back of the boat may be hanging over the shallow coral the bow of the boat is in 20 metres of water.
It is here you can experience the true wonders of this Outer Edge Reef, there are the coral caves, coral overhangs, deep water drop offs, coral canyons, swim throughs and shallow coral bays that are only metres from the side of the Reefstar. Along the steep edges there are swirling schools of small fish, colourful parrot fish, turtles, giant clams, “friendly" little reef sharks, bright yellow butterfly fish, pairs of rabbit fish, countless varieties of brightly coloured damsel fish and of course, Nemo.
Hastings Reef is also where we do our half hour Glass Bottom Boat Tours. These are safe comfortable and dry.
Snorkelling and Scuba Diving
Snorkel tours are conducted by experienced, educated staff, well-informed in the reef fish and corals and all have obtained the safety standard of Recue Diver as a minimum requirement. Guides tow a life ring behind them, which serves as both a reference and additional floatation, should you become tired. This is someone you would like to have close by if you are new to snorkelling.
Adventure Snorkel Tour
This is for the experienced snorkeller or strong swimmer. After checking equipment this tour heads out into the deeper water around the cay where the interesting and colourful corals flourish.
Novice Snorkel Tour
Typically with this tour, more time is provided to become acquainted with the mask and snorkel, fit the buoyancy vest and generally become comfortable before commencing. Initially on starting the tour is very measured, remaining in shallow water until everyone in the group is 100% contented before carefully heading away from the beach. Reassured by the life ring the guide tows behind, it is not long before this group has moved into the same area as the Adventure Snorkel Tour and although not travelling as far, those on this tour also see excellent reef.
Introductory – first time divers
Never dived before? Well now you can, without any previous experience. Join our caring Dive Instructors and let them take you into the wonder waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Diving is fun and not as difficult as you may imagine, after a brief theory lesson and practicing some under water skills, you are ready to begin.
To ensure divers get the most of this reef all certified dives are guided by an experienced Dive Master, which is included in the fare.
Great for Families
This cruise is a great choice for families, with lower numbers on board and a special staff member dedicated to making sure you and your kids have an unforgettable day at the Great Barrier Reef. They even run a separate snorkel tour for families with young kids, towing a life ring for if the littlies get tired.