Great Barrier Reef & Lizard Island cruise, Australia

“Spend five days cruising and diving at the astonishing Great Barrier Reef. Less confident swimmers can enjoy beach-entry snorkelling, glass bottomed boat tours, and time exploring Cooktown and Lizard Island.”


Cairns | Cooktown | Lizard Island | Ribbon Reefs | Optional activities include: snorkelling, glass bottom boat tour and scuba diving

Description of Great Barrier Reef & Lizard Island cruise, Australia

The best way to see the Great Barrier Reef is by small boat. On this trip you can get beyond the crowds at Cairns and straight north, where the lesser-visited ribbon reefs offer amazing diving and snorkelling. Use private moorings away from the tourists and spend five days exploring the colourful tropical paradise both above and below the water.

Starting in Cairns, this circular cruise follows the wake of Captain James Cook. First you’ll motor up to Cooktown, named after the famous explorer. Look out for wallabies and kangaroos in the town’s botanic garden, before heading off to a remote reef island for a blissful afternoon. You’ll next motor to Lizard Island, which is known for its high lookout point. If you climb up here, you’ll see where Captain Cook mapped a safe passage for his boat through the reef. A naturalist can point out the island’s birds as you walk around the island. Next, it’s on to the ribbon reefs, where you can dive or snorkel to see a particularly pristine section of the grand old GBR, before returning to Cairns.

If you don’t want to dive, a glass bottomed boat, and fringing reefs around Lizard Island with easy access right off the beach, mean that even less confident swimmers can still see what’s going on below the surface. And there are plenty of sights on land, too, from the James Cook museum at Cooktown, to the rainforest trails of Lizard Island.

Your home for the duration will be a roomy catamaran. Whilst you’re on board, take full advantage of an amazing expert Marine Biologist, who’ll be on board ready to answer all your burning barracuda questions and giant trevally trivia, and will even bring specimens up to an on-board tank, to illustrate a series of fascinating presentations.

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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

The smaller size of our ship and the smaller passenger numbers ensures that any detrimental social and environmental impacts are minimised. Most tourists to the Great Barrier Reef stay (and often don’t leave) the Cairns area and a few other restricted locations, so by enabling our passengers to visit some different areas without putting any strain on local amenities, we are spreading the financial benefits and the load of our visit.

The ship’s owners take their responsibilities to the environment very seriously and are proud to be acknowledged as an ecotourism certified operator through the world-leading Ecotourism Australia organisation.

In March 2015 the ship was completely refitted with new, state-of-the-art engines. These new whisper-quiet engines have been developed to minimise emissions and improve fuel efficiency, whilst providing increased power and greater stability which is really important when travelling through fragile reef areas.

The food on board is bought locally; Queensland is blessed with being, in parts, very fertile and is ideal for growing fruit and vegetables. Fish is locally abundant, and meat is a major local industry, so all the food is very locally sourced.

Grey and brown water waste are both held in on board tanks until the vessel returns to port, where they are emptied and the waste is treated. Any rubbish generated during the cruise is similarly held on board and recycled at port if possible.

The Impacts of this Trip

We encourage all our passengers to engage with the local community on a social and economic level to ensure that this tourism has a benefit to both the visitors and the hosts. By visiting some of the more outlying communities we will spread the financial benefit of our visit to some rarely visited areas of the country.

These Great Barrier Reef cruises have an on board fully qualified Marine Biologist who will ensure you gain a full appreciation of the ‘Reef’, rainforest and tropical islands of this World Heritage-listed environment. The Marine Biologist provides huge amounts of information about the coral, flora and fauna of the local area, what threats it faces and how to preserve it. You also have the option to join a qualified naturalist on guided walks through the rainforests where they will inform anyone who wants to listen about the spectacular wildlife and the threats it faces. The Marine Biologist and the naturalist will also be available for on board discussions and occasional talks about their respective subjects.

We will endeavour to maximise the benefits of tourism and to minimise or eradicate any downside, socially, environmentally & economically.


1 Reviews of Great Barrier Reef & Lizard Island cruise, Australia

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 16 Jan 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Make the most of it. The food is excellent, the service is amazing and the snorkeling and diving are the best experience ever.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I hope so. I would't have minded paying more if needed.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

One of the best experience of my life.

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