Screen Shot 2019-02-07 at 9.15.20 AM

Scuba diving in Cairns

Jump in and find out what lies beneath with our guide to diving in Cairns.

To scuba divers around the world, the Great Barrier Reef represents the pinnacle of diving and Cairns is a perfect location to base yourself in to get a taste of the action.

The good news is there are loads of boats heading out to explore daily. Those who only have a day trip in mind will likely visit the Inner Barrier Reef which is close to the mainland. Those who'd prefer to get their feet wet can explore the Great Barrier Reef proper, including Ribbon Reef and Osprey reef which is deeper in and is often found on multi-day trips.

We've found options for all experience levels and dug deep to uncover the best deals. You can check them out below.


Our top picks:

Best for price: 1 Day Certified Dive Trip

Best for price: 1 Day Certified Dive Trip from Adrenaline

Highlights:

  • One certified dive plus snorkelling for $190
  • All equipment and fees included in the price
  • Spend 5 hours on the Outer Great Barrier Reef
  • Enjoy a full-day cruise with tropical buffet lunch included
  • Suitable for certified divers

View details
Best for value: Great Barrier Reef Diving and Snorkeling Cruise from Cairns

Best for value: Great Barrier Reef Diving and Snorkeling Cruise from Cairns from Viator

Highlights:

  • Full-day diving tour with 3 dives and all-day snorkelling for $265
  • Enjoy 5 hours at 2 spectacular outer reef locations away from the crowds
  • Includes snacks, refreshments, buffet lunch and live entertainment
  • Visit multiple dive sites
  • Suitable for first-time divers

View details
Best for experience duration: Great Barrier Reef Overnight Snorkel and Dive Trip

Best for experience duration: Great Barrier Reef Overnight Snorkel and Dive Trip from Get Your Guide

Highlights:

  • Enjoy up to 5 dive sessions each day in exclusive reef locations
  • Take in the sunrise over the Great Barrier Reef with a dive before breakfast
  • End the day with a night dive before heading to bed
  • Re-energise with fresh meals prepared by the onboard chef
  • Suitable for certified divers

View details
Best for kids: Silverswift Outer Great Barrier Reef Dive

Best for kids: Silverswift Outer Great Barrier Reef Dive from Viator

Highlights:

  • Available for kids 12 and up
  • All equipment included
  • Combine introductory dives with snorkelling
  • Visit 3 different sites and spend 5 hours on the reef
  • Suitable for first-time divers

View details
Best for first-timers: Learn to Scuba Dive on the Great Barrier Reef

Best for first-timers: Learn to Scuba Dive on the Great Barrier Reef from Adrenaline

Highlights:

  • Learn to dive up to 18 metres
  • Includes snorkel training dive and 4 open water dives
  • Practice with state-of-the-art dive gear including dive computers
  • Explore the best of both worlds: 1 day on Fitzroy Island, another on the Great Barrier Reef

View details
Best for experienced divers: Great Barrier Reef Certified Diving with Lunch

Best for experienced divers: Great Barrier Reef Certified Diving with Lunch from RedBalloon

Highlights:

  • 3 certified dives plus a reef talk and presentation
  • Spend 4–5 Hours at 2 outer reef site visits
  • Includes morning and afternoon tea, refreshments and buffet lunch
  • Choose to dive with your buddy or join a guided dive
  • Suitable for certified divers

View details

When is the best time to dive in Cairns?

Cairns offers great diving all year round but from mid-August to mid-December you'll find the best visibility and least rain and wind.

If you're keen to spot manta rays and hammerheads, consider a visit between April and September and for the best chance of seeing minke and humpback whales, visit between June and September.


Scuba diving experiences along the Great Barrier Reef, compared

We compare the above mentioned options by location, price, duration and extras to give a better idea of what you're setting yourself up for.

Diving companyExperienceDurationIncludesSuitable forCost (from)Book
Cairns Dive Centre1 Day Certified Dive Trip9 hoursAfternoon tea, 4 hours on the reef, lunch, port and reef levy, snorkel and dive equipmentCertified divers$190Adrenaline
Down Under Cruise and DiveGreat Barrier Reef Diving and Snorkelling Cruise8 hours 30 minutes5 hours on the reef, guided tour, snorkel equipment, lunch, onboard marine biologistNo experience necessary (for introductory dives)$165Viator
Ocean FreedomGreat Barrier Reef Luxury Snorkel and Dive Cruise9 hoursLuxury catamaran cruise, 6 hours on the reef, all port and entry fees, seafood buffet lunch, snacks and refreshments, wetsuits, snorkelling tour with a marine naturalistNo experience necessary (for introductory dives)$215Viator
Silverseries Dive and SnorkelSilverswift Great Barrier Reef Snorkel and Dive Cruise10 hours5 hours at the reef, morning and afternoon tea, buffet lunch, snorkelling and dive equipment including prescription masks, fuel surcharge and Environmental Management ChargeAges 12 and up, no experience necessary (for introductory dives)$227Viator
Tusa Dive CairnsGreat Barrier Reef Certified Diving with Lunch8 hours2 or 3 dives, morning and afternoon tea, buffet lunch, all dive equipment including prescription masks, reef talk and presentationCertified divers$315RedBalloon
Sunlover Reef CruisesCruise and Scuba Diving at the Great Barrier Reef8 hoursIntroductory dive, glass-bottom boat cruise, 4–5 hours at the reef, all day snorkelling including equipment, buffet lunch, semi-submersible coral viewing, marine touch tank, onboard reef ecology presentation by a marine naturalist, afternoon teaAges 12 and up, no experience necessary$329RedBalloon
OceanQuestOvernight Snorkel and Dive Trip2 daysTwin share cabin with private ensuite, use of dive and snorkel equipment including wetsuits and dive computers, all meals onboard, guided snorkelling tours, refreshmentsCertified divers$480Get Your Guide
Down Under Cruise and Dive4-Day PADI Open Water Dive course4 days2 days of diving, 2 barbeque lunches, dive equipment and wetsuits, PADI Open Water manual and PADI photo certification card, return hotel transfersAges 12 and up, no experience necessary (for introductory dives)$620Viator
Rum RunnerGreat Barrier Reef Adventure – 2 Days2 daysOvernight stay on the boat, snorkelling equipment,guided scuba dive, guides, meals, wetsuitsAges 12 and up, no experience necessary (for introductory dives)$330RedBalloon

Scuba diving deals

Adrenaline Adrenaline

$40 off activities and experiences

Available when spending $199 or more on activities across Australia like hot air ballooning, skydiving, horse riding, ghost tours, surf lessons, scuba diving, theme parks and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Adrenaline Adrenaline

$25 off activities and experiences

Available when spending $149 or more on activities across Australia like hot air ballooning, skydiving, horse riding, ghost tours, surf lessons, scuba diving, theme parks and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Adrenaline Adrenaline

Up to 67% off + extra $15 off with code

Valid sitewide on experiences $79 or more across Australia including skydiving, ghost tours, driving, go karting, sailing, hot air ballooning, diving, bridge climbing, scuba diving and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Adrenaline Adrenaline

$30 off activities and experiences

Valid on select dates and activities like hot air ballooning, skydiving, horse riding, ghost tours, surf lessons, scuba diving, theme parks and more. Destinations are Sydney, Perth, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Melbourne. Minimum spend of $179. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

RedBalloon RedBalloon
Exclusive

Up to 50% off experiences + extra 10% off with code

Valid on all dates, including over Christmas on activities like skydiving, quad biking, bridge climbing, canyoning, hot air ballooning, helicopter scenic flights, abseiling, scuba diving, cruises, ghost tours and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Adrenaline Adrenaline

Up to 40% off water sports activities

Valid on select dates and activities like whale watching, sailing, jet ski, scuba diving, kayaking, parasailing, fishing and more. Destinations are Sydney, Perth, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Melbourne. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Popular Tourist Attractions & Experiences coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
17 May 2019 $40 off activities and experiences FRE****
17 May 2019 $25 off activities and experiences FRE****
16 Apr 2019 Up to 67% off + extra $15 off with code EXT****
15 Apr 2019 $30 off activities and experiences SUM****
9 Apr 2019 Up to 50% off experiences + extra 10% off with code FIN****

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site