I’m not exaggerating when I say that diving and snorkelling Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the kind of once-in-a-lifetime experience that ought to be on every traveller’s bucket list. Arriving in Cairns, however, you’ll find operators offering reef cruises at every turn. The question is: which one do you choose?
If you’re like me, there are a few boxes you’ll want ticked before you hand over your cash for a Great Barrier Reef tour. Value for money is a no-brainer, of course, but I’d also look for a reputable company that consistently receives good customer reviews and – importantly – one with a track record for eco-friendliness, given the fragile nature of the world’s coral reefs. Looking around for snorkelling reef tour providers that met these criteria, one operator stood out from the rest: the multi-award-winning Quicksilver Cruises
As the old saying goes, ‘you get what you pay for’ and for the price Quicksilver certainly don’t disappoint. If you’re staying in Cairns, your day-long reef trip begins with a comfortable (and scenic!) coach ride to Port Douglas to board Quicksilver’s handsome and – thankfully – ecologically sound catamaran. You might be surprised at just how large this state-of-the-art cat is, but that means there’s plenty of room for everyone, whether you choose to relax in the air-conditioned lounge or sun yourself on the spacious deck.
What’s great about Quicksilver is that their tour whizzes you to the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Even in choppy waters it’s a relatively smooth and speedy ride, taking just ninety minutes to reach the clear waters of the pristine Agincourt Reef, and a huge floating pontoon. From this you can snorkel or swim, or dive the reef where you might be lucky enough to spot the odd turtle, ray or harmless White Tip shark swimming amongst the shoals of exotic and inquisitive fish that inhabit the colourful coral. I loved the fact that Quicksilver cater for non-swimmers too; thanks to their semi-submersible vehicle, small children and adult land-lubbers can enjoy views of the marine wonderland beneath the waves. Spending more than three hours at the reef means that there’s plenty of time to try out the numerous activities and facilities on offer, plus there’s an unlimited free buffet when it’s time to take a break and grab a bite to eat.
At this point it’s worth singing the praises of Quicksilver’s staff; friendly, helpful and efficient, they take care of everything for you from the moment they pick you up in Cairns. Nothing is too much trouble to ensure that guests have the safest, best and most memorable experience of the Great Barrier Reef possible. Don’t just take my word for it though; if you’re holidaying in Oz and looking for the ultimate Barrier Reef snorkelling and diving experience from Cairns, book yourself onto the Quicksilver Cruise and see for yourself – it’ll be the highlight of your trip.
You can book Quicksilver Cruises directly on their website at www.quicksilver-cruises.com or contact one of the team at Bridge & Wickers.