Are you heading to Cairns and looking for a great day trip on the Great Barrier Reef? The beautiful 6000-year-old coral cay Green Island Queensland could be the ideal location for your fun day out from Cairns.
Just 27 km from Cairns Green Island has it all. It is a nature lover’s paradise with gorgeous sandy beaches, where one minute you are in a lush rainforest and the next enjoying secluded beaches. You can access Green Island off Cairns all year round but during the cyclone season in Queensland that runs between November to April sailings may be cancelled at short notice. We travelled during the wet season and experienced light showers during the day.
Green Island, Wunyami country, is important culturally to the Guru-Gulu Gungandji Aboriginal people. Green Island and the Great Barrier Reef are part of their traditional sea country.
Green Island is part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Site. Both the island and the reef is protected.
View our Youtube Video of our Green Island Reef Catamaran Cruise here:
Check availability here for the Green Island Day Trip
Green Island Day Trip Review – FAQs
This is our review of our Cairns Green Island Day Trip on the catamaran “Reef Adventure”.
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How do you get to Green Island from Cairns?
Green Island tours depart from Cairns Reef Terminal, 1 Spence Street, Cairns
When can you board for the Green Island Catamaran Cruise?
Boarding is 30 minutes before departure.
How long is the journey from Cairns to Green Island?
The sailing time from Cairns to Green Island takes between 50 – 60 minutes.
What are the departure times for Green Island?
From Cairns, there are two departure times 8.30 am and 10.30 am.
Departure times from Green Island are 2.30 pm and 4.30 pm.
You can choose any combination of the above e.g. to depart at 10.30 am and return at 2.30 pm.
Can you hire equipment on Green Island?
Green Island Beach Hire has canoes, kayaks, beach volleyball and relaxing sun lounges and umbrellas for hire.
The Dive Shop has fins, masks and snorkel available for hire.
If you are not a strong swimmer we suggest that you hire buoyancy vests. Full lycra suits are also available for hire from the Dive Shop.
Are there restaurants and cafes on Green Island?
You can bring your own picnic lunch or enjoy cafe-style lunches at the Canopy Grill. For a la carte dining try Emeralds Restaurant. Coffee, teas, milkshakes and sandwiches are available at Lite Bites. Cocktails, drinks and snacks are available at the Reflections Pool Bar.
Is there accommodation on Green Island?
The Green Island Resort Cairns is an eco-resort that has 46 luxury air-conditioned suites with private balconies with either rainforest or pool views.
For more information on the Green Island Resort, you can read it here.
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Our Green Island Eco Adventure Tour Review
We chose the Eco Adventure Green Island Tour because we had the option of either snorkelling on Green Island Cairns or touring the reef on a Glass Bottom Boat which was included in the price. There were three of us travelling.
Our departure time was at 10.30 am and we were due to return at 4.30 pm. We were told if we wanted to return earlier and there was space available we could return at 2.30 pm which we did. Why? The ocean was a little rough that day and we did not see much in the glass bottom boat as we could not go out far enough on the reef. The snorkelling was a little average due to the weather conditions.
As we boarded we were offered tea and coffee before departure. Tea and coffee is not served after departure. After the safety announcement staff wandered throughout the catamaran offering activities. There were some on the day trip that were not stopping at Green Island but travelling out further on the reef. Others had booked scuba diving, helicopter scenic flights, parasailing and the “sea walker” which is the underwater walking experience on the sea floor at Green Island.
On arrival at Green Island those who were doing the glass-bottom boat cruise headed to the small jetty on the left and those who were doing snorkelling walked to the end of the Jetty to the Dive Shop just to the left to pick up snorkelling equipment.
We had great commentary from our captain of the boat on the fish and coral that could be seen around Green Island. It was rough and a few of the group became seasick. If you tend to get seasick I would bring sea sickness tablets with you. During the cruise, we saw mostly fish and a sea turtle off in the distance.
After my glass-bottom boat cruise, I met with the rest of my team and we headed towards the Beach Hire area for snorkelling.
The area is enclosed and suitable for those who are not confident in the water. There was a small incident where a visitor who could not swim proficiently got into trouble in waters too deep for her and she did not have a buoyancy vest. If you are not a strong swimmer we highly recommend a buoyancy vest. There was a lifeguard available at the time.
You can hire beach umbrellas and sun lounges in this area.
You can also use the island swimming pool if it is included in your tour package.
Self-Guided Walk Around Green Island
There is a self-guided nature walk around Green Island that starts close by the Beach Hire. The boardwalk has interpretive signs giving you detailed information about the formation of Green Island, plants, wildlife and marine life. It is only a short walk and easily accessible for most. Along the way, there are small secluded beaches to enjoy. There is interesting information to read about the Wunyami people. We would recommend that you take this boardwalk to understand Green Island and its importance to the reef and to its people.
Marine Melanesia Crocodile Habitat
You can visit the Marine Melanesia Crocodile Habitat which has performances throughout the day and even hold a baby croc. Current entrance fees are Adults $25, Children $12.50 and Family $62.50.
We had a pleasant day trip to Green Island but wondered if we chose to visit during the winter months whether we would have seen more whilst snorkelling and in the glass-bottom boat. If you haven’t visited an island in the Great Barrier Reef before Green Island would be a good introduction. The Green Island Reef Catamaran cruise was comfortable and we would recommend travelling with them.
Book your Green Island Day Trip here
Travel Information for Cairns and Far North Queensland
Cairns International Airport is located 5.6 km from Cairns CBD.
Flights are available to Cairns from major airports around Australia.
We use Jucy Car Rental when we fly into Cairns. They are an off-site car rental hire but have great prices, clean cars and good service.
We always recommend taking out travel insurance, as you never know when you need it. The best time to take it out is when you start booking your holiday flights, tours, hotels etc.
Looking for more things to do in Cairns or Far North Queensland. We can recommend a day out in the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation. Another easy day out from Cairns is the Skyrail to Kuranda returning via the scenic historical railway.
If you have started your journey in Brisbane or ending it there we have some fun unique tours for you to enjoy.
An alternative to staying in Cairns is to stay in the tropical paradise village of Palm Cove, just 25 minutes from Cairns Airport.
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We would love to hear from you if you have experienced any day trips from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef.