One of the most popular activities when visiting Far North Queensland is a Reef Cruise. Green Island is a coral cay, about 27 km offshore from Cairns in Queensland, Australia. The island is surrounded by coral reef and protected as the Green Island National Park.
Although Green Island has a luxury resort, most visitors come only for the day. Once you reach Green Island, you can choose to snorkel or view the spectacular underwater reefs in a semi submarine or a glass bottom boat. Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises offers both a half day and a full day tour to this fabulous tropical island.
We opted for the Full Day tour and it went something like this:
8:00 am Pickup from our hotel (Cairns Sheridan)
8:30 am Checked in at Reef Fleet Terminal, Cairns and got our cruise ticket, which spelled out the exact timings for the glass bottom boat and semi-sub rides. All those in the cruise are divided into batches for these rides. Our rides were back-to-back, which turned out to be a good thing or else we would have to keep going back and forth from the island to the catamaran from where all the rides are launched.
9.00 am Our Big Cat catamaran took off. We sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed the cat ride.
A little after 10:00 am The Big Cat anchored at the Green Island Jetty, from where we had the first view of the amazing Green Island. A 250-m bridge connects the jetty to the island.
As our glass-bottom boat ride was not scheduled till 1:15 pm, we were free to explore the island till then. We could walk in the island’s rainforest, visit the Marineland Croc Park, opt for a Snorkel Safari, or simply laze on the white sandy beach. I really wished I could snorkel, but I barely know swimming so we decided to just spend time on the beach.
Around Noon We returned to the Big Cat for a buffet lunch. After the hot sun on the beach, the cool comfort of the catamaran was a nice change.
1:15 pm As our Glass-bottom boat ride was scheduled for 1:15 pm, we remained on board the cat till then. This was our first sighting of the Great Barrier reef. As obvious from the name, the boat had a glass bottom. We were seated on benches running along the sides of the boat, facing inward so that we could look through the bottom and observe all the activity happening under the boat. I’ve already written about that experience in The Great Barrier Reef, Australia, so I won’t go into detail here.
1:45 pm The Glass-bottom boat ride was followed by a more immersive Semi Submarine experience, in which we explored the depths of the surrounding reef around Green Island with an expert guide.
After the rides, we went back to the island to explore the various walking tracks. We came across interesting rocks and shells during our walk. However, as noticeboards cautioned, you are not supposed to take away anything but memories from the reef beach. Benches were thoughtfully provided at suitable distances so we could rest whenever we felt too hot.
It did get pretty scorching in the afternoon. Thankfully, the Green Island Resort area had various shops for ice cream, snacks, and souvenirs so we gradually drifted back there. After indulging in some chocolate ice-creams, my son and hubby finally decided to go for a swim. I didn’t have a change of clothes with me, so I just waded into the water for a little while. The water here was amazingly clear, I could see tiny silvery fish swimming over my feet.
4 pm We departed from Green Island around this time to cruise back to Cairns, after a thoroughly rewarding day. Totally worth it!
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