Port Douglas - Outer Great Barrier Reef

Port Douglas - Outer Great Barrier Reef

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Find out more Dive the Great Barrier Reef

Port Douglas day dive trips are essential to include in your tropical vacation offering a world-class experience of the Great Barrier Reef system and stunning marine life. With family cruises, reef tours and dive trips departing Port Douglas every day of the year, you have the opportunity to explore the world’s largest single structure made by living organisms including sand and coral cays, pristine islands and of course the Outer Great Barrier Reefs, Opal Reef and Agincourt Reef.

Port Douglas is the heart of two World Heritage natural wonders; The Great Barrier Reef and tropical rainforest; attracting visitors from near and far. Located 70km north of Cairns, on Queensland’s northeast coastline, it is regarded as the most popular base from which to explore Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park as well as the rainforest coast of Daintree and Cape Tribulation. 

As experienced dive professionals, we can help you plan a reef experience to fit with your schedule, budget and exceed your expectations! With several tour operators in Port Douglas, there is a wide range of day tours to choose from to cater for novice snorkelers, introductory divers, families with children, certified divers or those wanting to sail the waters of the Outer Great Barrier Reef. All operators provide wet and stinger suits on board to ensure you are comfortable whatever season it is. Please enquire if you wish to hire snorkel or diving equipment as that can be arranged for most dive tours operating from Port Douglas.


The diversity of locations and thriving marine ecosystems in the Coral Sea ranges from tropical islands, sand cays, activity platforms and off-boat dive sites leaving you wanting to see more and more of this natural living wonder. All year round you can enjoy picturesque views form the boat or immerse yourself in the incredible underwater world filled with weird and wonderful creatures with water temperatures ranging from 24 - 29°C.

 Port Douglas Day Dive Trip Destinations

The Great Barrier Reef system is composed of over 2900 individual reefs and 900 islands, stretching for 2600km down the coast of Queensland, Australia. You’ll never have enough of this spectacular phenomenon! Port Douglas offers a range of exclusive reef day dive trips visiting up to 3 different reefs in one day with a multitude of activities available to give you the best reef experience ever.

If you’ve got a little extra time and want a thrill-seeking adventure that will show you a whole new level of the Great Barrier Reef, check out our liveaboard options. With personal experience and friendly advice, we can help customize the perfect trip for you on the outer reef!

Port Douglas Outer Great Barrier Reef

As close as 40km out of Port Douglas, it can take 45 mins – 2 hours to reach these exclusive sites. All operators provide a safe and comfortable transfer to and from the Outer Great Barrier Reef equipped with all necessary safety equipment, wet suits and stinger suits.

The reefs outside Port Douglas are generally fairly shallow, with water depths ranging from 5-20m, a great location for Open Water scuba divers – but just as good for snorkelers or introductory divers! Port Douglas reef day boats include catamarans, private charters and sailing boats, all from which you will see the vibrant living coral formations and marine life with your own eyes! Explore the rich and diverse coral gardens that provide an abundant habitat for many iconic species including sharks, rays, turtles, whales, clownfish, Maori wrasse, parrot fish and many tropical fish. Reef day dive trips depart daily from Port Douglas with the size and type of boat, number of passengers and number of reefs depending on the operator, weather conditions and what activities you’re after – let us help you choose the best trip tailored to you.

Great Barrier Reef Islands and Sand Cays

The most accessible island from Port Douglas is Low Isles where there are corals living very close to the island, making the perfect location for snorkelling. Named by Captain Cook in 1770, Low Isles is a historic part of Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The cays surrounding Low Isles were the site of the first extensive scientific research of a Coral Reef in 1928 anywhere in the world; and still today; the healthy and vibrant ecosystems amazes visitors each day.

Port Douglas Great Barrier Reef Dive & Snorkel Trips

If you’re keen to adventure the Outer Great Barrier Reef with more exciting activities such as snorkelling, introductory diving or certified diving, there are plenty of ideal sites for you. Spend up to 5 hours visiting three exclusive sites at Agincourt Reef with each breath-taking site chosen for optimal visibility and ecological diversity dependent on the weather conditions each day.

Reef Activity Platforms

Australia’s most awarded reef cruise departs Port Douglas on a spacious, high speed catamaran to an exclusive multi-level reef pontoon. Located on the very edge of Australia’s Continental Shelf which runs parallel to the renowned Ribbon Reefs, you will experience and witness some of the most incredible marine life. These day trips will engage all your senses in the majestic reefs whether it’s from a semi-sub, underwater observatory, snorkelling or optional helicopter tours.

Port Douglas Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard dive trips

If you’re a certified diver or just can’t get enough of the Great Barrier Reef, enquire about liveaboard dive trips that spend from 3 nights exploring some of nature’s finest dive sites including Cod Hole and Ribbon Reef. There are even options that include a return flight from Lizard Island over the reef!

Booking a Port Douglas Great Barrier Reef Day Trip

Dive in Australia can gladly assist you in booking a Port Douglas reef day dive trip with tours running every day to fit in with your schedule. Browse through featured products listed on this site, or for any special requests or enquiries contact us on our Free Call Number 1800 323 703 for friendly knowledgeable advice for the best experience on the Great Barrier Reef. 

Port Douglas Reef Day Dive Trips – Dive Guide – The Facts at a Glance
  • Reefs: Outer Great Barrier Reef
  • Depth: Cairns to Port Douglas - 5mtrs to 25mtrs
  • Maximum Number of Dives - 3 Certified Dives
  • Currents: Low but can be moderate at times
  • Dive Experience: Coral Gardens, Isolated Bombes of Coral, Wall Diving, Drift Diving and  Coral Swim Throughs
  • Marine Life: Both Pelagic and Macro life
  • Diver Level: Suitable to novice to experienced divers
  • Dive Guides: Majority of day boats insist on guided dives, although one vessel will allow more experienced divers in buddy pairs to dive unguided
  • Dive Briefings: The operators provide very detailed dive site briefings, highlighting specific coral formations, compass bearings and marine highlights of the dive site
  • Photo/Video - If you don’t have your own underwater camera they are available for hire
  • Opal Reef
  • Agincourt Reef
  • St Chrispins Reef