A Review Of The Passions Of Paradise Great Barrier Reef Tour From Cairns

Looking to do a Great Barrier Reef snorkelling tour from Cairns but unsure if the Passions of Paradise tour is worth it? With so many operators to choose from in Cairns, it is hard to know which Great Barrier Reef tour you should book!

We wanted to find a boat tour that would take us out snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef for the full day and were told that Passions of Paradise takes you to some of the best snorkelling in Cairns. So, we booked it and are now sharing our snorkelling tour review so you can get a glimpse of what to expect.

Why book a Cairns snorkelling tour with Passions of Paradise?

While the reef trip starts at 8am on the boat, they provide lunch and there’s also a bar were you can buy alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages. The boat is huge and sturdy, there’s two levels and both have inside and outside areas on the upper deck so you can relax onboard.

They take you to two dive sites and you can choose to either snorkel or scuba dive. If you are non swimmers or don’t want to go in the water, there’s plenty of lounges on the sun deck to chill out on and enjoy the spectacular views.

It’s a fantastic snorkelling tour for families with small children. There’s a lot of staff on board so if you are not a confident swimmer they help you out doing laps with you in the water and giving out floaties.

What the itinerary looks like

Wondering what a full day trip snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns looks like? We did too. Luckily we wrote down all of the timings so you can see what our day looked like.

  • 7-7:45am – Get to the reef terminal for check-in between
  • 8am – Jump onboard
  • Instructions onboard until 8:15am
  • 2h journey to the reef; Hastings reef which is 15km long- we went from the middle (1770) to very end (split bombie))
  • 10:15am – Arriving at the reef
  • Instructions for 20min
  • from 10:45am until 11:45am – Snorkel in 1770 (FYI – it’s not the town of 1770 & Agnes Water even if it has the same name)
  • Lunch at 11:45am until 12:30pm
  • Next destination was 10min away
  • Snorkel for 1h45 in split bombie (this is the name of the second spot)
  • Head back at 2:30pm
  • At 3:30pm there is a marine life presentation by one staff member in the main saloon for 30min. It’s SUPER interesting, highly recommend listening to it. We learnt a lot about the diverse marine life, the coral, the colourful fish we got to see, the reef sharks, etc.
  • 4:10pm they distributed a slice of coconut cake to everyone and set up a tea and coffee station.
  • 4:35pm Arrived back in Cairns after an adventure filled day.

What to bring with you

Bring swimmers, hat, sunscreen, sunnies, camera, towel, under water camera. You don’t need to bring waterproof bags, they also provide mask, snorkels, stinger suit and flippers.

There is a bar on board with food and beverages, the food is included so you don’t need to bring any with you but you will have to purchase the drinks if you want any.

There are three toilets onboard as well. There’s also lounges all around the boat and inside, the best seats are outside at the back of the boat, on the left on way out and right way back due to wind.

There’s also a photographer who takes underwater photos in the reef. It cost $25 for one photo and you can buy a package for $35 which includes all your photos. It cost $80 per couple.

Experience on the boat


The boat has two levels, on the bottom at the back is where all the scuba diving and snorkelling equipment is stored. In the middle is the main saloon where the kitchen and bar is located, lots of sitting areas and two toilets.

At the front of the boat there’s lots of lounges and nets where people can lay on and admire the incredible Great Barrier Reef tour!

The top level, outside at the back are lots of lounges and a toilet, the middle section is under cover with more lounges and the this is where the skipper drives the boat. There’s more outside lounges at the front on this level too.

Passions of Paradise also offer a certified dive package as well.

What to expect for lunch on the tour


There’s quite a lot of options for lunch, about five different types of self serve salads to choose from and you can have a little bit of each if you want.

For the mains we had a choice of either vegetarian or chicken curry (you can have both) served with white rice, and a slice of bread and butter which was served by the chef, and all tasted amazing! Drinks are not included unless you opted for tap water.

Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef


The Great Barrier Reef tour was amazing from start to finish. You have plenty of time for yourself and and the water if you want to. And, the buffet lunch is great with home cooked meals that taste delicious.

There were 90 people on the boat but it didn’t feel like it because the boat was very spacious and you are not on top on each other.

The guides are very knowledgable on the marine eco system and gave us a unique perspective on natural wonders of the reef. At the end of the day one staff member did a marine eco system presentation, he had an iPad and was flicking photos of tropical fish, sea turtles and reef sharks and giving out really cool facts about the fish species and rich marine life.

There’s about 2900 reefs in the Great Barrier Reef and they took us to one called Hastings Reef which is 15km long. The snorkelling tours started in the middle at 1770 then went to the very end at Split Bombie.

The colourful corals are stunning and we saw a lot of its natural beauty and marine life. We even saw a tiger reef shark just before everyone was told to jump in the water for our snorkel tour which was pretty cool, but also a little scary!

If you’re thinking of doing a Cairns snorkelling tour, make sure you book the full day tour with Passions of Paradise!

Looking for more things to do in Cairns?


Check out our following articles to help you plan your trip to Tropical North Queensland.

22 Best Things To Do In Port Douglas

13 Best Things To Do In Palm Cove

25 Best Things To Do In Cairns

28 Best Things To Do In Atherton Tablelands

26 Awesome Things To Do In Mission Beach

13 Things To Know About Paronella Park

13 Reasons To Visit Tropical North Queensland In The Wet Season

Green Island vs Fitzroy Island: Which One Is Better?

Port Douglas vs Palm Cove vs Cairns

Everything You Need To Know About The Ocean Safari Cape Tribulation Snorkelling Tour