Best Place to Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef

What's the Best Place to Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef?

Embark on a snorkeling adventure in the awe-inspiring Great Barrier Reef, the world’s most famous marine treasure. Plunge into crystal-clear waters to discover a mesmerizing underwater realm teeming with colourful coral formations and an abundance of marine life. Float alongside majestic sea turtles, schools of tropical fish, and perhaps even a friendly encounter with ‘Nemo’ the clownfish. 

With visibility reaching up to 30 meters (100 feet), every snorkelling excursion promises breathtaking views and unforgettable encounters. Whether you are a novice or experienced snorkeler, the Great Barrier Reef offers an enchanting experience that will leave you in awe of its beauty and inspire a deeper connection with our planet’s remarkable ecosystems.

Nestled in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, the reefs around Cairns are hailed as some of the best places in the world to embark on a snorkelling adventure. With their diverse marine ecosystems and breathtaking underwater landscapes, these reefs offer an unparalleled opportunity to witness the beauty and wonder of the Great Barrier Reef up close. The proximity of Cairns to the outer reefs allows for convenient access to pristine snorkelling sites. Just a short boat ride away, you’ll find yourself immersed in a vibrant underwater playground, where the kaleidoscope of colours and marine life will leave you spellbound. From intricate coral formations in every hue imaginable to an abundance of tropical fish species, the reefs around Cairns are teeming with life.

New to snorkelling? Check our First Timers Guide to Snorkelling

Our Top 6 Places to Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef

Pretty Patches

If you’re looking for a serene location to appreciate a diverse array of soft and hard corals, Pretty Patches is an excellent option for snorkelling Cairns. While you navigate the tranquil waters of the reef, be sure to keep an eye out for the impressive Staghorn Corals, colorful Sea Fans, unique Spaghetti Corals, voluminous Leather Mushroom Corals, and the visually stunning Brain Corals that are constantly expanding.

Saxon Reef

Located between Norman Reef and Hasting Reefs, Saxon Reef is home to some of the most vibrant marine species in the area. Covering an area of approximately 1.9 square kilometers, it is one of the less crowded diving spots in the region, providing an opportunity to explore the underwater world without distractions. It is an ideal location for scuba divers who wish to experience the full range of wonders that the reef has to offer its one best place to snorkel great barrier reef.

Hastings Reef

Experience the wonder and majesty of Hastings Reef, a stunning Great Barrier Reef location that promises a memorable experience for snorkellers and divers of all levels. Immerse yourself in the shallow reefs and be amazed by the vibrant corals, schools of fish, clams, and even the occasional turtle or Manta Ray.

Michaelmas Reef​

At Michaelmas Reef, divers can take pleasure in exploring stunning coral gardens and tranquil waters that are ideal for both snorkelling and diving. The secure haven provides a sheltered sandy lagoon that is protected from the wind in any weather, and the coral gardens are conveniently within reach.

Thetford Reef

Located near the Cairns coast and the renowned Green Island, Thetford Reef is a vibrant two-kilometre stretch of coral and marine life. The reef boasts scattered coral heads and sandy areas that attract sparkling schools of sea creatures, as well as numerous swim-throughs for thrill-seekers. Among the large gorgonian fans and soft corals, you can spot butterflyfish, rabbitfish, damsels, angelfish, pipefish, and giant clams.

Norman Reef

Norman Reef, on the very outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef, is renowned for its clear water, beautiful and diverse corals and coral canyons. Its dive sites boast a huge range of fish, from reef sharks to anemone fish, cuttlefish and coral trout, as well as parrot and angel fish.

You can learn more about the 

Top tips for snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef

  • Move slowly and deliberately in the water, relax and take your time – avoid rapid changes in direction
  • Avoid leaning on, holding onto or touching any part of the reef – this is particularly important when taking underwater photographs.
  • Avoid kicking up and disturbing the sand if you’re over a sandy area
  • Avoid touching any animals or plants
  • Stay more than one metre away from giant clams
  • Keep clear of free-swimming animals (such as turtles, whales and sea snakes). In particular, do not chase, ride, grab or block the path of these animals.

Ready to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef?

Experience the ultimate Great Barrier Reef snorkel adventure with Tusa Reef Tours. Immerse yourself in the mesmerising underwater world, abundant with vibrant hues and diverse marine life. Limited to just 40 guests, our exclusive day tour guarantees exceptional service and low guest-to-crew ratios. Join us for an unforgettable journey and indulge in a sumptuous breakfast. 

Click the link below to learn more about all-inclusive snorkelling excursion now and dive into the serenity of the Great Barrier Reef with Tusa Reef Tours.