For over 18 months I have been helping visitors to Cairns book and organise their holidays by working in an Information Centre. ...

Monday, 16 May 2016



To Michaelmas Cay


If you want a relaxing day out on the reef… this is the Great Barrier Reef day trip boat for you! Some people don’t care what vessel they head out on to the reef, only the site is important....however.....with Ocean Spirit it is also about the journey out to it’s destination, making the whole day an amaze-balls experience!

If you enjoy boats and sailing, this majestic large catamaran takes it’s time out to Michaelmas Cay giving you plenty of time to sit back, relax and leave the world behind! Leaving conveniently from Cairns Marlin Marina, it's an easy check in if staying at a Cairns CBD hotel.

Let that Tropical North Queensland sun bathe you at the bow of the boat on the journey out to the reef or stretch out in air-conditioned comfort in the spacious interior of the main cabin.

Immediately the staff greet you with smiling faces and serve up morning tea to fuel you up for the day ahead. There is plenty of room to move about, even when they hold the site and snorkel briefings (when you must all be in the main cabin), never a moment did I feel I was squashed in or without a place to sit.
The 32 Metre Catamaran. Ocean Spirit website.

On arrival to Michaelmas Cay (2 hours later) you notice some wild life right away! Hundreds of different species of sea birds nest on this beautiful part of the reef…. perfect for the nature enthusiast amongst us. 

On my day, we got aboard the semi-submersible half an hour tour on arrival. This can feel a little claustrophobic for some upon entering the semi-sub vessel but you soon realise it has air conditioning and is very roomy and get right under way. The commentary begins (which was extremely thorough, interesting and factual by the way!) and soon you forget all about being in a smaller space and just focus on the world around you. This was my favourite part of the day!

The Semi-Submersible Tour. Photo by Tara Reynolds.
Link for the Semi-Submersible Tour & commentary, Video by Tara Reynolds.
Lunch was soon served afterwards including a couple of hot dishes with rice and a huge array of salads and fresh fruits with the added WOW factor of fresh prawns! 

The delicious Salads & Fresh Prawns for lunch. Photo by Tara Reynolds

After our lunch break on the boat, with totally full bellies we headed over to the the Cay in the tender craft and get our snorkel gear on to join the guided snorkel tour (additional cost but definitely worth every cent!). Now, I have been to Michaelmas Cay many many many times before but THIS was on a whole new epic level! Our guide was a Marine Biologist of 30 years and can hold his breath like no other!! He dives down to point out all there is to see.
Link to finding Nemo with our Guide. Video by Tara Reynolds
Snorkel equipment, Stinger suits (October to May) included. Photo by Tara Reynolds
Link shows a 4 minute video of shallow reef snorkelling. Suitable for all! Video by Tara Reynolds
Several Sets of Nemo's reside at the Cay, plus his cousins! Turtles love to play around the protected Cay, Giant Clams are awe-inspiring and if you’re lucky you will spot a Black Tipped Reef Shark (harmless peoples!!!!) or a Ray. Just magical!

 You will find Nemo! Photo by Tara Reynolds
 Giant Clams are a plenty. Photo by Tara Reynolds
Beautiful blue Star fish, just relaxing! Photo by Tara Reynolds

The area is shallow enough allowing you to get close to all the beautiful coral species… this makes for some amazing GO-PRO footage if you are lucky to own one, or hire one. There was plenty of snorkel time so you could investigate all over the Cay area.

Heading back to Cairns in the afternoon, again, is part of the day out and journey. Afternoon tea is served and also in addition… CHEESE, CRACKERS & A GLASS OF BUBBLES!!! (Yes… that needed shouty caps... excited much?!).

As the sun lowers itself closer to the Great Diving Range it makes for lovely viewing and photo opportunities, especially of Cairns city and other boats returning from their day out on the reef on the return to land.


Get an underwater camera for this day. Check out http://calypsoproductions.com.au/cairns-underwater-camera-hire/ located at the Reef Fleet Terminal where you check in. We took some amazing photo’s with their cameras as you can get nice and close to all the action in shallow waters. The CANON G16 was easy to use (it comes with instructions and the staff show you how to use it when you collect it) and it comes in a protective case and SD card for you to keep.

Take only a little cash or a credit card and no valuables (there are small lockers available for additional cost), you may want to purchase one of the professional photos taken of you throughout the day or an additional beverage at the fully licensed bar in the afternoon! Yeuw!


The Tour:
  • Full day trip
  • Departs Cairns
  • 08:30am - 5:00pm (Check in Reef Fleet Terminal)
Suitable for: 
  • Families with younger children
  • Someone who only swims/snorkels a little
  • Somone who loves snorkelling!
  • Elderly
  • Those scared of deep open water
Fitness level (out of 5):
  •  💪 💪
Time of year:
  • All year round
  • Stinger suits worn October to May

  • $202.50 AUD Adult
  • $104.50 AUD Child
  • $516.00 AUD Family

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