Which Reef Tour To Consider

Jun 6th, 2004, 11:42 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 5
Which Reef Tour To Consider

My family and I will be in Cairns for a week in mid June .My wife is a non-swimmer and the kids and I swim but do not have any snorkelling experience. Which of the reef sites would be best in terms of viewing an abundance and variety of sea life either through semi-submersibles, glass bottom boeat or snorkeling. I have booked one tour to Green Island though I am told it is not the best site for reef viewing because my wife can atleast walk around on the island after she has completed the semisub tour.
Could anyone recommend a good scond tour to take. I have read good reviews about Ocean Spirit and Quicksilver. How is the Sunlovers tour to Moore or Arlington?
UCGB is offline  
Jun 7th, 2004, 05:20 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,680
Hi UCGB - consider Frankland Islands - not nearly as heavily visited as Green as there is no tourist infrastructure. Pick ups are available in Cairns. Sunlover is another large catamaran with it's own pontoon. It's a couple of years since I've been to Moore Reef, and snorkelling was spectacular, only marred by just too many people. Quicksilver, Ocean Spirit to Michaelmas, Sunlover all have semi-submersibles and glass bottom boats. Of the three, Ocean Spirit takes the least amount of passengers.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jun 7th, 2004, 08:03 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 5
Pat, thanks for your advise. Is mid June a high tourist season and would the larger boats sucf as Sunlovers,Quicksilver,etc be crowded.
How are the Low Isles as a reef option. I cam across a tour named Shaolin Tours (a Chinese junk boat) that seemed quite nice since it departed Port Douglas at 12 and reached the low Isles as the other boats were departing. Any idea on the reef quality around Low isles?
Also, are scenic air tours worth doing. Daintree Air and Reefwatch have 60-90 min tours which seem interesting . Appreciate any information you can provide.
UCGB is offline  
Jun 7th, 2004, 09:45 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,680
Hi UCGB - Low Isles is a coral cay (with old lighthouse) not too far from Port Douglas, so it's well visited. mid-June is still a little before main tourist season which peaks in July/ August and goes through to November. I've seen the Shaolin many times but have to confess have never been on it - looks interesting though.

On a clear sunny day either of the scenic flights (Cape York Air also offers this service) would be worthwhile - Daintree Air also does a daytrip over the GBR to Lizard Island - you need to book well in advance though. With Wilderness Challenge (www.wildernes-challenge.com.au) you fly over GBR and Daintree coast to historic Cooktown and return by 4WD on the rugged Bloomfield Track (coastal scenery is stunning), then on to the rainforests of Cape Tribulation in Daintree before heading to Port Douglas or Cairns.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jun 7th, 2004, 09:47 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,680
Oops, sorry - left the last "s" of Wilderness Challenge's website
pat_woolford is offline  
Jun 7th, 2004, 11:10 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 5
Thanks Pat. For the Daintree and Bloomfield Track & falls am already booked with Wet Tropic Safaris (www.wettropicssafaris.com ).Any feedback on them?.
UCGB is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 01:55 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 2
Hi ucgb,

We used Daintree Air Services www.daintreeair.com.au for our reef trip.The tour was a little more expensive than the others we looked at so we were apprehensive about the cost. As it turned out the day tour to Lizard Island with Greg was the most exciting day our family experienced while on vacation.

As we were flying along the mountains on our return to Cairns,he asked if we needed to be back in Cairns at a particular time. As we were all staying in Hotels in Cairns,and Greg was dropping us off at our hotels any way after we arrived back at the airport, there was no need to be back to meet pick up services.

He asked if we felt like a beer, we all nodded.For no reason he promptly slowed the engines and landed in a paddock. We were all a little surprised by this action.
He then walked us to the local pub, the locals did not even bat an eye lid.
As a couple of the locals said this is very common occurance.
The paddock, we found out later was actually a grass air strip in the rainforest which had been used as the local landing place for aeroplanes for years. We had not ever seen a grass air strip surrounded by huge trees like that before.

So not only did we enjoy a 2 hour scenic flight over reef and rainforest, as well as the day swimming on the reef and exploring Lizard, we also had some beers and fun with the locals that live in the rainforest, in a place we would never have known about.

I recommend this company very highly.

Good luck !!! Tahne.
tahne is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 05:06 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 392
Pat Woolford

Do you have any idea how many passengers Quicksilver takes? We thought about 200+.
michi is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 06:38 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,680
Hi Michi - I haven't been on it when it's completely full but a girl who is well versed in the tourist industry here and has worked for Quicksilver (Wavepiercer) says 350 maximum.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 09:24 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 5
Pat, given that June is not really peak season would the Wavepiercer still a full load of 300+ people ? I am leaning towards either Frankland, Michaelmas or low isles based on your inputs. Which of these has the best reefs?
UCGB is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 12:26 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,680
Hi UCGB - it's really hard to say - for instance the weather here for the past few days has been indifferent (windy) for the reef, so everyone does the mainland activities - today the weather is glorious so there was a back-up of visitors to reef who were waiting for the weather to come good. Ocean Spirit II, was still taking bookings this morning for tomorrow,but is now fully booked. I have no idea what the story is with Quicksilver. I'd say the marine life on Michaelmas and Frankland Islands is comparable, but Ocean Spirit has a far superior semi-submersible experience. The biggest problem in winter is the prevailing SE trade wind (the Franklands are well protected) which can really chop up the sea - if you look at Queensland's Meteorology Bureau's website under "North Coast Tropical Waters" then look under "Cooktown-Cardwell" you'll find an accurate as you can get 3-day out weather forecast and make your decision as to which day you go then.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 05:45 AM
  #12  
HBR
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 33
Hi Pat -- do you happen to know if the Frankland trip is still operating? The links on their web site don't work. I tried to send a separate e-mail with some questions, but haven't heard back.
HBR is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
DayDreamBeliever
Australia & the Pacific
5
Apr 17th, 2008 07:24 PM
blsgirl
Australia & the Pacific
8
Apr 10th, 2007 02:45 PM
Nikita
Australia & the Pacific
10
May 20th, 2005 10:28 PM
jmbay
Australia & the Pacific
8
Mar 20th, 2005 05:47 PM
frankojustine
Australia & the Pacific
28
May 13th, 2004 04:48 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:49 AM.