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Featured Wildlife Journeys

  • Clownfish in Blue Anenome

  • Turtle Islander Vessel

  • Mulgrave River

  • Green Turtle

  • Normanby Island

Frankland Islands Reef Cruises

Frankland Islands Reef Cruises Day Tour

From: $149 USD

Duration: Full Day - Cairns

Type: Groups, Shared.

Departs: Daily from Cairns

Interests: Fish & Marine Invertebrates.

Spend the day at one of the most beautiful snorkelling locations on the Great Barrier Reef, with the opportunity to experience World Heritage-listed rivers, rainforests and reefs. Leave the crowds behind and enjoy exclusive access to the hidden treasure that is the Frankland Islands National Park.

  • A magical underwater world of species awaits snorkellers, with Nudibranchs, Giant Clams, Butterflyfish, Angelfish & Parrotfish, Damselfish, Sea Cucumbers, stingrays, 200 species of coral and the famous Ocellaris Clownfish (Nemo) found in two rare jewel-blue anemones.

  • Enjoy exceptional water quality and visibility aided by the island's unique geographic location and cool water channels surrounding the area. This archipelago is located only 10 kilometres (6 miles) offshore, being the shortest sea crossing of any Great Barrier Reef day trip.

  • With tour numbers limited to just 100 people per day, choose from a range of optional activities with marine biologists, including a snorkel safari, island guided walk and semi-submarine experience.


About Frankland Islands Reef Cruises: 

As part of the Entrada Travel Group portfolio since early 2020, Frankland Islands Reef Cruises is a certified Ecotourism business, that places conservation of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park at the heart of its operations. The organisation is actively involved in scientific research data collection on marine species, reef damage, debris and tracking the overall health of the ecosystem, via the Eye on the Reef App and Rapid Monitoring Surveys. Frankland Islands Reef Cruises holds an exclusive commercial access permit to visit the stunning Frankland Islands National Park and abides by a 'leave no trace' policy on the islands whilst providing quality educational experiences and guidance on sustainability practices for guests.

Price per person. Pricing is subject to availability and all prices, itineraries and routings are subject to change without notice. Currency fluctuations may affect prices as quotes based on AUD. Prices are current at time of posting (1/4/2024) and may differ when you book your travel.*


Tour day-by-day

  • Frankland Islands Day Trip

    Your captivating tropical island adventure, commences aboard an air-conditioned coach with pickup from Cairns. Travelling southward, you will be mesmerized by the UNESCO World Heritage listed rainforest-clad mountains, vast expanses of sugar cane fields, and the remarkable Walsh's Pyramid, soaring as the tallest natural freestanding pyramid globally.

    Upon arriving at Deeral, a mere 45-minute drive from Cairns, you will board the Turtle Islander vessel, setting sail on a tranquil cruise along the Mulgrave River, lined by verdant rainforest and mangroves supporting abundant bird species including kingfishers, ibis, spoonbills, egrets and Saltwater Crocodiles. 

    From the mouth of the river, the boat will venture out to the traditional sea country of the Mandingalby Yidinji and Gungandji peoples. This archipelago is located only 10 kilometres offshore, being the shortest sea crossing of any Great Barrier Reef day trip. Once you arrive at Normanby Island, you will be captivated by the stunning sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, tranquil rock pools and vibrant fringing reefs, inviting you to snorkel right from the beach.

    With tour numbers limited to just 100 people per day, you can choose from a range of optional activities (all inclusive in the price) and craft your own perfect day on this secluded paradise. With two guided snorkel experiences, kayaks, semi-submersible, paddleboards plus, island walk, there's no shortage of things to do. A buffet lunch, morning and afternoon tea are also included in your tour.

    If you're wanting to relax and recharge, you can do that too with four hours to enjoy the island, with high-quality service from the crew, who are highly trained and knowledgeable about the islands and their wildlife.

  • Activity: Snorkel Safari

    Experts say the clean, clear water and more remote location make the Frankland Islands, make it one of the best islands for snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. On the snorkel safari, your marine biologist or master reef guide will take you by boat to the western side of the island, where you will drift snorkel back around to the beach.

    Straight away you'll be surrounded by colourful tropical fish and a myriad of other marine life. Green or hawksbill sea turtles are seen on the majority of snorkel safari trips, with the opportunity to float alongside them as they swim and feed a mesmerising experience. For many, the highlight is to see the amazing electric blue anemone with its resident clownfish just off the shore. Throughout the snorkel, you'll discover coral gardens, full of hard and soft corals, giant clams and an abundance of colourful fish.

    Expert crew and Master Reef Guide are on hand to explain this amazing and unique ecosystem and enable you to learn more about the Great Barrier Reef.

    If you've never snorkelled before, don't worry – our crew will give you all the instruction and briefing you need. Flotation devices are available so you can float along with ease and just enjoy the sights as you explore the reef. The day trip includes all snorkel equipment and protection suits.

  • Activity: Island Walk

    The Frankland Islands Guided Walk provides an opportunity to learn about the remarkable flora,fauna, and geological features that flourish on the island from marine biologists.

    During low tide, when the water level recedes, rock pools are left behind. You will observe an array of fascinating creatures that inhabit these shallow pools, including small fish, sting rays, sharks, crabs, sea cucumbers, brittlestars, sea snails, and other marine invertebrates. The rock pools also provide a safe and calm environment for children and families to explore the marine life up close.

    You will also have the chance to see the famous starsand, and learn more about the lush vegetation, mangroves, pandanus and other native species, within the shaded green interior. And for the kids, a fun pirate treasure hunt is available, where participants will find clues as they explore the island and learn about some of the unique animals and corals that are found around the island.

  • Activity: Semi Submarine

    Discover the pristine coral reefs without getting your feet wet, from the comfort of a semi-submarine. Large viewing windows on the lower deck provide an unobstructed view of the underwater world, allowing you to see the vibrant coral formations, colourful fish, turtles and other marine creatures that call the reef home.

    During the experience, you will receive commentary, pointing out and explaining the various marine species and ecological features that pass by the viewing windows. This provides a fantastic opportunity for those who may not be comfortable with snorkelling or diving, to still witness the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef's marine life up close.

    Activity: Kayaking, Stand Up Paddleboarding

    Experience the tranquil waters surrounding the island from our Kona Stand Up Paddleboards. Whether you're a novice or an experienced boarder, this is the perfect place to go stand up paddle boarding on the Great Barrier Reef. Alternatively, two-seater kayaks are available for hire during the day, where you can glide along over the clear tropical waters, enjoying amazing views over the corals, fish and marine life below.

  • Tour details

    Vessel Details: The "Turtle Islander" is a well-equipped 30 metre monohull vessel, designed with comfortable indoor air-conditioned seating areas, panoramic windows and outdoor shaded decks with seats, providing stunning views of the surrounding ocean and landscapes.

    Group Size: Tour numbers are limited to just 100 people per day, ensuring first class customer service and comfort.

    Departure Information: Coach transfers from Cairns CBD accommodation commence at 6.55am. If you prefer to self-drive, Deeral is an easy 45 minute drive from Cairns – please allow time for the drive and check in at the vessel by 8.15am. The Turtle Islander departs Deeral at 8.30am and returns between 4-4.30pm, with coaches returning to Cairns around 5-6pm.

    Frequently Asked Questions: See here.

    How you'll be making a positive impact

    We have aligned our sustainability vision with the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


    E-WEB-Goal-14Reef Monitoring on the Great Barrier Reef
    The team at Frankland Islands Reef Cruises participate in monitoring programs such as Reef Health Impact Surveys, Eye on the Reef and monitoring the Crown of Thorns Starfish and Drupella Snail's impact on the Frankland Islands. In addition to this, staff are involved in scientific research data collection on marine species, reporting reef damage, debris and conducting Rapid Monitoring Surveys.

    E-WEB-Goal-13Tacking Climate Change and Carbon Emissions
    Climate change is the greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef. Frankland Islands Reef Cruises is acting to reduce its carbon emissions and tackle climate change by measuring and tracking the organisation's carbon footprint via a carbon emissions calculator, powering offices and workshop buildings are powered by solar panels, minimising waste and recycling where possible and providing guests with guidance regarding everyday sustainable practices on tour.

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