Visit Upolu Cay

Whether travelling up or down the beautiful eastern coast of Queensland, one of your highlights will be snorkelling and maybe even diving the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area - truly one of the greatest natural wonders of the world!

The Great Barrier Reef started to form 2 million years ago! It stretches over 2,300km, running from just north of Bundaberg to the top of Cape York Peninsula. It is actually made up of over 2,900 reefs, 300 coral cays and 618 continental islands - now you can see why it got its name!

Here you’ll find 1,500 species of fish, 400 species of coral, 4,000 species of molluscs, 6 species of turtles (some on the endangered list) and some of the largest populations of dugong in the world.

There are many Cairns reef tours to do, but the Cairns Premier Reef and Island Tours’ team not only offer a Cairns’ snorkel and dive reef trip, but a total experience you will not forget.

Both of their Cairns reef tours offer a unique Great Barrier Reef and Island / Cay experience.

Ocean Freedom, their 20M luxury, cruising cat goes to two (2) destinations, Upolu Cay and Wonder Wall on the outer edge of Upolu Reef. While Ocean Free, their 16M sailing schooner, moors on Pinnacle Reef just 1km offshore Green Island, on the Great Barrier Reef.

Both these Cairns snorkel and dive reef tours cater for small numbers, offering truly personalised service where you not only get to snorkel and dive the beautiful Great Barrier Reef, but also get to experience an eco-friendly developed coral cay Island (Green Island) or a changing coral cay, sitting in the middle of the ocean (Upolu Cay). Get well fed and relax on the sail home or cruise back to Cairns while reflecting on the days’ adventures.

These Cairns snorkel and dive tours are “must do” in Cairns! Cairns Premier Reef and Island Tours view their Island and Cay destinations as their natural pontoons sitting on the Great Barrier Reef.


Green Island

Green Island lies 27km offshore from Cairns; it is a National Park within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Areas. It has been a popular tourist destination for over a century! In 1937 it became a National Park, in 1974 a Marine Park and then in 1981, part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

This island is a true coral cay formed over thousands of years by the build-up of sand and coral rubble deposited on the calm side of a platform reef. When the tide is low you can do a walk along the water around the whole island (1.6km): look out for turtles, stingrays and sea birds! You can also just chill out on the beautiful coral sand or swim in the crystal waters surrounding the beaches (if you are not a strong swimmer then make sure you swim in the area patrolled by the Life Guards on the beach). You can even enjoy a cocktail at the bar (remember no alcohol though if you are doing any more diving!).

If you want to see crocodiles in captivity, or turtles close up with also many interesting artefacts from the surrounding areas then visit Marineland Melanesia (link to Island Options). There is a small cost for this island option. The island is covered in a tropical vine forest which supports a diversity of birds and insects. Have a walk across the island along the Interpretative Boardwalk where you can learn about some of commonly seen flora and their Indigenous uses!

Green Island and its surrounds is a highly protected area. The Australian Government recognises that Green Island is a very special place and has protected it in several ways:

Green Island BeachGreen Island Beach
  • The island is a National Park and all commercial activities are regulated by permits.
  • The reef and underwater habitats are part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
  • Both Green Island and its reef are included in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, which gives it international protection under UNESCO.

Ocean Free has a private mooring just 1km off the island with a stunning coral garden on the Great Barrier Reef, where only our guests snorkel and dive! The surrounding coral reef is home to many kinds of corals, clams, fish, stingrays, Green and Hawksbill turtles and other reef life. During our fish feed off Ocean Free, we often get two to three black-tipped reef sharks (totally harmless by the way!).

Ocean Free transfers you across to Green Island in its dinghy. Most of our guests spend an hour or two on the Island to relax / walk or do some optional Island activities (please ensure you inform the skipper on boarding if you would like to do any Island options). If you prefer to spend the whole day on the island, please inform the skipper on boarding. However, please note that if you choose this option, then you may then miss out on the amazing reef snorkeling just off the boat!