2-Day Best of Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef

2-Day Best of Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef

2 days Cairns, Australia

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Spend two days exploring the very best of Cairns. Enjoy a full day in tropical Kuranda and on your second day discover why the Great Barrier Reef is one of the world's a natural wonders. Including a reef cruise and a scenic helicopter flight, this two day package is the ultimate reef and rainforest experience, leaving you with plenty of time to fully appreciate Australia's tropical north.
This is a typical itinerary for this product

Stop At: Bunda St, Cairns QLD 4870, Australia

Board the train at the Cairns station and slowly make your way through Cairns City and Kuranda range.

Duration: 2 hours

Stop At: Kuranda Original Rainforest Markets, 7/13 Therwine St, Kuranda, Queensland 4881 Australia

Enjoy the day in Kuranda wandering around the unique township and exploring the markets.

Duration: 4 hours

Stop At: Skyrail Kuranda Terminal, 4 Arara St, Kuranda QLD 4881, Australia

Glide over World Heritage-listed rainforest before descending through the canopy layers and deep into the heart of the lush rainforest. Enjoy stops along the way as you alight and explore the awe-inspiring Barron Gorge and Falls from a network of boardwalks at varying levels.

Duration: 2 hours

Stop At: Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal, Corner Wharf and Lake Streets, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

Check-in at Down Under Cruise and Dive desk and make your way to Evolution for your cruise out to the reef.

You will cruise to two outer reef destinations each with their own unique coral formations and diverse marine species.

Duration: 5 hours

Stop At: 2 Pier Point Rd, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

On the return, take to the air for a spectacular helicopter journey over the magical waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Sweep over coral gardens and sand cays, and see marine life from high above before returning to Cairns

Duration: 25 minutes


  • Lunch - Only on the day of the Cruise.
  • Use of Snorkelling equipment
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off (Cairns City)
  • Kuranda Scenic Rail and Skyrail Cableway
  • Great Barrier Reef Cruise
  • 25-minute helicopter one-way tour from Great Barrier Reef to Cairns
  • Entry/Admission - Cairns
  • Entry/Admission - Kuranda Original Rainforest Markets
  • Entry/Admission - Skyrail Kuranda Terminal
  • Entry/Admission - Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal


  • Lunch not included on the Day with Skyrail and Kuranda Scenic Railway
  • AUD $20per person for the Environmental Management Charge and Fuel Levy is payable direct to the operator on the day of travel
  • Accommodation
  • Scuba diving
  • Semi-submersible tour (payable direct on the day)
  • Transfers from Port Douglas hotels are additional cost

Departure Point

Traveler pickup is offered
Transfer from Cairns and Northern Beaches (up to and including Palm Cove) are included for all tours. Transfers to/from Port Douglas are $205 per car (up to 4 passengers)

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Weight Policy: Individual passenger weights and accompanying carry-on luggage MUST be advised at time of booking. Weight variances greater than 10% may incur an additional fee. Maximum single seat payload of 130kg. For passenger comfort and aircraft weight and balance, passengers exceeding 130kg are required to purchase an additional seat of 50% of ticket price - this is non-commissionable and payable to Nautilus Aviation on day of travel.
  • There is a maximum of 6 to 7 passengers permitted per helicopter (depending on aircraft availability)
  • Evidence of dive certification is required from all divers wishing to participate in a certified dive
  • Diving within 48 hours of flying is not recommended. All participants will be required to complete a health questionnaire prior to diving. Some pre-existing medical conditions (eg asthma, heart conditions, etc) may prevent you from diving, please consult your doctor
  • The Great Barrier Reef Cruise does not need to be taken on the second day, but within 7-days of the Kuranda Scenic Railway tour. You'll be required to reconfirm both tours at least 24-hours from the Kuranda Scenic Railway departure date
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 7 travelers
  • Face masks provided for travelers
  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Regular temperature checks for staff
  • Temperature checks for travelers upon arrival
  • Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
  • Nautilus Aviation has a comprehensive COVID plan in place.


73 Reviews

Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews

5 Stars
4 Stars
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1 Stars

wschluch July 2019

I highly recommend this tour for those who don’t want to plan. We were taken care of and it was worth it. The helicopter ride back from the GBR was so cool. The boat ride out was rough so having the quicker journey home was great.

Tami W March 2018

Wow. Not enough characters allowed to share all our positive reviews! Top of the line staff for both days. Very organized agendas, felt like a first class guest the whole time! Highly recommend the helicopter ride back from the GBR ... it was AMAZING! Experiences of a lifetime!

secure December 2017

Both the tour of and trip to the rain forest and the boat trip to the reef were well organized and top notch. The drivers and staff on both were great.

Carmen Angelica R December 2017

Best package ever!! The visit to Kuranda was fantastic. For the second day, I have good comment for Down Under Cruise and Dive company. The crew was really fun and helpful. They made every possible effort to help people feel good and were supportive all the time. I totally recommend the option to come back by helicopter. It was well worth the money. One thing to keep on mind is to get all the details to contact the company that is taking the pictures while you are on the boat. Since you return by helicopter you will not see the pictures upon return to Cairns. We had to make several phone calls to contact the photography company.

bruce b November 2017

super 2 days of adventure. day one land nature..day two ocean nature. trip delivered everything promised. very safe.

Linda S November 2017

This was a highlight of our Australia trip. The tours were exactly as described, and better. All transfers were on time and we were given clear instructions on where to be at what time. We paid extra for the Rainforestation which was nice, but cut short our time in Kuranda. We were not given the opportunity to hold a Koala or feed kangaroos, but did get to pet a dingo. I really enjoyed the Aboriginal demonstrations. The Cableway was spectacular, but because of the time spent at the Rainforestation we had to ride straight back without stopping at any of the mid-points.

The catamaran is very large and had a lot of people on board the day we were on it. It sometimes felt crowded in the water with all those bodies snorkeling in the same area at the same time. Make sure to bring your own towels, or be prepared to buy one. The crew was helpful but their attention was focused on the novice divers snorkelers were given equipment and then ignored. There was an option to do a 10 minute helicopter flight that we did not know about but we loved the flight back to Cairns in the helicopter instead. We did not have a lot of time there so that saved us a couple of hours, and the views were spectacular.

Brian C March 2017

I loved the variety of this tour, and although it was expensive, it felt like a great value...you get to do and see so much! Makes it so simple to have all these activities under one booking, too. Everything on the first day was beautiful and the lunch was huge and delicious. I had a blast petting kangaroos and holding a koala that was an extra charge. Plus, snorkeling on the GBR and then having a helicopter pick you up and fly you over several reef systems before returning you home...that's bucket list kind of stuff right there! Highly recommend.

Patricia A January 2017

We highly recommend these two days of activity. Beautiful scenery to be seen from the train. Very comfortable ride and wonderful staff. Waterfalls were gorgeous. Next day we snorkeled and saw so many fish it was a treat. Staff was super helpful!!! Food was ok. I'd take snacks onboard though.

mark s January 2017

really enjoyed both days of this experience. transportation/shuttle to and from for both days was outstanding ! traveling by train to kuranda was good as the sites from the train and the history shared were wonderful. kuranda itself was an adventure of small open markets and shops along with restaurants and some tourist traps as well. the koala gardens here were fair as i felt the area could have been more spacious for the animals, as the kangaroos and wallabies were sad and somewhat physically unhealthy. however the extra cost to enter and see this was healthy pricey! would liked to have checked out the rainforest and what it entailed while we were here but was overwhelmed with the small markets gong on and the time frame we had to work with. really enjoyed the skyrail as it represented itself well. the second day to the great barrier reef was truly enjoyed by myself and my daughter as we left cairns pier on a incredible big new boat called the evolution. the crew were great and knowledgeable and the boat spacious as they're were many of us onboard. snorkeling on the first part of the trip in the gb reef was awesome and then we travelled to another part of the reef while eating from their buffet which the food served was ok. on the second part of this trip on the boat we took a briefing about scuba diving and we decided to pay the xtra money to do this as we both never experienced this and it turned out be be one of the most enjoyable things i've ever done!! as we pulled up anchor to head back to cairns, we had booked to take the 30 min helicopter flight back with pilot brad whom was really a great person and pilot and rode right on the edge of a storm so this was a great decision to take the helicopter back and stay hi and dry! overall, i would do all of this again and recommend this to all. if i would share one small concern would be that i thought the helicopter flight back to cairns was included in the price i paid for when i booked all of this together back in september, instead of being charged later as we were boarding the evolution.

Bonnie H January 2017

This was a terrific 2-day experience! Our Great Barrier Reef experience started off on our gorgeous boat, The Evolution. It was 6 months old, so in pristine condition. The crew - total professionals and all very helpful, fun, and engaging. All the equipment was first rate. The snorkeling was fun and educational - seeing tons of colorful fish and a spectacular reef. Our highlight was seeing an active giant 4-5 foot clam surrounded by colorful fish open and close. We visited two snorkeling sites with a tasty buffet lunch in between site locations bring your own towels and change of clothing - sitting around in wet swimsuits gets cold in an airconditioned boat. We signed up and paid extra for the exciting 30-minute helicopter ride back to Cairns that took us over large parts of the reef and several sandbar islands that we were told people boat out to or helicopter to for picnics or...wedding proposals. We met a young couple on our return to the base who had just returned from such an excursion, the young lady was wearing her new engagement ring and a huge smile. -- The Daintree Rainforest Tour was the next day. We had a two-hour train ride with spectacular scenery up to the Kuranda Village bring water and a hand-fan - the train is un-airconditioned and can be hot. Kuranda Village was very commercial, but fun AND where my daughter struck Hug a Koala off her bucket list. This was the ONE place IN Australia where you can actually pay to HOLD a koala - a very limp, catatonic animal that's the cutest thing you've ever seen/held...human babies come in a distant second. An hour-long Duck Rainforest Tour followed where we learned about the nasties that await clueless tourists wandering off rainforest trails -- wait-a-while vines and the gimpy-gimpy plant - a very poisonous neurotoxin plant. You start the tour in the morning going up the mountain in the train and return in the afternoon in a gondola for a 30-minute ride that flies over the canopy of the rainforest. That was exciting and beautiful and you keep your fingers crossed that the machinery is top-notch because there is NOTHING but rainforest gimpy-gimpy plants and wait-a-while vines for MILES around. We HIGHLY recommend this 2-day tour - both days were fantastic!

Daniel S December 2016

Enjoyed the rain forest and the reef
I liked the local drivers, they were very well informed.
We liked the special room on the dive boat. The food was excellent and the crew very helpful, friendly and attentive.
On the helicopter ride, we expected the pilot to give us information as we were flying over the different reefs and thought the helicopter ride would last longer.

Noelene C November 2016

The trip up to Kuranda on the train was pleasant and we enjoyed wandering around Kuranda itself the mango wine tasting was great Cathy, a member of the Golden Drop family from Mareeba was a brilliant sommelier and made the experience fabulous. The market with the locally made/sourced products was better than I had expected - try the home made fudge at the Kuranda Fudge Bar and Tearoom. Hope was great fun and makes all of the myriad flavors herself. Also, don't miss the bat refuge Bat Reach on the short rainforest walk Jumrum Walk, I think. For a small donation you can get up close and personal to these incredible animals, and hear a wealth of interesting information from their carer.
There were plenty of places to have lunch in Kuranda it is an actual small town so you have most facilities available to you.
The cable car ride down was interesting. Don't worry when the car slows to almost a standstill - it's just part of the operation and you're not left hanging for more than a second or two. We chose to come straight down so can't comment on the stopovers.
Day two was great. The Catamaran, Evolution Down Under, was superb and the staff were magnificent - couldn't fault a single one for their personality, and attention to passenger enjoyment, comfort and safety. Although the seas were calm it was a bumpy ride to the reef and there were a few sick people so take your sea sickness tabs with you if you're susceptible. Having booked the 2 day package with helicopter ride back at the end, we were assigned a small lounge room which we shared with only a few other passengers. This was a pleasant surprise! The snorkeling was good and the staff assisted with getting you into the water with a minimum of fuss. For a 50 refundable deposit I was even able to hire prescription goggles which made snorkelling so much better. Flotation devices were available if you wanted a little extra security. We took the semi sub tour which was ok but I don't think I'd bother next time if you can snorkel instead.
Lunch was nice, with lots of fresh salads, prawns, sausages, fish and steak.
Returning to Cairns by helicopter with doors was a real highlight. The pilot took us over parts of the reef before we headed back to the airport about 30 mins in total. Even with a fear of heights I loved it!
From pickup on Day 1 to drop off on Day 2 this whole tour ran like clockwork and, despite the number of people on the boat for the reef trip, everyone was treated as a special person. Can't recommend this tour group more highly.

Eduardo F October 2016

This is an unforgettable experience. The Great Barrier Reef is the super highlight of this tour. You spend so much time snorkeling that I cannot recommend this tour enough. Simply amazing!
The Kuranda trip by train is very scenic. Lovely experience. The Kuranda city itself is ok.

EKTA S August 2016

Amazing! Helicopter ride was the highlight as well as private room on board the boat.

DANIEL April 2016

Tour muy bien organizado. El primer día sin un guía pero con traslados, viaje en el scenic train almuerzo, recorridos y vuelta en teleférico cronometricamente indicados en el brief. El segundo día se llega a la Barrera de Coral en una embarcación lujosa y con buenos servicios buffet. Incursiones con snorkel y buceo, a elección, muy divertidas. Todo el tour muy recomendable.

Sarah March 2016

Simply amazing! First you get to ride in a brand new first class boat out to the reef. Then you get to snorkel or dive in two different locations - the best snorkeling in the world as far as I'm concerned. Even though there are lots of people this tour has everything very organized. It's easy to get away from the crowds once your in the water as well. You get plenty of time to swim with the fishes. Kuranda was also very nice. The scenic railway and riding the gondola were highlights for me!

Stuart C March 2016

Two days that were very well organised with top class tour operators in the local area. The reef trip was a game of two halves. The first, treated to a brand new boat, first step class crew providing entertainment and excellent advice with a brilliant lunch. The second half a huge disappointment as the helicopter ride was cancelled due to heavy rain. Can't hold that against the tour operator ! The second day in the rain forest was very good, really enjoyed the optional trip to tai forestation.

Rodney P February 2016

It was great!!! Guides were wonderful. Weather cooperated. Food was good. We had a wonderful time. My wife and I are in our 70's yet felt very safe and had a great time at the reef.

Girish V December 2015

It was quite an experience. Thanks.

Heather M December 2015

Worth it! We loved the package - we were well taken care of and exceeded our expectations. The heli ride back from the GBR was the highlight - definitely don't skip that.
If anything, I could have skipped the Rain Forestation - was very crowded and felt rushed and herded through a tourist trap. I read about more adventures through the tableland, and think we might have enjoyed that more.
Overall, I was pleased with the 2-day package and thought it was an excellent value for the cost looking at individual prices. It was nice to not have to spend time while in Cairns sitting at travel agents office and compare prices while there. Having it set up and taken care of ahead of time was the way to go!

Barry W October 2015

Both the train trip and the gondola through the tropical forest were great. I also really enjoyed snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef although the weather wasn't the best the reef was still something.A big thanks to the crew of our boat for looking after my other half she had bad sea sickness and couldn't get on the helicopter back quick enough, which was a great ride

Milts September 2015

Diving in the reef was a great experience and seeing the aerial view of the reef thru the helicopter back to Cairns was really just jaw-dropping! Will definitely come back and dive in the Great Barrier Reef!

Nigel August 2015

It was fantastic! The best tour ever! Way beyond expectation!

Russell Z June 2015

These were my first 2 days in Australia and, besides the sea sickness, was a great introduction of things to come during the rest of my trip.

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

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