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Is this a good tour of the GBR?

Level Contributor
640 posts
24 reviews
Is this a good tour of the GBR?

My daughter is an exchange student and is considering this tour:


I am having trouble finding reviews of the tour or even the company, which appears to be either Cairns Holiday Specialists or Australia Holiday Specialists, according to the above website.

Is this a good tour? Do you know anything about this (these) company (ies)?

4 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
12,291 posts
17 reviews
1. Re: Is this a good tour of the GBR?

It’s in the Whitsundays which is more about sailing than the reef. If it’s the GBR she wants to e perience, she’d be far better going north to Port Douglas or Cairns and taking a tour from there.

Brisbane, Australia
Destination Expert
for Brisbane, Queensland
Level Contributor
12,125 posts
54 reviews
2. Re: Is this a good tour of the GBR?

Then again, she could be looking for that “backpacker/party boat atmosphere” in which case I’m sure it is fine.

No personal experience though and she should consider whether she gets seasick.


Arlington, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Arlington
Level Contributor
15,114 posts
125 reviews
3. Re: Is this a good tour of the GBR?

Your daughter may be under the mistaken belief that the Whitsundays are a good place to go for snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. As AmoMondo says, the Whitsundays are noted more for sailing than for snorkeling the Reef.

If the goal of your daughter is an excellent snorkeling experience, she should head to Cairns or Port Douglas and book a day trip to the Outer Reef. While Cairns is more of a "backpacker" destination, I would recommend Port Douglas mainly because PD has an actual beach (Four Mile Beach) in town and you have to travel to the northern suburbs of Cairns to find a beach. I would also recommend booking directly with the snorkel company rather than with a 3rd party source. If your daughter goes to Cairns, have her look at Seastar for her GBR trip. If she goes to Port Douglas, Wavelength is the company to use.

Finally, you don't state when your daughter plans this trip. Stinger (deadly jellyfish) season begins Oct/Nov and you cannot safely swim off any beach except within the confines of a stinger net and advisably wearing a stinger suit. Stingers are not such an issue at the Reef, but all boats will issue snorkelers a stinger suit to wear as a precaution.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
Level Contributor
20,619 posts
204 reviews
4. Re: Is this a good tour of the GBR?

I think your daughter has the right idea and may have spoken to others on exchange

The Whitsundays and the backpacker boats are ideal for young persons, however, you must remember it will be all about party and not at all about luxury.

I would. It recommend Port Douglas for a Uni student on exchange for a number of reasons.

1. PD is family and couple oroetated

2 the backpackers tend to be there working and there isn’t a lot of night life at all

3 if she is going alone it may be a little lonely

4 the cost of the flights and transfers from Cairns can really add up

5 if she’s looking to do a long weekend during semester away Cairns is too far. It’s 4 hours each way which basically eats up a whole day.

It is true she won’t get out on the the outer reef but the destinations on the tour re the iconic spots in the Whitsundays and the Whitsundays is about island.

I can’t comment on the particular boat as I don’t know which one it is

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