If the idea of Paradise Cruises at the Great Barrier Reef gets you dreaming, here are a couple of day trip bonuses for you to check out

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No trip to the Reef is complete without a trip to the Outer Reef or on a cruise to some of the other Inner or fringing Reefs.

We believe that these are two trips that offer that something for eveyone, and above all else, great value for money. There are a lot of paradise cruises to be taken at the Great Barrier Reef, but I believe these two will satisfy all members of the family, group, or individual.

Michaelmas Cay and Hastings Reef

The first of our Paradise Cruises is to Michaelmas Cay National Park, just north (43kms north east) of Cairns.

This is a low lying vegetated sand cay, surrounded by a magnificent fringing reef. Access is restricted to protect the birdlife there, but there are excellent day trips to the cay on offer. Seastar Cruises are one such company that offer one of our paradise cruises to Michaelmas Cay and Hastings Reef.

There are only two vessels that are allowed to land at Michaelmas Cay, Ocean Spirit Cruises and Seastar Cruises.

Other tour operators may say they can take you to Michaelmas Reef, or that they go near the cay, but if you want to actually walk on the cay you will need Seastar Cruises.

The cay was formed by fragments of the reef washing to the leeward side of the reef, to form a single bank. Birds dropped seeds on the sheltered area behind this bank, and as the cay stablilised seabirds began to roost and nest. Their droppings fertilised the sand and as plant growth started to grow, the vegetation spread to cover the centre of the cay.

Today this has become a fascinating place to visit, as there are now 38 different species of birds visiting there. Here you will find crested terns, sooty terns, lesser crested terns, black naped terns, bridled terns, roseate terns, common noddies, ruddy turnstones, black noddies, silver gulls and obviously, (with 38 different species having been recorded there) many more.

If the idea of Paradise Cruises at the Great Barrier Reef gets you dreaming, here are a couple of day trip bonuses for you to check out

Paradise cruises to Michaelmas cay with Seastar, includes lunch, (which is served while travelling between Michaelmas and Hasting Reef, to give you more time for sightseeing), a delicious Hot and Cold tropical buffet, prepared in a home-style tradition.

Dolphins, turtles and whales are often seen during this lunch cruise.

After arriving at at the best part of Hastings Reef, which is located on the Outer Edge of the Great Barrier Reef, you can expect to see many different varieties of fish. The most famous resident of Hastings Reef is ‘Wally’ a giant Maori Wrasse of about 1.5 metres in length. Wally arrives soon after you arrive at Hastings, and he is so affectionate, you can pat him, hug him or even give him a kiss (if you’re game)

Diving and snorkelling is simply magic and here you will see, Parrot fish, turtles, giant clams, “friendly” reef sharks, butterfly fish and many other colorful tropical fish and of course there’s Nemo, the Clown fish.

You are in great hands with Seastar and if you are new to diving and once you are confident, (after some practise and Michaelmas), you will be able to take on the outer reefs of Hastings. And if you still don’t want to get your feet wet, there’s always the glass bottom boat. So nobody misses out.

At the end of the day, before heading back to Cairns, you can enjoy beautiful fresh home-style cakes and tea / coffee.

Upolu Cay

The second of our Paradise Cruises is to Upolu, an uninhabited Coral Cay, situated 16 nautical miles from Cairns.

It’s a naturally formed sand island, one of only three, located in the Great Barrier Reef region. It is known for its breathtaking Coral Gardens and white coral sand.

With protected waters, this is another fabulous place to dive, snorkel or swim in clear shallow waters with an abundance of marine life.

The cruise with Ocean Spirit Cruises, takes in Oyster Reef also, as part of the trip to Upolu Cay.

Ocean Spirit Paradise Cruises, also offer trips to Michaelmas Cay.

Enjoy a full day sailing with a buffet lunch, aboard a luxury catamaran.

Cruise to Michaelmas Cay, a small sand island on the Great Barrier Reef, a breathtaking garden of exotic marine life, magnificent coral and giant clams. View the brilliant coral and sea-life in the semi-submersible, snorkel or try a dive.

Or how about their magnificent Dinner Cruise. Imagine yourself on Ocean Spirit’s luxurious catamaran, champagne in hand, savoring the sights of the city and the Rainforest clad mountains, then enjoy a mouth watering dinner, while watching the sun set, cruising on Cairns waters.

These two above mentioned cruises, alone, are well worth the trip to the Great Barrier Reef.

Remember if you decide to include them in your trip to this fabulous part of the world, that you will be leaving from Cairns.

And just a reminder also, as we have already explained, the Great Barrier Reef is 2300kms long, so it pays to know just where these cruises leave from.

We hope you have found one the great paradise cruises to suit your taste.