Evolution Great Barrier Reef Day Tour


So I was feeling very special last Wednesday when I boarded the super swanky, new Australian built reef boat THE EVOLUTION. I really did want to break out my own personal version of Lonely Island’s, “I’m on a boat”!

After we had checked in at the Reef Fleet Terminal and boarded the vessel we were greeted by a plethora of friendly smiley staff. Smiley skipper at boarding, smiley service staff at the bar, smiley customer service officers, smiley deck hands… it goes on and on. I wonder if the sunny glassy forecast has anything to do with staff morale!

After filling out the usual paperwork I raced upstairs to choose a primo position. I want to get the full on proper Evolution experience and that meant front row seats on the upper deck! This boat has many different spaces for you to enjoy throughout the day. 2 large indoor saloon areas with air-conditioning and booth seating. Large outdoor undercover top deck with seating AND bean bags! Sunny outdoor seating at the front of the boat and the usual dive deck space towards the back. Let’s just say she’s a very swanky sexy beast!


Evoulution Great Barrier Reef – Boat facilities, dive deck, towel racks

Down Under Dive Evolution check in and first time on board

Professional service… professional boat! Photo’s on my iphone.

I have all my own snorkel equipment so my friend was the only one who needed to collect hers on board. The (smiley) staff help you with fin and snorkel sizes and you have an allocated shelf area to keep your gear when not in use. I really liked this idea, stops unnecessary clutter and tripping hazards throughout the boat.

As we depart the shores of Cairns it’s time for the usual safety briefing. Thankfully, the staff members in charge of this task are lively jokers and make it fun. I have heard similar safety spiels many times over so it’s always a joy and refreshing when it’s a good laugh and gets you pumped and totally sets the tone of the day!

I thoroughly enjoyed our front row seats up top on the smooth cruise out to the Outer Reef taking in the glorious sun bathed deep blue sea, a gentle breeze keeping us cool and engaging in pleasant conversation. It felt as though we were on a balcony of a ritzy hotel room! Just as we were totally settled we were needed downstairs for the mandatory snorkel briefing before we arrived at site 1. My friend is unlike me and hasn’t snorkeled many times over (like the majority of people on this boat) so this snorkel briefing (more like tuition) is perfect if you need a little extra help and advice about snorkeling.   

We arrived to a beautiful Reef site!

Arriving at the Great Barrier Reef, our first of 2 locations

Amazing day! Photo from my iphone.

It was very hectic on the dive deck when everyone was trying to get in the water, both snorkelers and divers. My advise is to hang back a little, take some photo’s, chillax and take it all in. You then have an easier more comfortable entry into the water. Some passengers also don’t stay out too long so my friend and I had the majority of the time on our own to explore the site. 

Snorkelling over some of the beautiful corals at the Great Barrier Reef

Some more of the beautiful corals that make up the Great Barrier Reef

Finding Nemo’s cousins, giant clams, a puffer fish and more. Photo’s on a Lumix camera hired from Calypso camera’s Cairns.

The stomach growling is a good indication that it’s lunch time, one of my favourite times of the day (I do enjoy a good included lunch on the boat trips!!!). Today’s menu was an Aussie BBQ with steak, sausages, reef fish & fresh prawns accompanied by an array of salads, bread & condiments. The staff cook all the meats on a huge hotplate on board so it’s all hot and fresh. If you are vegetarian they have vege patties cooked separately for you (pre-ordered in the morning).

Lunch onboard Evolution included bbq prawns, steak, sausages and chicken along with a great range of salads

A lovely BBQ included lunch. Get in!!!!! Photo’s on my iphone.

After lunch it’s one final view of this site and on to the second site, minutes away. The view that greeted us was stunning on this day, due to a low tide revealing fantastic coral colours and aqua waters. Check out the link to my YouTube channel to see just how amazing the site looked on arrival from the top deck!

Riding the semi sub, snorkelling and scuba diving onboard Evolution

Time for another snorkel, a dive or semi-sub ride! Photo’s on the Lumix.

This was a wide beautiful site. Due to the low tide and being very shallow the introduction divers on their second dive weren’t at a very deep level so that situation is perfect for nervous beginners. We also partook in a 20 minute semi-submersible boat cruise, available for an additional $10 on the day. Elvis provided the commentary for the tour. He was very informative and funny (as he had been all day. What a machine!).

This site is where they also offer 10 minute scenic flights from a small pontoon. Check out the link for a short video I took of the helicopter from the water!

I see you watching me watching you! Calypso Camera’s taking photo’s of each other. You can purchase pics of yourself on the journey back to Cairns.

On this day there is plenty of time in the water across the 2 sites and also enough time to get some sun and relax on the boat before heading back to Cairns. On the return journey my man Elvis morphs into the entertainer and jams some reggae tunes in the main saloon. Passengers are also treated to a glass of red or white goon (wine in a box for all you non-Aussies) and cheese & Jatz. Who doesn’t like a good glass of goon and cheese cruising on a million dollar boat?!?!

The Evolution is fast, we fly pass many other boats heading back to Marlin Marina and park up by 4.30pm, back before the majority of the reef boats come in. If your travelling on by car it get’s you out of the Cairns CBD before peak hour starts, which is nice! (Yes! Cairns has traffic at peak hour!) It also give you time before your holiday dinner reservations.

A lovely day out! If you don’t like long boat rides and love a little comfort, Down Under Cruise & Dive’s Evolution is the boat for you! Many thanks to the staff… you made my day and I am sure you will make many more people’s day out on the reef.

Calypso Camera’s hire out camera’s for your day from their shop at the Reef Fleet Terminal (where you check in for Evolution). They also have professional photographers on board taking photo’s of your day for sale.