Green Island & Great Barrier Reef Adventure

Green Island is around 6000 years old and is 45 minutes by boat away from Cairns, Queensland.Over time, waves and currents  dumped sand on top of coral gardens and with a little help from bird droppings, eventually vegetation grew leaving us with lush tropical rainforest, it is one of a kind.

Because Green Island sits within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and is so close to the mainland it is a very popular day trip for families, tour groups and non-swimmers wanting to experience the reef without getting wet. Your ticket can include a glass bottom boat tour or snorkel equipment (take the boat tour, you will see more and have better luck spotting turtles). There is a small resort on the island, shops, restaurant & dive centre. Marineland Melanesia & Crocodile Habitat is a small zoo/museum with Melanesian & Polynesian artifacts, aquariums with fish & turtles and the largest crocodile in captivity resides there, Cassius. There are rainforest boardwalks on the island with information panels and you can walk along the beach around the whole island in around 40 minutes. Scenic helicopter flights are also available as the island has a heli pad and the patrolled beach has equipment you can hire.

Today my co-worker and myself were visiting Green Island and also the Outer Reef. YES! You can do this easily in one day… the ultimate package fantastic for the time poor. You spend 2 hours in the morning on Green Island (45 minute journey) and then get a 55 minute transfer over to the platform at Moore Reef.

Once on the island we headed strait to Marineland. We put our stuff into a locker and paid the entry fee to check out all the animals. Cassius is clearly the star! He is over 110 years old and still rejuvenates his teeth (usually at that age they loose them all and have a gummy smile).He is over 300kgs and is 5.48 meters long and in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest in captivity.

Images of Marineland Melanesia

The mighty Cassius, the largest saltwater crocodile in captivity.

If you have the stomach for it, check out the Gruesome alley section with articles on crocodile attacks

Following the zoo we made our way back to the jetty to go on the glass bottom boat 1/2 hour tour.Your ticket will have an allocated time for this if you have it as your inclusion. These boats are the best way to see the reef surrounding Green Island, the better stuff isn’t easy to snorkel to. The skipper was very informative and we saw a few turtles and different coral species. They also do a fish feeding so there are plenty of large fish to see.

So it was eventually time for phase two, to head out to the Outer Barrier Reef to the activity platform. Morning tea was handed out, a piece of chocolate or carrot cake. The passengers next to us clearly were enjoying their day, documenting every moment with a gazillion selfies. They decided we needed to be in their pictures (the token Aussies that we are) Ohhhh….So hot right now 😎

It took awhile to get on and off all of the boats on this day so you have to be a little patient. Due to the clientele on this reef option the line up for the semi-sub boat tours was constant so we opted to skip that and not spend our time waiting in line. Platforms are always a good option for families and non-swimmers. We didn’t mind not getting on the semi-sub as we wanted to snorkel and check out the site. On arrival we made our way to the sundeck, away from the crowds where there was plenty of room and settled into our spot.

With limited time out on the platform we decided to go for a snorkel first up and check out the site.We donned our included Lycra suits (it is jellyfish season in summer months)and armed with a Go Pro… it was time to explore…YEW!The afternoon was fining up to be spectacular conditions with great visibility.

Another draw card to this platform option is once again, perfect for those who don’t swim. They have an underwater scooter product called “Scuba-Doo”. You aren’t alone on the scooter, you have a scuba diver guiding you around and if you’re lucky, Wally the Maori Wrasse might come and say hello.

Check out the little video of the Scuba Doo in action when Wally comes to visit>>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbqC1Gvdm9Y&feature=youtu.be

The site was beautiful loaded with fluorescent colours across a wide spectrum, but alas, this isn’t good sign as it is a sign the corals are bleaching. This is a large bleaching event effecting large portions of reef close to the surface all over the Great Barrier Reef, not just at Moore Reef. Hopefully soon we will get cooler water temperatures so it will slow the process down and give them time to recover before they die. Fingers crossed!

After our exploration we headed back in to have some lunch. It is a hot and cold buffet with plenty of options. The hot dishes are a Japanese Curry and excellent Potato Bake (amongst other options). To accompany this is sushi, fresh prawns, an array of salads and platter of fresh fruit. It was all very delicious and even nicer was being able to eat our lunch Al Fresco up on the top sundeck.

After letting our food settle we were back in the water once more on a guided snorkel. Thankfully the snorkel went to part of the reef site we didn’t explore earlier. Guided snorkels are always a great way to see stuff and learn about stuff. The guide tells you all about Clown Fish (Nemo) giant clams, Mushroom corals and more. The highlight for me was the fish feeding. Most of the platforms have resident fish and the most famous resident fish is called Wally, the Maori Wrasse. He is timid and very used to people and doesn’t care if your right there when he is getting fed. You can never tire of wally prancing and dancing around you! I am pretty sure he is just showing off his striking facial markings and big lips.

Wally and the guided snorkel. Go Pro pics.

There is also an underwater observatory, scuba diving and helicopter scenic flights available at the activity platform. There are loads of activities to suit everyone in the family or group however bare in mind the time frame out there(3 hours).It is advised to pre-book your activities to avoid missing out and disappointment.

By the time we had finished our snorkel it was already time to return back to Cairns. If you want a sleep in because you are on holidays you can skip the visit to Green Island and just visit the platform, the boat departs Cairns at 10:30am.

With wine in hand, cheese and crackers in a little napkin on my lap seated outside on the back deck of Reef King we departed. On the journey back we stopped via Green Island again for passengers staying on the island to alight. The resort on the island is part of the same company so you can head out to the platform directly from there.

As the summer storm clouds build we cruised into Trinity Inlet with the Cairns hotels and Mcallaster Rangers on the horizon. It’s always lovely to cruise back into Cairns and a lovely way to finish the day. The Carins Marina is located at the Cairns CBD so it’s very easy to get back to your hotel on foot for that long awaited shower to wash the salt off.

Massive thanks to Jake & Great Adventures for hosting us on this day.

Also… much thanks once again to Calypso Cameras for the hire of their new Go Pro Hero 5. What an awesome little camera for all adventures! Visit them at >>> http://calypsoproductions.com.au/cairns-underwater-camera-hire/ or visit them in store at the Reef Fleet Terminal, where the boats depart from in Cairns.

You can book this awesome package and all it’s upgrade options with the Reef Information Centre http://www.reefinfo.com.au/or in the shop, 34 The Esplanade (also right near where all the reef boats depart and cruise liner terminal).

Check out the fun Go Pro movie I made >>>>>>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HS_kPpCD_Mw it’s full of funky toons and an entertaining way to see what the day with Great Adventures is all about!

 

HARD FACTS…

Visit time:

Whole day trip

Times:

08:30am  to 5:30pm  (Check in from 07:30am Reef Fleet Terminal)

Suitable for:

  • Not so good swimmers to good swimmers
  • Non-swimmers & elderly
  • Those members in a family group seeking adventure when others don’t
  • Those staying on the resort on Green Island

Fitness level (out of 5):

  •  2/5

Time of year:

  • All year round (Stinger season is from October through to April)
  • Lycra suits provided