Great Barrier Reef Budget Cruise – A True Cairns Icon!

Compass Cruises is the cheapest Great Barrier Reef Tour operating daily from Cairns. We board at 7:30 am for an 8 am departure travelling to the Outer Barrier Reef.  Where we visit two outer barrier reef locations. When we  departing the reef, we experience the fun of boomnetting.  Adults are $115 children $95 and families $400.

This Great Barrier Reef Budget Cruise is Cairns best value reef tour and a true Cairns icon.

If you’re looking for and a memorable day on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef then tour has it all!

Join us for a fun trip to the Outer Great Barrier Reef. Snorkel among beautiful coral and a colourful variety of tropical marine life.

Glass Bottom Boat Tours

We do offer a glass bottom boat at our first reef location.  The tour lasts about 20 minutes, gliding right across the top of the reef you will be able to see coral and fish.

Free Scuba diving demonstration

Compass Cruises offers a free scuba diving demonstration.  Where we get you all dressed in the scuba gear and take you under water to see if you are comfortable breathing underwater.


During our time at both outer barrier reef locations you will be able to go snorkelling.

If you have not snorkelled before or if you are not a confident swimmer our crew will get in the water and swim for you.

Scuba Diving

introductory scuba diving

if you do not have a scuba diving licence and would like to breathe under water like the fish.  Compass Cruises does offer introductory scuba diving.   It is an awesome experience so make sure you give it a go.

Certified scuba diving

For everyone who has there scuba diving certification you can do up to do certified dives while we are on the reef.

Boom Netting

There is only one company in Cairns that offers the fun of boom netting and that is Compass.  its equal the amount of fun for spectators and participants.

A giant cargo net is attached to the back of the boat, guests can jump onboard for a wild ride.  It is a free, safe activity for all guests who can swim.

Relax on the vast sun deck, see Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef Budget Cruise offers something that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, even those with limited swimming ability.



  • 07:30 – Board the boat Compass, at Cairns Marina ‘Marlin Wharf Berth 18’, for check-in.
  • View map to Cairns Marlin Marina
  • 08:00 –Approximately depart Cairns to the Outer Great Barrier Reef. Safety talk, snorkel and dive briefings
  • 10:30 – Arrive at your first Great Barrier Reef Location
  • 12:30 – BBQ Lunch with fresh salads
  • 13:00 – Cruise to 2nd Reef Location
  • 15:30 – Depart the Great Barrier Reef
  • 17:30 – Approximate Arrival time at Cairns Marina


  • Up to 5 hours at two Outer Great Barrier Reef locations
  • Unlimited Snorkelling. Snorkelling mask, snorkel and fins included for the adults and kids
  • Free buoyancy aids – snorkelling vests and noodles
  • Delicious BBQ Lunch with fresh salads (Most dietary and food allergy requirements catered for, please advise us upon booking)
  • Fruit Platters while boarding. Tea & coffee is available all day while the boat is stationary. Water fountain to fill your water bottle
  • A glass of wine, cheese & crackers on the return journey
  • Assistance for non-confident swimmers from our friendly crew
  • Stinger suits included with your trip during jellyfish season in the tropics
  • Boomnetting – “The Wild Ride” (weather permitting)
  • A complete family-friendly tour
  • Reef tax, fuel levy & national park fees for visiting the Great Barrier Reef Marine Paare included in this trip cost

Optional Extras

  • Scuba diving for introductory divers and certified divers.  Minimum age is 12, and medical conditions do apply – please see below
  • Dive Guide for a guided tour around the reef. Scuba dive with a buddy or pay for a guided scuba dive with one of our fantastic crew. Travelling alone? The Compass Cruises team will happily organise a buddy for you on the day if you wish to dive without a guide.
  • Glass Bottom Boat Tour (weather permitting)
  • Wetsuit Hire (Great for flotation and warmth)
  • Underwater Digital Camera Hire
  • Snack Bar Purchases: Soft drinks, chocolate, chips, alcohol etc.
  • Prescription Mask Hire if you require stronger lenses to see ( you can wear contact lenses in most circumstances )
  • Bus transfers from accommodation to and from the Cairns Marina

What to bring

  • Proof of qualification as a Certified Diver
  • Cash or credit card for purchases
  • Swimming Clothes, Towel, Hat, Sunglasses, Sun Cream

How to get there

Compass Cruises departs from
Cairns Marina: ‘Marlin Wharf berth 18’ View map to Cairns Marlin Marina

Boarding commences at 7:30 am for an approximate 8:00 am a departure, directly on the boat ‘Compass.’

Arrive back to Cairns Marina at approximately 5:30 pm

Where Can I Park?

Several parking stations throughout Cairns are in walking distance of the Marina.  Click here to see where

Important Information

Important Information for Scuba Diving

We have a passion for showing you Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, so please make sure you understand the scuba diving laws.

Queensland, Australia has some of the strictest scuba diving rules in the world but also the safest scuba diving record.   The Queensland Government Code of Practice regulates us and comply with all regulations, including medical as is the law.

To avoid disappointment on your day of travel, we strongly recommend that all of our passengers complete our dive medical questionnaire before booking as some medical conditions, age, medications may prevent you from scuba diving.   It is always our mission to provide our passengers with the very best Great Barrier Reef experience.

Compass Cruises Medical Questionnaire

We are happy to help you with any questions you may have.   Please Contact our office on 07 4037 2700 or email us

Or you may like to consult your Doctor for a Dive Medical using the Australian Standard Forms ‘AS.4005.1

Flying after Scuba Diving

For a single no-decompression scuba dive, you should not fly or go to altitude for at least 18 hours after a scuba dive.  For multiple dives, you should not fly for 24 hours after your last dive.
If Skydiving or Hot Air Ballooning you must wait 24 hours after your dive.
We recommend waiting a minimum of 24 hours whenever possible


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