Bookings now available from 7 July. More info here.




FAQs

Reef cruise frequently asked questions

 

UPDATE TO OPERATIONS DUE TO COVID-19:

Bookings are now available from 7 July 2020! We are now working towards relaunching on 7 July 2020 in accordance with the government road map. At this stage, we will be operating on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The health and safety of our customers and employees is, and always has been our highest priority. Our new program brings together new and existing wellbeing measures as well as increased flexibility for cancellations and rebooking. Please see below.

TRAVEL WELL

  • Recording contact information: before travel, agents and/or passengers must provide passengers phone number, email, and accommodation address. If we do not have this information prior to travel, passengers will be refused entry. These records are used only for the purposes of tracing COVID-19 and are stored securely.

  • Paperless check-in procedure:

    • Down Under Cruise & Dive: passengers will go directly to our vessel “Evolution” (Marlin Marina, 1 Spence Street, A Finger Gate 5) from 7.30am. Boat departs at 8.15am sharp.

    • Billy Tea Safaris and The Adventure Company: passengers will be picked up from their accommodation at the scheduled time.

  • Cashless payments: all bookings must be paid in full prior to travel (including the $20 per person reef levy). Passengers will not be able to pay with cash at any stage throughout the tour.

  • Social distancing: will be enforced onboard as well as at boarding and disembarking to minimise crowding.

    Passengers are asked to limit movement around the cabin, once seated and travelling between sites. The configuration of the seats also acts as a natural barrier, and people are not seated face to face.

    During current COVID restrictions, we have reduced our maximum passenger numbers in order to comply with current COVID stage restrictions. We are fortunate to have one of the largest reef vessels in Cairns. Evolution has three floors and considerably spacious so there is plenty of room to allow for social distancing. There will be signage to allow for everyone to move around the vessel, when required, safely.

    For our rainforest tour with Billy Tea Safaris, COVID-Safe restrictions for seating within vehicles has eased and therefore, in accordance with the Government regulations, social distancing is not required while seated in our vehicles.

  • Changes to food service: staff-controlled catering and service to minimise touchpoints for crew and passengers. There will be no self-serve food option, so we have temporarily removed the tea/coffee station, cheese, biscuits, and fruit. Lunch will remain the same with staff serving each guest individually.

  • Itinerary changes Reef Day: please note there will be some temporary changes to the inclusions on the tour:

    • Lunch will remain the same with passengers individually served by the crew.
    • Temporarily unavailable: fruit platter and live music
    • Temporarily unavailable: semi-submersible
    • Temporarily unavailable: PADI Dive Courses
    • Temporarily unavailable: tea and coffee station
  • Itinerary changes Rainforest day: please note there will be some temporary changes to the inclusions on the tour:

    • Lunch will now be held at Cape Tribulation Beach House restaurant.
    • Temporarily unavailable: fruit platter and damper
    • Temporarily unavailable: Daintree ice-cream stop
  • Sanitising stations: hand sanitising stations will be placed throughout the vessel and buses and at entry points. Sanitising wipes will be available for passengers to wipe down seat belts, trays and armrests themselves.

  • Enhanced cleaning of equipment: with a focus on high contact areas, entrance points, signage, and changes to our food service.

  • Masks provided: while these are not mandatory from a safety point of view, we will have these available for use if you wish. Customers can also bring their own mask if they would prefer.

  • Staff training: all employees have completed the QTIC COVID Safe Training Program and will follow strict personal hygiene protocols including daily pre-screening.

  • Symptoms: if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you will be refused entry and advised to seek medical advice and to contact our reservations team or your agent to reschedule your activity.


TRAVEL FLEXIBLE

To ensure you can book with confidence, we are introducing further flexibility.

Customers can cancel their trip up to 18 hours prior to travel. In the event, that you need to cancel due to medical reasons (feeling unwell) or if the Government changes travel restrictions, you will be able to cancel within the 18-hour period. We have also waived rebooking fees for any booking alterations.

In the instance that your preferred date of travel is cancelled by us, we will rebook you on the next available date we are departing at no additional cost to you. For more information on booking changes and other options email or call our reservation team.

We want to reassure you that every member of our team is committed to looking after your wellbeing when you travel.

 

---------------------------------------

 

Where do you check-in and what time does the boat depart and return?

We have implemented a paperless check-in procedure. Passengers will go directly to our vessel “Evolution”, Marlin Marina, 1 Spence Street, A Finger Gate 5.

Check-in time is from 7.15am.
Evolution departs at 8.15am sharp.
Evolution returns about 4.30pm.

Do you operate every day?

Due to the latest COVID restrictions, we are operating every Tuesday and Friday from the 7 July 2020. This is pending minimum numbers are met.

What if the weather is bad?

The rain in Cairns tends to stick to the mountains. Cairns is located in the wet tropics and attracts fairly high rainfall. However, as our reef is 40kms offshore, the clouds don’t collect, and the rain tends to stay away. When you wake up in the morning in Cairns and it’s raining…do not panic! It will usually be fine on the outer reef locations.

Why choose Down Under Cruise and Dive?

Evolution departs Cairns offering a fast, comfortable, and affordable cruise, with five hours spent visiting two spectacular outer Great Barrier Reef destinations. This luxury, modern vessel provides a superior ride in all weather conditions, and exclusive protected reef locations. Professional, friendly, and attentive staff ensure a safe and enjoyable fun-filled experience.

Which reefs do you go to?

We have 12 exclusive moorings at six reef locations. Locations are chosen each day based on weather conditions and water clarity so as to ensure the best experience for all activities. Generally, we travel to one of our two outer reef locations in the morning (Norman Reef or Saxon Reef) then make our way to North Hastings Reef in the afternoon to conduct Helicopter Flights and our Semi-Submersible tour.

How long we are at the reef?

With over 5 hours at the reef, there's plenty of time between dives for snorkeling and relaxation. Evolution is our award-winning, Australian built luxury reef superyacht. With 3 massive spacious decks to lounge around and innovative drop-down water entry platforms, you'll have space and time to prepare for the experience of a lifetime. Learning to dive or snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef!

When is the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef?

The answer is whenever you can really! Temperatures around the GBR don’t usually drop below 26°C. In November, the mass spawning of corals is a sight to see. Once a year after the full moon in November/December, the corals release eggs and sperm into the water creating multi-coloured underwater snowfall making this an unforgettable natural experience! Generally, from April to November you’ll experience fewer crowds and less rainfall, which can mean increased water clarity, and with less people and tours around, you’ll most likely get a great deal on your trip and save some money!

How far in advance should I book my tour?

We normally advise our customers to book at least 3 days prior to the date of travel to secure a spot. However, please note that the months of June, July, and August are very popular travel periods, therefore it’s advisable to book as soon as you’ve made the decision to travel, that way your spot is secured.

Do you offer a locals discount?

We sure do! This is for direct bookings only. Please check out our Offers page for all the latest deals. *T&C's apply.

Food-service and special dietary requirements:

We provide a delicious Aussie BBQ lunch including prawns, fish, steak, vegetarian options, and tropical salads. We can cater to guests with vegetarian, vegan, gluten, and dairy-free diets. Please advise our friendly reservations staff at the time of your booking of any special dietary requirements and we will gladly assist where we can.

Please note due to COVID restrictions, there are temporary changes to our food service. We have now implemented staff-controlled catering and service to minimise touchpoints for crew and passengers. There will be no self-serve food option, so we have temporarily removed the tea/coffee station, cheese, biscuits, and fruit. Lunch will remain the same with staff serving each guest individually.

Can I use my credit card on-board?

Yes, we accept VISA and Mastercard. Amex not accepted. Due to COVID restrictions, we are now cashless to avoid any contamination.

How can I book?

Book online at www.downunderdive.com.au, call us on 07 4052 8300 or email reservations@downunderdive.com.au

Can I book on the day?

Yes, you can book on the day, subject to availability. You can call reservations from 7am, and will need to be at the Reef Fleet Terminal at 7.15am for check-in.

How many people can your boat accommodate?

Evolution is surveyed to take 300 passengers but we limit our numbers to a maximum of 180 passengers.

During current COVID restrictions, we have reduced these numbers even further in order to comply with current COVID stage restrictions and to ensure 1.5m distance between passengers onboard.

We are fortunate to have one of the largest reef vessels in Cairns. Evolution has three floors and considerably spacious so there is plenty of room to allow for 1.5m distancing. There will be signage to allow for everyone to move around the vessel, when required, safely.

What languages are spoken onboard?

Our crew are English speaking. Chinese speaking staff available onboard daily.

Diving age restrictions requirements:

Introductory divers and dive courses: 12+ years and Certified divers: 10+ years. Please keep in mind that all divers are required to complete a medical questionnaire. Divers over 65 years (or 45 years for PADI dive courses) require a dive medical assessment that conforms to Australian Standard and must be found fit to dive.

Do I need to complete a dive medical?

All passengers who want to dive will be required to fill in a medical questionnaire prior to their dive. If you answer yes to any questions then a medical assessment that conforms to the Australian Standard is required and you must be found fit to dive.

What if I get seasick?

If you’re prone to seasickness, it’s advisable to take something before you go. Check with a chemist. As Evolution is a catamaran, it’s more stable in rough weather than monohulls. We do sell seasickness pills on board the boat, but please remember, tablets are a preventative, not a cure, so take them before we depart. 

What do I bring with me?

Bring what you would for a day at the beach; swimwear, towel, hat, sunscreen, change of clothes, and credit card for additional purchases on the boat.

Will the water be cold?

The water temperature is pleasant all year round. Average temperatures throughout the year are December-February 29C 83F, March-May 25C 76F, June-August 22C 72F, September-November 25C 76F.

Do you visit an island or pontoon?

No, we don’t visit an island or pontoon as we have a beautiful 3 story luxury catamaran that is moored on the outer reef while you enjoy the magnificence of the Great Barrier Reef.

Do you have a professional photographer onboard?

Yes, we do! Photographs taken throughout the day are available for viewing & purchase on the way home. You can also hire digital underwater cameras onboard with an SD card for an additional $10 AUD.

Do you ever cancel?

Rarely. The only reason we would cancel a tour would be for the safety and comfort of our guests.

Is the reef dead?

Despite what you hear and read the reef is not dead, it's not dying, it's resilient, it's healthy and we've made great strides forward in the last few years. The health quality of the reef has been a hot topic of discussion in recent years with climate change impacting coral life. As a reef tour operator for over 30 years, it is our utmost priority to protect the heartbeat of our iconic region and this major part of our ancient ecosystem.

There is still lots of coral to see! Not only do we love to show off the natural beauty of the reef, but we also love to educate our visitors on the abundance of marine life that they’re seeing daily on our toursOur team of dedicated Marine Biologists are actively engaged in conservation work on the Great Barrier Reef and share information throughout the day tour on the reef ecosystem including how it came to be and how we can work together to protect the Great Barrier Reef for generations to come.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park – supports about 40,000 jobs in the region – stretches 1,430 miles, extending south from the northeastern tip of Queensland down to just north of Bundaberg. It includes 3,000 coral reefs, 600 continental islands, 300 coral cays, 1,625 types of fish, and much more. Remember, when you are talking about something as large as the Great Barrier Reef, you are talking about something bigger than the United Kingdom.

Every year corals engage in one of nature’s greatest spectacles, their mass reproduction during a November full moon. Fertilized eggs (larvae) travel on ocean currents for days or weeks in search of a new home (New Coral Growth).

The reefs that Down Under Cruise & Dive travel to are the far offshore reefs and are bathed in oceanic water from the Coral Sea rather than the currents that flow past inner Cairns reefs. Indeed, access to deep—and often cooling—ocean water helps moderate temperature extremes in these outer reefs, which also reduces the risk of bleaching.

The Great Barrier Reef already has had more than 30 percent of its area under protection from fishing, and many of its other individual reefs are important for tourism, fish habitats, and cultural benefits providing abundant marine life: tropical fish, sea turtles, sharks, rays and other underwater creatures. The government has committed more than Aus$2.0 billion (US$1.5 billion) to protect the reef over the next decade with the update highlighting progress on land management practices to prevent sediment runoff, which helps spawn the coral-eating starfish.

_______________

Cancellation and refund policy:

To ensure you can book with confidence, we are introducing further flexibility during the COVID restriction period.

Customers can cancel their trip up to 18 hours prior to travel. In the event, that you need to cancel due to medical reasons (feeling unwell) or if the Government changes travel restrictions, you will be able to cancel within the 18-hour period. We have also waived rebooking fees for any booking alterations.

In the instance that your preferred date of travel is cancelled by us, we will rebook you on the next available date we are departing at no additional cost to you. For more information on booking changes and other options email or call our reservation team.

We want to reassure you that every member of our team is committed to looking after your wellbeing when you travel.

Please consider the weather and wind strength before booking. The operator reserves the right to cancel the tour, change vessel type, or arrange an alternative carrier in the event of bad weather or mechanical problems. No refunds for voluntary uncompleted dives.




Phone number
Contact Us
Mobile Booking
Chat now