Blog Post

This is what a day on the reef looks like

Hannah Statham

TNQ Writer

Ready to dive in? Pack your swimmers, hat and sunscreen. Quicksilver Cruises has you covered with all the rest.

Over two million people visit the Great Barrier Reef each year. Are you going to be one of them?

If it’s your first time to the World Heritage-listed wonder, put your family in the hands of the experts, Quicksilver Cruises, for a day on the reef. Your experience begins in Port Douglas, where you’ll board a catamaran which will make short work (90 minutes) of the 72km commute between the tropical resort playground and Australia’s continental shelf.

Your destination? Agincourt Reef, the furthest reef system within a day trip’s reach of Port Douglas, and part of the outer reef system. Like any good day trip, the journey is all part of the adventure, and as you wave goodbye to the mainland, you’ll be treated to spectacular views of the mountains that drop dramatically into the Coral Sea. Your commute will pass the very spot the rainforest meets the reef, Cape Tribulation, as you motor your way to Agincourt Reef.

Quicksilver Agincourt Reef Pontoon

Mooring on the ribbon reefs is no coincidence – it’s a snorkelling and scuba diving strategy – promising remote, untouched and unparallelled colourful tropical fish and corals. The coral gardens that grow on the shelf put any CBD vertical garden to shame, layering hard and soft corals, which are home to thousands of tropical fish who buzz in and out of them like a busy apartment block in New York City. Afterall, the Great Barrier Reef, much like the Big Apple, is an underwater city that never sleeps.

Timing your visit between May and October, will increase your chances of seeing not just small fish but big ones, with the humpback and minke whale migration happening over the winter months. Aside from access to animal encounters, being the first tour company to run day trips to the outer reef has one major perk, real estate. Out here, your base for the day isn’t the boat you arrive on, but a spacious platform floating at the reef’s edge. Quicksilver Cruises has an actual launch pad to the Great Barrier Reef.

Are you ready to dive in?

Scuba diving at Agincourt Reef

Snorkelling with clownfish

Introductory dive

From the platform you can explore the reef a few different ways – snorkelling, scuba and a raft of other tours that mean you don’t have to get your hair wet.

A snorkel mask will become your window to the World Heritage-listed wonder, and whether it’s your first time in fins or not, you’ll feel safe to explore the reef with small group tours and an always watchful eye. Join a guided tour to understand what you see, with interpretation from a marine biologist who’ll point out exactly what lies below the surface.

Take your underwater experience to new levels scuba diving the reef. No experience is necessary to explore the underwater world with an introductory scuba dive. You’ll arrive a novice and while you won’t leave a certified diver, you’ll finish the day with a whole new skill and scuba-language, including a newfound appreciation of pressing your thumb and forefinger together to communicate “all ok”.

If you’re a certified diver, you don’t have to stick to the beginner’s lane. Run rather than walk (so to speak) with two fully guided dives to the depths of the continental shelf, lasting about 40 minutes each.

Rather not get your hair wet?

Ocean Walker

Semi-Submersible aerial

Semi-Submersible

Underwater Observatory

You’re not going to feel left out on this day trip with a difference. Walk into the underwater observatory, or cruise above the corals in a semi-submersible, all from the comfort of an air-conditioned vessel.

For a more immersive way to go underwater without getting your hair wet, don a helmet and try walking underwater with the Ocean Walker experience. To guarantee the souvenir photo is something you’ll keep on your desk forever, the underwater photographer will capture your reaction as tropical fish dart around your helmet.

You’ll find that time flies faster than a Maori Wrasse swims when you’re in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, and by the time you’ve experienced what lies above and below the Agincourt surface, it will be time to swap the reef for your Port Douglas resort.

Explore coral gardens

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