CHS Blog

May 19

Free Great Barrier Reef Tours As A Tour Specialist

Posted on May 19, 2016 by


I just simply have to have the best job in Australia!

My job full time job is as a professional Tour Specialist and on my days off I get to go on famils of all the great things there is to see and do in and around Cairns and Tropical North Queensland in Australia so I can write about it and then tell all my guests every minor detail about the tours. And guess what I get to do it all for FREE!

Recently my teenage son (who just completed his diver certificate) and I were lucky enough to travel with Quicksilver to the Outer edges of Australia’s magnificent Great Barrier Reef from Port Douglas.  Having not had the opportunity to enjoy a pontoon experience before, this day was going to be a bit of an adventure for both of us!

This is my son Ezrah a.k.a Ez

And this is me…


… dressed to impress

The weather leading up to the day was dismal to say the least but on our day of travel, Tropical Far North QLD certainly turned it on – the day was magic!  With 5 knots of gentle wind at the most, the clear blue ocean was like glass as we headed out on this magnificent piece of engineering the Wave Piercer.  From the top deck of Quicksilver VIII we could clearly see the large and harmless jelly fish, Long Toms and even a couple of sea turtles on the way out.

Quicksilver Cruises Boat - Wavepiercer

Quicksilver VIII is certainly the ideal boat for anyone looking for a comfortable and very stable journey to the Outer Barrier Reef. The wave piecer is designed to break thru any swell like a hover craft to keep its passengers comfortable in club style seating whilst travelling out to the reef.

Pre-Book Your Extras or You Will Miss Out

Boarding was smooth and well organised and we were greeted by the chipper friendly staff who were more than happy to answer all questions and make sure everyone was settled into some comfy seating and had everything they needed for the journey to the reef.

Great Crew Always Keeping An Eye On You

Great Crew Always Keeping An Eye On You

All guests were provided with a comprehensive information pamphlet on boarding to let them know more about the activities thru the day, including the chance to join a guided snorkel tour or add an introductory scuba dive or scenic helicopter flight to their adventure.

On this day there were some very disappointed guests who thought they would leave booking the extras like scuba diving or scenic helicopter flights for when they boarded the boat.


BIG BIG really BIG mistake! Whatever you do you must pre-book all your extras at the time of booking your Great Barrier Reef tour do not leave it to chance when you board the boat whatever you do!

We saw people crying and some even getting angry because they had no more dive spots, helmet walking or helicopter scenic flight seats left. Don’t spoil your once in a lifetime adventure to see it all on the Great Barrier Reef just do it and just book it early.

The Cruise to the Outer Barrier Reef Pontoon 

Ezrah and I sat on the very top deck or the Eagles nest and enjoyed the sunshine and fresh air as the boat raced northwards along the coastline.  Once Quicksilver was underway from Port Douglas, it was a smooth and enjoyable cruise past Low Isles, Snapper Island and the Daintree and onto Agincourt Ribbon Reef and the Quicksilver Pontoon.  As the vessel moored up, we were lucky to see several turtles again and a large number of Giant Trevallies in the area.

QS Aerial Platform_AgincourtReef1

Settle down and Set Up For the Day 

We made our way onto the huge floating pontoon and I was so impressed to see there was so much room – with seating and shade for absolutely everyone.  The crew were ready to go and getting our lycra sun suits and snorkelling equipment was quick and easy.

Within 10 minutes we were making our way into the alluring clear blue water with a myriad of fish down below awaiting our presence.  The snorkelling area is ideally set up for all experience levels with a large area of ankle deep and waist deep water to allow those who may be a little nervous to enter the water easily from the underwater metal walkways.


There is a separate area to practice your snorkelling skills and there are also plenty of crew on hand to assist to show you how to snorkel and use your floatation equipment which is perfect for the non-swimmers or younger children.

Gob Smacking Underwater Views & A Huge Lunch

The coral was quite close by and Ez and I enjoyed a good 30 minutes exploring the clams, fish and a variety of corals including some impressive stag formations as we slowly snorkelled along the edge of the reef.  Of course it doesn’t take long to build up an appetite and we made our way back to the pontoon right on time for a massive hot and cold buffet luncheon.  There was something for everyone and more than enough for seconds or thirds with fresh fruit and salads, seafood and pasta and stir-fry and cold meats.

Lunch On Quicksilver Platform | Departing From Port Douglas

Great Day On The Reef And Great Food… Perfect For Hungry Teenagers

We thought it best to explore the Underwater Observatory after lunch and it was certainly worth the time spent. Being able to watch the large red bass and Giant Trevallies create underwater ballet  with such ease just outside the Perspex windows was a great experience which also gave us another experience and perspective of the reef that we had only just swam over a little while earlier was fantastic.

Glass Bottom Boat & Semi – Submersible Submarine 

To top this off we made our way to the semi-submersible submarine and enjoyed a 30 minute scenic tour over another further section of outer reef where the scuba divers go.

Semi-Submersible Submarine Tour With Quicksilver Cruises

It really is incredible to glide past the massive boulder corals and realise that the sheer size of them indicates they are thousands of years old.  The semi-submersible submarine was popular with the families travelling with younger children and the kids got a real kick out of seeing turtles and fish up close under the water. Some people have even had whales come up to the sides of the submarine and take a peek at the people inside.

Marine Bio Talk

We arrived back to the pontoon in time to watch the afternoon fish feeding which was amazing.  The GTs and red bass were coming right in close to take the pellets from the Marine Naturalists fingers as he gave a comprehensive talk on each of the species and their role on the reef.  There was plenty of room so that everyone could get a view, hear the talk and ask questions.

Book Your Extra Things To Do and Things To See On The Great Barrier Reef 

Some of the great extras you can pre-book on this Port Douglas reef trip are: Introductory scuba dives and certified dives, helmet walking under the ocean, scenic helicopter flights and snorkel tours with a marine biologist

Helmet Diving - Oceanwalker With Quicksilver Cruises

The Day Zooms by In a Flash

It is a surprise when you realise just how fast the day goes with so much to see and do on the pontoon. Ezrah really enjoyed all of the activities there and this reef tour is certainly a top pick for families with a range of ages as everything is just really easy to enjoy. We had time for another snorkel before getting ready to board the boat for our return journey to Port Douglas and young Ezrah slept nearly the whole way home!

Quicksilver really does go above and beyond to offer a safe and enjoyable day for all.    Ideal for first time visitors, families and locals alike – treat yourself to a wonderful day on the Reef with the friendly crew and top class facilities!

Now you have read my blog about my Great Barrier Reef tour follow this link here and start booking your very own Great Barrier Reef adventure now!

Author: Tan – Tropical North Queensland & Great Barrier Reef Destination Specialist


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