FRANKLAND ISLANDS REEF CRUISESThe only Cairns Reef, Rainforest & River Tour

Your tropical island adventure begins as you board our air-conditioned coach from Cairns and travel south through UNESCO World Heritage listed rainforest mountains, fields of sugar cane and the iconic Walsh’s Pyramid – the highest freestanding natural pyramid in the world.

Step on board our luxurious boat the Turtle Islander at Deeral, just 45 minutes south of Cairns, for a spectacular calm water cruise down the Mulgrave River. Keep an eye out for crocs from the panoramic windows as you sit inside in air-conditioned comfort, or step out onto the shaded outdoor decks for a closer look. From the mouth of the river it’s only 10km to the Frankland Islands.

The Frankland Islands archipelago is a natural wildlife haven and a protected national park. Beautiful Normanby Island is surrounded by pristine sandy beaches, with rock pools and healthy fringing reefs which can be snorkelled from the beach. Here you have up to four hours to relax and enjoy, without the crowds.

Your day tour includes guided snorkelling from the beach, with equipment and instruction. It also includes our popular adventure snorkel safari, snorkelling from the boat along the island’s western reefs. A buffet lunch, morning and afternoon tea are also included in your tour. After lunch, join our marine biologist and Master Reef guide for a walk around the island, discovering the diverse wildlife that flourishes under the water, in rocky pools and in the rainforest. Kids will love our special treasure hunt! Choose from a range of optional extras to enhance your day (see below).


Snorkel straight from the beach


Enjoy an action-packed day on the reef

YOUR DAY ON THE REEFExplore a secluded island paradise

Departure Information

Tours depart Friday – Tuesday (five days a week).

Coach transfers from Cairns CBD accommodation commence at 6.55am. If you prefer to self-drive, Deeral is an easy 45-minute drive from Cairns – please allow time for the drive and check in at the vessel by 8.15am.

The Turtle Islander departs Deeral at 8.30am and returns between 3.30-4pm, with coaches returning to Cairns around 5-5.30pm.

Please note that on certain dates the tour will depart and return later than scheduled due to extreme tides. Upcoming affected dates will be noted here.


  • Modern boat
  • Spectacular 30-minute river cruise
  • Up to 4 hours on the Great Barrier Reef
  • Guided snorkel tour PLUS adventure snorkel safari
  • Island walk with marine biologist
  • Buffet lunch
  • Morning and afternoon tea
  • All snorkelling equipment
  • Protection suits (seasonal)
  • Flotation devices
  • Kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding
  • Coach transfers from Cairns

Tours are limited to just 100 passengers per day. Enjoy the opportunity to have this hidden gem all to yourself!

WHY CHOOSE US?A Great Barrier Reef tour with a difference

You get to spend the day on a secluded, unspoilt National Park island on the Great Barrier Reef! Leave the crowds behind and enjoy exclusive access to this hidden treasure.

Snorkel straight from the pristine white sandy beach and see a wide variety of colourful corals and tropical fish. Our expert crew and Master Reef Guide are on hand to explain this amazing and unique ecosystem.

We have the shortest open water crossing of any Cairns reef day tour, which means you spend less time travelling and more time exploring. This also makes us the best choice for people who suffer from seasickness.

Read our reviews – “I’ve done a few far North QLD reef trips in my times, but this day somewhat unexpectedly turned into my favourite reef trip ever! Absolute dream, gorgeous tropical island where you walk into the water and are surrounded by amazing coral, colourful fish, sea turtles and giant clams! Reef safari was great.” Mary, September 2020 (Google Reviews)

Find out why customers love our tour


Discover the treasures of the Great Barrier Reef with us


Just waiting to be explored

TRANSFER ONLY RATESBring your own gear and save!

Frankland Islands Reef Cruises is the only operator licensed to land on beautiful Normanby Island. If you’d like to join us but would prefer to explore the island without our full day tour inclusions, we welcome you!

Simply select the ‘Transfer Only’ rate when booking! Then pack your snorkelling gear and an esky with your lunch and drinks (sorry, no alcohol allowed) and meet us at our departure point at Deeral for a rainforest river cruise to the island, where you’ll enjoy stunning coral gardens and a picture-perfect island beach.

You’re free to join us on a guided island walk. Charges apply for equipment hire and other optional activities including our adventure snorkel safari.

Please remember if bringing your own food and drink to take your rubbish home with you and help us keep this protected national park pristine.


At Frankland Islands Reef Cruises, we want you to be able to customise your day to suit your interests. That’s why we have a fabulous range of optional activities to choose from. Do as much or as little as you like!

Set off on an adventure snorkel safari from the boat, or join our marine biologist for a guided island walk. Explore the island by kayak or stand up paddle board (included in the day tour, or available for hire for transfer-only passengers).


Everything you need for an unforgettable island adventure





Your tropical island adventure begins with a scenic 30 minute cruise down the beautiful Mulgrave River, lined by rainforest and mangroves. From the river’s mouth it’s a quick crossing to Frankland Islands – the shortest of any Great Barrier Reef day tour.
Complimentary coach transfers from Cairns to our departure point at Deeral are included in your fare.



The pristine Frankland Islands are a place of exceptional natural beauty. From their fringing reefs and rock pools, to their white sandy beaches, lined with pandanus and other native species, and shaded green interior. Join our marine biologist and Master Reef Guide for an informative and fascinating exploration of the island.



Get adventurous! Jump off the boat and snorkel along the Western reef of the island, guided by our marine biologist. These small group tours will enable you to learn more about the Great Barrier Reef. During your snorkel safari you’ll see a vast array of hard and soft coral gardens, complete with giant clams, an abundance of colourful reef fish, and turtles.

The safari is included in our standard day tour price. Transfer Only passengers are welcome to join the safari – $30 charge applies.


FREE (for a limited time)

Little pirates of all ages will enjoy a guided hunt around the island in search of buried treasure. Follow the clues as you explore the island and learn about some of its unique natural features. A great activity for the whole family!



Want to SUP the Great Barrier Reef? With Frankland Islands Reef Cruises you can! Our Kona boards are easy to use and the waters surrounding the islands are relatively calm, making them the perfect location to try paddle boarding. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced boarder, this is the perfect place to go stand up paddle boarding on the Great Barrier Reef. 30 minutes hire time (free for day tour passengers).



Two-seater kayaks are available for hire during the day. Glide along over the clear tropical waters enjoying amazing views over the corals, fish and marine life below. 30 minutes hire time (free for day tour passengers).


Prices Vary

Frankland Islands Reef Cruises also has a range of special equipment available for hire during your day tour. This includes snorkelling equipment for Transfer Only passengers ($20), prescription masks ($15) and wetsuits ($15). These can be booked and paid for, on the boat, on the day of travel.



Want to camp on a pristine National Park Island? Frankland Islands Reef Cruises is the only commercial operator with a permit to visit the Frankland Islands, a part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service do permit some camping on the adjacent Russell Island. Camping permits must be obtained through them and we can provide your transfers. Minimum fees apply. Please contact our office for further information and a quotation.



Please Note: Scuba diving on the island is subject to availability and operates with minimum numbers – please contact us for more information. Certain medical conditions and medications may preclude some people from diving. Please see our Scuba Diving page for more information. No refund is offered should you be unable to dive.


© Frankland Islands Reef Cruises 2022

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