One thing everyone should do in Cairns

Tropical North Queensland has been the number one destination in Australia for the last few decades, and in all honesty it really does live up to the hype. From the rainforest around Cairns to the underwater utopia of the Great Barrier Reef, every inch of this region is worthy of an Instagram post.

Wanting to see this little piece of paradise in the flesh, tourists flock to the region in droves. Thousands fly in to Cairns Airport every week, and the one thing almost all of them want to do is to visit the Great Barrier Reef.

They want to climb aboard one of the dive boats, to don a snorkel and mask, and to see as much of the Barrier Reef as they can in their allotted time.

But did you know that they’re only getting to enjoy part of the experience?

The reason for that is most people have no idea what they’re looking at.

If there’s one piece of advice I can offer, it’s to sign up for the evening class at Reef Teach. Founded in 1992, its an interactive class which dives into the species that inhabit the reef in a fun and easy to understand way.

I did the class before heading out to the reef and it was seriously worth it.

In just two hours I learned what to look for, where to find it, and how to get the most out of my brief visit. I now know the difference between plate, finger and boulder corals, and can also identify the many distinct fish families.

Sure, you can still see plenty of amazing things on the reef without the class, but with it you get a much greater understanding of what you’re looking at.

Where: 2nd Floor, Mainstreet Arcade, between Lake & Grafton Streets
When: 6.30pm – 8.30pm (except Sunday and Monday)
How much: $23 for adults, $14 for children 14 & under. $60 for families.

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Written by
Chris Ashton
Join the discussion

  • Hi!
    Thanks for this article, it’s going to be really handy to me as I’m going to visit Cairns in two or three months. Did you book the classes in advance? How about the snorkeling/scuba diving, did you book anything as well?


    • Hi Gil. I booked just a couple of days in advance before going, but there is a booking calendar on their website where you can book well in advance. The scuba trip was definitely booked in advance. I went out with CDC Cairns Dive Centre to do a liveaboard trip on their Kangaroo Explorer boat, but they do have a day trip option on their Reef Kist boat. If you’re after something more laidback, I recommend travelling with Passions of Paradise. Hope you have a fantastic trip!