This is a bit of a no-brainer when out in stunning Cairns, but you must, must, must, take at least a day-trip to the reef where you can engage in snorkeling, or just lay out on the white sandy beaches and catch a tan in the balmy tropical climate. Luckily, there are more than a handful of tour groups more than able to show you around and even take you scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef without even as little as a license. Once you have taken on the introductory diving course and want seconds, there are intermediate and certified diving options both day and night that will give you the chance to fully explore the great reef.
Many of these day tours from Cairns include your own snorkel and diving instructor and give you three square authentic local meals, and even affords you the option to close out your day on the beach, sipping on cocktails as the sun sets.
For a more family-friendly trip, there are also family packages available where you can take a boat cruise on a catamaran, fully loaded with food and drinks. For an added treat, these boats are partially submerged and with glass bottomed in the clear blue water, giving you an up-close marine experience.
Boats will often cruise off to the beautiful coral cay beaches, including Green Island, an island resort where you can go to the shops, visit the island zoo, check out the underwater observatory, or just relax at its bars and restaurants.