Australian Wildlife Journeys Adds New Day Tour to Great Barrier Reef

An exclusive day tour to the Great Barrier Reef’s Frankland Islands showcasing rivers, rainforests and reefs, is the latest addition to the Australian Wildlife Journeys (AWJ) collective.

As part of the Entrada Travel Group portfolio, Frankland Islands Reef Cruises are the only commercial operator with a permit to visit Normanby Island in the Frankland Islands National Park island group, home to vibrant fringing reefs and a vast array of marine species, including hard and soft corals, turtles and a variety of fish, including the ocellaris clownfish (Nemo) found in two rare jewel-blue anemones. Normanby Island provides some of the best snorkeling of all the islands near Cairns, with exceptional water quality and visibility aided by the island’s unique geographic location and cool water channels surrounding the area.

Commencing with a scenic 30-minute cruise down the Mulgrave River lined by rainforest and mangroves supporting abundant bird species and Saltwater Crocodiles, the Turtle Islander vessel ventures out to the traditional sea country of the Mandingalby Yidinji and Gungandji peoples. This archipelago is located six miles offshore, being the shortest sea crossing of any Great Barrier Reef day trip.

With tour numbers limited to just 100 people per day, guests can choose from a range of optional activities with marine biologists, including a snorkel safari, island guided walk and semi-submarine experience.

Providing habitat for key species such as the green turtle, hawksbill turtle, spectacled flying fox, beach stone-curlew, pied imperial pigeon and white-bellied sea-eagle, the Frankland Islands National Park is known for its mix of coastal grasses, pandanus and coconuts, mangroves, rocky outcrops and dense rainforest. The underwater world of species include nudibranchs, giant clams, butterflyfish, angelfish, parrotfish, damselfish, sea cucumbers, stingrays and 200 species of coral. During the months of May and June, manta rays also visit the shallow fringing reefs around the islands. Frankland Islands Reef Cruises is actively involved in improving the marine ecosystem through activities such as health impact surveys, partnering with the Eye on the Reef program and monitoring the crown of thorns starfish and drupella snail’s impact on the islands.

The Frankland Islands Reef Cruises day experience includes the following:

  • Snorkel Safari guided by marine biologists in small groups
  • Guided Walk with Master Reef Guide or Marine Biologist to explore the fringing reefs and rock pools, through to the white sandy beaches lined with pandanus and other native species
  • Semi-submarine experience covering the pristine coral reefs that surround the islands
  • Soft adventure activities such as kayaking, standup paddleboarding and kid’s treasure hunt
  • Mulgrave River cruise with commentary
  • All snorkeling equipment and tuition
  • Coach pickup from Cairns with buffet lunch, morning and afternoon tea


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