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Cairns with 11 months old...where to stay? What GBR tour?

New York
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Cairns with 11 months old...where to stay? What GBR tour?

My Husband & I will be traveling to Sydney in November with our 11 month old son (his age at the time of the trip). We want to travel up to Cairns to experience the Great Barrier Reef. I have started looking into flights into the area. We were planning on only staying 1 night in Cairns. My first question is...is that feasable? Arrive early morning; take a tour to the reef explore the area afterwards and then fly back to Sydney the next day? Would we need 2 days? Not sure what time the boats head out to the reef. If we stayed 2 nights then we could arrive day 1; tour the reef day 2; and on the 3rd day fly back to Sydney? I assume we would want a full day to see Cairns and the Reef?

Second question-is it really possibly to experience the reef with a baby? We figure we'll take turns getting in the water...I'll stay with our son while my husband snorkels...then he'll get out and I'll get in the water. I'm not a big snorkler so 10-15 minutes in the water is enough for me. Will boats take a child that young? Or is it too much of a risk? He obviously wont get in the water but would they consider him a liability just being on the boat?

3rd question-considering everything I asked...can you recommend a good tour that we can bring our son on? A boat that is baby friendly and maybe has a bottom area where we can see underwater without actually getting wet?


Darwin, Australia
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for Darwin
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1. Re: Cairns with 11 months old...where to stay? What GBR tour?

I think going for one night is a waste of time. Sure you will get to see the GBR- but that is only one tiny thing that makes that region special. You are only 1.5 hours away from World Heritage Rainforest.

The trip to Cairns is at least 3 hours + waiting time etc.

All boats for day trips leave arournd 8.30 and its a full day.

If you do some more research on here there are a multitude of posts about people taking babies to the reef. Its fine.

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2. Re: Cairns with 11 months old...where to stay? What GBR tour?

I agree. Not really an option as Sydney is three hours flight time, boats leave 8.30ish and back 5pmish. No problem to take bub with you. Defiantly look for operators that have a large moored pontoon at the reef as this will make your day way better with a baby. Look at Reef magic, Great adventures and Big Cat Green Island cruises (big cat does not go to outer reef but a popular closer option for families as it is only approx 45 minutes as opposed to 1.5-2 hours each way. You can also do Green Island as a half day option And as also mentioned there are so many other awesome things in Cairns such as the rainforest that it seems such a pity to come so far for such a short time! Three days at least I would say!

3. Re: Cairns with 11 months old...where to stay? What GBR tour?

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