We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Michaelmas Cay - any opinions?

Grafenwohr, Germany
Level Contributor
12 posts
13 reviews
Save Topic
Michaelmas Cay - any opinions?

We are traveling to Cairns in late June. Any opinions on Michaelmas Cay or a different tour. My husband and I our strong swimmers and comfortable with snorkeling. Our kids are fair swimmers though have no fear of deep water and are definitely looking forward to snorkeling. We will not dive just snorkel. Any suggestions for our group???

I thought about Michaelmas because they could actually walk in to snorkel but was unsure how good it would be. My husband and I did this once before (12 years ago) and thought it was fabulous but have no recollection where we were in the reef- I did see a black tipped reef shark, giant clams, turtles, zillion fish etc on that trip and we did have a small beach area to stand on but we started from the boat.

Mentioned in this post
Michaelmas Cay
Michaelmas Cay
557 Reviews
Cairns, Australia
Seabob Jet Australia - Reef Magic
Sightseeing Tours, Boat Tours, Scuba & Snorkeling, Eco Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours
Perentie Tours
Sightseeing Tours
Cairns, Australia
Level Contributor
288 posts
134 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Michaelmas Cay - any opinions?

Michelmas cay is still a great place to snorkel/dive.

Passions of Paradise is a popular boat to visit the cay.

You mentioned late June, and that is a pretty busy time period with the summer holidays for overseas college students and school holidays for some Australian states. June to August is Cairns busy period.

Queensland
Level Contributor
1,047 posts
206 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Michaelmas Cay - any opinions?

The benefit of Michaelmas Cay is you can enter the water from the sand, perfect for those who dont want to enter the water from the back of a boat or pontoon, however this is also a bird sanctuary and I was very much put off by the amount of birds flying above. Some don't mind that, I personally didn't like the experience and prefer other options. Maybe it was just the time of year.

Mentioned in this post
Michaelmas Cay
Michaelmas Cay
557 Reviews
Cairns, Australia
Grafenwohr, Germany
Level Contributor
12 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Michaelmas Cay - any opinions?

Thank you - I had not realized it was the high season in Cairns. That is good to know! Also, I hadn't thought about the birds being a distraction. That gives me even more to think about. Thank you both for the new intel and your time and consideration answering this question.

Docklands Melbourne
Level Contributor
144 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Michaelmas Cay - any opinions?

Hi again,

On Seastar you go to both places....(as per your email question).........a very easy step setup to get into and out of the water.......and the photos on their website are accurate........enjoy your visit....

San Diego...
Level Contributor
10 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Michaelmas Cay - any opinions?

Walking in or jumping in of a boat for a snorkel will not be a factor once you're out there. Your best bet is heading out with an operator that takes to you the best sites for the weather conditions and tides. You'll be happy with Michaelmas Cay if you don't see any other snorkelling spots on the reef. Sea star is a good option because after the cay they take you to Hastings Reef, Fish Bowl which is far superior for snorkelling however there are even better reefs and snorkelling spots available. Tusa Dive is the only boat with a roving permit that offers multiple reefs and sites that only they can access. They will assess the conditions on the day and pick the best spot based on the conditions. This is very valuable if there is a storm prior to your arrival the sand cay will have terrible visibility. Where as the reefs closest to the continental shelf will have clearer water. You don't want to leave a trip of a lifetime to chance. Check out Tusa Dive, Ocean Free, or Ocean Freedom you and your family will have an amazing snorkelling experience. On a side note, June is the beginning of Dwarf Minke Whale season here and they frequent snorkel spots that have deep water access, they won't go near the cays but will be on the outer reefs. YES thats right snorkelling with small whales is a possibility in June and July only then they migrate back down south.

Mentioned in this post
Michaelmas Cay
Michaelmas Cay
557 Reviews
Cairns, Australia
TUSA Dive
TUSA Dive
1,415 Reviews
Cairns, Australia
Grafenwohr, Germany
Level Contributor
12 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Michaelmas Cay - any opinions?

Thank you very much! Your timing is great because I was considering finalizing the reef tour today, but now I will look up Tusa next. Also, thank you for the Minke information. That would be so awesome to see them. There are so many choices for tours- I greatly appreciate your opinion for it really helps in narrowing things down and that fit my family the best. Thanks again, Heather

San Diego...
Level Contributor
10 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Michaelmas Cay - any opinions?

You are very welcome. Lastly, a great family thing to do is Cairns is to book in for a night at Reef Teach. It is a 2 and half hour educational show run by divers/marine biologists that talks about the amazing flora and fauna at the reef. Going the night before your trip will greatly enhance your overall experience as you will have a better understanding of how the reef works and about the unique animals and critters that make the reef home.

Mentioned in this post
Reef Teach
Reef Teach
417 Reviews
Cairns, Australia
Finland
Level Contributor
220 posts
347 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Michaelmas Cay - any opinions?

I just made a trip to small Michaelmas Cay with SeaStar. Friendly and reliable staff.

The advantage with SeaStar is that they will be the first boat in Michalemas in the morning for some 30-40 minutes before others come. So, it is peaceful. The boat also also small (max. 35 passengers) so to move to the water and back goes quickly and smoothly. You can dive from boat or sand.

They also make a small (20 minutes) glass bottom tour in the cay area. The island itself in increadible with thousands of seabirds - worth to see even if you are allowed to walk only in around 50 x 50 m area. They continue to outer reef (Hastings) later.

The disadvantage is that the way can be bumpy, but i guess that is the same with others, depending on the weather.

Mentioned in this post
Michaelmas Cay
Michaelmas Cay
557 Reviews
Cairns, Australia
9. Re: Michaelmas Cay - any opinions?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 12 April 2015, 05:15