Michaelmas Cay

the Great Barrier Reef

Michaelmas Cay Diving & Snorkelling

Set sail to Michaelmas Cay on the Great Barrier Reef aboard the beautiful sailing catamaran Ocean Spirit. Snorkel or dive in the fringing reef, filled with vibrant marine life, or spend some time observing the seabirds that call this protected sanctuary home.

Ocean Spirit

Your Cruise

Your once in a lifetime day cruise on board Ocean Spirit; sailing the Great Barrier Reef and exploring Michaelmas Cay.

Ocean Spirit

Island Activities

Scuba dive, snorkel, jump on board our Semi-submarine/glass bottom boat Reef Discovery tour or take a guided tour to explore the magnificent marine world.

Ocean Spirit

Michaelmas Cay

Seabirds, Turtles, and hundreds of reef fish; discover the array of marine and bird life on and around this magical sandy cay.

Your Cruise to Michaelmas Cay

After a 2 hour motorised sail on board the 32 meter sailing Catamaran, Ocean Spirit, you will arrive at Michaelmas Cay where there is so much to see and do. Enjoy snorkelling in the cay’s protected shallow waters, try an introductory scuba dive in the fringing reefs, cruise in the Semi-submarine/glass bottom boat for a diver’s view of the reef, watch the fish feeding presentation, observe the bird life or just chill out on Ocean Spirit’s spacious decks or on the beach. Throughout the day, the ‘beach buggy shuttle’ will transfer you between Ocean Spirit and the beach.


  • Return Ocean Spirit cruise from Cairns.
  • 8.5 hours experience with 4 hours on the Reef.
  • Morning and afternoon teas.
  • Hot and cold buffet lunch including fresh prawns.
  • Fish feeding presentation on arrival
  • Snorkelling equipment, Lycra suits & Buoyancy vests.
  • Marine Biologist presentation.
  • Semi-submarine/glass bottom boat Reef Discovery tour with commentary.
  • Glass of complimentary sparkling wine served on the homeward journey, cheese and crackers.

Ocean Spirit Cruise Itinerary

Ocean Spirit operates daily, some times and scheduled activities may vary subject to conditions on the day.

7.30am Check-in at Ocean Spirit’s counter inside the Reef Fleet Terminal for boarding passes.
8:00 am Boarding commences. Complimentary tea and coffee served until departure.
8:30am Depart Cairns for Michaelmas Cay and the Great Barrier Reef
9:00am Safety demonstration, reef brief and snorkelling demonstration..
9:30am Informative Marine Biologist slide show presentation.
10.00am Dive brief for introductory divers.
10:30am Arrive at Michaelmas Cay. Reef Activities commence:
Fish feeding presentation
- Snorkelling
- Semi-submarine/glass bottom boat Reef Discovery tour
- Scuba diving for introductory divers. (Dive session times are 11:00am, 12:15pm & 1:30pm)
12:00-1.30pm Buffet lunch served onboard.
Time to enjoy more Reef Activities!
2:30pm Afternoon tea is served onboard
On completion of safety head count we depart Michaelmas Cay for return journey to Cairns.
Glass of complimentary sparkling wine served on the homeward journey, cheese and crackers.
5:00pm Arrive Cairns.

What to bring

  • Hat and shirt for sun protection
  • Swimwear and towel
  • Cash or credit card for optional activities or on board purchases.
  • Marine friendly sunscreen
  • Camera (Drones not permitted)
  • Professional photo service on board (additional cost)
Ocean Spirit Virtual 360° Tour

Island Activities

Be active and enjoy all the included activities – snorkel in the cay’s protected shallow waters, cruise in the Semi-submarine/glass bottom boat for a diver’s view of the reef, watch the fish feeding presentation and observe the island bird life. Throughout the day, the “beach buggy shuttle” will transfer you between Ocean Spirit and the beach. To protect this renowned bird sanctuary, access on the cay is limited to the roped beach area. If you prefer a more leisurely day on the Great Barrier Reef, relax on the beach or onboard Ocean Spirit’s spacious decks. The choice is yours!

Included Activities

Ocean Spirit


Included activity

Snorkelling is fun way to experience the many treasures of the Great Barrier Reef. With easy access from the beach at Michaelmas Cay, people of all ages and experience, can enjoy the reef, quietly drifting over the myriad of corals and colourful fish.

Ocean Spirit

Semi Submersible

Included activity

See the Great Barrier Reef without getting wet in an air-conditioned sem-sub! Seated just one metre below the waterline, you’ll be able to see a treasure trove of marine life going about their daily lives. Perfect for non-swimmers or anyone wanting to see the reef in air-conditioned comfort.

Optional Activities

Ocean Spirit

Guided Snorkelling

Optional activity

Take a guided snorkel tour of the reef surrounding Michaelmas Cay with one of our experienced Marine Biologists. As a small group you will be introduced to an abundance of marine life, from parrotfish to giant clams, and learn about the Great Barrier Reef eco system. Fun for individuals or the family.

Ocean Spirit

Introductory Scuba Dive

Optional activity

Take the plunge with an introductory scuba dive and see the reef up close and personal. Glide past stunning coral formations, swim along with schools of fish and discover a whole new world. No experience is necessary to take a fully supervised, guided introductory dive.

About Michaelmas Cay

A low lying vegetated sand cay encircled by a spectacular fringing reef, Michaelmas Cay is a National Park and a protected sanctuary for migratory seabirds. For a period during the late 1800s and early 1900s the island was used by sea cucumber pickers (Beche-de-mer) and for guano mining. In 1937 it was declared a fauna sanctuary and formally a national park in 1975. The Cay has cultural significance to the local Gungandji, Mandingalbay-Yidinji and Yirriganydji indigenous peoples. 

Penalty Free cancellation policy

If the weather takes a turn for the worse or if your plans change, you can cancel or change the travel date of your cruise with no penalty fee, as long as you let us know by midday on the day prior to travel. If weather conditions are a worry for you our reservations team have access to the 7-day outlook and will be more than happy to provide you with the information.




  • Daily Departures
  • Children 4-14 years. Children under 3 years free of charge
  • EMC*: $0 per person Included in price




  • Daily Departures
  • EMC*: $0 per person Included in price



2 adults / 2 children

  • Daily Departures
  • Max of 2 adults and 2 children of the same family.
  • EMC*: $0 per person Included in price

All taxes are included in the total price.
*EMC: A Government Environmental Management Charge (EMC) of $0 per person applies to all adults and children 4 years and over entering the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area. This fee is included in the fare price.
Surcharge: Due to potential significant volatility in supply and operational costs, a surcharge may be applied due to unforeseen circumstances. In such cases any charge will be collected on departure.

Credit card surcharge may apply.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes we do. When you are going out to experience the reef you are more than likely going to get wet anyhow! Often when it is raining in Cairns, it can be fine offshore. If you are worried about the weather please call our reservations team as they will be able to let you know the latest conditions. You can change your date of travel without incurring any fees.

Travelling time from Cairns to Michaelmas Cay is approximately 2 hours.

Yes! As Michaelmas Cay is a shallow sandy cay area, it is perfect for children and families. Guests are only allowed in the allocated area on the island which makes it easy to keep an eye on children whilst they are playing on the island. The water is quite shallow so it is also suitable for children swimming off the cay.

You certainly can! In fact most people who scuba dive with us are doing it for the first time! We have highly qualified dive instructors who will teach you all you need to know about scuba diving in the shallow waters of Michaelmas Cay before you venture out into the deeper waters. Certain medical conditions may preclude some people from Scuba Diving and the minimum age to participate is 12 years. For further advice, please contact our office.

We have a penalty free cancellation policy. If the weather takes a turn for the worse or if your plans change, you can cancel or change the travel date, as long as you let us know by midday on the day prior to travel. Follow this link for more information on our cancellation policy.

We are at Michaelmas Cay for a full four hours which gives you plenty of time to explore the cay with all of the included activities - and time for some relaxation too!.

Not finding the answer to your question? 

Contact & Enquiries

Welcome to our enquiry section, please complete the form below for all Ocean Spirit Cruises enquiries.


Reef Fleet Terminal, 1 Spence St. Cairns, Queensland.
Australia, 4870 
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Email: [email protected]
Phone: (+617) 4044 9944