Right now, Ill give you a rundown on the Moore Reef Pontoon, from a mum’s perspective. These are all of the things I feel like I would want to know!
The way the day goes:
8.30am – 9.00am – check in at the reef fleet terminal. You will collect your tickets and get directed down to the boat.
Between 8.45am – 9.10am – Board the Sunlover boat. The boat is very large and has 3 levels. I normally recommend sitting on the middle level, there is built in lounge style seating, and you have easy access to the outside deck if you need some fresh air. The boats are airconditioned.
9.30am – depart Cairns
11.30am – arrive at Moore Reef pontoon. The boat is cleaned when everyone disembarks onto the pontoon, what I normally do is leave a few items we don’t need immediately at our seats on the boat, to try to reserve them for when I come back.
At the pontoon:
The glass bottom boat and semi-sub tours operate every 20 minutes or so, normally starting from 12pm.
Lunch is also served from 12pm, on board the boat. I love getting to the buffet early personally!
On the pontoon, the snorkel equipment (lycra suits, mask, snorkel, fins, life jackets) are all stored in various areas, ask the crew to help out if you can’t find what you’re looking for. Plenty of sizes, I’ve had my kids in ‘stinger’ suits since they were 8 months old.
There are change room cubicles on the pontoon as well, and freshwater showers.
There is a waterslide off the top deck, the crew have a lookout (lifeguard) who sits next to it when its operating.
The snorkelling area is a large area marked out by buoys and ropes. Plenty of room for everyone to snorkel close to the pontoon, or further out. We have lookouts stationed anytime anyone is in the water for safety or to blow a whistle when someone is getting too close to the perimeter.
So, you can confidently snorkel (self-guided) and the coral and marine life are AMAZING. We often get turtles there (most days). Green sea turtles and Hawksbills are the most frequent.
Depending on the ages of your kid(s), there is also a fenced wading pool. It’s like 4 x 2 m wide, maybe under a metre deep.
3.15pm – pontoon is packed up and everyone boards ready for departure. It’s a good time to get an ice cream or something for the kids.
3.30pm – boat departs the pontoon.
5.30pm – return to Cairns, disembark.
A few other things:
- Its an ‘all inclusive’ day (unless you want to book extras like scuba diving, seawalker, helicopter or a snorkel safari) Your snorkel gear, stinger suits, lunch and activities are all included.
- The boat stays docked at the pontoon the whole time you are there. You can go sit inside, if you want to have some air-con for example. The toilets are also located on the boat on the lowest level, back corners. The boat is considered a ‘dry area’ so people should be towel dry when they come off the pontoon back onto the boat.
- Parking – you can park under the pier building for around $10 for a day rate, or Hemingways car park is also around $10 for the day. Just allow time to walk down to the Reef Fleet Terminal.
- Sea Sickness – I ALWAYS take a Travacalm before I go anywhere on the boat, and I spend a lot of time on boats. We all know mums can’t be sick because the world just keeps going! Take it as soon as you board. I don’t think they are suitable for young children; you can get some ginger tablets for them though.