Michaelmas Cay Bird Watching & Marine Life

Michaelmas Cay Bird Watching & Marine Life

Earn Eco-Rewards
Earn Eco-Rewards

Great Barrier Reef and 30,000 Seabirds!

Join Peter and Bernadette on their famous full day cruise, Seastar, to the Great Barrier Reef.

Seastar has been operating for over 30 years and has exclusive access permits for Michaelmas Cay birdwatching, snorkelling and island circumnavigation making it the choice for bird and marine life enthusiasts.

An amazing 30,000 seabirds have been recorded on the cay at one time. Overall 38 species of birds have been recorded on Michaelmas Cay – 35 seabirds and 3 woodland species. The main breeding species are Sooty Tern, Crested Tern, Common Noddy and Lesser Crested Tern.

The day also includes a visit to explore Hastings Reef, classed as an outer reef location for snorkelling, scuba diving and the option of a glass bottom boat tour with our skipper.

Marine life encounters with friendly green sea turtles are common and baby black tip reef sharks can be seen hugging the beach at Michaelmas Cay.

Trip code:



Snorkelling, Bird Watching

Start / Finish:

Group Size:

min 10 / max 36

Age Range:

4 - 75 yrs


EcoTourism Certified

Age Range:

4 - 75 yrs

Fitness Rating:

out of 5

Climate Cert:

Currently Not "Climate Certified"


EcoTourism Certified


  • Over 5 hours on the Great Barrier Reef
  • Visit Michaelmas Cay National Park
  • Witness up to 30,000 seabirds at one time
  • Visit Hasting Reef
  • Glass bottom boat tour at Hastings Reef
  • Snorkel Tours at both locations
  • Opportunity to Scuba Dive (cert or introductory)
  • Reef and Island interpretation


(slide show)

Cruise Video


Island circumnavigation (birding only)
Reef Interpretation/ecology talk
2x snorkel tours
Snorkel and dive instruction
Glass bottom boat tour
High-quality snorkel equipment
Level 2 snorkel buoyancy vests
Optical masks when required
Wet suit or lycra suit
Lunch + Morning/Afternoon Tea
All park fees
Introductory Scuba Diving (+$75)
Certified Scuba Diving (+$55)
Transfers Northern Beaches (+$25)
Soft drinks & snacks


Leaving the Cairns Marina at 8am means we arrive at Michaelmas Cay at approximately 9.15am.

Birdwatchers will be the first guests to step foot on the island. This offers ample photo opportunities of a island with no other humans in sight. Photo opportunities of the birdlife is endless, especially in the summer season which sees up to 30,000 birds sharing the island.

Birdwatchers are offered a circumnavigation of the island where more species can be sighted and photographed.

There is plenty of time to snorkel in the calm, sheltered waters off the cay within the unspoilt fringing coral beds. Turtles are commonly encountered and baby black-tip reef sharks can be viewed with 5 meters of the beach.

Lunch is served on-board which includes two hot dishes and salads as we head over to Hastings Reef and our own exclusive mooring.

At Hastings Reef you can experience the true wonders of this Outer Edge Reef, there are the coral caves, coral overhangs, deep water drop offs, coral canyons, swim throughs and shallow coral bays that are only metres from the side of the vessel.

Along the steep edges there are swirling schools of small fish, colourful parrot fish, turtles, giant clams, “friendly” little reef sharks, bright yellow butterfly fish, pairs of rabbit fish, countless varieties of brightly coloured damsel fish and of course, Nemo.

As well as snorkelling you can join our glass bottom boat tour. This can afford bird sightings and your skipper will be able to explain more about the reef.

The Michaelmas Cay and Hastings Reef cruise gets back into Cairns just after 4pm.

Note: There are opportunities to scuba dive – please ask.

Meeting Point & Reef Locations

Prepare for your experience

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