Words and Photos By Dallas Sherringham
Ah Paradise! Taking the Big Cat to Green Island was like taking a cruise ship to a beautiful South Seas island on a day tour.
It has been a “must” for visitors to Cairns for many years and recently I had the chance to travel to the fabled island for a day on the island paradise.
And what a great day out it was. The ocean around Green Island is teeming with sea life – beautiful corals and fish and the most amazing blue water you will ever see.
The postcards and videos of the Great Barrier Reef and its islands can never replace the thrill of seeing it live. There are a number of ways to get “on to” the reef including scuba diving, snorkeling, a submersible submarine and glass bottom boats. And then there is Snuba, which is an easy combination of snorkeling and scuba and ideal for beginners.
There are plenty of experienced staff around to help with your chosen activities….all you have to do is ask.
Most of the activities take place from the back of the Big Cat, but when you go ashore you can find nice quiet spot on a beach under a palm tree and go for a cooling swim.
Lunch is served on board and is a lovely way to relax and meet other guests.
The eco-certified tour operator, officially known as Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises, is also celebrating a milestone anniversary this year marking 30 years of cruising the waters that surround the Great Barrier Reef in Tropical North Queensland.
The Australian owned and operated touring business was originally purchased by Jim and Jo Wallace in 1990 and in 2017 became part of the publicly listed company, Experience Co Pty Ltd.
They run two tours out to Green Island that boast spectacular reef systems and guests can choose to snorkel, dive or stay dry by viewing the underwater world from the comfort of the ultra-modern glass bottom boat - an investment which cost nearly half a million dollars, took six months to build and it is the largest glass bottom boat in Tropical North Queensland.
It is the best glass bottom boat I have been on personally in more than 30 years of cruising.
Down through the years, the company has celebrated many milestones and been awarded with an array of accolades – Big Cat has won the TTNQ Award for Best Major Tour and Transport Operator on three separate occasions and as a result of this was inducted into the Tropical North Queensland Tourism Awards Hall of Fame.
I learn all about the company’s environmental initiatives, having attained “Advanced Ecotourism” accreditation in 2005 and then becoming the first reef operator to achieve a zero-carbon footprint.
Big Cat has a passionate team made up of approximately 65 people, four of whom have been with the company for more than 20 years and 14 team members for more than 10 years, showcasing their commitment to the company but also most importantly their knowledge of the local area and the importance of reef protection.
Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises has adapted its business to ensure social distancing rules are adhered to and strict hygiene measures have been implemented to protect all guests and staff.
To find out more about Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises or to make a booking visit https://greenisland.com.au/green-island-tours/