Small Boat vs Big Boat Great Barrier Reef Trips

We strive to provide the very best Port Douglas Reef trips. Amazing locations. Personalised service. Max 12 Guests.

ABC Snorkel Charters is a small, family owned company. We’ve got two boats and have assembled a team of fantastic marine biologists, skippers and reef experts. Our mission is to ensure our guests see, engage and learn about the amazing Great Barrier Reef. Having the best day and time possible.

We keep our numbers small, to a maximum of 12 guests. We have a high crew to passenger ratio. We visit reef which is zoned by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority as being Low Use.

Our team are in the water with you. We ensure you don’t miss a thing on your Great Barrier Reef day tour.


TOP 10 Reasons to choose ABC Snorkel Charters

When you want amazing and you want the best Port Douglas reef trips, you want ABC Snorkel Charters. Our point of difference is our approach. We’re passionate about ensuring our guests not only have a great time but are given the opportunity to learn more about the reef, specifically what they are seeing on their day tour. That’s why our team are in the water with you, for the whole time. Pointing out key species, interesting reef features and explaining how they all integrate to create the simply amazing Great Barrier Reef ecosystem. But wait, there’s more – our top 10 reasons why you should choose ABC Snorkel Charters are below – but don’t take our word for it, check out our Trip Advisor reviews there’s over 1,000 of them. We’re thankful they chose us and we look forward to showing you the wonders of the reef.


We keep the numbers small and the service big.


We handpick sites that are suited to the needs of snorkellers.


Our team will help you get ready and take you around the reef.


We visit Low Use Reefs which are only allowed 15 pax max.


A beautiful coral cay surrounded by fringing coral gardens.


Our touch is light. Our tours have low environmental impact.


That’s right, our guests give us 5 stars and make us #1.


Our boats can access amazing areas with easy water entry and exit.


They are here for you, creating a relaxed and fun, social environment.


We’ve been exploring the Port Douglas Outer Reefs for over 30 years. We know where to go and will take you there.

Why Choose ABC Snorkel Charters

We’ve got the team, the boats and the permits to show you some simply amazing sites on the Great Barrier Reef. Because we only take a maximum of 12 guests, we can visit the reef sites that are zoned as Low Use. Low Use reefs are only available to operators with less than 15 passengers.

These reefs are not visited by the larger boats, so the reefs have had less visitation and impact. In fact, ABC Snorkel Charters are privileged to practically have our own dedicated reef that we can share with you.

The Best Port Douglas Reef & Low Isles Trips

  • Rated #1 on TRIPADVISOR
  • Boat 1 – Just 12 passengers
  • Boat 2 – Just 8 passengers
  • Guided groups and very personal service
  • Exclusive reef locations
  • A Eco Certified Tour Operator
  • 100% locally owned and operated family business – proudly Australian
  • ABC can only be booked directly, we do not pay commission to agents, which means savings for our customers

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I am honestly so happy we decided to drive from Cairns to Port Douglas for a snorkel tour. All the staff were amazing. Lizzie who was our snorkel instructor was a gem. She had all the equipment ready to go for me and helped me get ready for all the swims. She was constantly making sure I was alright. All three sites were beautiful. The coral was lovely and there was lots of fish to look at. Lizzie was great at pointing things out and explaining what we were looking at, as well as answering everyone’s questions. The amount of swim time was longer than I anticipated which was fantastic. My husband has been to the reef twice before and said that this experience was by far the best he has been on. I just want to say thank you for helping me achieve a lifelong dream (that I hadn’t done in the past due to my motion sickness), it was 100% worth it. I would recommend you guys 1,000 times over.

Rebecca Pandeli

The skipper had amazingly good knowledge about the area and shared his knowledge and insights with us! Where we snorkelled, the biodiversity and marine life is simply abundant! Could not believe we saw so many whitetip reef sharks, some manta rays, some dolphins, a moray eel, such a diverse variety of fishes! Our instructor was extremely helpful and knowledgeable about the marine life! We had the most awesome time snorkelling with ABC Snorkel Charters! Thank you so much to the entire crew for making this such a memorable & awesome snorkelling trip for my family! We love Port Douglas & the Outer Reefs!!!

Angi Yeo

Great crew, with huge amount of knowledge and love for the reef. They took wonderful care of us and the whole tour felt super personalised. We were not another cog in the reef machine. The small boat numbers made all the difference. A little more expensive than some of the other places, but the service is outstanding and worth every penny. You also get photos at no extra charge and the underwater camera ones are epic! Stop searching and book with these guys.

Jenni Mildon

Pure Joy! Thoroughly enjoyed our day of snorkelling. I had never snorkelled before (love swimming in the ocean, a little frightened of what's under the surface). Sam's instructions were excellent! Although the conditions weren't ideal (a little windy and choppy), I felt completely safe and comfortable. It was an overcast day, so it was amazing to discover the contrast of colour, corals were purple, pink and yellow, brilliantly coloured fish teeming underwater. We had three relaxed long sessions in different locations. No rushing and lots of space to explore, enjoy and learn. The equipment and the boat were clean and comfortable. Crew was friendly, enthusiastic and welcoming. Really great to be on a small boat and feel close to the water with only 9 other people. Highly recommend it!


ABC Snorkel Charters are wonderful. They are very professional and made our time on the reef very enjoyable. It was a day to remember on and under the water. The crew provided us with endless information about the reef which was awesome. GREAT photos, crew, equipment, views, thanks guys it was the best trip on the Great Barrier Reef!

Kim Withrow

Beautiful and Unforgettable. An awesome day from beginning to end. The ABC team is so friendly and professional, they really look after you. Our kids love going to the reef and this was our best trip ever. If you love small groups, stunning reef spots and personal service, then look no further. Five Stars!

Allison F

Personal service and low numbers. The crew are enthusiastic and knowledgeable, the boat is comfortable and well put together. I love the low numbers and the flexibility of reef sites. The visibility was outstanding, even for Feb, and the marine life was abundant. Anyone who says the reef is in bad shape, hasn't been to the GBR recently and if you are heading up here, ABC is definitely a fun day.

Stephanie Jane Milne

Had a great day snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef today. The crew were friendly and informative and made sure that everyone was looked after and didn’t miss anything. We saw loads of brilliant fish and coral; my highlight was seeing the white tip reef shark!

Lisa-Marie Melville

Giving a big hug and thank you to Wayne and the whole ABC team for a wonderful few days on the reef. I did a ton of research prior to my trip, knowing many companies offer trips to the outer reef, but I'm so glad I went with ABC. With only 10 people on the boat, the entire day was personalized and very catered to individual needs, such as marine life questions and photo equipment. It was great meeting the variety of travellers as well! Couldn't have asked for a better team of people to visit the GBR with. My heart is so full. Thanks ABC.

Elsa Hsieh

ABC was phenomenal! They were very friendly, accommodating, eager to show us hidden treasures of the reef, and just a great, safety conscious crew! We had a wonderful, life changing trip to the GBR and ABC was part of the reason why! Andy is so knowledgeable about all things reef - he’s amazing!

LeAnn Taylor Selby

To the guys and gal at ABC Snorkel Charters, thanks for the best day ever. Would highly recommend your tour to everyone. The reef is alive and well and small groups, is the best way to see it.

Karen Burgess

This is the best experience you could have if you want to go out on a small boat with caring, professional and friendly crew. Jim, John, Alex and Kech were brilliant. You probably pay a bit more than one of the big boats who take large groups of tourists out but if you are a purist this is the one for you. Thanks to everyone (including Lizzie) who I corresponded with by email while still in the UK. The boss should be very proud of the ABC team.

Deborah Margaret Lee

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