Enjoy this unique program of scuba diving and marine conservation on the Great Barrier Reef



Travel with us to the Great Barrier Reef and become a Marine Conservation Volunteer. No Limit Adventures has teamed up with local Great Barrier Reef dive operators in Cairns, with a high commitment and dedication to environmental sustainability, to offer a unique marine conservation volunteering opportunity. Spend your volunteer holiday in Cairns and enjoy our 12-day program that combines the adventure of diving with education and hands-on marine conservation on the Great Barrier Reef.

Diving Australia Marine conservation Cairns



This unique dive and marine conservation program in Cairns, comes under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s (GBRMPA) powerful monitoring program called Eye on the Reef. It is designed for people interested in scuba diving, volunteering, environmental sustainability and marine conservation. As a Marine Conservation Volunteer you will not only have the chance to explore the breathtaking underwater wonders of the Great Barrier Reef but also actively participate in preserving its delicate ecosystem.


Diving Cairns, marine conservation volunteer


Learn to dive and become a certified diver on the Great Barrier Reef. Once you are certified and as a marine conservation volunteer, complete a number of underwater Rapid Monitoring surveys with your dedicated Eco-guide. Your task will be to collect valuable information on reef health, marine animals and incidents on the Great Barrier Reef. As a result information you collect will help the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) build their knowledge of the health and resilience, and the risks to that resilience, on the Great Barrier Reef.

Marine Conservation Great Barrier Reef Australia


We will be working together to ensure each marine conservation volunteer walks away with a great deal of self-fulfillment from participating in our unique marine conservation program on the Great Barrier Reef. Your dedication and involvement will contribute to the reef’s long-term protection for generations to come.


Did the marine conservation volunteer trip in cairns with No Limits. I thought it was too good to be true and it still exceeded my expectations. Cheers to Konrad and Art for all their help on this trip. Amazing !!

Nov 2022


Prices are based on a group of min. 3 persons.



marine Conservation program great barrier reef


Day 1 Welcome to Cairns

Arrive to tropical Cairns and transfer to your hostel. Enjoy your day discovering Cairns by foot. Points of interest include a stroll along the Esplanade, the Botanic Gardens, a swim in the Lagoon and the CBD. Group briefing to be confirmed by your local coordinator at a time TBA.

Note: Marine Conservation Volunteers should arrive in Cairns by midday this day. Briefing time to be confirmed by your local host.

Day 2 – 3 Open Water Course – Training Center

Over the next 2 days Open Water students will do the first part of your scuba diving adventure. Get picked up by the dive school early morning and transfer to the training center, where you will commence your theory on scuba diving with your qualified instructor. Put all the theory into use in the pool during your practical sessions where all your underwater skills are honed under the watchful eyes of your instructors. After lunch on day 2 it is time for your theory test and a briefing of the upcoming days out on the Great Barrier Reef. Transfer back to the hostel late afternoon each day.

Participants doing the Advanced Open Water Dive course or recreational dives on the live aboard (already Certified Divers) can enjoy free days. There are a lot of optional activities to choose from in Cairns. We recommend you check in at the Pro Dive Shop to fit your equipment on day 3.

Note: activities on days 2 – 3 for Open Water students only.

Free time for all other participants.

Rescue Divers: your course commences on day 3 at the training centre with theory. Travel to the Great Barrier Reef on day 4 and complete your course over the next 3 days.


Day 4 – 6 Great Barrier Reef (Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Nitrox, Rescue courses *)

Depart early morning on day 4 on your Great Barrier Reef diving adventure. All participants will complete their respective courses over the next three days and Certified Divers will enjoy up to 11 recreational dives on the GBR. Once you arrive on the Great Barrier Reef begin exploring the underwater world on this magnificent natural wonder. Return to Cairns late afternoon on day 6. Transfer back to your accommodation and free time. (B,L,D*)

Note: Advanced Open Water, Nitrox and Rescue students will do their respective courses during this trip.

Certified divers will enjoy 11 included recreational dives during the live aboard trip.

*No dinner on day 6.



Day 7 – 8 Cairns/ Fitzroy Island & Turtles

Your conservation adventure continues with a day trip to the turtle hospital on Fitzroy Island (either day 7 or 8 – TBA. See Note.). Transfer by ferry to Fitzroy Island in the morning, 45 minutes from Cairns, where you will meet other volunteers working at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. You will learn about the work done by this organization, meet some of the patients and, possibly, go behind the scenes to lend a helping hand. Tasks may include feeding turtles, cleaning tanks as well as a beach clean-up. Return to Cairns at midday or alternatively stay on the island for the afternoon. If the latter enjoy free time. Do one of the walks on the island, relax on the beach or swim and snorkel. The afternoon ferry returns to Cairns approx. 17:45.

If you are not heading to Fitzroy Island you have a free day.

Note: The experience at CTRC will take place either on day 7 or 8. The maximum number of our marine conservation volunteers at CTRC at one time is 4 persons. Should the Marine Conservation group size exceed 4 persons we will be splitting the group into two, with one group visiting CTRC on day 7, the second group on day 8. This is at the request of CTRC and is to keep the turtles’ stress to a minimum, limit the number of people behind the scenes and in turn allow you to have the best possible and most fulfilling experience on the day.

Too many people = stressed turtles and we do not want that 😊

No snorkeling equipment provided. You can hire equipment at your own expense or bring your own.


Day 9 – 10 Great Barrier Reef Day – Reef Conservation tasks

Over the next 2 days you will be onboard Passions of Paradise, a locally owned premier operator promoting sustainable day trips to the Great Barrier Reef to enhance your marine conservation volunteer experience. Under the guidance of your designated Master Reef Guide you will undertake a selection of activities each day while diving (2 x dives per day), being Rapid Monitoring surveys and a species count to be entered into Great Barrier Reef Marine Park’s Eye on the Reef Sighting’s Network (number of activities could vary depending on conditions). Optionally you may also carry out Coral Watch surveys while snorkelling. Each day you will need to check in at the Reef Fleet Terminal by 07.30am and return to Cairns late afternoon. Free time each afternoon. (L)


Day 11 Cairns/ Plastic sorting with local marine conservation organization

This morning you join the team of a local marine conservation organisation, where you will hear about the organisation’s mission, meet the team on the ground and learn about their projects in Australia. You will discover what impact marine debris have on our oceans and you can ask the expert conservation coordinators where the rubbish originates from and find out what steps we can take to fight the war on plastic. This organization relies heavily on the help of volunteers, so you will assist with various tasks required on the day which may include maintenance of their facilities, assistance with admin or sorting and segregating rubbish collected at organised beach clean ups. It is one thing to clean the beaches, but the next task is to get the ball rolling with the upcycling process and this is what your manpower will provide today. If the weather permits and the dates align, you might also be part of a local beach cleanup or another community activity. Regardless of the tasks you can expect a day of fun, education and feel-good action. Your help is appreciated!

Note: A one-way transfer is provided to the project site. RETURN TRANSPORT IS NOT PROVIDED.


Today is the end of your tour.

Check out and transfer to the airport for your onward or homeward journey.

Safe Travels!

Accommodation at Gilligans Backpacker Resort (or similar) – 
9 nights dorm accommodation (4 or 6-share dorms with ensuite)

Meals as noted in the program (B,L,D)

Open Water OR Advanced Open Water Dive courses. Dive courses include 3 day/ 2 night live aboard reef trip on the Great Barrier Reef. Certified divers have recreational dives. Transfers to/ from the dive school are provided.

2 x day trips on Passions of Paradise with a dedicated Master Reef Guide doing Eye on the Reef – Rapid Monitoring and other Marine Conservation tasks incl. equipment 

Number of dives included:

  • Open Water Course + Passions of Paradise: 13 dives on the Great Barrier Reef (pending weather conditions)
  • Advanced Open Water Course + Passions of Paradise: 15 dives on the Great Barrier Reef (pending weather conditions)
  • Certified Divers + Passions of Paradise: 15 dives on the Great Barrier Reef (pending weather conditions.)

1 x day trip to Fitzroy Island and visit at the turtle hospital, with hands-on activities (subject to availability on the day)

Volunteering experience with local marine conservation organization including hands on activities

Conservation program participant t-shirt

Tour coordination and assistance by No Limit Adventures

International and domestic flights

Visa fees to Australia (if applicable)

Airport transfers

Reef taxes and levies (approx. $85 for the 3D/2N reef trip)

Dive medical costs (if required)

First Aid and CPR Certificate cost (only required by participants doing Rescue Dive Course)

Costs of personal nature

Optional activities

Dive Course Students only

Prior to commencing your dive course you are required to complete a self-assessment Student Diver Medical Declaration (Open Water Students). A positive response to any question means that there is a pre-existing condition that may affect your safety while diving and you must consult a medical practitioner preferably with experience in diving medicine to obtain a dive medical certificate that states that you are fit to undertake recreational diver training. Participants doing their Advanced Open Water course (or above) please complete the self-assessment medical here.

Dive medicals and medical clearance to dive are the responsibility of the participant. We strongly recommend all dive medicals be carried out by your family doctor before traveling to Australia.

Rescue Diver course is subject to availability and on request only. This course incurs a surcharge of $200. Please confirm this option is available before booking.

Current First Aid and CPR Certificate is required by participants doing Rescue Dive Course prior to starting their course.

Persons doing their Open Water Dive course must have their logbooks OR email confirmation from PADI that they are Open water Certified OR a temporary Open Water card with them on day 9. No logbook, email confirmation or temporary dive card = NO DIVING. Please ensure your instructor has signed off your Open Water Certification dives (4) in your logbook.


The program includes accommodation Gilligans Backpacker Resort in 4 or 6-share dorms. Where possible rooms will be exclusive to program participants, however this is subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. The hostel is centrally located in close proximity to shops, cafes and the starting points to your activities. It is a lively hostel, so if you prefer your own space and privacy you can choose to stay at one of the local hotels.

Accommodation is in mixed gender dorms, shared with other guests. Where possible dorms will be exclusive to the conservation groups, but this is not guaranteed.

Single room upgrades available at the hostel, pending availability and at extra cost (approx. AUD$165 per night).

Would you like a hotel upgrade? We recommend The Abbott Boutique Hotel. Upgrades available from AUD185 per night, subject to availability. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.

Participants are responsible for their own transfers, transport to any group meetings as well as scheduled activities, unless transfers are specified in your itinerary.


Program Tasks

Possible tasks at the Cairns Turtle Rehab Centre tasks may include (days 7 or 8):

  • General cleaning and maintenance, food prep and cleaning tanks, or other if advised by the staff.

Participants will be asked to complete the following set tasks on each set dive (days 9 & 10):

  • Timed swim (minimum 10 minutes on each dive) – underwater monitoring and species count on the Great Barrier Reef (i.e. corals, marine life species).
  • 360-degree survey of sea bed on the dive site – Objective is to clearly identify the animals and plants observed in each section – (macro-algae, live coral, live coral rock, coral rubble and sand).
  • Recording of any impacts on coral being observed (i.e. coral bleaching or damage noticed).

Possible tasks with local marine conservation organization (day 11):

  • General cleaning and maintenance of facilities, plastic sorting or filed work if available and advised by staff.



Program and activities are subject to change at any time, without notice, even during the duration of the program. Changes may occur due to weather, unavailability of our partners (3rd party suppliers) or other forces of nature, beyond our control. We will aim to suggest a suitable alternative for any activities affected by such unforeseen changes, but no guarantees can be made.

Payment & Cancellation policy
  • 30% deposit required to secure place ($250 is non-refundable)
  • Full payment must be made no later than 42 days before program commencement
  • No refunds within 42 days of program commencement
  • Cancellations made within 42 – 60 days will incur a 50% cancellation fee of total price
  • Cancellations made outside 61 days – full refund minus AUD$250 non-refundable deposit
  • No shows will incur 100% cancellation fee
Operator Cancellation

No Limit Adventures reserves the right to cancel any departure up to 30 days before the commencement date in case of participant cancellations or not attaining min. numbers.

Deposits will be offered as credit or refunded in such an instance, minus AUD$250 non-refundable deposit. This can be used as credit towards a future program or booking.

No Limit Adventures takes no responsibility for any travel arrangements made outside of the inclusions of the Marine Conservation program.

Are airport transfers included?

No. Airport transfers are at the discretion of participants. Approx. cost for a transfer from the airport to the CBD is AUD$18 by bus, AUD$20-30 by taxi or UBER.

What is the name of the included hostel?

Gilligan’s Backpacker Resort, 57-89 Grafton St, Cairns City QLD 4870, Phone(07) 4041 6566

What facilities does the hostel offer?

The hostel has a 24h reception, a pool, a café, a kitchen area, a laundry and a big common area. Gilligans is also the number one bar & nightclub in Cairns. We include 4 or 6-share dorms with ensuite, which may be shared with guests from outside of the program.

Are single sex dorms available during the program?

The included dorms are co-shared. Single sex dorms are available on request and subject to availability.

Can I upgrade to a hotel if I don’t want to stay in hostel?

Yes, pending availability and at an additional cost we can recommend the Abbott Boutique Hotel.

Are single sex cabins available during the live aboard trip?

Cabins on the boat are twin-share. Where possible we will request you be matched with someone of the same sex.

Can I upgrade to a private room on the boat?

No. There are no options to upgrade on the live aboard boat.

Can you help me book other accommodation?

Yes, we can assist with arranging or recommending other accommodation in Cairns including hostels or hotels, depending on your budget.

Is transport and transfers included during the program?

Transfers on days 2, 3, 4 and 6 are included. The transfers are provided by the dive school. Transfers on days 7 – 10 are not included. Participants are required to be at the Reef Fleet Terminal on those days by 7.30am. There is a one-way transfer included on day 11 to the HO of the marine conservation organization.

What dive equipment is included?

All necessary dive equipment is included such as mask, fins and snorkel, BCD, tanks, weights, regulator and wet suits or stinger suits.

How many dives total will I do during the 12-day program?

Participants doing the Open Water Dive course will do 13 dives total. Participants doing Advanced Open Water (or another course) as well as Certified Divers doing recreational dives on the live aboard will do a total of 15 dives. Dives are subject to prevailing weather conditions. If conditions are deemed too dangerous a dive can be cancelled.

Where will I dive and how deep?

There are various dive sites the boats travel to. Locations are chosen each day pending weather, swell and tidal conditions. All of the sites are on the outer Great Barrier Reef. Dive depths depend on your dive level and the dive site, but will generally be no more than 18m.

Are special dietary requirements catered for?

Yes. In case of any special dietary needs or requirements we ask prior notice is given. The boats always offer a meat and non-meat menu to cater for vegans and vegetarians. In case of allergies or intolerances, we will do our best to to make sure your needs are looked after where possible.

When should I arrive in Cairns?

You should arrive in Cairns on day 1, which is a Sunday. It is recommended to arrive by around midday to allow for a briefing that afternoon. Your activities start the following day.

What can I do on my free days?

Cairns offers a lot of fun, optional activities. Here are some highlights:

  • Visit the Botanic Gardens & Centenary Lakes (free activity)
  • Walk the Red, Yellow, Blue or Green Arrow tracks on Mount Whitfield (free activity)
  • Visit Crystal Cascades or Stoneys Creek (free activity, transport required)
  • Day trip to the Daintree National Park – the oldest rainforest in the world;
  • Day trip to the Atherton Tablelands – nature, waterfalls and local food;
  • Visit Kuranda including the Kuranda Scenic Train and Skyrail Cableway;
  • Hartley’s Creek Crocodile Farm
  • Cairns Brewery & Distillery Tours
  • Jump on the Ultimate Party Bus
  • Ask us for more recommendations…