Here is a quick little what’s up on the Reef Fleet Terminal aka the busiest place in Cairns.
I’m going to cover the following;
- Parking at and near the terminal
- Airport transfers
- Breakfast and coffee
What is the Reef Fleet Terminal?
To cut a long story short, this is the check-in location of all the Great Barrier Reef tour boats. Most boats work on a check-in then board system which requires you to obtain a ticket from their check-in desk located within the Reef Fleet Terminal.
Parking at the Reef Fleet Terminal
The above image indicates where parking is most commonly available for the terminal.
The Blue Arrow
This is the car park located underneath the Shangri La.
This is a relatively small undercover, single level car park with a max roof height of 1.9 meters.
It will cost you $10 for the day and the car park is locked overnight from 9pm to 5am.
From here it is a 2 min walk to the terminal.
The Orange Arrow
This is the large outdoor car park located between The Pier Bar and The Lagoon. This will set you back roughly $7 per day.
From here the terminal is about 2 mins walk.
The Red Arrow
This is the locals secret car park. It’s just $3 per day though there are a couple of compromises for that. It’s not concrete, it’s dirt which means it’s muddy when wet.
Also it is around a 7 min walk to the terminal.
While there are many companies that offer airport transfers to The Reef Fleet Terminal, there really is only one option that makes sense. Uber.
An Uber to or from the terminal will cost $15-$20 and will be the fastest way to get there. If you do not have Uber, then you really need to download the app if you are staying in Australia.
Avoid taxis. They will cost you twice the price and you will just have to listen to the taxi driver complaining about Uber the whole way. Uber is new in Cairns and the cab drivers are still bitter.
Breakfast and Coffee
If you forgot breakfast before heading to check-in for your boat tour will will quickly notice that there is very limited selection in the morning.
Al Porto Cafe, otherwise known as Blue Marlin Bistro is adjoining the terminal and is literally the only place you can see. They do make a decent coffee but expect to pay premium prices.
With thousands of people coming through there everyday they can afford to set their prices high and lose some business based on that.
A bacon and egg roll will cost $10 and a regular coffee is $6. The food isn’t great either, you are better off getting breakfast before going to the terminal.
Just north of the terminal is a new place called The Backyard. It is about a 5 min walk and has excellent bagels and coffee. The entry is next to the Shangri La reception, which is super easy to find.
Prices at the backyard are also quite high due to the supply and demand of the area.
Location Of The Reef Fleet Terminal
If you are in Cairns, then you are already close. You would not believe how many times i get asked, ‘ Where is the Reef Fleet Terminal?’ Good news is, there is hardly a person in Cairns that can’t point you in the right direction. If you are in the city, just head towards the coast and follow the water towards the marina.
From anywhere along the Cairns foreshore you can see the masts of the sail boats in the marina, so just head that way.
If you make it to the Salthouse then you are on the right track. From The Salthouse, just follow the board walk along the marina for around 200 meters and you will find yourself at the front of the Reef Fleet Terminal.