The best Great Barrier Reef encounter

A liveaboard tour from Cairns, Australia – also known as ‘The Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef’ – It was difficult to give you just ten reasons why it’s one of the most unique holiday escapes… but we’ve tried!

1. Outer Great Barrier Reef Locations

Reef Encounter has access to a multitude of destinations across five of the best Outer Great Barrier Reefs. Depending on the length of your stay you will visit a number of spectacular coral reef locations, bursting with fish and tropical marine life.

Read more about our reef locations here

2. Scuba Diving

Reef Encounter is a fully outfitted scuba dive liveaboard boat with all scuba equipment included with your trip. Underwater guided tours are available and the locations visited are based on current weather conditions, guaranteeing the best Great Barrier Reef scuba experiences all year round.

We also offer a great selection of scuba courses so you can develop your diving skills during your reef holiday!
The experienced Reef Encounter Dive Team are dedicated to making your memories of the Great Barrier Reef last a lifetime.

Read more about our scuba diving packages here

3. UNLIMITED Snorkelling

With five snorkel sessions per day, Reef Encounter offers superb snorkel experiences to people of all ages and abilities. Whether you’re an experienced snorkeler or are new to the water world, the Reef Encounter team guarantee you a fun and safe way of seeing the Great Barrier Reef.

Reef Encounter always stops in easy distance of spectacular snorkelling coral lagoons and has a purpose built platform on level with the ocean with easy access stairs into the water. All snorkelling equipment and tuition is included in your liveaboard trip. Whether you are a non-swimmer or you’re interested in learning about life beneath the waves, all of your snorkelling needs are taken care of! Guided snorkel tours are available free of charge to anyone who requires in-water assistance.

Read more about our snorkel packages here

4. Award Winner & Family Operator

Reef Encounter is a winner in the Tourism Tropical North Queensland Awards for ‘Unique Accommodation.’

Furthermore, we believer our crew are our greatest asset! It’s their passion for the Great Barrier Reef that shines and every year our unbeatable crew are nominated for personal awards for outstanding customer service. Our wonderful team are happy to assist wherever they can and we are a family friendly and disability friendly reef trip.

Reef Encounter is a locally owned and operated family business of passionate reef enthusiasts and dedicated scuba divers. It is our joy to deliver outstanding Great Barrier Reef holidays. We take great pride in our tours, our boats, our crew and especially our guests – and we’d love to show you why!

Read more about our crew here

5. Excellent Cuisine

Reef Encounter prides itself on fabulous, locally sourced food cooked fresh everyday by our onboard Chef. Included in your trip are breakfast, lunch, dinner and desert. Fruit, tea and coffee are also included and available throughout the day. Snacks such as chocolate, chips, cookies, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages* are available for purchase from the bar.

All dietary requirements will be met – please advise upon booking. *No alcohol may be consumed prior to water activities.

6. Daily Departures

Enjoy greater flexibility with your travel plans and start your holiday on the day that suits you – and stay on the Reef as long as you like! Reef Encounter trips depart from Cairns every day, via our transfer vessel ‘Reef Experience’. Helicopter transfers to and from the reef are also available.

Your outward journey to the Great Barrier Reef includes a bacon and egg breakfast roll (or veggie burger roll) served along with fruit, tea and coffee. During the transfer a Marine Biologist gives an informative Reef presentation, introducing you to this unique underwater habitat

On your return journey complimentary fruit, cheese and biscuit platters are served with a glass of Australian wine

7. Accommodation

Reef Encounter has 21 spacious cabins, which have either one double bed or two single beds at no additional cost. All rooms are air-conditioned and have uninterrupted ocean views with en-suite toilet and shower facilities, and Australian power outlets. Towels and toiletries (soap & shampoo) are provided. Reef Encounter also boasts unlimited hot showers! Unlike most liveaboard boats Reef Encounter makes it’s own fresh water, meaning you are not limited to one short shower per day.

Choose to stay in one of our stateroom accommodation cabins or upgrade to the Top Deck Club for a touch of VIP luxury onboard!

Read more about accommodation options here

8. Fabulous Facilities

Inside on Reef Encounter is fully air conditioned for your comfort. Reef Encounter has a large dining saloon, fully licenced bar and lounge area, complete with TV and games area. Outside there is a huge sundeck and sun loungers, an open air hot tub and even a helipad on the roof! Helicopter tours are available as your transfer to and/or from Reef Encounter instead of going on the transfer boat. Our helicopter tours are low flying scenic excursions over the coral reef that are a wonderful way to start or end your Great Barrier Reef adventure!

All dive and snorkel equipment is included in your trip. Wetsuits or prescription masks are a small additional charge if you require them. Access to the water is easy from purpose built dive and snorkel platforms, with stairs leading down into the water. For anyone going scuba diving, Reef Encounter has two onboard compressors for quick air refills

Read more about onboard facilities here

9. Glass bottom boat tours

Take a glass bottom boat tour and see the reef from above. Commentated glass bottom boat tours are available upon request and are included in your trip. They’re a great alternative for viewing the life beneath the surface without having to get wet! (Glass bottom boat tours are weather permitting).

10. Six water sessions at multiple reef locations per day

Plenty of chances to dive, snorkel and relax with six water sessions every day!
With access to over 15 different diving and snorkelling destinations over five of the best Outer Great Barrier Reefs, we guarantee optimal in-water enjoyment all year round.

Locations are based on the weather, time of year and other circumstances and are chosen for your safety and comfort.
(Night time water session is for scuba diving activities only).