About our Reef Sites

We visit spectacular Outer Great Barrier Reef locations, with access to well over 15 dive and snorkel sites over a range of the best Outer Great Barrier Reefs. Each day Reef Encounter’s Captain decides which reef locations Reef Encounter visits based on the time of year, weather, other conditions and which reef site offers guests the best reef experience and comfort.

Reef Encounter generally visits two reef locations every day –  moving twice per day – once in the morning and once again in the afternoon (weather dependent).

Our Scuba Diving and Snorkelling Reef Sites

Hastings Reef


Hastings Reef is a fabulous coral reef in all weather, and we have many different locations to choose from here depending on which way the wind blows!

Being the largest reef site that Reef Encounter visits, it provides good protection and calm diving and snorkelling conditions all year round.

Favourite dive and snorkel spots along this reef include ‘coral gardens’, ‘the fish bowl’ and ‘compass mooring’.

Breaking Patches Reef


A popular afternoon destination for Reef Encounter when the weather is good, Breaking Patches is a small reef location  just north of Michaelmas Cay – a tropical sand island and marine turtle breeding ground.

As the name suggests, this is a patch reef and is great for viewing giant clams and blue spotted stingrays.

It’s also home to one of our well loved marine friends – the friendly resident sea turtle, called ‘Gus’.

Saxon Reef


Depending on the time of year, Saxon Reef can be a hive of marine activity. In the right seasons it’s a great reef to see young cuttlefish families or migrating humpback whales.

White tip reef sharks can often be seen sleeping on the shallow sandy areas and hiding under coral coves.

Popular dive and snorkel spots along this reef site include ‘magic mooring’, turtle bommie’ and the famous ‘twin peaks’.

Norman Reef


The furthest north Outer Great Barrier Reef destination that Reef Encounter visits – the coral and vast variety of marine life here is simply breathtaking!

Outstanding swim throughs, underwater caves, bronze whalers and it’s also home to our giant Maori Wrasse ‘Frank’.

This is the most impressive reef for a sunrise snorkel or night dive due to the number of larger inhabitants such as turtles and reef sharks

Jorgensen Patch


There are walls, gullies, small caves, overhangs and swim-throughs that can be found in the area of ‘Jeorgies’ – a reef visited at the right time of year.

With sandy bottoms that have giant clams, there are sea cucumbers and bluespotted lagoon rays on the sandy bottoms as well as lots of soft corals

You can also observe whitetip sharks, schools of damsels and fusiliers schooling in the plankton rich waters