Reef Encounter, Australia’s only floating luxury boutique hotel.

Situated on the spectacular Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Cairns and offers guests a unique opportunity to enjoy the ultimate reef experience.

Reef Encounter offers all the luxury facilities of a reef resort while floating on the pristine waters of the Great Barrier Reef – making it one of the most unique holiday escapes in Australia.

The vessel is a 35 metre luxury catamaran designed for the utmost stability and comfort at sea. Air-conditioned throughout, Reef Encounter features spacious decks as well as roomy dining and recreation areas to dine and relax in.

Reef Encounter has a large easy access water platform that allows hassle free scuba diving and snorkeling, directly off the side of the boat in perhaps one of the most spectacular aquatic environments in the world.

 

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest reef system

And accordingly, one of the seven wonders of the natural world. It is a vast labyrinth of smaller reefs, coral cays, lagoons, rocky inshore islands, deep channels and underwater caves.

In these warm, shallow waters nature has well and truly ran riot and created an immense, chaotic profusion of marine life – all waiting to be explored!

Scuba Diving  sessions begin at first light when the fish are at their most active and ready to feed, and there are opportunities to dive several times during each day, as well as after dinner night diving for the more adventurous!

Staying overnight on the reef is truly an experience that just has to be made. The spectacular sunrises and sunsets that rise and fall over the calm, azure waters simply have to be seen to be believed.

The abundance of brightly shining stars just adds to the already perfect natural setting.

Waking up to a delicious tropical breakfast on the Great Barrier Reef is another special treat.
The delicious meals on board are chef prepared using the freshest produce, meaning you can dine in style in the middle of the ocean!

For the perfect sunset cocktail, Reef Encounter’s bar is open for beverages all day.

On board Reef Encounter

Reef Encounters also features comfortable staterooms and deluxe Top Deck Club rooms, all with double or twin beds and private bathrooms.

The friendly, on board staff and experienced dive crew are there to help make Reef Encounter the ultimate Great Barrier Reef adventure. They even have an onboard spa, glass bottom boat tours, dive courses for beginners and advanced,and  a sun deck!

Transfers to Reef Encounter are available daily via a 90 minute boat ride on our fast catamaran, Reef Experience from Cairns or a stunning helicopter trip over the Great Barrier Reef.

If time is important the helicopter is definitely the way to go, as there are few experiences more thrilling than the ‘sea eagles-eye view’ of coral reefs, complete with pods of dolphins, whales and even turtles if the sea is calm.

 

Diving with fish

What is included in your 4 day liveaboard Reef Encounter tour

  • Stateroom accommodation (ensuite)
  • Onboard Delicious Chef prepared meals
  • Coffee, tea and fresh fruit
  • please see individual packages for inclusions
  • Snorkeling equipment and instruction
  • Glass bottom boat tours
  • Bed linen
  • Towels
  • Free Scuba lesson for snorkelers
  • Marine Biologist presentation

 

Itinerary

Day One

7.30am
Board the transfer vessel ‘Reef Experience’ at Cairns Marlin Marina for breakfast, check-in and your journey to Reef Encounter

9.30am
Arrive onboard Reef Encounter for your ‘Welcome & Safety Talk’ before being shown to your room to settle in and relax

10.30am
Water Session: Time to snorkel for all guests before lunch

12.00
Lunch is served in the dining saloon

13.00
Water Briefings: Certified Diver Briefings / Try Scuba Diving Briefings / Snorkel Adventure Briefings

13.30
Water Session: Scuba dive or snorkel time

15:30
Water Session: Scuba dive or snorkel time. Glass bottom boat tour available upon request

18:00
Dinner is served in the dining saloon

19:00
Night Dive Briefings

19:30
Night dive commences for all those scuba diving

20:00
Desert is served in the dining saloon

Day Two & Three (2,3)

(Scuba diving guests can choose a maximum of 4 dives per day)

6.00am
Wake-up call for the early morning dive and snorkel session

6:30am
Water Session: Sunrise scuba dive or snorkel time. Glass bottom boat tour available upon request

7:30am
Breakfast is served in the dining saloon

8:30am
Water Session: Scuba Dive or Snorkel Time

10:30am
Water Session: Scuba Dive or Snorkel Time

12:00
Lunch is served in the dining saloon

13:30
Water Session: Scuba Dive or Snorkel Time

15:30
Water Session: Scuba dive or snorkel time. Glass bottom boat tour available upon request

18:00
Dinner is served in the dining saloon

19:00
Night Dive Briefings

19:30
Night dive commences for all those scuba diving

20:00
Desert is served in the dining saloon

Day Four (4)

6.00am
Wake-up call for the early morning dive and snorkel session

6:30am
Water Session: Sunrise scuba dive or snorkel time. Glass bottom boat tour available upon request

7:30am
Breakfast is served in the dining saloon

8:30am
Water Session: Scuba Dive or Snorkel Time

10:30am
Water Session: Scuba Dive or Snorkel Time

12:00
Lunch is served in the dining saloon

13:30
Water Session: Snorkel only session available to passengers before departure

14:45
Departing passengers board the transfer vessel ‘Reef Experience’ for the journey back to Cairns. Complimentary wine, cheese and biscuits served before the return journey

16:30
Approximate arrival time to the Cairns Marlin Marina

High Speed transfers

Transfers to Reef Encounter are available by a 90 minute fast catamaran reef Cruise on Reef Experience  from Cairns or a stunning helicopter trip over the Great Barrier Reef – a service that no other vessel can provide!

 

4 Day Liveaboard on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

Customer Reviews

“Fantastic liveaboard in GBR!”
5 of 5 starsReviewed 2 weeks ago

This spacious vessel with a extremely friendly crew was a delightful experience to live on. Unfortunately we only had 3-day/2-nights, and we already regret not doing i.e. 4-day/3-nights or even more.

Our primary objective was the diving, and the dive guides where competent if you dived with them, or if they briefed you before you went in to the water. Being on a well organised liveaboard boat – with new equipment (as the boat just came back to diving service in this area) makes it much more comfortable – compared to stressful day trip dives.

On the dives, the boat (at least december 2013) visited Normal (best reef!), Saxon and Hastings reefs. We did up to 3 day dives and 1 night dive. Seeing white tip and gray reef sharks hunt, is an amazing experience I have never seen anywhere else.

Also we were very impressed with the quality of the food on board, this was definitely not something we expected on a boat.

Our booking agency gave us four options, and said Reef Encounter would be the most comfortable one, and we do not regret a second spending a few extra $$ on this.

Next trip to Australia will definitely include a trip on board the Reef Encounter.

“Absolutely Amazing – Diving, Food, Crew – EVERYTHING!”
5 of 5 starsReviewed 2 weeks ago

From start to finish, we were pleased with everything in our Reef Encounter trip. We chose the 2 day, 1 night option – staying on the boat overnight. This family run business does everything right. You are greeted warmly upon first stepping on the transfer boat, Reef Experience; breakfast is served on your trip over and all the crew are fantastic. Upon arriving at Reef Encounter, we were immediately impressed by the ship. She’s beautifully appointed! Each of the cabins is spacious with en suite bathrooms. The salon is large and has a full kitchen and bar. Oh and there is a hot tub on deck for after your dives! There is even a heli-pad on top if you wish to fly in and out! Even though the ship is impressive, it caters to small groups (I think the maximum occupancy is 42 guests? we had much much less) We had lunch soon after arrival – and can I tell you, the food is AMAZING! I’m not talking good, but amazing gourmet restaurant style food! They accommodated my restrictive dietary restrictions and did it with a smile. Risotto for dinner? beautifully poached eggs, hash browns and cannellini beans with arugula for breakfast? Anyway, moving on to the diving! The equipment is tip top, new and well kept. Since it had been two years since our last dive, my husband and I decided to have a guide with us each of our 6 dives. Each of the four different guides was EXTREMELY knowledgable of the reef and the good “spots” to go. The crew also ran a very tight program so I felt extremely safe; we also didn’t have to worry at all about our pressure groups/dive depths etc. because they kept track of all of that for us. We got to sit back & relax! Our six dives included a night dive as well – very different experience and well worth it. The best part was the dryers on deck so that your towel was nice and warm to wrap into after your dive – and the hot tub too! Showers on deck with WARM water and plenty of warm water in each cabin shower. 100% A++ service the whole way and A++ accommodations. Reef Encounter is a must in your trip!