Wonderful liveaboard tours on the Great Barrier Reef
Across the very best Outer Great Barrier Reefs, Cairns premier liveaboard cruise ‘Reef Encounter’ is one of the most unique holiday escapes in Australia…
Whether you’re a scuba diver, snorkeler, or simply wish to spend time in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, everyone can travel together on a Cairns liveaboard tour.
Consistently awarded “best snorkelling and scuba diving liveaboard” by industry professionals and independents such as Trip Advisor, ‘Reef Encounter’ is large enough to provide the comforts of a cruise ship yet small enough to access spectacular reef locations not accessible to other vessels.
See the reef at its best – day and night!
Stay for as many nights as you like in superbly appointed staterooms with double or twin bed options, or choose to upgrade to the Top Deck Club for that extra bit of VIP luxury.
With daily transfers from Cairns by boat or helicopter, Reef Encounter is the excellent alternative to a resort based holiday.
- Unlimited Snorkelling (Included with all liveaboard tour bookings, suitable for all ages)
- Certified Scuba Diving for experienced divers – (select this package during booking)
- Resort Scuba Diving for beginner divers – (select this package during booking, or choose to give it a try once on-board)
- Learn To Scuba Dive Course – become a qualified diver – three-day courses or four-day courses available (select this package during booking)
- Advanced Scuba Courses for qualified divers (select course during booking)
- Glass-bottom Boat Tours of the Reef – a fun and informative way to view the reef for all ages (available free of charge, upon request during your stay)
- Helicopter Tours over the Great Barrier Reef (select helicopter transfer when booking)
- Sleep on the Great Barrier Reef with ‘Reef Encounter’ Liveaboard Cruise
- Access to some of the very best locations across a range of outer Great Barrier Reefs. Locations are selected daily by the Captain, for optimal Reef conditions based on weather and other variables. The number of locations visited will depend on your chosen length of stay
- Outstanding Cuisine: All meals prepared fresh daily, by an onboard Chef. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Fruits are available throughout the day along with tea & coffee. All dietary requirements will be catered for – please advise us of these when booking
- The best crew on the reef – The Reef Encounter team win personal and professional awards for outstanding customer service in the tourism industry year after year
- All snorkelling and scuba diving equipment (wetsuits are a small additional charge)
- Glass bottom boat tours upon request
- Use of all onboard facilities: hot tub, lounge, sundeck, etc. (See ‘Facilities’ below)
- On your transfer voyage to Reef Encounter, you will have the option to listen to an informative Marine Biology presentation about the coral reef and marine animals
- Free luggage storage facility available at the ‘Reef Encounter’ office in Cairns City
- ‘Reef Encounter’ offers a choice between double or twin bed cabins at no additional cost* (See policies)
- Spacious, fully air-conditioned cabins – with ocean views
- All cabins have their own en-suite toilet & shower
- Towels and toiletries provided (soap, shampoo)
- All cabins have Australian power outlets
- ‘Reef Encounter’ is a fully air-conditioned hotel-style liveaboard, designed for the utmost stability and comfort at sea
- Large dining saloon
- Fully licenced bar
- TV and lounge area
- Outdoor, freshwater hot-tub
- Spacious sundeck with sun loungers
- Large, easy access dive and snorkel platforms
- Helicopter pad on the roof for low-flying scenic helicopter tours over the coral reef as your transfer to/from ‘Reef Encounter’ (optional extra)
‘Reef Encounter’ Liveaboard trips depart from Cairns Marina every day, via a fast transfer vessel ‘Reef Experience’. Check-In and Boarding is at 7.30am (for an 8am departure)
Alternatively, you may choose to transfer to and/or from ‘Reef Encounter’ by helicopter. The helicopter transfer is an optional extra that you may select during your booking process online
Bus transfers to and from your Cairns accommodation are available to the Marina at an additional cost and may be booked during your online reservation, or added at a later date by contacting our friendly reservations team
The approximate arrival time back into the Cairns Marina on the final day of your tour is 4.30pm
Important Information for Scuba Diving
We have a passion to show you Australia’s Great Barrier Reef so please make sure you understand the scuba diving laws.
Queensland, Australia has some of the strictest scuba diving rules in the world but also the safest scuba diving record. We are regulated by the Queensland Government Code of Practice and comply with all rules including medical as is the law.
To avoid disappointment on your day of travel we strongly recommend that all of our passengers complete our dive medical questionnaire prior to booking as some medical conditions, age and/or medications may prevent you from scuba diving. It is always our mission to provide our passengers with the very best Great Barrier Reef experience.
We are very happy to help you with any questions you may have. Please contact our office on 07 4037 2700 or email us at
Or alternatively, you may like to consult your own Doctor for a Dive Medical using the Australian Standard Forms ‘AS.4005.1
Flying after Scuba DivingFor a single no-decompression scuba dive, you should not fly or go to altitude for at least 18 hours after a scuba dive. For multiple dives, you should not fly for 24 hours after your last dive. If Skydiving or Hot Air Ballooning you must wait 24 hours after your dive. We recommend waiting a minimum of 24 hours whenever possible
Click ‘BOOK’ to select your arrival and departure dates – and then choose your desired activities such as scuba diving, snorkelling or enrol on a dive course.
Nothing compares with how amazing it is to stay on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef!
While you are on board, there will be plenty of opportunities to Snorkel and scuba dive with brightly coloured fish and coral.
At night take in the stars from the top deck or our onboard heated hot tub.
Included in Reef Encounter Stateroom packages
- Great Barrier Reef accommodation with Reef Encounter, Cairns best Great Barrier Reef liveaboard
- A variety of spectacular outer Great Barrier Reef locations during your stay
- Snorkelling or scuba diving, depending on which you select upon booking.
- Delicious fresh meals
- Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Fruit is available throughout the day, along with tea and coffee.
- All dietary requirements will be catered for – please advise us of these when booking.
- Barista Coffee
- Soft Drinks
- Tshirts and hats
What to bring
What to bring
- light jacket
- Travel Voucher
- Certification card and logbook for certified divers
- Cash or credit card for onboard extras
Reef Encounter is a barefoot experience.
How to get there
Getting to Reef Encounter
Reef Encounter is always on the Great Barrier Reef.
By Boat (included in tariff)
Our sister vessel Reef Experience operates daily transfers meeting up with Reef Encounter.
Boarding starts at 7:30 am on Finger A on the Marlin Jetty, Cairns.
Reef Experience will bring you back to the same destination between 4 and 4:30 pm on your final day.
Helicopter Transfers (optional extra)
Reef Encounter has a helipad on board for guests looking at adding some magic to their stay. You may choose to take a spectacular scenic flight.
Important Information for Scuba Divers
This information is for all guests participating in scuba diving activities.
Australia has the strictest scuba diving rules globally and the safest scuba diving record.
Therefore you must understand Queensland’s scuba diving laws.
Great Barrier Reef liveaboard boats are regulated by the Queensland Government Code of Practice and comply with all rules, including the requirements for a dive medical, where applicable, as required by law.
Please complete our dive medical questionnaire as some medical conditions, age and medications may prevent you from scuba diving.
Our mission is always to provide our passengers with the very best Great Barrier Reef tour.
If you have any questions, we will be delighted to assist you.
Please contact our office on +61 7 4037 2700 or email our helpful team today.
Alternatively, you may like to consult your Doctor for a Queensland Dive Medical using the Australian QLD Standard Form AS.4005.1
Flying after Scuba Diving
Plan your travel itinerary.
On the final day of your Reef Encounter stay, your last dive will be completed by 1 pm.
Do not fly or go to altitude for at least 18 hours after scuba diving for a single no decompression scuba dive. You should not fly for 24 hours after your last scuba diving in multiple dives.
If Skydiving or Hot Air Ballooning, you must wait 24 hours after your dive.
We recommend waiting a minimum of 24 hours whenever possible.