To book your Great Barrier Reef liveaboard cruise, first choose the tour type – a standard reef cruise or luxury reef cruise – plus the dates of travel that you would like to stay, then add-on the activities that each person wants during the booking process – such as snorkeling or scuba diving. Read More

Note: Snorkelers and Scuba Divers can travel together on all of the Cairns Liveaboard tours advertised

Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard Tours…

Discover the Great Barrier Reef on a Liveaboard Snorkel Tour

Liveaboard snorkel tours depart daily from Cairns.

Snorkeling on one of the seven wonders of the natural world as well as sleeping on the Great Barrier Reef is an unforgettable experience that’s quite unique!

Reef Encounter is a liveaboard catamaran providing wonderful overnight trips to The Great Barrier Reef and boutique hotel style accommodation.

Imagine floating gently over the reef and marvelling at the wonders you see… Drift serenely over the colourful shimmering corals and appreciate the schools of tropical fish that glide throughout the reef and bring an underwater paradise to life.


Why choose an Overnight Snorkeling Trip with Reef Encounter?

liveaboard snorkel
maori wrasse

Reef Encounter  our liveaboard snorkel vessel, voyages up to 200 nautical miles off the east coast of Australia across four Outer Great Barrier Reef locations.

This means you get to experience a variety of snorkel sites and marine attractions during your trip.

We use years of marine experience to ensure that we take you to the best snorkeling and scuba diving locations depending on the weather and current conditions, to ensure comfortable and fun water activities.

Stay in style Our  liveaboard vessel is fully air conditioned for maximum comfort.

Reef Encounter boasts large lounge, dining, dive and sun deck areas. All of our spacious cabins are en-suite with ocean views and all gourmet meals are freshly prepared by your onboard Chef.

Time to snorkel! Reef Encounter has six water sessions a day so you can choose when you want to snorkel and when you want to relax or enjoy the other activities onboard.

Sunrise at the Reef One of the greatest attractions for choosing to sleep at the reef is the option to do a dawn snorkel.

As in any eco system dusk and dawn are the busiest times of the day and many of the crew will tell you that it’s the best time to be in the water!

Can you imagine a better way to begin your day than watching the sun come up over the ocean and going for a morning snorkel?

Ask the crew to point out the different fish that can be spotted beneath the surface at night – Although you cannot snorkel in the dark, reef sharks, schools of giant trevally and even the occasional 2 metre long Grouper can be seen circling in the deep below!

Other Activities Reef Encounter also has a variety of different activities for you to enjoy, with glass bottom boat tours running daily, a television and games area, a fully licensed bar and even boasts an outdoor, group sized hot tub! – Ideal for after a snorkel, watching the sunset or gazing up at the stars.

Stay as long as you like! Because there are daily transfers to and from Reef Encounter on our high speed catamaran, Reef Experience, you can fit your diving trip in to suit your holiday plans.

Choose to snorkel alone, make friends with fellow travellers or take a friendly crew member to show you the best spots – The  Great Barrier Reef is your oyster!

Try Scuba Diving for free!

A free 10 minute try scuba taster session with a qualified Dive Instructor allows you to see if diving is for you.

You will then have the option to sign up for a Resort Scuba Dive on the Great Barrier Reef or even join in on one of our special Scuba dive packages.*

> read more about Resort Scuba Diving Overnight Trips

liveaboard snorkel
Reef Encounter

Night Diving Reef Encounter is one of the only operators that offer snorkelers the option to complete a Night Resort Dive! In small group numbers of two passengers to one Dive Instructor, you will be taken on a personal underwater tour in the dark! (See Night Diving)

  • Some medical conditions may prevent you from diving. For example: heart disease, asthma, epilepsy or diabetes. If you are unsure of a particular medical condition, please check with us prior to making your reservation.
  • You should not travel to a high altitude (fly or visit a mountain area etc) within 12 hours of completing a single dive or 18 hours after multiple dives. It is recommended to wait 24 hours, if possible, before doing so.
  • This is important information if you were planning on flying out of Cairns or visiting the Tablelands within these time periods.

Experienced swimmer or snorkeler? Our crew will show you to the best patches of coral and can tell you where to find the marine marvels that call the reef their home.

liveaboard snorkel
find Nemo

Want to find Nemo? No problem! Want to see for yourself that Giant Clams really exist and learn how these amazing creatures feed and breathe? Ask us how!

Never snorkeled before?

Need some assistance in the water? Our friendly and professional team are always ready to jump in and assist everybody to have fun and enjoy the magic that the reef has to offer, ensuring that you are comfortable with your equipment and introduce you to some of our friendly fish!

Buoyancy aids such as snorkelling vests, wetsuits and noodles maintain all the freedom of movement while comfortably allowing you to stay at the surface and observe the marine life beneath.

Have the snorkeling trip of a lifetime aboard Reef Encounter!

Bus Transfers to the Cairns Marlin Marina are extra and can be added at the time of booking. For more information about transfers see the transfers page.

All boat transfers to Reef Encounter are included in the trip cost and provided by its sister vessel – Reef Experience – which boards daily at the Cairns Marlin Marina, A-Finger at 7:30am

Why book a Great Barrier Reef tour with

The Best Equipment All of our tours offer high quality, up to date snorkeling and scuba diving equipment. Got your own gear? Our friendly dive masters will assist you to set up your equipment.

Full diver and snorkeler briefings are given for each reef location by experienced crew with in depth knowledge of the areas and marine life which can be found.

How deep are the reef sites? As the coral on the Great Barrier Reef needs sunlight to survive and grow, the majority of good snorkel and dive locations are found in relatively shallow areas.

Snorkelling area depths range from 1 – 12 metres deep. Reef Sites have an average depth range of 10-25 metres (30-80 feet). Unqualified scuba divers on Resort Dive tours are generally kept within 5 – 12 metres (15 – 36 feet). Advanced divers travelling on a liveaboard tour can expect depth ranges up to 40 metres (120 feet).


Need assistance in navigating our website please see our site map 

Have more questions about our Great Barrier Reef liveaboard tours please see our Frequently asked Questions

Like to find out more please contact us