Great Barrier Reef accommodation

Excellent Barrier Reef accommodation.  Imagine staying on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.  Our boutique floating hotel Reef Encounter is the ultimate way to see the Great Barrier Reef.

Accommodating 42 guests and with a COVID safe plan, this really is the best way to see the Great Barrier Reef.

The journey starts in Cairns when our guests board our sister boat Reef Experience to transfer to the outer barrier reef and our floating hotel.

Once onboard, our amazing crew will look after everything for you, from delicious chef-prepared meals enhanced by fresh local produce and catering for all dietary requirements.

Accommodation is in a stateroom with large picture windows all with Great Barrier Reef views.  Our staterooms are 12.5 square metres and all with private ensuite bathrooms.

Aquatic Adventures

Our packages cater for snorkelers and scuba divers from first-timers to advanced.

Consistently rated ‘number one’ scuba diving and snorkelling liveaboard by both industry professionals and independent reviewers such as Trip Advisor, Reef Encounter is large enough to provide all the comforts of a cruise ship yet small enough to access spectacular reef locations not accessible to other vessels.

Family owned and operated (and all scuba enthusiasts) it is our passion to deliver outstanding Great Barrier Reef encounters.

We take extreme pride in our products, our boats, our crew and most importantly, our guests! We believe that Reef Encounter is unbeatable on service and value.

Stay for as many nights as you like in superbly appointed staterooms, 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, Great Barrier Reef accommodation is an excellent alternative to a resort based holiday.

Great Barrier Reef accommodation Facilities

  • A fully air-conditioned 35-metre catamaran hotel, designed for the utmost stability and comfort at sea
  • Large dining saloon
  • TV and lounge area
  • Outdoor, freshwater hot-tub
  • Spacious sundeck with sun loungers
  • Fully licenced bar
  • 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)

  • Check-in time:  10.00am    Check-Out time:  8.00am
  • Spacious, 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

Great Barrier Reef Accommodation Itinerary Sample

Day One

7:30 am Breakfast onboard Reef Experience, Marlin Jetty “A” Finger, Cairns. Meet your Top Deck Attendant.

8:00 am Depart Marlin Jetty Marine Biologist Presentation Scuba Dive and Snorkel briefing

9:30 am Arrive Outer Great Barrier Reef ~ Transfer to Reef Encounter

10:30 am Snorkel Session – Sun bake and relax

12 Noon Buffet Lunch

1:30 pm Scuba Dive and Snorkel Session – Relaxation time

3:00 pm Cruise to our next Outer Great Barrier Reef Location

3:30 pm Scuba Dive and Snorkel Session – Relaxation Time

5:30 pm Sunset Cocktails

6:30 pm Dinner under the stars (weather permitting)

7:30 pm Night scuba dive Relaxation time, Stargazing, board games or movie

Day Two

6:30 am Early Morning Scuba Dive or Snorkel Session

7:30 am Breakfast served in your Cabin

8:00 am Cruise to next Outer Great Barrier Reef Site

8:30 am Scuba Dive or Snorkel session

10:30 am Scuba Dive or Snorkel session

12:00 pm Buffet Lunch

1:30 pm Snorkel Session, Glass Bottom Boat Tour – Sunbake – Relax

3:00 pm Transfer from Reef Encounter to Reef Experience Wine, Cheese and Tropical Fruit Platters on return Journey

4:30 pm Arrive at Marlin Marina Cairns Itineraries can change slightly due to different Season

Your transfer vessel, Reef Experience, departs from
Cairns Marina: ‘A-Finger’ View map to Cairns Marlin Marina

Boarding commences at 7:30 am for check-in, directly on the vessel ‘Reef Experience.’

Arrive back to Cairns Marina at approximately 4:30 pm

Where Can I Park?

Several parking stations throughout Cairns are in walking distance of the Marina.  Click here to see where.



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.


What’s 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 available throughout the day, along with tea & coffee. All dietary requirements will be catered for – please advise us of these when booking.
  • Barista Coffee
  • Soft Drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Nitrox
  • Snacks
  • Photos

What to bring

  • Hat,
  • Sunglasses
  • light jacket
  • socks
  • Camera
  • Travel Voucher
  • Certification card and logbook for certified divers
  • Cash or credit card for onboard extras

Reef Encounter is a barefoot experience.


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.

Guests board Reef Experience on Finger A, Marlin Jetty, Cairns.  Boarding starts at 7:30 am.

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 her own helipad 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 during your Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard Tour.
  • Australia has some of 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/or medications may prevent you from scuba diving.
  • It is always our mission 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 get in touch with our office on +61 7 4037 2700 or email our helpful team today.
  • Alternatively, you may like to consult your own Doctor for a Queensland Dive Medical using the Australian QLD Standard Form AS.4005.1
  • Flying after Scuba Diving

  • Plan your travel itinerary. Do not fly or go to altitude for at least 18 hours after scuba diving for a single no decompression 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.

Check-In: 10:00 am

Check-Out: 8:00 am

Read policies

Great Barrier Reef Accommodation Accommodations

Twin Bed Stateroom Cabin - Reef Encounter

Twin Share

2 x Single beds, en-suite cabin. Share with another guest

Reef Encounter double stateroom

Double Bed

1 x Double bed, en-suite cabin. Requires 2 guests or sole occupancy


3 Reviews for “Great Barrier Reef Accommodation”

  1. Louise

    Room was very clean and comfortable. Meals were excellent. The crew were brilliant! Very attentive, friendly. Very good guides for those nervous in the water. Very safety conscious which was brilliant! Thank you to everyone on the boat. I will highly recommend this

  2. Beau

    Everything was perfect - thanks guys! The meals were exceptionally nice. Did not expect anything like that! Crew were funny, helpful and always around.

  3. Sapphira

    Thank you for an unforgettable experience! This was one of the best experiences of my life. The staff were so friendly! Always happy to help or explain whatever information you needed. Very chatty and social. Made our stay so much more enjoyable. Accommodation was comfortable and a good size. The food was amazing! Delicious and large portions.


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