Reef Experience

  • 100 - Pax
  • 6 - Hours
  • 2 - Dives

Reef Experience operates daily

Reef Experience is one of the fastest catamarans departing Cairns daily, giving guests more time to discover two unspoilt outer Barrier Reef locations. Everyone will find a perfect way to experience arguably the most spectacular aquatic environment in the world, with friendly & attentive staff offering a free guided snorkel, introductory or certified dive.

Trips depart daily from Marlin Marina, and Reef Experience operates as a transfer vessel to the overnight boat – Reef Encounter. Transfers are via the day trip vessel Reef Experience.

For those not yet ready to take the plunge, step aboard a glass bottom boat tour in between relaxing on the oversized sundeck or in the air conditioned saloon. The vessel was designed with the utmost in safety and comfort in mind. Unique wings attach to either side of the boat to give dedicated areas for diving, snorkelling and glass bottom boat tours, giving our guests extra attention and safety

All dietary requirements will be met – please advise upon booking

Reef Sites visited: Norman Reef, Breaking Patches, Hastings Reef, Saxon Reef, Michaelmas Cay. See here for more detailed information on the dive sites

Top Deck Club

The Top Deck Club (similar to First Class on an airline) is designed to meet the expectations of the most discerning of guests. Most importantly it offers an unhurried, relaxed ambience.

You enjoy all standard day tour inclusions, plus you get your own valet for the day – providing an unbeatable level of customer service both at the reef and on the boat.

An in water guide is provided, and you get reserved table seats in the Captain’s wheelhouse! Top Deck Club guests are priority passengers, and as such, you won’t wait in line for check-in, meals or collecting equipment. Your personal crew member will bring everything to you in the comfort of your own seating are

You will discover the natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef with your personalised snorkel tour and guided introductory or certified dive.

Glass Bottom Boat Tour

Reef Experience also has it’s very own glass bottom boat, and tours run free of charge upon request. Talk to our friendly crew onboard to organise your glass bottom boat excursion. (Glass bottom boat tours are weather permitting).


For the more adventurous of you, or those wanting the ultimate scenic experience, Reef Encounter can offer helicopter transfers to the boat, or scenic flights once on board. Contact us for more information.


Sample Itinerary

  • 7:30am Check in at Reef Experience – Marlin Jetty “A” Finger
  • 8:00am Depart Marlin Wharf – Breakfast onboard
  • Safety briefing and snorkelling demonstration
  • 8:30am Marine Biology talk
  • 9:30am Arrive at first Outer Great Barrier Reef Site
  • 12:00pm Lunch
  • 12:45pm Arrive at second Outer Great Barrier Reef Site
  • 3:00pm Depart Great Barrier Reef for Cairns

Complimentary wine, cheese, biscuits and fruit platters
4:30pm Approximate arrive time at Cairns Marlin Marina

Reef Experience - Rates + Bookings

Snorkeler / Diver adult $245.00
Snorkeler child $165.00
Snorkeler Family $655.00
Snorkeler / Diver Top Deck $395.00
Extra 2nd Introductory dive $70.00
Extra 2nd certified dive $60.00
Date of Travel

Reef taxes and city transfers are included.

Prices valid until 31st March 2025

Note: Pubilc Holiday surcharge of $50 per person is for the selected dates:

  • 07, 08, 09 & 10 April 2023 – Easter
  • 25 April 2023 – Anzac Day
  • 01 May 2023 – Labour Day
  • 21 July 2023 – The Cairns Show
  • 02 October 2023 – King’s Birthday
  • 26 December 2023 – Boxing Day
  • 01 January 2024 – New Year’s Day
  • 26 January 2024 – Australia Day
  • 29, 30 & 31 March and 01 April 2024 – Easter


  • Bus transfers from city accommodation
  • Breakfast once on board
  • Two spectacular Outer reef locations
  • Free Scuba Dive – Introductory/ Resort or Certified
  • All Scuba Dive equipment including wet suits
  • Stinger Suits during stinger season (November – May)
  • Snorkel Equipment – Snorkel Mask, Snorkel and Fins included (adult and Kids sizes)
  • Buoyancy aides – snorkel vests and noodles
  • Up to 6 hours at the Outer Great Barrier Reef
  • Glass bottom boat tour & commentary (weather permitting)
  • Marine Biologist presentation of the reef
  • Delicious BBQ & fresh salad lunch
  • Fresh fruit platters
  • Wine, cheese & biscuits on return
  • Complimentary tea & coffee
  • Reef tax/fuel levy/admin fees
  • Experienced & helpful crew assistance for non-confident swimmers and non-swimmers


  • Second scuba dive (the first dive is included) Certified $60 – Introductory $70
  • Professional underwater photographs taken on the day
  • Underwater digital camera hire – $89.00
  • Marine Biology lectured snorkel tour
  • Scuba guide for qualified divers – $15.00
  • Prescription masks if required – $10.00
  • Souvenirs: Great Barrier Reef T-shirts etc.
  • Transfers from Outer City accommodation and Port Douglas (Prices on application)

Note: All Certified dives are unguided, allowing you to dive in your buddy pairs and explore the Great Barrier Reef. If you would like a dive guide cost is $15.00 per person per dive and can be organized onboard.



A Surcharge of $100 per person applies to 25 December 2024 – Christmas Day

A Surcharge of $50 per person applies to all other Queensland public holidays listed

01 April 2024 – Easter
• 25 April 2024 – Anzac Day
• 06 May 2024 – Labour Day
• 19 July 2024 – Cairns Annual Show
• 07 October 2024 – King’s Birthday
• 26 December 2024 – Boxing Day
• 01 January 2025 – New Year’s Day
• 27 January 2025 – Australia Day