4 day liveaboard on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

4-day liveaboard If you are looking for a vacation for a long weekend or need a short break, then the 4-day reef sleep program on the MV Reef Encounter may be just what you are looking for.

The MV Reef Encounter is more than just another  Liveaboard. It is also a floating boutique hotel giving an extra level of quality and service.

Generally, in hotels and resorts, you can arrive and depart on whatever day you wish, not so on most Liveaboards who follow a set itinerary.

On the MV Reef Encounter, you select the day you wish to arrive.

While the 3-night reef sleep program is their most popular for divers, stays can be shorter or longer.

The Reef Encounter Difference

Many things make the Reef Encounter different from the other Liveaboards that sail from Cairns and, in fact, anywhere else in the world.

Starting with the fact that the MV Reef Encounter stays out on the reef for extended periods of time.

Guest arrive daily being transferred from Cairns aboard the MV Reef Experience. A 10 am arrival gives the arriving guest time to settle in their luxury stateroom and go swimming or snorkelling before lunch.

Lunch will be buffet style served in the air-conditioned saloon which also has space for a lounge and a fully licensed bar after diving.

Generally, the Captain will relocate the vessel during lunch, giving those dived before lunch a new dive site for the afternoon.

Cairns-based Reef Encounter visits two reefs a day while out on the outer barrier reefs.

After lunch, the newly arrived diver will receive a dive safety briefing before the general dive site briefing.

Guest who is not a certified diver will receive a water safety briefing and, if they desire, snorkelling lessons.

Snorkelers can also try a complimentary resort dive, which the team onboard can schedule any time during the stay.

Those who wish to stay dry can still visit a reef on-board the glass bottom boat of the MV Reef Encounter.

The afternoon has two water sessions for either scuba or snorkelling.

Plenty of time for a decent surface interval and time to enjoy the hot tub or sun deck.

After being served a delicious meal prepared by the chef, scuba divers have an additional water session.

Night Diving

As any scuba diver who has been on a night dive will tell you, the reef has a different personality at night.

On the outer reefs of the Great Barrier Reefs, this is especially true.

Small reef fish that have been hiding during the day comes out, and species like octopus and squid are more active at night.

One of the biggest differences you will see is the larger species that come up from the nearby deep water to feed.

So keep that torch moving around every so often to see what is just outside the beam of your light.

Speaking about your light, you will see the true colour of the coral and fish at night.

Sunlight is filtered as it comes to depths. Even in 2 or 3 metres of water, the colour blue has been absorbed and does not show the true colour of the reef.

The major light source is your torch at night, and the distance is much shorter to the subject, so the colour has not been significantly filtered.

After your night dive, have a late dessert and enjoy the night skies.

Dawn on the Great Barrier Reef

Waking up on the Great Barrier Reef, guests can walk a few metres to the deck, gear up and enjoy the most spectacular time of day on the reef, daybreak.

You could have your sunrise dive or snorkel.  Next, a delicious hot breakfast prepared by our onboard chef.

Life onboard

Your full days onboard allow you four scuba dives that you can take from any of the six water sessions a day: sunrise, two-morning sessions, two-afternoon sessions and the night diving session.

Snorkelling is available during all daylight hours.  While we are moored, the coral reefs are close, providing easy access.

The daytime sessions that you skip diving can be used for snorkelling, a glass-bottom boat ride or just some downtime to relax.

Your last day gives you time for three water sessions, the sunrise session and the two-morning sessions.

If you would like to snorkel after lunch, there is time before your afternoon departure on the Reef Experience back to Cairns.

On-Board Differences

In addition to the variable length of stays and the means of transfer, other items set Reef Encounter apart from the other Liveaboards.

This 4-day liveboard tours sails with a maximum of 42 guests. As a 35 metres catamaran, she is the largest size allowed to moor within the Great Barrier Reef Park.

reef sleep
Great Barrier reef sleep

There are 21 luxury staterooms, each with a spectacular ocean view, in either a double or two twin configurations.

Each stateroom has en suite facilities.

Our onboard desalination plant means there is no rationing of water that has to occur on vessels that can not produce their own freshwater supply.

Meals onboard our 4-day liveaboard tours

Our onboard chefs cater to all dietary requirements. Preparing delicious and nutritious meals.

Life on board is full of aquatic adventures building healthy appetites.

Making our onboard chefs are an essential part of our Great Barrier Reef experience.


The transfer boat also means that the food is resupplied frequently, allowing the chef to use the best local products.

The quality of the food rivals any resort restaurant.

When you evaluate all the benefits of staying onboard Reef Encounter, it is clear that it is an excellent choice for most divers and even snorkelers.

Book your 4-day liveaboard trip today.