Falla Reef Trips
Falla Reef Trips
5
8:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 11:00 PM
About
The Falla is a wooden ship, built in Broome, W.A. in 1956 to dive for mother of pearl. She worked with the ancient bronze helmet dive gear until 1963 when demand for the material dwindled due to the advent of plastics. For all of the next half century she has managed to make a living for herself, fishing, then cray fishing. In 1988 she made her way to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. She has been treating guests to this wonder, in small groups ever since. She is still diving. You can do your first SCUBA dive aboard this classic Pearl Lugger and become part of her history or go for a snorkel. Either way, you can soak up the atmosphere of those historical days gone by or enjoy the magic that is the Great Barrier Reef.
Cairns, Queensland, Australia
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5.0
535 reviews
Excellent
493
Very good
20
Average
10
Poor
3
Terrible
9

Jessica U
Perth, Australia18 contributions
Apr. 2021
I loved every minute of my trip out to the Great Barrier Reef with Captain Doug and the Falla! I was really hoping to find an experience that didn't involve one of the big motor boats with 50+ passengers and this was perfect. A few highlights:

- The laidback vibes and personalised experience. As a confident swimmer I really liked not having to snorkel in a group and being given plenty of freedom to explore the reef!

- Doug diving in and showing us a shark chilling in a cave. He seems to know the secret spots.

- Turning off the engine just before cruising back into Cairns and enjoying sailing in the wind with wine and cheese. Accompanied by some great stories about the history of the Falla and her roots as a Pearl Lugger up in Broome.

You can really tell Doug has a genuine passion for the Falla and taking people out to the GBR. His enthusiasm is infectious and it really made the trip something special. Sure, it's not the most comfortable boat (compared to the bigger boats that head out to the reef) and it doesn't have the fanciest gear, but I loved relaxing on the deck in the shade and just enjoying being on such a unique boat.

Thanks Doug for an amazing day!!! I'll be back to crew someday :)
Written 8 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Allan
Melbourne, Australia3 contributions
Dec. 2020 • Couples
Very knowledgeable and passionate Captain Doug and crew. Best way to see the reef. Beautiful open air wooden boat with sails and motor. Completely non commercial experience in a small intimate group. Very personalised. They really went out of their way to make sure everyone had a great time. Our captain took us to two alternative islands (weather permitting). We were literally the only ship and just a couple of small fishing boats around. Lunch was freshly made. Served hygenically in a packed lunch. My recommendation is wear usual sun protection as you get to be out in the open air while travelling. Highly recommend especially if u don't want to be just a number on a huge commercial ship that monetises you.
Written 1 January 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kemurphy
Chelmsford, MA67 contributions
Dec. 2018
My daughter and I were looking to go on a Great Barrier Reef trip that was different, and not on a large commercial boat. We found the perfect experience we were looking for via getting on board the Falla Reef trip. The captain and crew were incredibly knowledgable, had fabulous hospitality, and made this an absolute dream trip for me and my daughter. I asked the Captain what was the biggest difference between the obvious one - his was a former pearl finding ship, and the other reef boats were large commercial vessels without any personality. He told me no one ever on the Falla takes photos of the big commercial reef boats, but most of the big commercial reef boat passengers take photos of his boat. Don't miss out on this incredible memory making experience.
Written 5 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Korchaguin J
3 contributions
Jul. 2019
I booked wit this company a snorkeling tour to the Great Barrier Reef and prepaid more than 3 months in advance. I even received an email remainder 2 days prior to our trip. We traveled from Sydney just for this tour and showed up at the location and time indicated only to find out that nobody was there, after calling the contact number the guy who answered (the owner) explained that he had problems with the vessel and was far away and wouldn't be able to do the tour, he could only apologize for 5 minutes without offering anything concrete or explaining why we were not at least notified. Obviously we were not going to waste our trip to Cairns and quickly booked a different tour with one of the big local companies. Minutes later the guy from Falla contacted me to let me know that he had found me a trip to go with (what a favor!), we declined and he refunded our money. Fortunately we were able to book an alternative trip which need up being great. If you want a tour to the Great Barrier Reef don't put your plans at rist and book with one of the big, well stablished companies.
Written 8 August 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
I am very sorry for your inconvenience. Please, in future, If you are booking a trip on the Falla, as well as any other, It is always a good idea to book direct as you will receive guaranteed, personal attention. In our case you will be able to speak directly with the Owner/ Captain. That way there will be no complications, especially if breakdowns occur. (not often, but they do occur) . We also work with the weather. On the (very) few occasions, over the years, that we have experienced this unfortunate situation, I, personally, have spent long hours, burning the midnight oil, trying to find ways to reach our people who, for example, left out a digit of their phone number, are not able to check their emails often enough, incorrect emails , omitted place of stay, the list goes on and on. The other reason direct booking is a good idea, is that I always make sure I get as many ways to contact our guests as possible , just to be sure. In almost all scenarios, problems with communication occur due to our having exhausted all ways to get in touch with our clientelle. A simple confirmation call to me directly on the early evening prior to travel is also a good idea. This leaves ample time to make alternate arrangements in the unlikely event that may become necessary. Douglas M Owner/ Opreator/ Captain Falla
Written 23 January 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

E D
Paris, France6 contributions
Aug. 2019 • Couples
We booked our trip more than 2 months ago based on the good comments and at that time Doug who is captain on the Falla answered very quickly and asked us to reconfirmed 1 week before our arrival.
We followed this process but since then, impossible to have a confirmation on his side, he has never answered.
We went physically to the address indicated on the website but we could not even find the boat...Either they are on holidays either they stopped their activity but in both cases it would have been polite to let us know in advance in order to book something else...
We do not recommend at all to plan this day trip with Falla.
Written 1 August 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tony P
Peterborough, UK184 contributions
May 2019 • Couples
Booked this trip 9 months in advance after extensive research. Cancelled by them 3 days before trip date and so had to give up valuable holiday time to find alternative. Extremely unimpressed.
Written 14 May 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sarah B
4 contributions
Sep. 2018 • Couples
This was the exact trip we were hoping for! It felt like a "pirate" ship dream because of the boat itself and the history about the Falla that was shared. Doug knows different places to snorkel/dive and chose great ones for conditions and less crowds. It was the slower route and made it more enjoyable and scenic instead of the "party boat" feels. We were only planning on snorkeling but my husband decided he wanted to do a Scuba dive with the instructor! I am not comfortable in water but the instructor was very helpful and we successfully Scuba dived on the Great Barrier Reef! Thank you for a memorable and magical experience. (If you're reading this Doug, sorry for the "late" review, I still think of this trip!) Doug is a man after his own dreams and I loved supportin him in that venture.
Written 4 February 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

scooterpie77
Fort Wayne, IN332 contributions
Jan. 2019 • Family
We went on the Falla Reef Trips tour with two children ages 7 and 9 the first week of January and it was awesome. We wanted to do a small group tour to the Barrier Reef and not take one of the huge ships that zip 100s of people to the reef and back.

The highlight for me was being able to do a dive for the first time with a trained diver by my wife and I's side being able to see the reef from below the water level. It was a great experience I had never done or even really thought of doing until they asked about it on the boat. I thought the price was very fair, and to me it was the opportunity of a lifetime.

Since we had children ages 7 and 9, and my 7 year old doesn't even like to get his face wet and cannot swim at all, I assumed he would mostly see the reef from the boat. I couldn't have been more shocked when he was the one that enjoyed the snorkeling the most of our entire family because he had his face in the water the entire time and loved it. I am not a strong swimmer whatsoever, so at times I struggled to pull him along with me, hold the noodle for assistance, and pull him along through the water. The currents were pretty strong for me, and it felt like at times I was getting two steps forward, two steps back. Doug was awesome enough to pull us around on his little motor boat so we could snorkel over the entire area which was really awesome of him to do for us and allowed us to see a lot more than we would have and kept me from being completely exhausted. :)

For my oldest son his favorite part was by FAR where Doug allowed him to "captain" the ship on the return journey. He has told everyone who will listen since we got home how he got to "drive the Falla."

Despite all of the positives, this trip might not be for everyone. This is a small boat that takes awhile to get to/from the Reef. You WILL get passed by huge boats carrying 100s of people that will get to the Reef way before you do, and probably be back hours before you. If you don't enjoy the idea of a slow trip out to the Reef with stories from Doug on an old sailboat...this might not be the trip for you.

I hope others continue to go on tours like this that are small group/small company run because these are truly the best ways to see an area you are unfamiliar with, and many of them get put under by the additional resources the bigger companies have to promote themselves on social media and influence rankings on websites like these.
Written 18 January 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Justin W
19 contributions
Jan. 2019 • Couples
The day started with a nice group of total 18 people and 1 baby on the boat including crew. Nice boat trip of two hours, although the sea got rough and the boat made people sick. Captain Doug asked if anyone had a problem to go to a different spot, in his opinion very beautiful.

We had no idea so no objections(never been to the cairns area before, although my girlfriend who was with me did)

Upon arrival people were sick and the crew helped these people to get ashore if they wanted with a small zodiac boat.
The location was at nudey beach at Fitzroy island.

We snorkeled there for an hour or two. The snorkeling at Fitzroy island is nice but it’s not the Great Barrier Reef experience we’ve expected. You can actually do this at more tropical locations. After that we had lunch, which was good.

Sting suits have to be rented (and is recommended by the crew) for 7 dollars.

Then we continued for the second spot which was supposed to be much better, but the sea was rough. After mooring Captain Doug and his crew decided to go to a easier spot, so we set sail to a different spot but a rope got in the propellor of the boat engine.

The boat was not able to steer anymore and the crew worked hard to Anker the boat in rough sea. This didn’t work at first and my estimate is that 3 meters further to the coast the boat would’ve been smashed agains the rocks of the coastline.

The experienced diver saved the day, by clearing the rope of the propellor.

1. There’s only 1 built in radio with bad connection to the coast guard 2. They tried to call the nearest diving center to evacuate us, but didn’t have the telephone number of any station
3. Just know that it’s an old boat, which is part of the experience anyway.

The captain couldn’t give our money back although waived any debts for renting the recommended sting suits, and offered to go on another trip the next day. We had only a short visit in Cairns so couldn’t go so quite disappointed in the ent

Conclusion: not worth the 5 star review for our trip, although we did have fun snorkeling and know we know how it’s like to be in an emergency on an old boat
Written 18 January 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Aboard the Falla, we work with nature and are in the business of making people happy. This is at times, a challenging combination. I have traveled, as Captain, by sea, collectively, 7 times around the earth. Sometimes things go wrong. Friday was one of them. In retrospect which always has 20/20 vision, we were never in danger from the start. From that initial point we had 1 secure attachment to the sea floor. Within 8 minutes we had 2 secure attachments.In 25 minutes we had 3 secure attachments to the sea floor. We have 2 marine radios and a mob phone. Mob phone got us a (redundant) rescue vessel that was 3 min away upon our departure. We were never in any serious distress. As Captain I kept all aboard informed as to our situation as it developed.This is normal protocol for unusual circumstance . The reason we were in that location is that I had promised to take us to the best spot out of Cairns available that day. I was relying on Bureau Of Meteorology, Cairns. They misjudged the weather. We were hit by a local squall... I sincerely thank our experienced crew. and the patience of our guests. We did the best we could on the day to achieve the aforementioned. I also thank the guest, who is a sailor from S. Africa for his input. Although we didn't get the GBR dream of most, we got a genuine sea adventure story to tell, and some nice GBR snorkelling. I also offered a free trip to all. I thank all guests for their patience. Sincerely, Capitan Doug/ Falla
Written 21 January 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

KittyTravels
3 contributions
Feb. 2018 • Solo
Falla was exactly the trip to the reef that I was looking for. It was a small tour. I'm a certified diver who hadn't been diving in years. I took their refresher course out at the reef and was able to check off one of my life bucket list items. Between Capt. Doug and their diving instructor, I felt completely comfortable diving despite the time since I had last been. And the added bonus of the Falla being an smaller, sail boat made such a difference. I couldn't have asked for a better experience.
Written 15 January 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Falla Reef Trips: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)