Everywhere you turn in Cairns, someone is trying to sell you a boat ride out to the Great Barrier Reef. There are countless options around the type of boat, the number of snorkelling sessions or dives, the number of hours out on the water, types of meals, and departure times. When we read that Reef Encounters offered the opportunity to sleep overnight on the Reef, we were intrigued. Our AirBnB host was able to an excursion for us at 10% off, and checking that the forecast was good, we booked a cabin. You head out to the reef on the Reef Experience boat, which takes you to the Reef Encounter boat anchored beside Norman Reef. We snorkelled three times the first day, and were up bright and early for the 6:30 am morning snorkel. After breakfast we went out for a final snorkel although we could have squeezed in one more full session and even a short session before catching a ride back to Cairns on the Reef Experience. They supplied everyone with head-to-toe Lycra stinger suits; deadly jellyfish were known to be in the area because the water was so warm. The crew were extremely helpful and safety-conscious, we felt we were in really good hands. The food was really good as well, lunch and breakfast is buffet style, dinner is plated. It was a generous and very tasty serving of snapper and fresh veggies.
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