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Snorkeling the GBR - 1 night Reef Encounter vs. more than one day trip?

Snorkeling the GBR - 1 night Reef Encounter vs. more than one day trip?

Old Nov 7th, 2010, 03:12 PM
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Snorkeling the GBR - 1 night Reef Encounter vs. more than one day trip?

I'm just starting to figure out a trip for next October, and plan on 4-5 days in N. Queensland, probably basing in Port Douglas. We want some nice dry land time, but we are also rabid snorkelers and may want more than just one day trip out to the Reef. So, I will figure out our water time first then do the forest time later.

At about $200/person, that's an expensive day for the two of us, so I am looking into the economics of the 1 night 2 day Reef Encounter boat out of Cairns. Reviews on TripAdvisor have been generally positive. We don't care about a cruise ship experience, just snorkeling at good spots. Would this be a good way to get all snorkeled out? Any other suggested boats? Don't want to spend more than one night.

Also, if we do take just a day boat, which companies might go to the better spots? 99% of our experience has been in Hawaii, and there, like anywhere else I suppose, there are some places that just have nicer water and more turtles and fishies.

(next project will be figuring the outback time. We have a total of 13-14 nights for this trip, Sydney will get only 1 or 2 and a friend near Canberra gets 2)
gigib is offline  
Old Nov 8th, 2010, 09:35 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
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I think either plan, overnight or two day trips, is good. When we go to PD, we generally do two snorkel trips (different boats) over a 4 - 5 day visit. We always make sure that one of the boats we go snorkeling with is Wavelength. They are a snorkel-only boat and we think they do it the best. (We've been out with them 5 times.) We've gone out with several other boats for the 2nd day and we've never had a bad experience with any of them. It's always good out on the Reef!
While I have never had the desire to overnight on a small boat, I have a good friend who did a 2-night trip out of Cairns and she said it was wonderful.
So, it just depends on what sort of experience you want. I don't think you can go wrong no matter what you choose.
longhorn55 is offline  
Old Nov 10th, 2010, 10:19 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
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$200 for a day trip, ..who charges that? this is robbery for the tourists. Not necessary to spend this type of money, Maybe $120, $150. If that is what they charge from Port Douglas then you are paying for the postcode and not for the trip.
Kriol is offline  
Old Nov 11th, 2010, 03:57 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Kriol, check Quicksilver and Wavelength out of PD, they're both about $200 pp for a day trip.

Reef Encounter one night liveaboard out of Cairns with transfers on Reef Experience (as far as am aware there are now no liveaboards out of PD) is good value at $280 (multishare cabin) or $359 (twin share or double) for two day's snorkelling, one night's accommodation and meals and goes to outer reef sites. I had Canadian guests do this trip just last week and they loved it.
pat_woolford is offline  
Old Nov 11th, 2010, 01:21 PM
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Wavelength out of PD is indeed $200! $400 for a day visiting three snorkel spots does seem like an awful lot of money.

On the Reef Encounter, I can't figure out what they mean by transfer on Reef Experience. Do they transport you out to a larger, moored boat where you sleep and eat? Are their snorkel places likely to be better than the ones Wavelength goes to?
gigib is offline  
Old Nov 11th, 2010, 03:39 PM
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Reef Encounter and Reef Experience are owned by the same company, Reef Experience is used for day trips and for transporting passengers for liveaboard on Reef Encounter from mainland to reef and back. Reef Encounter moves around the reef to various snorkel/dive spots but doesn't come into port every day. This would involve too much to-ing an and fro-ing from reef to port, for those on multi-night trips it would be painful to keep returning to port to pick up and drop off passengers.
pat_woolford is offline  
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