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Can anyone try scuba diving?

Most people can try scuba diving while onboard Reef Experience.

Age, medical and health restrictions apply for resort/introductory & certified scuba diving in Australia – and are stricter than in many other countries. *If you are thinking about trying a scuba dive, please read the Important Information page to ensure that you are fit to dive according to Australia’s regulations for diving.

Age limit Minimum age for participating in a resort dive is 12 years old. There is currently no maximum age limit, however, scuba diving is a potentially strenuous activity and should be undertaken by fit and active people of all ages

Medical & Health Restrictions It is important that if you are thinking about going scuba diving while onboard Reef Experience, that you read the Important Information’ page first, to ensure that you are fit to dive according to Australia’s health regulations for diving. You will be required to complete a medical questionnaire before participating in any scuba activities. Some medical conditions, health issues and/or medications may prevent you from scuba diving (both past and current).

For example: Heart disease, asthma, epilepsy or diabetes, high or low blood pressure or anything that may cause fits, faints or blackouts. If you have ANY medical condition (past or current), health concern or ANY medication, please contact our friendly team before booking your dive – we’re here to help you have the reef trip of a lifetime and most medical restrictions for scuba in Australia can be addressed in advance with a simple email, whereas once you’re at sea it can be extremely difficult for us to get clearance for people to go scuba diving with a medical condition and/or medication – causing disappointment during the trip.

Can I decide later if I would like to try scuba diving onboard?

Yes. If you’re not sure whether you would like to go scuba diving while onboard Reef Experience, you can add your scuba dive later. Just talk to our staff on board and they can assist you.

*Please note that age, health and medical restrictions apply for scuba diving in Australia – if you are considering trying scuba diving, please ensure you have read the Important Information page

Will I need travel insurance and dive insurance?

All passengers are strongly advised to purchase comprehensive travel insurance that includes trip cancellation insurance, evacuation and medical cover for all intended activities. Please read the wording of your insurance policy carefully and ensure it covers you for all potential activities. In a medical emergency, any evacuation, vessel relocation, medical or other expenses are the financial responsibility of that passenger. Please be aware that scuba diving and other in-water activities are not covered by all travel insurance companies.

We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance and scuba dive insurance.

What if I have special requirements?

If you have any special requirements it is important to inform the Reef Experience team prior to travel. You can do this by writing your special requirements in the ‘Booking Message’ section when completing your online reservation, or by contacting our friendly office – see Contact Us

Reef Experience is able to cater to most people’s needs.

We are a family-friendly and disability-friendly trip. Please inform us if you require cots for babies, have any dietary requirements, allergies, mobility issues or have a disability that we should be aware of.

When do we depart?

We board Reef Experience at 7:30 am for an 8:00 am departure

When do we arrive back into Cairns?

We arrive back into Cairns at approximately 4:30 pm.

How do I get to the Reef Experience?

You can either make your own way to the Marlin Wharf; A-Finger, or go by shuttle bus, the Cairns City Area return is included.

Cairns city district INCLUDED Cairns Northern Beaches $35.00

You can add bus transfers from your accommodation during booking.

How long does it take to get to the reef?

Approximately 90 minutes to get to our first location.

What is included?

  • All snorkel and scuba dive equipment hire is included in your trip along with one free scuba dive!*
  • Unlimited morning and afternoon snorkelling at two reef locations. Non-swimmer snorkel tours are also included throughout the day for those who require assistance in the water.
  • Glass bottom boat tours are a great way to witness life beneath the waves. (Glass bottom boat tours are weather permitting).
  • Breakfast bacon & egg rolls, lunch buffet and afternoon cheese, wine and biscuits are served. Dietary requirements will be met; please advise upon booking. All food is locally sourced and prepared fresh by our onboard chef.
  • The interactive Marine Biology Presentation is a great way to learn about the marine life from our resident, onboard expert as you journey to your first reef destination.
  • For those staying in the Cairns Business District area, bus transfers to and from your accommodation to the boat are included on your day trip.
  • Unlike other operators, we include mandatory reef tax and fuel levies for visiting the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in the trip cost, so there won’t be extra hidden charges on the day.
  • Tea & coffee served throughout the day except during journey times.
  • Sun cream is provided onboard free of charge.

Are there allocated seats on Reef Experience?

No, the seats are not allocated, however there is plenty of room and seating both upstairs and downstairs on Reef Experience and a lovely big sundeck to work on your suntan and get some fresh air.

Is Reef Experience air-conditioned?

Yes, Reef Experience is air-conditioned.

Are there toilets onboard Reef Experience?

Yes, Reef Experience has toilets.

What shall I bring?

  • Hat & sunscreen (SPF 30+)
  • Sun protective clothing, like a t-shirt or rash vest
  • Swimming costume
  • Beach towel
  • Cash for drinks at the bar (soft drinks, beer, wine)
  • Credit card for on-board shopping and optional adventures

Will I need any money?

Yes, it is a good idea to bring some money.

Our optional extras

    • Second introductory scuba dive at the afternoon reef location (first scuba dive included) cost $70.00
    • Second Certified scuba dive at the afternoon reef location (first scuba dive included) cost $50.00
    • Professional underwater photographs taken on the day
    • Underwater digital camera hire
    • Marine Biology informative snorkel tour $40.00
    • Scuba guide for qualified scuba divers (guides are free for those who do not hold a scuba licence) $15 per person per dive
    • Prescription masks hire if required $10.00
    • Souvenirs: Great Barrier Reef T-shirts, hats etc.
    • Bus transfers to the marina for those staying outside the Cairns business area cost is $35.00 per person return

How long are we at the reef for?

Up to 5.5 hours at the Outer Barrier Reef.

Do you go to the reef every day?

Yes, weather permitting we do operate every day of the year.

Will the water be cold?

No, Cairns is located in Tropical North Queensland so the water temperature is pleasant all year round. The average temperature throughout the year is: December-February 29c, 83f March-May 25c, 76f June-August 22c, 72f September-November 25c, 76f A wet suit will also keep you warm if you are prone to feel the cold

What if the weather is really bad?

Often when the weather is cloudy or rainy in Cairns it doesn’t necessarily mean the weather is the same out on the reef, however, if you wish to change the date of your tour then we are more than happy to do so for you (subject to availability). We advise you to give us as much notice as possible to avoid disappointment.

Do you ever cancel?

Rarely! Cancellations are usually due to the threat of a cyclone which can happen on occasion during the summer months in Cairns. The only reason we would cancel a tour would be for the safety and comfort of our guests. If we have to cancel due to weather then we endeavour to contact our passengers with as much notice as possible and are happy to offer an alternate date for your tour.

Will I get sea-sick?

Hopefully not, we do have complimentary ginger tablets on board and stronger medication is available for purchase.

Can I use my credit card on the boat?

Yes, we accept Mastercard & Visacard on board

Where can I park my car?

Metered outdoor car parking is available at the pier shopping complex car park adjacent to the terminal for around 80 cents per hour, undercover secure car parking is also available for around $13 per day, or if you don’t mind a short walk then outdoor car parking is available at Trinity Wharf for $6.50 per day.  There is also some free all-day car parking in Abbott and Florence Streets.

What is served for lunch?

Reef Experience guests enjoy a delicious BBQ lunch with fresh salads

Do you cater for vegetarians?

Yes, we cater for vegetarians and other dietary requirements – please note we need to be made aware of your dietary requirements prior to the day of travel.

What if I can't swim?

It is always our aim to show all of our guests the Great Barrier Reef at its best, if you can’t swim or are nervous we don’t want you to miss seeing the Great Barrier Reef – we have crew on board who will help you in the water – you can even do a scuba dive.

Can guests participating in different activities travel together on the same trip – such as scuba divers and snorkelers?

Yes! Reef Experience caters to everyone. It is common for divers and snorkelers to travel together on the same trip. We usually have a mixture of people doing different activities; such as diving, snorkelling, scuba courses and those who just wish to stay on a floating hotel on the Great Barrier Reef!

Do I need experience to Scuba Dive?

NO experience is necessary, for an introductory/resort dive, its fun, safe and a lots of fun  – our friendly dive instructors on board are professional at taking people diving that have never scuba dived before – so relax you will be in very good hands  – please read our medical information, children need to be 12 years old to scuba dive

What's the difference between Certified Diving and Resort Diving for scuba divers?

Certified Diving is for Qualified Scuba Divers Certified diving is for already qualified scuba divers who hold a minimum licence of ‘Open Water Diver’ level or higher. The Dive Supervisor will check your certification card or dive license at the start of your Reef Experience tour.

Resort Scuba Diving – no experience necessary Resort Scuba Diving requires no prior scuba dive experience. Whether it is your very first time trying scuba diving or you have been scuba diving before, Resort Scuba is for people who do not have a scuba licence (not completed a training course and received the licence) – but would like to do fun scuba dives on the Great Barrier Reef. All dives are guided tours with an experienced Dive Instructor, with a maximum number of four guests to one Scuba Instructor.

I am a certified diver but can't find my certification papers. Can I still do a certified dive?

Please contact our office with your full name, date of birth, where and when you got certified and with what type of certification you have i.e. SSI or PADI And will do our best to find your certification details for you –  if we are not successful you can still enjoy an introductory/resort dive

What's the difference between SSI and PADI?

At a recreational level there is not a great deal of difference between the training offered by SSI and the training offered by PADI. Both schools are widely recognised, reputable Scuba Training Institutions – and it is the same qualification (scuba licence) that you will receive after completing your training through either school. A course you complete with SSI is recognised worldwide and can be used wherever you wish to scuba dive across the globe.

Do I need to bring my own equipment?

Snorkelling and scuba diving equipment is included in the trip cost (Stinger suits are included during the stinger season). Optional extras are wetsuit hire if you require one, and prescription lens masks are also available for hire. While equipment hire is included in your booking, you are welcome to bring any personal dive/snorkel items if you wish to.

Are the prices on the website in Australian Dollars - and do they include taxes?

Yes, all prices are in Australian Dollars (AUD)

Prices are inclusive of taxes and national park fees so there are no hidden costs! While these fees must be paid by all passengers travelling on tourist boats to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, many boats do not include the price upfront in their trip rates. Reef tax is a combination of government charges for visiting the National Park, a port charge, fuel levy and tax administration fee. All taxes are included on this website.

My partner and I want to go diving but we will have our children with us, is there anyone to supervise our children while we dive?

Unfortunately, we don’t have a child-minding on the boat so we cannot cater to infants, or anyone needing close supervision. However, if your children are old enough to go snorkelling on their own, we do have lifeguards watching the snorkelling area so they are in good hands. If you just let the lifeguards or any member of staff know that your children are entertaining themselves while you are heading off for a dive; they will be happy to keep a close eye out. Also, we can certainly sort it out that you can both scuba dive at different times so there is always one of your with your child or children.

Will there be jellyfish in the water?

Jelly fish at the reef – just to clarify we don’t actually get any box jellyfish at the Great Barrier Reef

They breed in the freshwater streams and creeks and when the wet season arrives normally late January early February  they get flushed back along the beaches which is the reason that you can’t swim at the beach in Tropical North Queensland unless you use a net – we have some of the most beautiful rainforest waterfalls and freshwater swimming holes in the World and of course you can swim at the Outer Barrier Reef all year  round

Normal jellyfish the type that doesn’t hurt you are sometimes at the reef

There are also Irukandji sometimes at the reef but they are rare ….and it would be far worse odds to travel by plane or car and be involved in an accident than it would be to be stung at the Great Barrier Reef however we think it is a great idea to wear a wet suit.

Will I get sunburnt and would you recommend wearing a wet suit?

We are in the tropics it really is hot here and yes you should certainly have sun protection what we recommend is the use of wet suits – full protection from the sun, they also protect you and the coral if you were to accidentally come into contact with any coral, keep you warm and provide some buoyancy – all advantages whilst you are on the reef – included in our Reef Experience tour price is wetsuit hire  also the less sunscreen on the reef in my own opinion the better

Important Information for Scuba Divers:

Please read our important information page and medical questionnaire if you answer yes to any of the questions then we suggest you see a Dive Doctor prior to your trip with us to avoid disappointment.

You need to allow 24 hours from your last dive before flying.
Certified divers are required to provide proof of their qualification aboard – dive license card. The minimum age for trying scuba diving is 12 years.
The minimum age for certified scuba divers is 10 years. All divers will be required to complete a medical questionnaire on board the vessel before diving.
Some medical conditions and/or medication may stop you from participating in Scuba Diving.