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Reef encounter no longer operating - alternatives?

London, United...
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78 posts
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Reef encounter no longer operating - alternatives?

To our great disappointment Reef Encounter have sent us an email cancelling our booking with them and informing us that they are no longer operating. Luckily we were not going until late September so have some time to devise alternatives.

we only want to go snorkeling not diving but were very keen on trying a longer trip ( had booked re for two nights) the problem seems to be that the reviews for other operators are much more lacklustre and they seem much more focused on diving. We are unfortunately also very much locked in to specific dates due to non ref non changeable flights and hotels.

So not really sure what to do - we could stay in Cairns for another 2 nights and do two or potentially three further day trips with different operators so as to go to different reefs or we could take a chance with one of the other operators... for either one or two nights.. All very annoying.

I just hope Reef Encounter process the refund as promised asap.

Sydney, Australia
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67 posts
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1. Re: Reef encounter no longer operating - alternatives?

There are plenty of day snorkelling trips out of Port Douglas (I recommend Wavelength). IMO Cairns is pretty dull unless you're a teenager on their first holiday without the parents - no beach, nothing to do, just places to get drunk.

North Queensland offers a lot more than just the GBR. Spend a day or 2 snorkelling (from Port D, they tend to all visit the same reefs - just mix it up depending on conditions) and get out and see the tropics. The hinterland is pretty special as well.

I hope that you have an amazing trip regardless of what you choose to do ;)

Sydney/Melbourne
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18,131 posts
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2. Re: Reef encounter no longer operating - alternatives?

We did our trip with Aristocat and visited 3 sites. Loved it. I wouldn't book till you get there and suss out the weather conditions. We were there for nearly 2 weeks and the first week was hopeless - rough seas and murky conditions. Aristocat don't go out in bad weather if they feel that clients aren't going to get a bang for their buck.

Edited: 12 August 2012, 07:40
Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
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3. Re: Reef encounter no longer operating - alternatives?

Late september is a bit more challenging for late bookings (school holidays) so i would factor this in.

September is usually pretty good weather (no promises though)

personally i don't think you are missing out with reef encounter cancelling,

Unfortunately the dive boats are the only option but I would talk to Mike Ball etc to see what they have on offer (price may be out of range or duration not suitable). Yes they are dive focussed but they do the best spots.

Cairns, Australia
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288 posts
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4. Re: Reef encounter no longer operating - alternatives?

I have a few suggestions for you.

Firstly though, I have to totally DISagree with ZenTourist about there being nothing to do in Cairns and the sites on the GBR the same- really not true!

I would suggest a boat called Coral Sea Dreaming for 1 night stay with snorkeling (and diving). This is a smaller boat that sleeps a maximum of 12 people so it is a different experience than many of the larger overnight boats.Being in a smaller group means alot more time for being in the water .They go to some pretty spectacular sites.

A snorkeling trip out of Port for a day is a totally different reef system, Agincourt reef. A good snorkeling boat is Wave Dancer and the boat goes to an area called the Low Isles. if you want to head out further, Poseidon is a good boat as well (Dive and snorkeling).

The tablelands are a great day trip or drive- Lake Eacham and the Crater Lakes Chalets is a gorgeous spot if you would like to hire a car and drive up the Gillies ranges- some great views!

Edited: 13 August 2012, 06:03
5. Re: Reef encounter no longer operating - alternatives?

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