Best Liveaboard Dive Trips at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor March 13th, 2020 Posted in Australia & Oceania Travel Blog, Sailing, Travel Blog No comments

The Great Barrier Reef is, without a doubt, the vastest coral reef system in the Earth. With almost 3,000 reefs, nine hundred islands in Queensland, Australia; it will be such a wonder to witness it. We are blessed with such beauty and are happy that people have put effort into preserving it.

Best Liveaboard Dive Trips at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia
Daniel Pelaez Duque

 

The best way to discover the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef is through a liveaboard. What is a liveaboard? According to Wikipedia, it is “a boat used for recreational diving expeditions or cruises where the divers live on the boat for the duration of the cruise and use it as a diving support vessel.” Unlike day tours, you will be able to enjoy the day as well as night dives that will make you discover marine life in the dark. Also, cruise ships offer activities inside the boat, however, you get to dock regularly and dive or swim and discover corals at least 3 or 4 times a day.

Best Liveaboard Dive Trips at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia
Giorgia Doglioni

 

We have summarized the Best Great Barrier Reef Liveaboards for those who want to see the corals and marine life such as turtles, fishes, sharks, clams, or whales. Enjoy the sun and the sea, and relax under the sun as you cruise your way to the next destination.

Here are the Great Barrier Reef Liveaboards we recommend.

Best Budget Great Barrier Reef Liveaboards

Ocean Quest

Best Liveaboards Dive Trips at the Great Barrier Reef1

Price: From AUD 185 per day
Anchors at Cairns
Speed: 9 knots
Max Guests: 48
Cabins: 23 with en-suite bathroom, AC and TV
Rooms: Double Cabin or Twin Cabin
Itinerary: Choose a minimum of 2D1N (about 6 dives) or a maximum of 6D5N (about 21 dives)
Inclusive of: Hotel Transfer, Meals (3 times a day, Buffet style),  Diving Package, Gears, and VAT
Required Fees: National Park Fees (AUD 60-80 per trip), port fees (AUD 20 per day), Visas, and Fees
Optional Fees: Airport Transfers, Snack, Alcohol and Softdrinks, Nitrox, Scuba Diving Courses, Private Dive Guide (AUD 15 per activity), and Gratuities

Experience diving at the Great Barrier Reef with Ocean Quest Liveaboard and enjoy at least 4-day dives and a night dive. See countless corals as well as fishes, turtles, clams, and sharks. There is also “Sharks in the Dark” program where you have the opportunity to see them at night. You can chill at the boat or exchange stories at the bar. Go home with amazing memories of your liveaboard as well as the Great Barrier Reef.

Coral Sea Dreaming

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Price: From AUD 220 per day
Anchors at Cairns
Speed: 8-9 knots
Max Guests: 12
Cabins: 4
Rooms: Double Bed Private Cabin, Shared Cabin with Bunks
Itinerary: 2 Days, 1 Night
Inclusive of: Hotel Transfer, Meals (All meals), Private Dive Guide, Rental Gear, Toiletries Free 10 minute try dive
Required Fees: National Park Fees (AUD 20), Port fees (AUD 20 per day)
Optional Fees: 4-dive package of AUD 220, Airport or Hotel Transfers, Alcohol and Softdrinks, Nitrox, Scuba Diving Courses, Paddle Board

This Great Barrier Reef liveaboard has only a maximum of 12 guests, so for those who want privacy on a budget, this is great for you. See 9 reefs on mornings or nights. Sleep under the starry sky and greet the morning with a breathtaking Coral Sea sunrise. Get to see fish, dolphins, corals, and whales of the Great Barrier Reef with Coral Sea Dreaming.

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Best Mid-Range Great Barrier Reef Liveaboards 

Spirit of Freedom

Best Liveaboards Dive Trips at the Great Barrier Reef3

Price: From AUD 365 per day
Anchors at Cairns
Speed: 12 knots
Max Guests: 26
Cabins: 11
Rooms: Deluxe or Standard Cabin, Stateroom, Standard Double, Bunk Beds
Itinerary: Choose a minimum of 4D3N (about 11 dives) or a maximum of 8D7N (about 26 dives)
Inclusive of: Airport and Hotel Transfer, Meals and Snacks, Local Flights, Alcohol or Wine on Dinner, Diving Package, Gears, Toiletries, and Towels, Wi-Fi
Required Fees: National Park Fees (AUD 20-50 per trip), Private Dive Guide
Optional Fees: Alcohol and Softdrinks, Nitrox, Scuba Diving Courses, Rental Gear, Scuba Diving Course

This Great Barrel Reef Liveaboard can get you at most a one week adventure with about 4 to 5 fives a day. You may get to have a chance to walk at a beach Lizard Island. You will be able to see the school of fishes like barracudas), sharks, mantas, sea horses, and red and yellow corals. The crew are professional and fun as per past customers. You will definitely love your experience at the Spirit of Freedom.

Pro Dive Cairns

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Price: From AUD 270 per day
Anchors at Cairns
Speed: 12 knots
Max Guests: 32
Cabins: 14
Rooms: Twin Cabins
Itinerary: 3 Days and 2 Nights (11 dives)
Inclusive of: Hotel Transfer, Meals, and Snacks, Diving Package, Rental or Snorkel Gear, Dive Insurance, VAT, Wi-Fi
Required Fees: National Park Fees (AUD 80-85), Visas, Fees
Optional Fees: Airport Transfer, Alcohol and Soft Drinks, Scuba Diving Courses, Insurance and Gratuities

With 3 days and 2 nights experience 11 dives (with 2-night dives) and discover amazing marine life as you snorkel or dive. See clams, fishes, or if you are luck Whales!  If you want to relax under the sun, feel free to relax at the sun deck. Japanese or German-speaking staff are also available. Enjoy your Great Barrel Reef Liveaboard with Pro Dive Cairns.

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Best Luxury Great Barrier Reef Liveaboards

Coral Expeditions II

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Price: From AUD 449 per day
Anchors at Cairns
Speed: 12 knots
Max Guests: 46
Cabins: 22
Rooms: Cabin, Stateroom (Upper Deck or Deluxe)
Itinerary: Choose a minimum of 4D3N or a maximum of 8D7N
Inclusive of: Environment Tax, National Park and Port Fees, Meals, Snacks, Softdrinks, Boat and Land Excursions, Guides and Gears, Towels and Toiletries, and VAT
Optional Fees: Dive and Travel Insurance, Visa and Fees, Airport and Hotel Transfers, Flights, Alchohol, Diving Package

This small ship will let you explore the Great Barrier reef; choose between 4, 5, or 8-day itineraries. All the rooms offer you a view of the ocean, so if you can hang in your room or maybe the lounge. There is a library, a sun deck, bars and an entertainment area with welcoming staff in this liveaboard. See the marine life and witness a sunset on a deserted island, what more could you ask for?

Spoilsport 

Best Liveaboards Dive Trips at the Great Barrier Reef7

Price: From AUD 449 per day
Anchors at Cairns
Speed: 15 knots
Max Guests: 28
Cabins: 14
Rooms: Budget, Club, Standard, Premium Cabins
Itinerary: Choose a minimum of 4D3N (about 12 dives) or a maximum of 8D7N (about 25 dives)
Inclusive of: Port Fees and Local Flights,  Meals and Snacks, Diving Package, LAnd Excursions, Guide, Towels and Toiletries, VAT
Required Fees: National Park Fees (AUD 6.5 per day)
Optional Fees: Dive and Travel Insurance, Alcohol and Softdrinks, Special Diner, Diving Courses, Snorkel or Rental Gear, Private Guide, Nitrox

With a 12 person crew catering to 28 guests, you will have a comfortable and enjoyable Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard. Hangout at the lounge or sun deck while cruising to the next dive and enjoy the tasty meal provided. See sharks, fishes, turtles or whales in your adventure. Enjoy the warmth of the crew as well as the program on board.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. I don’t know how to dive, is that okay?
Yes, everybody is welcome. You may choose to snorkel near the ocean’s surface. However, if you want to dive there are Diving Courses available on some Liveaboards; please contact them.

2. I want to dive, however, I have no experience, can I do it?
Some (open water) can let you dive without experience. However, some advanced ones will need a minimum of logged dives. You can also get a Diving Course on the vessel. A dive log, btw, is a record of the number of times you have been diving underwater

3. I don’t know how to swim, is that okay?
Yes, there is swimming equipment (like life jackets) that could help you float.

4. Is there Insurance?
Some liveaboards provide travel and dive insurance, however, some don’t. To be safe, you have to purchase travel insurance every time you travel.

5. I’m vegetarian or allergic to some cuisines, can I have special food?
Liveaboards can cater to those who have different food preferences, just make sure to state it on your reservation.

6. Can we spend time at a beach?
Most liveaboards will let you stay on its ship, however, there are itineraries that include land or beach excursions.

7. Why do you need to pay National Park fees?
The Great Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage; the fee is for the everyday maintenance of the site.

8. How to get to Cairns?
From Sydney; there is a 3-hour flight, or you could take a 14-hour train or 2-day bus. From Melbourne; there is a 3-hour-20-minute flight, while only 2 hours and 25 minutes from Brisbane. You can also get a flight from Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. It will take an hour and 35 minutes.

Book now and enjoy the Great Barrier Reef on a liveaboard. You won’t regret it since you will be spending a great amount of time appreciate and discovering marine life. See the gorgeous corals up close, schools of fishes from parrots to barracudas, seahorses and mantas, turtles, clams, sharks and whales. I hope you choose within our list and have a memorable experience!

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Written by Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor

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