Great Barrier Reef (Australia) Liveaboard Diving

This is the largest ecosystem in the whole world that beautifully marks our planet from outer space view. Do you want to know what the Great Barrier Reef diving truly feels like? Choose your next liveaboard diving trip now!

Reviews about Great Barrier Reef (Australia) Liveaboard Diving

ScubaPro I, II, III Liveaboard I, II, III LiveaboardPro Dive Cairns, 1 review

Good value for money. Great diving, exceeding expectations.

The boat is correct, perhaps too many people, specially at the same time on the dive deck or living room (lunch, dinner). The cabins were clean, but tiny. Bathrooms were clean, but tiny (shower and toilet in same space). The dives are non guided and the dive material was correct (not the best I've had but not the worst). Dive sites were good, better than I expected. The staff was great, making the whole thing very professional. Great value for money. You will find many backpackers and divers doing courses.
B. Elizabeth2019-11-29
Spoilsport Liveaboard LiveaboardMike Ball Dive Expeditions, 2 reviews

Turtle Trip

Spoilsport is a comfortable boat. The food and facilities are excellent. The budget cabin is small but we managed to work together to avoid any hassles. The shared bathroom facilities did not present any problems. The rooms were kept clean as were the shared facilities.
The diving operations are very well run. The dive briefings are good and the staff friendly and efficient. Safety is a key feature and treated seriously. The dive staff rate very highly in my estimation.
The food and beverages are excellent. Coffee facilities are available as is a bar. The quality of the food is very good. The staff in this area also rate highly in my estimation.
The diving was impacted by wind from the "wrong" direction. This dictated a change in the itinerary. The first few days of the trip had average diving. The turtles did not materialize during our dives on Raine reef. They were around but staying out. The last part of the trip made up for the poor start. We ventured out to largely pristine un-dived sites and experienced some great dives.
My fellow guests were gregarious and made for a fun trip.
The Captain, crew and boat and services are good. The dive operations are well conducted. The weather impacted the itinerary due to safety concerns. That's diving.
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N. David2019-06-11

Questions and Answers

What you need to know about diving in the Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef: General Information

Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard sounds like a dream of every diver. There is no doubt that the Great Barrier Reef is a true wonder of nature with the highest recognition worldwide. Everybody on this planet have heard about it, have learnt about it at school, have seen it on pictures and TV programs. This is the largest ecosystem in the whole world that beautifully marks our planet from outer space view. So we all know how it looks and we can clearly picture its scenery in our minds. However, not everyone can imagine how it really feels! What this experience of Great Barrier Reef diving actually is? Of course, because it’s literally the biggest reef system in the whole world, it’s unbelievably rich and diverse! The whole system that we call The Great Barrier Reef is in fact a solid composition of 2,900 individual reef formations that all together cover an area of 344,044 sk which is equal to 34,000,000 ha.

Strategically there are different ways to dive the Great Barrier Reef on a liveaboard diving trip. If you had previously been looking on the most visited areas, or the most famous to visit, you should have already heard about Ribbon Reefs, Cod Hole, Coral Sea and Osprey Reef. Let’s have a closer look at the way how the Great Barrier Reef diving trips are organized.

Great Barrier Reef: Diving

Ribbon Reefs and Code Hole

Ribbon Reefs are a part of the Great Barrier built of 10 unique formations stretching 120 km to the North from Cairns up to the Eastern side of the Lizard Island. Ribbons make up to 200 km length alongside with the GBR. As you may see because of their remote location you can visit Ribbons only on a liveaboard. Diving in this area is relaxing and fun, most of the dives are at no deeper than 20 meters. Rich marine life and clear waters brighten your experience underwater. Vivid colors of shallow coral gardens, pretty caves and canyons, walls and channels that breath life - the concentration of eye catching sights is impressive! 

  • The Cod Hole is the most speaking dive site, it is so famous because of magnificent encounters of giant groupers who live here. The site is home to Potato Cods that are so friendly not just to welcome divers without freaking out, but are even willing to pose for pictures while relaxing on a cleaning stations or just feeding. Groupers are literally the size of a diver, so you will be keeping this souvenir for the rest of your life. Apart from these fantastic hosts there is a beautiful coral reef to follow.

  • Lighthouse Bommie is a remarkable pinnacle that rises from a 30 meter bottom line and doesn’t touch the surface ending at 5 meters from it. It’s a must-visit site to catch up with unique Minke Whales who pass here during their migration to the south. Curious Minke Whale is one of the smallest of baleen whales, weights around 10 tons and reaches  6-7 meters in length. Minke Whales migration happens in June and July each year. Apart from that time Lighthouse Bommie is famous for a resident turtle that poses for photographs on a coral ‘sea bed’ and for massive schools of trevally and barracuda.

  • Steve’s Bommie won’t let your diving expectations down! Full of life, the pinnacle starts at 35 meters on the bottom ascending to 5 meters below the surface. You will be impressed by vivid and pristine corals, marine life action and schooling fish. There are also some unique creatures to spot like Wobbegong Shark and Leafy Scorpionfish, don’t miss them.

Many more beautiful encounters await at Two Towers and their resident snakes, Olive Sea Snakes are also the main attraction at The Snake Pit which name speaks for itself. Macro fans will find a piece of paradise patiently discovering both Pixie Pinnacle and Pixie Garden.  

Osprey Reef and Coral Sea 

The Coral Sea is touching the Great Barrier Reef basically from the other side of Australia. Isolated ancien reef system formed on the very edge of Australian Continent Shell is massive and features challenging diving conditions. Multiple unique reefs spread far from the coastline could be visited as a part of the Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard diving trip. These outer reefs are more exposed in the open sea and thus require more experience from divers, natural conditions could be severe here. The whole area covers up to 1,000,000 sk which is almost 3 times of a size of the GBR opposite side. Diving in the Coral Sea is famous for wild marine life encounters with sharks and manta rays.

Osprey is the northernmost reef in the Coral Sea and it is also considered to be the best great barrier reef liveaboard diving destination. There are at least 10 different dive sites to discover diving around Osprey’s, all offering up outstanding diving experiences.

  • North Horn is a famous shark spot. It’s not just the site where you can encounter numerous sharks and where the shark feeding dives take place. North Horn also plays an important role as a research base for university project that examines sharks behavior. The whole wall that cascades from the reef edge is wealthy covered by soft corals on the depth from 25 to 40 meters. 

  • False Entrance had gotten its name not by chance, it is a natural break up in the reef that creates a gully. The whole space is built up with multiple pinnacles rising up from the bottom which makes the whole scenery look like an underwater city. 

  • Halfway Wall spreads between the North Norn and the False Entrance. With a few pinnacles the main wall dramatically drops-off down to 1 km from the edge of the reef where the boat is moored usually.  

  • North Horn Wall offers an amazing drift dive alongside with a sheer wall that falls down to 1,000 meters abundant of marine life.

  • Admiralty, called so because of an ancient anchor,  is the best spot for a night dive here around Osprey. Many of marine creatures make this spot their home, lagoon entrance and numerous small caves and swims-through make them feel safe and thus are full of life.

  • Around the Bend is a drift dive where divers usually make a tour and come back to a starting point. What makes this site special is an isolated pinnacle where Manta Rays pass at a cleaning station.

Outer Reefs close to Cairns 

This fragment of the Great Barrier Reef is just a few hours away from the mainland and is visited on daily tours as well as on overnight cruises. Easy access, clear waters and bright colors make this patchy reefs perfect for new divers. This is a perfect spot to start diving therefore certain liveaboards offer dive training packages here.

Best time to visit Great Barrier Reef on a Liveaboard Diving trip

In general you can dive at the GBR all year long, however there are few things to remember when planning your trip. The Dry period from June to December is considered the best Great Barrier Reef liveaboard diving season. The Wet season lasts from December through May and it speaks for itself. The weather conditions are tough and sometimes cyclones and storms do not permit to visit remote locations like the Coral Sea. The safest period for a diving trip to isolated reefs are in between September and December.

Marine sights. Coral Sea and Ribbons are home to many sharks and turtles all year round. Giant Potato Cods reside at the Code Hole, and Sea Snakes are local inhabitants at the Ribbon Reefs as well. If you are looking for Minke Whales encounters make sure you go during the months of June and July. You are most likely to meet up with Manta Rays and Hammerhead sharks visiting the Coral Sea from April through October. If you are looking in particular to witness Coral Spawning event, you are advised to consider the time in between 2 and 6 days from a Full Moon in November. Coral spawning happens when the water temperature is at 27°C / 80°F but remember that it may change every year because of the conditions. Cooler water is likely to move the spawning to later while warmer water to earlier full moon.

Great Barrier Reef (Australia) Liveaboards List

Liveaboards offer similar ways to explore the best of Great Barrier Reef diving opportunities. Divers are open to plan a week-long trip departing from and returning to Cairns. On this 7-day expedition you will be visiting the best of Ribbon reefs & Cod Hole combined together with The Coral Sea exploration. This trip is also offered to be split in two: Ribbon Reefs & Cod Hole (3 days) + The Coral Sea Exploration (4 days). When taking ‘one way’ tour an additional local flight is offered from Cairns to Lizard Island or backward respectfully depending on direction.  

Please check the Spirit of Freedom Liveaboard and the Spoilsport Liveaboard to discover the best of  The Coral Sea, Ribbon reefs & Cod Hole. Both liveaboards offer outstanding dive adventures and great services aboard for many years. 

For those who look for combination packages with dive training and liveaboard diving, ScubaPro stands out of the crowd. Three sister ships ScubaPro I, II and III coursering from Cairns to Outer Reefs on a daily basis. You are offered to join 3-day cruise or participate in 5-day Learn to Dive course which includes 2 days of training and pool dives plus 3 days of open water diving on a liveaboard. No one can dream of a better way to start diving really!

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