scuba diving ribbon reefs

Blog Post

7 reasons to book a liveaboard diving experience in Tropical North Queensland

TNQ Writer

With over 2,300km of reefs, sand cays and islands to explore, extend your reef experience from one night to up to one week with a liveaboard diving trip.

Who says a diving trip in the Great Barrier Reef should be limited to just one day?

With over 2,300km of reefs, sand cays and islands to explore, you’d be wise to extend your reef experience from one night to up to one week with a liveaboard diving trip.

If you need more convincing to book a few additional days of annual leave to dive in, check out these seven reasons why you should book a liveaboard diving experience in Tropical North Queensland.

You can get your PADI certification onboard

Get certified with Pro Dive Cairns

Consolidate your online, classroom and pool-based learning with three nights on a liveaboard boat to gain your PADI Open Water Certification.

Pro Dive Cairns offers a range of courses that can take you from novice to open water diver in as little as four days, as well as offering a PADI Advanced Open Water course during their liveaboard cruises.

With three multi-million-dollar dive vessels (MV Scubapro I, II and III), with 14 twin-share bunk rooms and two double-bed cabins with shared bathrooms, you’ll only be sharing your diving experience with up to 32 passengers during your trip.

Divers Den OceanQuest also offer intro dives and advanced dives from their multi-deck, 35m purpose-built catamaran with a large dive deck as well as sundecks – ensuring your downtime is just as comfortable as suiting up to jump feet first into the water.

With access to over 14 permanent moorings at Saxon Reef, Norman Reef and Hastings Reef, each snorkel or dive promises a new seascape to explore.

You can explore the outer reef and its coral gardens

Mark Osprey Reef as your to-dive location and explore this world-famous reef in the Coral Sea.

Book a four-day liveaboard experience with Spirit of Freedom to spend two days diving at a range of different diving sites in the area, best known for 1,000-metre reef walls, oversized soft coral and exceptional visibility.

While this old volcanic atoll is the main attraction during this liveaboard voyage, you’ll have the chance to scuba or snorkel at Ribbon Reef 10, Ribbon Reef 3, as well as other popular dive spots such as Challenger Bay or Bougainville Reef.

You can add a touch of luxury to your diving expedition

Liveaboard the life of luxury with Coral Expeditions

If chef-prepared meals paired with Australian wines and French champagne is your preferred style of cruising, book a luxury liveaboard experience with Coral Expeditions.

Depart Cairns for seven days exploring both the land and seascape of Cooktown, Lizard Island, Fitzroy Island and Sudbury Cay, including the world renowned dive sites Osprey Reef, Ribbon Reefs, and Cod Hole.

During your expedition, you’ll hear from experienced expedition leaders, marine biologists and naturalists (to name a few) to share stories about the UNESCO World Heritage-listed ecosystem during your cruise.

Pair your snorkelling and scuba diving with land-based activities, including birdwatching, wildlife spotting, nature walks and hiking.

You can dive with dwarf minke whales

Have a dwarf minke whale of a time

Did you know, the Great Barrier Reef is the only place in the world where you can dive or snorkel with dwarf minke whales?

In June and July each year, these creatures measuring eight-metres-long and weighing up to several tonnes, migrate to the warmer northern waters and Mike Ball Dive Expeditions offer a three, four or seven-night liveaboard expedition for you to have a close encounter with them.

These inquisitive creatures are known to seek out the boat and linger for longer and with up to 10 dives (including two night dives) on the three-night expedition, there’s no shortage of opportunities to have a minke whale meet and greet.

Not only is this a one-of-a-kind diving experience, but spending time in the water with these giants also plays a key role in their research.

You’ll join a James Cook University MWP (Minke Whale Project) researcher to record whale interactions, with divers are encouraged to share their experience too.

Minke whale dive tours are also available through Spirit of Freedom, Divers Den and Pro Dive.

You can visit more dive sites in a day

More dive sites means more marine life

When a liveaboard cruise operator has 10 Tripadvisor Traveller’s Choice awards to its name, you know you’re in good hands.

Reef Encounter has access to over 15 dive and snorkel spots across five of the most popular reefs, visiting on average two reef locations every day and moving in the morning and afternoon to ensure variety for your underwater experience.

With five snorkel sessions each day, and offering underwater guided tours, you’ll be ticking off your Great Barrier Reef marine life bucket list in no time.

To ensure you’re fuelled properly for your time spent underwater, Reef Encounter provide breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert daily, serving fresh, locally sourced produce.

You can seek out sharks

Experience Sharks in The Dark with Divers Den

Have a close encounter with a reef shark during a liveaboard experience with Rum Runner Cairns.

Board their 66-foot Mono Hull Sailboat (S.V. Rum Runner) for a weekend exploring Holmes Reef, located 90 miles outside of the Great Barrier Reef.

You’ll have up to 10 reef dives, including one night dive and one twilight dive to explore pelagic fish, soft and hard coral, tropical fish and of course the main attraction – reef-dwelling sharks.

With all diving equipment, bedding, meals and refreshments provided, all you need to do is BYO your sense of adventure.

You can also experience a sharks in the dark experience and book a fluro night diving experience – where the underwater world comes to life with the use of special torches and mask filters – when overnighting on Divers Den OceanQuest.

You can organise a private charter for your family or friends

Personalise your reef experience with a private charter

If snorkelling has been on the bucket list of your group of friends and family too, book a private charter and personalise your reef adventure.

Coral Sea Dreaming offers private liveaboard charters, from a single day to five days at sea.

With a dedicated skipper and crew, the only heavy lifting you’ll need to do this trip is suiting up to dive in the water or raising your glass for sundowners.

Choose from up to 30 moorings on nine different reef systems, including two new moorings at Michaelmas Cay and Upolu Reef, which is home to untouched coral gardens.

Life is much better where it’s much wetter

Take a leaf out of the book of Sebastian the crab and indulge in underwater experiences on the Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef
10 Great Barrier Reef Experiences for Adventure Seekers

While most people come to the Great Barrier Reef for postcard-perfect swimming, snorkelling or scuba diving in the real-life World Heritage-listed aquarium, there’s plenty of ways to experience the reef and not all involve getting wet. Choose your own Tropical North Queensland reef adventure with this adrenaline scale ranging from sunset sails to vistas served at speeds of up to 200km per hour.

Read more
scuba diving great barrier reef
Great Barrier Reef
Diving 101 – Everything you need to know about scuba diving

Have you ever dreamed of scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef? Just imagine sinking down into the warm waters, exploring coral gardens and seeing this wondrous world through the eyes of a fish. Learning to scuba dive is easy and is your passport to a brave new world. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about learning to Scuba Dive.

Read more
scuba diver nautilus shell
Great Barrier Reef
25 Fun facts about the Great Barrier Reef

As you’d expect from one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Great Barrier Reef is home to some weird, wonderful and just plain loveable creatures. Here’s 25 fun Great Barrier Reef facts about a marine world larger than Italy.

Read more
Great Barrier Reef
Everything you need to know about Master Reef Guides

Anyone who’s ever done an organised tour will know the host or tour guide can make or break the experience. That’s why it pays to book a Great Barrier Reef tour with one of the Master Reef Guides, the official ambassadors of the world’s most famous reef.

Read more
Great Barrier Reef aerial
Great Barrier Reef
8 Island Campsites on the Great Barrier Reef

Unleash your inner Robinson Crusoe by camping on the Great Barrier Reef! Have you ever dreamed of escaping from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives? Where life is simple, revolving around the rising sun and falling tide? Yep, so have we! Here’s Eight island campsites where you can unleash your inner Robinson Crusoe.

Read more
Great Barrier Reef
8 reasons to take the kids to the reef with Quicksilver

Riddle us this: what is the most complex natural system on earth, World Heritage-listed, and found in Tropical North Queensland?

Read more
Sailaway Mackay Cay
Great Barrier Reef
Dreamy sand cays you must visit on the Great Barrier Reef

We’ve all seen those gorgeous wisps of whiteness poking out from an azure sea on Great Barrier Reef. But what are they? More importantly, where are they? And how can we get a piece of sand cay action? I’m here to reveal all.

Read more
Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel
Cairns & Northern Beaches
Reef Dreaming: Discover the Reef with Indigenous Rangers

As you discover the Great Barrier Reef, uncover the culture of the Traditional Custodians with personal interpretation by local Indigenous rangers on Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel.

Read more
Gareth Phillips snorkelling on the reef
Great Barrier Reef
Reef Talk – A chat with marine biologist Gareth Phillips

The Great Barrier Reef is a thriving, living marine environment. It inspires all who visit, even those who see it every day, like marine biologist and owner of Reef Teach, Gareth Phillips.

Read more
Vlasoff Cay article tile
Great Barrier Reef
Vlasoff Cay: the most incredible place to picnic

Feel grounded the moment you arrive at a private sand cay on the Great Barrier Reef.

Read more
Great Barrier Reef
Marine Biologist For A Day – Inspiring The Next Generation of Reef Warriors

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a marine biologist on the Great Barrier Reef? Sunlover Reef Cruises’ Marine Biologist For a Day Program allows future generations to literally dive into the role.

Read more
Great Barrier Reef
Sleep under the stars on the reef

Is the Great Barrier Reef at the top of your travel bucket list? How about seeing the uninterrupted Southern night skies? Sunlover by Starlight gives you 48 hours of wanderlust-inducing experiences tied with a bow of exclusive reef tours, scrumptious food and five-star treatment.

Read more