Outer Reef Liveaboards

The ultimate way to see the best of the Great Barrier Reef is to spend time on a live aboard dive vessel.

Trips range from 2 day 1 night, to full 7 day safaris. You get to see a wide variety of reefs, and all accomodation, food and equipment is supplied.

Some beautiful Outer Reef dive sites are accessible just a few hours from Cairns itself. These sites are ideal for those wanting a shorter trip as well as beginner divers.

  • 42 - Pax
  • 5, 9, 13 - Dives
  • 1, 2, 3 - Nights

Reef Encounter

Reef Encounter operates daily 

Reef Encounter is a fully air-conditioned 35-meter catamaran hotel, designed for the utmost stability and comfort at sea.

She is a large, spacious overnight dive boat with 21 cabins, a combination of double, twin-share and stateroom, accommodating up to 42 guests.

Trips depart daily from Marlin Marina, and transfers are via the day trip vessel Reef Experience. Reef Encounter stays on the Reef and moves from site to site like a floating hotel. 2, 3 or 4-day trips are available across a variety of Outer Reef sites suitable for all levels of diver.

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  • 48 - Pax
  • 6 to 10 - Dives
  • 1 or 2 - Nights

Ocean Quest

OceanQuest operates daily

This beautiful floating hotel is 36m long and carries 48 passengers. There are 23 cabins spread over 3 decks, ranging from double/twin berth to quad cabins. All cabins are air-conditioned with TVs and en-suite bathrooms. Guests tend to socialise most in the lounge and enjoy the bar, library, games and full entertainment facilities.

Daily departures from a transfer vessel (Aqua Quest). (Note Wednesday departures will be on Ocean Quest as will Sunday return to Cairns).

Ocean Quest caters for Snorkellers, Certified and Introductory divers.


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  • 32 - Pax
  • 11 - Dives
  • 2 - Nights

Prodive – Scubapro

Pro Dive departs Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday

Pro Dive Cairns provides 3-day 2-night trips and a full range of dive courses. They offer the highest quality and best value liveaboard trips to the outer Great Barrier Reef. With 19 exclusive dive sites on four different reefs are some of the most spectacular dive locations on the reef. Pro Dives’ outstanding product quality, excellent safety standards, professional and friendly crew and “all-inclusive” pricing policy guarantee you a truly memorable liveaboard experience. See here for dive site information.

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  • 12 - Pax
  • 5 - Dives
  • 1 - Nights

Coral Sea Dreaming

Departs Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays

18m long, maximum of 12 passengers and 3 crew. Join in and help sail the boat or just ‘supervise’ from the sundeck. 2 day 1 night trips to Outer Reef sites.

Coral Sea Dreaming is a modern charter yacht with a beautiful wooden interior and cabin options to please the most discerning traveler. Her luxurious amenities make Coral Sea Dreaming the perfect boat for your Australian Great Barrier Reef escape.

Certified diver package includes 4-day dives and a night dive. All dives are guided.

The introductory diver package includes 1 dive. Extra dives can be purchased on board.

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Ribbon Reef and Coral Sea Liveaboards

Note: Minke whale season is June to September

The ultimate tour and experience of a lifetime. To see the best of the Great Barrier Reef and beyond – the Coral Sea. Wildlife includes various Nudibranchs, Manta Rays, Giant Australian Cuttlefish, Loggerhead and Green Turtles, Moray Eels, Red Flame File Shell, Lionfish and the best Marine life the Great Barrier Reef has to offer.

Just like you see on the TV documentaries – pinnacle dives, huge schools of pelagic fish, minke whales (July – Sept), massive Potato Cod, wall and drift dives….the list goes on and on.

The Coral Sea boasts 30m + vizability and its here that you can see the famous shark feeds where you can see anywhere from 10 to 70 sharks at a time. Frequent visitors include: Grey reef sharks (AKA Grey Whalers), Black tip reef sharks, White tip reef sharks, Wobbegong sharks, Epaulette sharks and the larger Oceanic Silver Tip sharks. Hammerhead sharks can sometimes been seen at North Horn in late winter and into spring of each year.

  • 36 - Pax
  • 16 - Dives
  • 4 - Nights

Ocean Quest Minke Whale trips

Friday departures – SOLD OUT FOR 2024

Ocean Quest operates four-day, four-night Minke whale expeditions every year during June and July. Spaces are limited and trips sell out quickly.

Expeditions are open to both snorkellers and divers, with whale interactions strictly controlled. Dwarf Minke whales grow up to 8 metres (26 feet) long, and a closeup encounter with these majestic 6-tonne creatures is an experience you will never forget.

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  • 24 - Pax
  • 11, 15, or 26 - Dives
  • 3 , 4, or 7 - Nights

Spirit of Freedom

Sunday and Thursday departures

Dive Australia’s Coral Sea, Cod Hole & Ribbon Reefs with Spirit of Freedom live-aboard dive expeditions.

Most importantly, Spirit of Freedom offers an exceptional live-aboard dive experience cruising to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and remote Coral Sea reefs. Scuba Dive Tours of 3, 4 and 7 day duration depart our of Cairns to iconic dive sites such as the Cod Hole, Ribbon Reefs and North Horn, Osprey Reef. Shark dives, Potato Cod feeding, sheer walls laced with massive soft corals, manta-rays, minke whales, and abundant healthy tropical reefs, rich with marine biodiversity are just some of the high-lights you’ll experience with Spirit of Freedom diving tours

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  • 29 - Pax
  • 12, 18, 26 - Dives
  • 3, 4, 7 - Nights

Mike Ball – Spoilsport

Monday and Thursday departures

Spoilsport is one of the longest running, and the most awarded dive liveaboard offering 3, 4 and 7 night expeditions to the Cod Hole, Ribbon Reefs and Coral Sea. Spoilsport offers an open dive deck, and is very relaxed. “Spoilsport” lives up to its name.

Trips depart Mondays (3 night Ribbon Reef Cod Hole) and Thursday (4 night Coral Sea and Ribbon Reef).  Fly one way and motor the other. 7 day trips depart Thursdays.

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