Ocean Quest Minke Whale trips

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


Throughout June and July Ocean Quest will be running a special trip 4 day 4 night trip to the Ribbon Reef area in the Far North of the GBR (including the Cod Hole) following the Minke Whale migration. Only 36 passengers!! 16 dives.

Departing every Friday returning the following Monday. 

The trip includes dives on Norman Reef at the Outer Barrier Reef on the first day before motoring to the Ribbon Reef areas to search for Minke whales.

Dive Vessel

OceanQuest is a 35.7m catamaran over three decks. With 18 twin share and 4 double rooms there is capacity to sleep only 42 customers overnight. Cabins offer unrivalled comfort and luxury.

All rooms have en-suite facilities as well as TV’s, bar fridges and internal phones. There is a large saloon area on the wheelhouse deck with a bar where you can relax and kick back after a long days diving. The main deck has a large dining room capable of comfortably seating 48 passengers.

The dive sites are frequented by myriad’s of tropical fish and include the ever popular large Maori Wrasse, who are always diver friendly. The swim through, wall and drift dives will appeal to every level of diver experience.

Click here for a floor plan of OceanQuest

Minke Whale season

Dwarf Minke whale diving trips from Cairns are a highlight of the scuba diving calendar, and one that can only be experienced at the Great Barrier Reef. Amazing encounters with these inquisitive whales happen at the peak of their migration every June and July.

This is when the whales move from Antarctic waters up to the Ribbon Reefs. This renowned Great Barrier Reef dive location is only accessible on an overnight trip.

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.

Minkes often approach snorkellers, divers and boats, so there is every chance to see them close up. Our success rate for close sightings during a Minke whale dive over the peak season is over 90%, and your interaction with the whales could last two hours or more!


Sample Itinerary

Day 1 

Check in at Divers Den shop, 319 Draper Street at 7.30am to board our transfer vessel. We’ll make our way to the Outer Barrier Reef and enjoy two dives at either Saxon or Norman Reef, before transferring to OceanQuest at approximately 2.30pm. You’ll enjoy one afternoon dive and one night dive before we steam to the Ribbon Reefs overnight.

Day 2 
Wake up to the sun rising over the Great Barrier Reef at Steve’s Bommie, one of the best dive sites on the reef thanks to its huge array of marine life including schools of fish, sharks, rays, nemos, octopus and more. You will enjoy four dives today, two at Steve’s Bommie and two others (including one night dive) at various other sites on the upper Ribbon Reefs.

Day 3 
We kick the weekend off with more diving and snorkelling opportunities throughout the Ribbon Reefs, giving you the opportunity to explore some of the Great Barrier Reef’s most untouched areas. Four dives are included in today’s itinerary. Your two morning dives will be at Lighthouse Bommie, where most of our interactions with Minke whales take place. You’ll also have an an afternoon dive and another night dive.

Day 4 
Explore more of the Great Barrier Reef at various dive sites along the Ribbon Reefs over four incredible dives – two in the morning, one in the afternoon and one night dive. The reef locations that we visit are less frequented by any other boats, and are home to many tropical fish species and bright mesmerising coral. After your night dive (finishing around 8pm) we will steam south towards Cairns.

Day 5 
Wake up to your last morning on OceanQuest. After breakfast, you will be transferred back to your Cairns city accommodation at approximately 9am, so you’ll be able to plan other activities on this day.

Please note itinerary may vary slightly depending on weather conditions. Our dive schedule will be adjusted to enable as much in-water interaction with the Minke whales as possible.

*pick up and drop off from city accommodation is included. This does not include Northern Beaches area. Pick ups start from 07:30

Please note, itinerary may vary slightly depending on weather conditions. During Minke Whale season, the dive schedule may be altered to enable as much in-water interaction with the whales as possible.

Ocean Quest Minke Whale trips - Rates + Bookings

Certified Diver Twin Cabin $1,910.00
Certified Diver Double Cabin $2,030.00
Equipment hire $160.00
Advanced course $205.00
Nitrox Fills $120.00
Date of Travel

Reef Taxes included.

Advanced and Nitrox courses are additional costs.

Prices valid 1st June until 30th July 2021


  • Air fills
  • Bed linen, meals and accommodation whilst on board
  • Snorkellers may enjoy unlimited snorkelling, all snorkelling equipment
  • Tea, coffee and drinking water are available free of charge throughout the day
  • Reef Taxes


  • Equipment hire* $160 for the trip
  • Chocolate bars, biscuits, ice creams, soft drinks, beer, wine and spirits
  • Nitrox fills
  • Towels (bring your own)

*BCD, regulator, dive computer, mask, snorkel, full foot fins, 5mm Short arm/leg wetsuit