Liveaboard Diving in Bougainville Reef

What To Expect On A Bougainville Reef Liveaboard

The only way to experience this unspoilt gem is via a dive liveaboard tour to Bougainville Reef, and even then it is only possible when conditions permit. There is no reef quite like Bougainville, if you manage to reach this part of the Coral Sea, you truly have journeyed to the ultimate of remote dive sites on the globe.  As a result, only a select few liveaboard diving operators think about visiting this area - the Spirit of Freedom's 8 day/7 night cruise on will always try to include this special site in their itinerary whenever they are able. Diving at this reef will commonly be part of a programme including much of what the Coral Sea has to offer, including Osprey Reef, Ribbon Reef and Cod Hole.

The fact that Bougainville cannot be visited all the time means that any dives undertaken here will introduce you to a uniquely pristine marine area, full of life devoid of human contact and as healthy as you are likely to see anywhere. There's also a partially submerged wreck here, adding to the variety of spectacles on show, and sure to be a fitting end to probably what has already been a dive holiday of a lifetime.

What You Can See

The dive sites at Bougainville have been allowed to thrive, with liveaboard visits here being few and far between. It goes without saying, therefore, that you'll see the full range of reef inhabitants in their natural and undisturbed surroundings. There's many fabulous examples of plate coral amongst the huge variety of hard and soft corals, giving ample opportunity to hone your photography skills and capture the dazzling array of colours on show. Visibility is commonly up to 40 metres resulting in some wonderful light patterns reflecting off the large schools of small fish twisting and turning simultaneously. Joining these are many Bumphead Parrotfish, along with Sharks, Rays and Turtles.

There are approximately five individual dive sites at Bougainville Reef, often consisting of fairly deep wall dives. A unique feature of this reef, not easily found elsewhere on the Great Barrier Reef, is its wreck which is partially submerged and makes for some great drift dives. Simply sit in the water and let the current do the rest, taking you past an abundance of reef fish, macro life, coral and pelagics.

How To Get To Bougainville Reef

The best and only way to visit this isolated part of the outer GBR is on an Australian liveaboard. You'll need to make sure you are part of a liveaboard tour heading to Osprey Reef, as it is from here that if conditions allow the captain will decide to head to Bougainville. It's always difficult for the crew to guarantee whether or not they can make it, however, fear not as if the weather is not favourable, these trips will still take you to some fabulous parts of the Coral Sea - including the Ribbon Reefs and famous Cod Hole. features the Spirit of Freedom, a stunning vessel equipped with all the modern facilities needed, including internet, air conditioning and charging ports. As part of it's an 8-day, 7-night cruise to the Coral Sea, this boat will always visit Bougainville if feasible. Departures are from Cairns in Queensland, which is easily accessed directly from overseas because many international airlines fly straight here. You can always catch one of the many daily flights from the cities of Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney as well.

Transfers to and from your accommodation in Cairns (or airport) are included.

Bougainville Reef Diving Reviews

  • 8.4 Very good
  • 2 Verified Reviews
  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Amy M
  • Australia Australia

Gorgeous coral and fish life

Diving Bougainville Reef in January on the Spirit of Freedom