Liveaboard Diving in Coral Sea

What To Expect On A Coral Sea Liveaboard

Coral Sea liveaboards will visit dive sites located in the world's largest living structure, the famous Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The sea stretches from the Queensland Coast in Australia to the west coast of Vanuatu.. It therefore includes the nearly 300 individual reefs and 900 islands of the GBR, a significant number of which are located far from shore and thus only accessible by liveaboard boat. Liveaboard diving in the Coral Sea allows the adventurous diver to explore much of the outer sections of the reef, which are less visited, quieter, and feature a diversity of marine life found in very few places across the globe.

The Coral Sea Underwater

With warm, clear waters, in tropical climes, the Coral Sea offers great year round diving conditions, with visibility good all the time, and sea life plentiful. A stunning array of hard and soft corals will greet each diver jumping in from a liveaboard boat, from tiny colourful polyps to gigantic fans. There's the full range of tropical fish, including Anglefish, Butterfly Fish, Clown Fish, Parrotfish, Surgeons, Triggerfish and Trout, all swimming amongst mesmerised divers in huge numbers. You'll be diving with the big stuff too, such as White Tip Sharks, Hammerheads, Manta Rays, and if the season is right - Humpback Whales and dwarf Minke Whales. Liveaboard diving in the coral sea will allow you to cruise through some of the most unpsoilt natural marine reserves known, where you'll be diving in peace and comfort. Liveaboard.com has several boats with a range of exciting itineraries, dive trips lasting from 3 days up to 8, and thus offering something to suit every time frame.

Dive Sites of The Coral Sea

If we were to list and then talk about every site for scuba diving in the Coral Sea, we could be writing for a long time! There's some wonderful places to dive, with the vast majority only accessible on board a liveaboard cruise.

Osprey Reef is renowned for it's 40m+ visibility, where shark sitings are almost a given - especially at North Horn, arguably Australia's premier site for viewing multiple species of shark - notably Hammerheads, Silkys, Grey Reefs and White Tips. If your liveaboard diving holiday is between June and November, Osprey Reef also offers a good chance of spotting Humpback Whales.

The Ribbon Reefs, to the very north of the Great Barrier Reef, have some of the most unspoilt areas for diving in the world. It's a long way from Cairns and so is worth boarding a liveaboard that lasts a few days, as there's so much to see - sea snakes, sharks and healthy coral to name but a few. If you come here during the Australian winter, it's also likely you'll be able to view dwarf Minke Whales, and some liveaboard diving operators even allow divers to participate in the important research and monitoring associated with these animals. Within the chain of ten reefs that form the Ribbon Reefs is world famous Cod Hole, a site not to be missed and sure to be on every diving itinerary in these parts. Diving at Cod Hole will allow you to come up close and personal to the giant Potato Cod that live here - they are docile, friendly and curious creatures that will be sure to make for a unique diving experience.

Diving in the Coral Sea as part of a liveaboard cruise will normally include the beautiful sites of Milln Reef and Flynn Reef, where there are stunning coral gardens sporting the full range of staghorn, table, boulder and plate coral. There's a magical and healthy range of fish here too, and sometimes dolphins and whales are seen here. Both these sites are perfect for night diving, and it's very likely that your liveaboard crew will arrange a night dive here.

Diving from a liveaboard in the Coral Sea will enable you, in the correct conditions, to visit one of the most isolated dive sites in Australia - Bougainville Reef. If the crew are able to cruise here, they'll be just as excited as the guests, as it's not always that conditions allow diving here. As a result of this, there's incredibly pristine examples of coral and underwater life, as well as a partially submerged wreck!

Top Tips For Divers

Diving in the Coral Sea is a great privilege, with a range of dives to suit all levels of experience. Even so, it's important that you bring your certification and log book so that the liveaboard crew can assess the group as a whole. Liveaboard boats in this region generally have equipment available to rent, but this should be checked prior to departure. Most international credit cards are accepted, but it's always a good idea to bring enough cash on board (the local currency is the Australian Dollar) - there are plenty of ATMs available onshore. Liveaboard diving crews can often speak a variety of languages, but the main communication will be in English - the national language.

Getting to The Coral Sea

Scuba diving trips in the Coral Sea, and liveaboard diving boats, almost always depart from Cairns, in the north east of Queensland. By far the easiest way to get here is by air, as the airport here is a big international and domestic hub, with regular flights arriving from overseas and within Australia. It's likely you'll be able to fly directly into Cairns, although if not it's straight forward to catch a flight from pretty much all over Australia.


Coral Sea Diving Reviews

  • 9.4 Superb
  • 75 Verified Reviews
  • 9.2 Superb
  • Ana W
  • United States United States

Awesome coral & sea life. Unlike anything I've experienced in my last 2 trips.

Diving Coral Sea in November on the Spoilsport

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Rachel C
  • United States United States

Great animals and visibility

Diving Coral Sea in October on the Spirit of Freedom

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Samuel C
  • United States United States

We dove in the first days of spring, so a wetsuit 5mm is a must. Wetsuits were provided as were head coverings.

Diving Coral Sea in September on the Pro Dive Cairns

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Alexander W
  • Australia Australia

Beautiful conditions, warm waters and great sights underwater

Diving Coral Sea in July on the Pro Dive Cairns

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Amber B
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Fantastic - lots of variation of corals and fish. We saw turtles and reef sharks.

Diving Coral Sea in July on the Pro Dive Cairns

  • 9.2 Superb
  • AMIKA S
  • United States United States

Awesome - saw my first shark!

Diving Coral Sea in July on the Pro Dive Cairns

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Ngung Chia S
  • Singapore Singapore

Rough surface wave but wonderful sites

Diving Coral Sea in July on the Spoilsport

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Mary B
  • United States United States

Very nice, the visibility wasn’t tremendous but lots to see.

Diving Coral Sea in July on the Pro Dive Cairns

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • James P
  • United States United States

This time of year (June) it is a little chilly, so we were cold getting into and out of the water on each dive, even with a 5 mm wetsuit.

Diving Coral Sea in June on the Pro Dive Cairns

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Michelle K
  • Netherlands Netherlands

It's nice to dive so far out of shore.

Diving Coral Sea in June on the Spirit of Freedom

  • 7.6 Good
  • Bevlynn R
  • United States United States

We dove the back reef to stay protected. The seas were pretty rough on the fore reef side.

Diving Coral Sea in May on the ScubaPro II

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Bob C
  • United States United States

Super reefs at Bouganville and Osprey. Lots of marine life.

Diving Coral Sea in April on the Spoilsport

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Nick S
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Saw so much I've never seen before.

Diving Coral Sea in May on the Pro Dive Cairns

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Julie P
  • France France

We had a great night dive, it was fun to focus on the light, it's so different from the day dive! We saw a giant turtle and cod wander around in a maize of corals. So beautiful.

Diving Coral Sea in April on the ScubaPro II

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Barry P
  • Canada Canada

Could see damage that raises concerns but diving was great ... spirit staff excellent

Diving Coral Sea in April on the Spirit of Freedom

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • YUE H
  • China China

Great with corals and reefs but it's not a good option to see big guys.

Diving Coral Sea in February on the ScubaPro I

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Alex T
  • United States United States

fantastic visibility at Osprey Reef, lots of sharks

Diving Coral Sea in March on the Spirit of Freedom

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Auguste H
  • France France

Awesome, we were especially lucky with the weather, enough to reach the Bougainville reef after the Osprey. Both were awesome and every spots of diving had something special to offer than the other did not have.

Diving Coral Sea in August on the Spirit of Freedom

  • 8.0 Very good
  • bo H
  • China China

amazing. shark fedding point and canyon underwater.

Diving Coral Sea in February on the Spirit of Freedom

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Vorayos R
  • Thailand Thailand

Very easy dive and beautiful landscape and corals.

Diving Coral Sea in April on the ScubaPro I

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Arline M
  • Brazil Brazil

a lot of sharks and different fish, few or none rays and turtles.

Diving Coral Sea in February on the Spirit of Freedom

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Craig B
  • Canada Canada

Clear water with great visibility and comfortable water temps.

Diving Coral Sea in October on the ScubaPro III

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Myriam G
  • Switzerland Switzerland

Very nice conditions and a lot to see. Specialy the shark feeding experience was great

Diving Coral Sea in May on the Spoilsport Liveaboard

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Adrian K
  • Australia Australia

Excellent, the vis was awesome

Diving Coral Sea in September on the Spirit of Freedom

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Jon S
  • United States United States

Awesome. Great sites and healthy Reef system

Diving Coral Sea in September on the Spirit of Freedom

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Dana C
  • United States United States

Very very special. Swim-throughs and getting "lost" amongst tall bommies next to shelfs that dropped thousands of feet. We saw so many gorgeous fish and corals.

Diving Coral Sea in May on the Spoilsport

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Dinin L
  • United States United States

Very diverse and wonderful

Diving Coral Sea in March on the Spoilsport Liveaboard

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Julia M
  • United States United States

excellent, not much bleaching

Diving Coral Sea in March on the Spirit of Freedom

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Russell H
  • United States United States

Incredible. Super clear tons of life

Diving Coral Sea in January on the Spoilsport

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Raian D
  • Italy Italy

Amazing dive sites, unspoiled.

Diving Coral Sea in January on the Spirit of Freedom Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Terence K
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Good but not great. Lots of sharks and reef fish, but I felt not quite as diverse as the Maldives (my favourite). Some nice coral, but not a lot of soft coral and very few nudibranchs. However, I would go again.

Diving Coral Sea in January on the Spoilsport Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Ben L
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Great, warm 30°c water means you only need to wear t-shirt and shorts, no need for a wet suit if you don't want to wear them. At all dive sites, we were the only dive group and the vast majority of the time you and your buddy do not bump into anyone else during the dives.

Diving Coral Sea in January on the Spoilsport Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Rebecca T
  • Australia Australia

Fab! Can't wait to make it back!

Diving Coral Sea in December on the ScubaPro III

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Norbert O
  • Germany Germany

Good nice easy dives lots of fish

Diving Coral Sea in December on the ScubaPro II

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • David V
  • United States United States

Spectacular of course. Beautiful and healthy looking coral. Sharks. Turtles. Giant clams. Clown fish. Hundreds of other species of fish. What more could you ask for than to dive the great barrier reef?

Diving Coral Sea in December on the ScubaPro I

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Samantha H
  • Australia Australia

Wow! It was an amazing experience. There was a large variety of dive experiences across the Holmes, Bougaville and Osprey reefs that we visited on our 4 night Coral Sea dive

Diving Coral Sea in November on the Spoilsport Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Vernon J
  • United States United States

Super!!!!!!!!!!! Extremely good visibility.

Diving Coral Sea in November on the Spoilsport Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • David E
  • Canada Canada

Site was very diverse with lots to see. More than one can see on two tanks. Many dives could be made here without repeating.

Diving Coral Sea in November on the ScubaPro I

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Katelyn H
  • United States United States

More amazing then expected.

Diving Coral Sea in September on the Spoilsport Liveaboard

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Dan P
  • Australia Australia

I saw my first Hammer Head shark which was very exciting

Diving Coral Sea in August on the Spirit of Freedom Liveaboard

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Alvaro P
  • Australia Australia

Beautiful, all the colours and animals together in a different dimension :)

Diving Coral Sea in August on the ScubaPro II

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Enrique H
  • Spain Spain

Very nice full of color and small life

Diving Coral Sea in August on the Spirit of Freedom Liveaboard

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Ian P
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

The water was @ 25deg and good vis, slight chop with the wind but nothing unexpected that could cause problems.

Diving Coral Sea in August on the ScubaPro I

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Andrew W
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Beautiful and packed with marine life

Diving Coral Sea in July on the ScubaPro III

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Chad M
  • United States United States

Beautiful reefs. Looked very healthy.

Diving Coral Sea in June on the ScubaPro I

  • 7.6 Good
  • Sherry W
  • United States United States

The minke whales were amazing!

Diving Coral Sea in June on the ScubaPro I

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Gerald B
  • Canada Canada

Awesome. This was the best.

Diving Coral Sea in March on the Spoilsport Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Madeline M
  • United States United States

Colorful and a great experience.

Diving Coral Sea in February on the ScubaPro II

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Sally B
  • United States United States

EXCELLENT - first time We enjoyed near perfect weather .

Diving Coral Sea in November on the Spirit of Freedom Liveaboard

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • sheryl R
  • United States United States

Great . Many pictures taken

Diving Coral Sea in November on the Spirit of Freedom Liveaboard