Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard Diving

Ocean Quest

Ocean Quest

from US$ 20 / day
8.9 "Fabulous"

AustraliaUS$498 from

Visit the far reaches of the Great Barrier Reef in style aboard the 36m Catamaran, the Ocean Quest. Each of the 23 cabins comes with its own en-suite, air conditioning and TV for a perfect voyage.

    Ocean Quest
    Spoilsport

    Spoilsport

    from US$ 326 / day
    9.3 "Superb"

    AustraliaUS$2,834 from

    The exceptionally smooth, 30m Spoilsport features a twin hull design to improve stability while sailing to the Coral Sea, Australia. Custom built, guests have access to nitrox and camera facilities.

      Spoilsport
      ScubaPro I

      ScubaPro I

      from US$ 194 / day
      9.0 "Superb"

      AustraliaUS$583 from

      • Free WiFi

      The purpose built MV ScubaPro I offers divers excellent value for money while sailing to the Outer Great Barrier Reef. Incorporating the latest technology, the MV ScubaPro I ensures a smooth ride.

      ScubaPro I

      What to Expect On a Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard

      Take a liveaboard in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia and you will be diving one of the ultimate bucket list destinations for not just every diver, but most of the world's population. Great Barrier Reef liveaboards visit this world famous and stunning marine area which has earned its name as a 'must visit area' in this spectacular part of the world. Delving a little deeper into people's ambitions, they'll likely cite diving on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) as one of their life goals. This is for good reason too, as the reef is a 2300 kilometre stretch of unrivalled natural beauty, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, a World Heritage Site, and is THE place to dive on our planet. A liveaboard dive trip is the best way to explore this region as it consists of more than 900 islands and 2900 individual reefs, forming a spectacular turquoise chain from Lizard Island in the north of Queensland, all the way down to close to Heron Island in the south of Australia's 'Sunshine' state.

      A Great Barrier Reef liveaboard will take you to the crystal clear tropical waters of the Coral Sea, which is comprised of billions of coral polyps, making it the largest living organism on the planet. It is so large and vast that it is visible from outer space - even if you spent a lifetime exploring the reef, it would be impossible to view it all. Day trips are possible but will only allow you to witness the crowded inner reef for a few hours, and will leave you wishing for more time to explore what is on offer. The best way to truly experience the underwater marvels of this iconic structure is by setting sail on a diving liveaboard cruise lasting a number of days, meaning you will be able to witness a wide variety of the incredible biodiversity that the reef supports. Even aboard a liveaboard cruise, you'll still only touch the surface (pardon the pun!), and no doubt by the end you'll be thinking of planning another similar trip in the near future!

      The Great Barrier Reef Underwater

      Being the World's largest reef system, you can expect to see pretty much everything you could imagine on a GBR liveaboard tour. You'll see the full complement of reef fish, including Clownfish, Fusiliers, Butterfly Fish, Angelfish, Trout and Batfish, all swimming amongst a backdrop of stunningly colourful hard and soft corals.

      If you look hard enough (or more likely your expert Divemaster who'll know where to look!), there's some incredible macro life to be seen as well, such as brightly patterned Nudibranchs and tiny but graceful Shrimp. You won't need to rely on your guide to spot the tons of circling Reef Sharks, elegant Turtles (green and loggerhead), and huge Manta Rays that are present at many sites frequented by liveaboard operators - you'll have to make sure you have your camera handy though as you won't want to miss these creatures in their natural habitat! Other animals that divers report sightings of frequently include Sea Snakes, Cuttlefish, and Leopard Moray Eels.

      Some dive sites have their own unique attractions, none more famous than Cod Hole in the northern Ribbon Reefs, home to a friendly and docile family of giant Potato Cod (Grouper), and Maori Wrasse.

      All of this life is present all year round, and if you are visiting between June and December, you may have the added bonus of viewing dwarf Minke Whales, Humpback Whales, Dolphins and the annual spectacular coral spawning.

      It's also not just beautiful reefs and their associated coral gardens that are on the diving radar here either - the SS Yongala wreck is widely recognised as one the finest dive sites on the planet, situated towards the southern end of the reef.

      Dive Sites & Areas On The Great Barrier Reef

      It would be naive to write about every single dive site on the Great Barrier Reef, as it's likely you'd be here for a lifetime if so! The few 'best of', and on many liveaboard itineraries, are described below:

      OSPREY REEF is famous for its 40m+ visibility and almost guaranteed sitings of large numbers of sharks at North Horn. Located in the Coral Sea, and accessible via liveaboard from Cairns, the reef features many small caverns and swim throughs, making the dive sites here fun for everyone.

      RIBBON REEFS Lie to the north of Cairns. Isolated they are only reachable via a few liveaboards. They are a chain of ten individual reefs offering sheltered warm waters, and due to their remoteness are in pristine condition.

      MILLN REEF is a spot perfect for snorkelling and diving and is also a great place to do a night dive (sleeping turtles and crabs are common) if you wish. It consists of 3 large coral pillars, located around 60 kilometres from Cairns.

      FLYNN REEF Features arguably Australia's best coral garden, is a place where you can see the full array of hard and soft coral that the GBR has on show.

      COD HOLE has a resident family of giant Potato Cod which will let you you take some fabulous close up photos - there are not many places you can take a selfie with a fish that is likely larger than you! Don't worry though, they're ever so friendly and curious, and love interacting with divers. Here it's common to see the sometimes even larger Maori Wrasse aswell. This site is part of the Ribbon Reefs.

      LIZARD ISLAND is a national park on an island of the same name, situated to the very north of the GBR. It's a tropical paradise, ideal for unwinding after a few days of diving or honing your diving skills prior to a trip in the calm, sheltered waters that surround it.

      NORTH HORN is one of the more well known parts of Osprey Reef and is renowned for its famous shark feed, where divers are almost guaranteed to see a wide range of these predators, including Grey Reefs, Silkys, Silvertips and Hammerheads.

      BOUGAINVILLE REEF benefits from an exposed position on the outer reef, which does mean it can only be visited by liveaboard and when conditions permit. As a result, it offers some of the most unspoilt and pristine diving in all of Australia, regularly frequented by Manta Rays and Turtles.

      SS YONGALA WRECK is a wreck that has long been recognised as one of the finest dive sites in the world. Sunk in 1911, the ship is relatively intact, having developed a mesmerising variety of corals and boasting some of the most diverse marine life on the whole of the GBR.

      Tips For Divers

      There is diving to suit every level of diver on the Great Barrier Reef, from calm, gentle, warm waters for newbies, to challenging swim throughs and caves for the more experienced. Some trips will require evidence of dive experience, but there are many that request no minimum logged dives. Most of the time full equipment is available to rent (please check this!), but remember to bring your certification. You'll also want your logbook as recording what you've seen is all part of the fun! Visibility is always great - often well in excess of 25 metres, and sometimes over 40. Water temperatures range from 22 to 30 degrees Celsius.

      The native language of Australia is English, although commonly dive crews will speak a variety of others. Currency is the Australian Dollar, and ATMs are easily found onshore (not onboard though!). Internet access, healthcare, and transport in Australia is of high quality, although as always please ensure that appropriate travel insurance has been purchased.

      Getting To The Great Barrier Reef

      Undoubtedly the best method of exploring the GBR is sailing through the Coral Sea amongst the reef on an Australian liveaboard dive cruise.

      LiveAboard.com has several cruises to choose from to suit every budget, with the vast majority departing from the port of Cairns in Queensland. There are a few small regional airports (for example Townsville, Rockhampton, Lizard Island) where it is possible to fly into from other areas of Australia, but by far the easiest, cheapest and convenient way to visit the reef is to fly directly into Cairns. Its airport has good international connections, allowing most visitors to fly directly from many overseas locations, although many daily flights also arrive here from the major hubs of Sydney and Melbourne, in case one of your first Australian destinations is there.

      Great Barrier Reef Diving Reviews

      9.1
      Superb (out of 10) 10
      Average score from 73 Verified Review(s) Only people who have booked through LiveAboard.com and joined the liveaboard can write a review.
      Denise B
      United States
      8.8
      Fabulous

      The first site was a bit underwhelming. Once on the other reef sites got better each day!

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in May on the Ocean Quest
      Matthew G
      United States
      8.0
      Very good

      Exceeded my expectations! It was stunning and full of life. I loved seeing so much variety of sea life, corals, colors and bommies!! There was so much fresh new life it was nice to see. We saw everything from sharks, turtles, rays and giant bump head parrot fishes to tiny sea life like pink barrier clown fish, nudibranches, etc. Overall, it was an amazing dive experience and I can’t wait to dive the reef again!

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in April on the ScubaPro II
      Vorayos R
      Thailand
      8.4
      Very good

      Dive Sites are amazing, so many corals and the landscape are very beautiful. The trip there was not very present though, very rough current and the trip is 3 hours on the boat. However when I got there it was worth going through that journey.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in April on the ScubaPro I
      Roy H
      United States
      10.0
      Exceptional

      Truly a unique opportunity to experience the Reef, our dive spots looked healthy, and were always full of great fish and animals. The unique stabilizers on the Spoil-Sport kept the boat calm, I didn't need to take any sea-sick medicine.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in March on the Spoilsport
      Eva-Maria R
      Austria
      9.6
      Exceptional

      Wir haben viel verschiedene Spezies beobachten können und auch einige große Tiere (green turtle, cowtail stingray, hawksbill turtle, cuttlefish, bumhead parrotfish, grey sharks, reef sharks, etc.) gesichtet. Gute Briefings haben dazu geführt dass ich die Tauchgänge gut alleine für mich und meinen Buddy navigieren konnte.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in January on the Ocean Quest
      Craig B
      Canada
      9.2
      Superb

      I heard the reef was dead/dying but there was a lot of sea life and colour where we were. I don't have any previous GBR dives to compare it to but I thought it was pretty awesome.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in October on the ScubaPro III
      Colin Z
      United States
      10.0
      Exceptional

      amazing and will do it again the near future

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in September on the Spoilsport Liveaboard
      Janan W
      United States
      8.0
      Very good

      The diving at the Great Barrier Reef was wonderful. We were fortunate to see a great variety of healthy, beautiful coral and fantastic array of fish .

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in October on the Ocean Quest
      Sara M
      United States
      10.0
      Exceptional

      I had a great time diving the Great Barrier Reef. I saw lots of animal life.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in September on the Ocean Quest
      Darrell S
      United States
      9.6
      Exceptional

      Amazing views, diversity of fish and everything I expected and more.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in September on the Ocean Quest
      Terence K
      United Kingdom
      8.8
      Fabulous

      Generally easy diving, not much current, good vis

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in August on the Spoilsport
      Ailin K
      Taiwan
      10.0
      Exceptional

      I think diving is very easy there. Cute and pretty.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in July on the Ocean Quest
      Dana C
      United States
      10.0
      Exceptional

      Lovely. My favorite dive happened to be in the Ribbon Reefs in the GBR. Lot's to see visibility was great. We had strong current the entire trip which was true here as well.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in May on the Spoilsport
      Jürg H
      Switzerland
      8.4
      Very good

      Schön, wenig Korallenbleiche an den äusseren Riffen!

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in May on the ScubaPro III
      Mark G
      Australia
      8.4
      Very good

      Clear, calm and spectacular views in various locations with excellent, trained staff equiped with invaluable local knowledge

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in May on the ScubaPro I
      Jessica M
      United States
      9.6
      Exceptional

      Fantastic, but some visibility issues due to recent typhoon

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in April on the Ocean Quest
      Dirk V
      Belgium
      8.0
      Very good

      I'm glad to see the sites we did are still in decent shape

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in March on the Spoilsport Liveaboard
      Jose R
      United States
      9.2
      Superb

      Best diving experience I've ever had. Amazing variety of flora and fauna, as well as great water temperature.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in March on the Ocean Quest
      Christopher D
      Canada
      8.0
      Very good

      Wonderful All the pastel colours of Easter! The fish,the turtles the Trevallys,the reef sharks

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in March on the Ocean Quest
      Zachary R
      United States
      10.0
      Exceptional

      Indescribable. The area is so vast, that I feel absolutely comfortable booking another trip as I know it'll take a great deal of time to properly explore what the reef has to offer.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in March on the Spoilsport Liveaboard
      Mitchell G
      United States
      10.0
      Exceptional

      Wonderful - this had been on my bucket list for many years and it did not disappoint! The GBR is amazing and so precious. I loved being an observer to this beautiful world under the sea!

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in January on the Spoilsport Liveaboard
      SOOJEONG B
      South Korea
      10.0
      Exceptional

      Big fishes and beautiful coral and even sharks! Very good.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in January on the ScubaPro I
      Mardi G
      Australia
      9.2
      Superb

      An amazing experience. Lots of wildlife, healthy coral, many colourful fish, guaranteed to see a turtle or shark.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in January on the ScubaPro I
      Ben L
      United Kingdom
      10.0
      Exceptional

      - For marine life, the reef was excellent. Fish all over at all dive sites, lots of sharks to see and all sorts of different coral to see. - However, all the coral is very pale, at all of the dive sites the coral appeared bleached and pale.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in January on the Spoilsport Liveaboard
      Kyra P
      United States
      9.2
      Superb

      Reef is so beautiful! So much to see! Favorite dive site was the last one.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in December on the ScubaPro II
      David P
      Australia
      8.4
      Very good

      Massive variety of fish, corals were wonderful, some bleaching and dead corals, but mostly alive and lovely. Warm, lovely water, and good visibility in general

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in December on the Ocean Quest
      Rene P
      United States
      8.8
      Fabulous

      It was a special diving. The night dive (not the flluoro) was excellent. Diving between those sharks and big fishes was a thrill. Rooms are more than adequate.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in December on the Ocean Quest
      Rebecca T
      Australia
      10.0
      Exceptional

      As amazing as everyone says

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in December on the ScubaPro III
      Solange S
      Brazil
      8.4
      Very good

      The visibility was spetacular.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in December on the Ocean Quest
      David V
      United States
      9.6
      Exceptional

      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 Great Barrier Reef in December on the ScubaPro I
      Russell H
      United States
      9.2
      Superb

      Due to high winds the first couple of days, the visibility wasn't very good, but the diving was still enjoyable.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in November on the Spoilsport Liveaboard
      Jacqueline L
      United Kingdom
      8.0
      Very good

      The Great Barrier Reef is amazing but make sure to go at the right season to see all the colours. Some parts are obviously bleached but there is still plenty to see.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in November on the ScubaPro I
      Sarah N
      Germany
      8.4
      Very good

      Only one word: SPECTACULAR 😎

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in November on the Spoilsport Liveaboard
      David E
      Canada
      10.0
      Exceptional

      Excellent diving with beautiful coral and marine life, should be experienced by every diver.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in November on the ScubaPro I
      Bryan M
      Canada
      7.6
      Good

      Fairly good visibility and not much current so pleasant diving. Enjoyed seeing all the soft corals & different marine life.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in November on the Ocean Quest
      Brian D
      Canada
      7.6
      Good

      Diving in the Great Barrier Reef was amazing as it one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in January on the Ocean Quest
      Sangwoo H
      South Korea
      9.2
      Superb

      Amazing - I would come back for other reefs I didn't get to dive.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in October on the ScubaPro I
      Taylor M
      United States
      10.0
      Exceptional

      The diving was great! Beautiful dive sites.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in October on the Ocean Quest
      Albert T
      United States
      10.0
      Exceptional

      Great,... Thats what I came here for...

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in September on the Spoilsport Liveaboard
      Danny B
      United States
      10.0
      Exceptional

      I really enjoyed my diving on the reef. Felt like we saw allot of variety of marine life.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in January on the Ocean Quest
      Alvaro P
      Australia
      9.2
      Superb

      Diving the great barrier reef was a lifetime experience to me. It was a first time I have dive in this location and definitely not the last time!

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in August on the ScubaPro II
      Edward F
      Australia
      8.0
      Very good

      Wonderful, it is winter but the visibility was still impressive at times.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in August on the ScubaPro II
      virginie M
      France
      10.0
      Exceptional

      First 2 dives not as nice as expected others where beautiful

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in August on the Ocean Quest
      LOUIS S
      United States
      8.8
      Fabulous

      Very nice. Saw species I never saw before b

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in July on the Spoilsport Liveaboard
      Ian P
      United Kingdom
      9.2
      Superb

      Had to be done,! as with any location an element of luck is required. But there was plenty to see with @ 20m vis.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in August on the ScubaPro I
      Chad M
      United States
      9.2
      Superb

      Very impressive. I'm looking forward to coming back for a longer voyage.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in June on the ScubaPro I
      Elizabeth S
      United States
      10.0
      Exceptional

      Excellent. The "coral bleaching" was barely noticeable and it is a nature occurrence. It does not last, and it is not man made.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in July on the Ocean Quest
      Sherry W
      United States
      7.6
      Good

      The reef looked very healthy and was populous with gorgeous tropical fish. I was hoping to see more large sea life; I saw a few morays, turtles, sting rays, and a couple of white tip and grey reef sharks, but a few isn't that many in 8 days of diving. I'm a shark nut, so I would've loved to see more. But the macro life was beautiful.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in June on the ScubaPro I
      Sherry W
      United States
      9.6
      Exceptional

      Healthy reefs and macro life. Good viz.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in June on the Spoilsport Liveaboard
      Tami K
      United States
      7.2
      Good

      It was the worst visibility I've had in oven dives. Perhaps I'm spoiled by Cayman, Greece, Cozumel, Bonaire..... But I found it ranked below those sites. It's honestly hard to say though because the equipment issues really tainted everything. I feel I would have had an entirely different opinion otherwise. I did feel that the areas we dove were pretty dead and overdove.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in April on the ScubaPro I
      Anna M
      United Kingdom
      8.8
      Fabulous

      I loved the coral , the colours, the fish both large and small. It was so interesting seeing the damage done by great storms and the life all around. I was thrilled by the night dives; watching the fish use our lights to catch their prey.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in May on the Spoilsport Liveaboard
      perry R
      United States
      9.6
      Exceptional

      The reef was better than expected!

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in May on the ScubaPro I
      Gerald B
      Canada
      10.0
      Exceptional

      Good. Hadn't seen it before so coral degragation not as apparent to me as some others.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in March on the Spoilsport Liveaboard
      Michael B
      New Zealand
      10.0
      Exceptional

      Wonderful creatures of all shapes and sizes

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in May on the Spoilsport Liveaboard
      Ryan M
      United Kingdom
      8.4
      Very good

      Excellent variety of wildlife, if a bit low on visibility compared to what I expected

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in April on the ScubaPro I
      Sidney N
      Australia
      10.0
      Exceptional

      Excellent - great variety on all dives

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in April on the Spoilsport Liveaboard
      Luciana C
      Brazil
      9.6
      Exceptional

      Really good. Easy and beautiful sites.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in March on the Ocean Quest
      Todd S
      United States
      10.0
      Exceptional

      Awesome. Except for the early signs of bleaching

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in March on the Ocean Quest
      Preston H
      United States
      10.0
      Exceptional

      It was a once in a lifetime experience. Some of the dives visibility were less than great, but that is a natural occurrence and not due to the crew. Two different dive sites each day, GREAT! The Flouro night dive is something you must do. The colors and action are awesome.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in March on the Ocean Quest
      Sandor H
      Australia
      10.0
      Exceptional

      Sooo cool I found Nemo and a lot of his family.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in March on the Ocean Quest
      Kasia G
      United Kingdom
      8.4
      Very good

      It's a good place, I wish currents were more favourable to get us to best sites

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in January on the ScubaPro II
      György S
      Hungary
      7.2
      Good

      Great experience and amazing environment marine life.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in January on the ScubaPro I
      Jan S
      Denmark
      8.4
      Very good

      Spetacular. So so beautiful .

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in January on the Ocean Quest
      Trent H
      United States
      8.0
      Very good

      Ok- not world-beating but famous and enjoyable. Visibility and color lower on cloudy days.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in December on the ScubaPro I
      Michael S
      Germany
      8.0
      Very good

      Great! It seems though that in some places the corals were not as colorful as before (dead gray coral, in some places growing back in bright colors), caused by global warming? Nonetheless, enough corals, fish and everything left to enjoy.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in October on the ScubaPro II
      sheryl R
      United States
      8.8
      Fabulous

      Amazing and beyond what I expected . I'm so glad I got to see this

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in November on the Spirit of Freedom Liveaboard
      Philippe A
      France
      8.4
      Very good

      One of the best spots we have dived.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in October on the Spoilsport Liveaboard
      Patrick O
      United States
      9.6
      Exceptional

      I was so impressed with the quality of the corals, no bleaching like in the Caribbean. Very healthy ecosystem.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in July on the ScubaPro I
      Keryn A
      Australia
      10.0
      Exceptional

      Overwhelmingly beautiful. Like diving in an aquarium.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in September on the Spoilsport Liveaboard
      Walt B
      United States
      10.0
      Exceptional

      Overall good. The wind and currents didn't allow us to dive all the sites intended, but we experienced a variety of terrains, corals and fish during the three days. One of the highlights was a night dive amongst the night predators on the prowl for food including giant trevalley, reef sharks, and assorted Groupers.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in September on the Spoilsport Liveaboard
      Erica F
      United States
      9.6
      Exceptional

      Excellent. Beautiful diverse coral and marine life

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in July on the ScubaPro III
      Sarah E
      United States
      10.0
      Exceptional

      Amazing! I saw green sea turtles, eels, white and black finned reef sharks, giant clams, tropical fish, beautiful coral formations, and much more!

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in July on the ScubaPro I
      Ronald W
      United States
      7.2
      Good

      It was pretty good. I've had better in Malaysia, Similan Islands, Bahamas, French Ploynesia, Virgin Islands.

      Diving Great Barrier Reef in June on the ScubaPro III
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