Liveaboard Diving in Ribbon Reef

What To Expect On A Ribbon Reefs Liveaboard

Liveaboards to Ribbon Reefs will visit this famous chain of ten spectacular reefs, in an isolated part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. They are located north of Cairns, and form a 120 kilometre string of turquoise water and coral, which can only be explored properly by a liveaboard cruise to Ribbon Reefs. Lying on the outer edges of the Great Barrier Reef, approximately 50 - 100 kilometres from the Queensland shore in the Coral Sea, the reefs here thankfully have very little human contact, which has ensured that they can support an outstanding range of biodiversity and marine life for divers and snorkelers.

There are dozens of unique dive sites within the Ribbon Reefs, and as a result will be sure to please every level of diver, from the curious novice open water diver, to the keenest underwater photographers. It's likely that your Australian liveaboard trip will be in this area for at least a few days, allowing you to jump into many of the different sites on offer, where you'll be sure to witness as many of the GBR's 1500 fish and 400 coral species as possible. Much of this life will be encountered in warm shallow waters, and in fact it is rare that you'll be diving deeper than 20 metres, which of course means more time underwater! Needless to say, the visibility is great all year round.

What You Can See

The abundance of life and diversity at Ribbon Reefs really does mean that there is something for everyone. Whether your interest lies with fancy corals, large fish or macro life, you'll be able to find it here. Divers regularly come across sharks and rays at Steve's Bommie (ask your guide how this name came about!), whilst gliding in between schooling Trevally and Barracuda. In the Australian winter, it's not uncommon to see some beautiful dwarfe Minke Whales here, and depending on your choice of liveaboard dive cruise itinerary it may be possible to participate in the monitoring and research associated with these wonderful mammals.

Divers move on to wonder at the array of hard corals at Acropolis, frequented by uncountable amounts of small fish - which as ever will attract their large, graceful, awe inspiring predators.

A liveaboard trip here will enable you to view the beautiful olive sea snake, which is only found in a handful of places along the GBR. Aptly named Snake Pit is where divers can see these curious creatures - don't worry if they come close for a look - just make sure you have your camera!

Every liveaboard diving cruise visiting this area of the Coral Sea will stop at famous Cod Hole, where the resident family of massive Potato Cod will bring a smile to every member of the group, especially when they are happy to pose for a photograph aswell!

Getting To Ribbon Reef

The reefs here are located a long way from the coast of Queensland, far beyond the reach of any day trips. Therefore the best way to experience what this stunning area of the Coral Sea has to offer is by liveaboard from Cairns. Liveaboard.com has several boats and operators to choose from, each with their own specific itinerary lasting a comfortable 3 - 7 days.

Cairns is situated in the North East corner of Queensland, and is the most common port for departing Australian liveaboard diving cruises to the Great Barrier Reef. The airport is well connected internationally, offering a large number of direct flights to and from overseas. If diving the GBR forms the only part of your Australian holiday, you'll likely be able to fly directly into Cairns, although if not there a regular daily flights from the likes of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

The vast majority of liveaboard operators will offer a complimentary pick up service from your accommodation, and will often drop you off afterwards as well.


Ribbon Reef Diving Reviews

  • 9.4 Superb
  • 72 Verified Reviews
  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Denise B
  • United States United States

Most sites were good, easy enough to navigate first time in and plenty of life to see.

Diving Ribbon Reef in May on the Ocean Quest

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Roy H
  • United States United States

Awesome and exciting. I have learned so much from each dive. The water was calm, warm, and clear. A multitude of things to see.

Diving Ribbon Reef in March on the Spoilsport

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Jun C
  • China China

Good, coral health varries at locations, but lots of fish life

Diving Ribbon Reef in February on the Spirit of Freedom

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Myriam G
  • Switzerland Switzerland

all very nice. Top reef and very nice underwater experience.

Diving Ribbon Reef in May on the Spoilsport Liveaboard

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Peter B
  • Germany Germany

Perfect. No damages and some of the diving spots did not see a diver for more than 2 years

Diving Ribbon Reef in June on the Ocean Quest

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Rick M
  • Canada Canada

We saw some fantastic turtles and Steve’s Brommie was the best because of all the Steve’s we had on board 😂😉I loved the orangutan crab and of course Nemo. Then the Huge Bull shark came to see me,somewhat scary but so cool at the same time😎

Diving Ribbon Reef in October on the Spirit of Freedom

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Darrell S
  • United States United States

It was fabulous and the colors were amazing.

Diving Ribbon Reef in September on the Ocean Quest

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Terence K
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

V pretty, many nudibranchs

Diving Ribbon Reef in August on the Spoilsport

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Jun G
  • China China

Amazing diving, great underwater sceneries, biosphere and visibility

Diving Ribbon Reef in July on the Spirit of Freedom

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Ailin K
  • Taiwan Taiwan

I enjoyed the easy pinnacle diving. Easy and pretty.

Diving Ribbon Reef in July on the Ocean Quest

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Duncan H
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Excellent, the Bommies were really interesting. The coral looked healthy

Diving Ribbon Reef in June on the Ocean Quest

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Zachary R
  • United States United States

We had perfect weather so it was such a great experience to see so much fish diversity at so many different sites. I was also surprised as to how each site featured different groups of fish rather than constantly seeing the same thing over and over again.

Diving Ribbon Reef in March on the Spoilsport Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Steven W
  • United States United States

Above average. Very nice dive sites.

Diving Ribbon Reef in February on the Spirit of Freedom Liveaboard

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Francesco T
  • Philippines Philippines

very good marine life but poor visibility

Diving Ribbon Reef in February on the Spirit of Freedom

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Faith R
  • United States United States

Ribbon Reef was gorgeous. I loved the variety of the dives and the pinnacles in particular.

Diving Ribbon Reef in January on the Spirit of Freedom

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Raian D
  • Italy Italy

Beautiful sites, lots of fish life.

Diving Ribbon Reef in January on the Spirit of Freedom 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 Ribbon Reef in January on the Spoilsport Liveaboard

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Russell H
  • United States United States

All of the sites we stopped at were unique and was great to experience.

Diving Ribbon Reef in November on the Spoilsport Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Vernon J
  • United States United States

The first day the visibility was only about 30 feet but it improved. You can not control the sea.

Diving Ribbon Reef in November on the Spoilsport Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Albert T
  • United States United States

Ribbon Reef was amazing particularly the night dives...watching the hunting Sharks and Trevalies

Diving Ribbon Reef in September on the Spoilsport Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Phillip M
  • United States United States

Uniformly excellent. We enjoyed all of the sites visited, though the most outstanding were the Snake Pit and Steve's Bommie.

Diving Ribbon Reef in August on the Spirit of Freedom Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Danny B
  • United States United States

I enjoyed Ribbon Reef but in the future would probably go on a live aboard that goes to some of the outer reefs. I understand that being onboard for just 3 days limits the amount of areas you can go to in that time frame.

Diving Ribbon Reef in January on the Ocean Quest

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Dan P
  • Australia Australia

Ribbon reef was spoilt with marine life and the reef was thriving

Diving Ribbon Reef in August on the Spirit of Freedom Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Elizabeth S
  • United States United States

So educational and filled with a variety of everything. I really liked each spot had its own ecosystem.

Diving Ribbon Reef in July on the Ocean Quest

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Sherry W
  • United States United States

First time I've seen sea snakes.

Diving Ribbon Reef in June on the Spoilsport Liveaboard

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Anna M
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

It was lass colourful than I had expected bit everything that was full of colour was a joy to see.

Diving Ribbon Reef in May on the Spoilsport Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Michael B
  • New Zealand New Zealand

Fantastic diversity of fish and plants. Someone forgot to tell the turtles to find us!

Diving Ribbon Reef in May on the Spoilsport Liveaboard

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Michael S
  • United States United States

Two sites like Steve Bommie and light house Bommie were fantastic.

Diving Ribbon Reef in April on the Spirit of Freedom Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Preston H
  • United States United States

We dove Norman and Saxon reefs.

Diving Ribbon Reef in March on the Ocean Quest

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Bruno P
  • Portugal Portugal

Like swimming in an aquarium!

Diving Ribbon Reef in February on the Spoilsport Liveaboard

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • sheryl R
  • United States United States

Fun Ribbon number three our last dive was beautiful and colorful wonderful hard coral

Diving Ribbon Reef in November on the Spirit of Freedom Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Keryn A
  • Australia Australia

Stunning. I would love to be able to say the names of all the beautiful sea life that I saw, but I am only new to diving and not very knowledgeable in that area. All I can see is that it was stunningly beautiful.

Diving Ribbon Reef in September on the Spoilsport Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Roger V
  • Netherlands Netherlands

Ribbon Reefs are beautiful, especially Steve's Bommie and Pixie Pinnacle

Diving Ribbon Reef in July on the Spirit of Freedom Liveaboard