Australia is diverse and unique both topside and underwater. Join a liveaboard cruise to experience the fantastic East and West coast of this vast continent.
A liveaboard cruise in Australia is on most divers bucket list and an excellent option for adventure travellers to the country. Join a trip to see more of the underwater world in this fantastic destination. Australia has an extensive coastline most of which has some excellent dive sites. Plus it has the largest barrier reef in the world. Diving can be done all around the 25,000km of coastline, but it does vary enormously depending on the state and area you are visiting.
Divers, snorkelers, and guests wanting to gain a dive certification can all join a liveaboard cruise. You can be immersed into the destination – literally. Enjoy the clear warm waters that have easy to navigate sites with abundant marine, and coral life.
The primary location for the liveaboards is out of Cairns to the Great Barrier reef which covers over 2000km in length. Famed for the shallow colourful coral gardens the inner area is suitable for every guest. There are plenty of turtles, groupers, sharks, reef fish and even whales and dolphins.
The outer reef includes Cod hole, Osprey reef and Ribbon reefs with fabulous topography, coral, and marine sightings.
Liveaboards offer a rare chance to visit the pristine reefs of Rowley Shoals off Western Australia. This remote and uncrowded marine park allows only a limited number of divers each year.
For adrenalin seeking divers look no further than South Australia and the famous cage dives with great white sharks.
Whichever destination you choose while in Australia you will make a lifetime of memories from your cruise.
Take a look at the Liveaboard Cruise options below.
Australia - 8 LIVEABOARDS
Coral Sea Dreaming
Coral Sea Dreaming Liveaboard in Australia is a 16m steel-hulled yacht providing budget friendly overnight cruises to the Great Barrier reef departing three days a week. She accommodates just 12 guests onboard in a range of cabins with air conditioning; bathrooms are shared. There is a saloon where delicious meals are served buffet style, and a forward deck provides space for relaxing and sunbathing. The dive area covers nine different reefs, and the crew welcome both certified divers and snorkelers.Book Now
Spirit of Freedom
Spirit of Freedom Liveaboard in Australia is one of most comfortable and well-appointed liveaboards. She is 37 metres in length and comfortably accommodates up to 26 guests. There are three decks of living space and 11 spacious air-conditioned cabins, all with en-suite bathrooms. This vessel offers all the amenities of a hotel, complimented by first class meals and outstanding service. A large dive deck with Nitrox and photo facilities houses every convenience to ensure comfort, safety and freedom in your diving.Book Now
Ocean Quest Liveaboard in Australia is a 36m catamaran accommodating up to 48 guests. She offers diving and snorkelling trips of varying lengths, with departures and returns from/to Cairns every day. There are three cabin types on board, all air-conditioned with en-suite facilities. Enjoy up to 5 dives per day. Minke Whale trips are offered every year in June and July. Enjoy waking up to the sunrise over the Great Barrier Reef from the comfort of your home away from home on board OceanQuest.Book Now
Australia offers a large variety of diving around its island shores, but the vast majority choose to dive at the Great Barrier reef due to its remarkable diversity and ease of access from Cairns. The liveaboards can also offer dives in the Cod Hole, Ribbon Reef and Coral Sea areas which provide breathtaking un-spoilt coral along with fantastic visibility.
Best Places for Diving Australia
Join a flexible cruise where you can depart almost any day for a short cruise to the inner barrier reef. Here dives are easy and marine life is plentiful, non-divers are welcomed onboard to either snorkel or try diving for the first time. Certification courses are also possible on request.
These destinations are located on the outer area of the Great Barrier reef, and this area is suitable for divers with some experience due to the open nature of the dive sites. Here fantastic reefs lead to drop-offs down to an abyss where sharks and manta rays can regularly be seen. In the right season, special trips are offered to view the migration of whales.
The Western coast of Australia has some unique dives with the isolated and pristine area of the Rowley Shoals. The three reefs, Mermaids, Clerke and Imperieuse Reef are all under marine park protection and are rarely visited due to the short season it is open for each year
Diving in the Southern state of Australia offers cooler water that attracts the Great White Sharks to the Neptune islands. Here there are colonies of both New Zealand seals and the rarer Australian Sea Lions. Snorkelling opportunities are availible with these in the correct season.
Best Dive Sites in Australia
There are so many dive sites in Australia, so it is difficult to pick out the highlights. For more information about the best dive sites in Australia take a look at each destination (click on the links above).
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier reef is a vast area with a multitude of dive sites, almost impossible to name these individually. In general, the area is split into reefs with many individual sites on those reefs.
Too numerous to mention all the areas here, please look at the area description which has a lot of information.
Is generally considered the best diving in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef area. The reef is the furthest point visited and has nutrient-rich water. It is beyond the continental shelf and currents carry these upwards to the sites.
Jimmy goes to China
This unusually named site is famed for the shark action and many pelagic sightings along the 40m wall. Currents can run actively here which entice the grey reef and silver tip sharks in the deep water. Joining the action in the coral covered walls are schools of fusilers, barracuda and snappers.
Vee in the Wall and Odyssey Alley
These sites are both located at the reef edge that then descends to the deep ocean floor. Here sailfish, and humpback whales can be seen.
Australia's Scuba Diving Highlights
Common Sightings – Napoleon wrasse, Turtles, Reef sharks, Groupers,
Special Sightings – Minke Whales, Dolphins, Dugons, Weedy scorpionfish, Humpback whales, Hammerhead sharks, Manta rays
Topography - Shallow reefs, bommies, coral gardens, walls, drop-offs
Visibility - 20m+
Certification recommendations - Diving in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is available for all certified divers, and conditions are ideal for newer divers to enjoy most of the sites. An exception is the more open sites of the Cod Hole and the Coral Sea.
Onboard options - Snorkelling, some trips have a stunning low-level flight included, and some have beach and waterfall visits.
Best Time to Go
Australia is a vast continent which has diving in most of its states. The seasons for each dive destination do vary, and so in Australia, you can dive all year round.
For Queensland and Eastern Australia, late August to early December is considered the best diving conditions. There are some seasonal variations with specific marine life sightings.
It is considered the best time to dive the Rowley Shoals from October to December in Western Australia.
Check each dive destination in the links above to find the best time to go for each area.
How to Get There
The main port for the Great barrier reef liveaboard cruises is Cairns in Queensland. For Rowley Shoals and the Kimberley area, cruises depart from Borneo on the west coast. For details see each destination area.
Local time vs GMT
What to pack
Food and drink
Australian Dollars (AUD)
Pre applied electronically for most countries or consult your embassy.
Cairns Airport (CNS), Sydney (SYD), Adelaide (ADL), Broome (BME), Perth (PER), Melbourne (MEL)
Suncream, lightweight and beach apparel
22 - 28 C daytime - 21 to 26 C evenings
Barbecue, meat, fish, beer