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Best Australian Liveaboard Dive Boats Review

Alan from Whitsunday Dive Centre, Great Barrier Reef Diving Expert

This is a review of Australian liveaboard dive boats. Australia liveaboards offer extended access to scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Departure points for the vessels selected in this review are either from Cairns or Airlie Beach in northern Queensland.

You are probably already aware that in 2016 the Great Barrier Reef suffered from a major bleaching event. This has precipitated new interest in Great Barrier Reef tourism because many people are fearful that the reef will not be able to recover. They want to see it before it is gone forever. Of course it is currently unknown stage how long term the damage may be. Nevertheless day trips and liveaboards on the Great Barrier Reef are experiencing a resurgence in popularity. All of the boats in this review are previewed and available on our website. All of these vessels are crewed by seasoned professionals with real local knowledge and experience.

These boats are not presented in any order of preference because they are all different with different destinations. Comparisons are not really relevant but you will be able to gauge which one best suits your concept of a Great barrier Reef liveaboard dive boat. I will start in cairns because it is furthest north.

Spirit of Freedom - Coral Sea Liveaboard

Spirit of Freedom is the pick of the Coral Sea liveaboards. Sleek and beautifully appointed she can cater for 26 guests with a minimum crew of 10 to cater for all your needs. Trips are 3, 4 or 7 days. For the Cod Hole itinerary the minimum level is Open Water diver (Scuba Diver not accepted). For the Coral Sea a minimum of Advanced Open Water Diver with 20 dives is recommended. Currents can be quite strong and experience with these types of conditions is necessary.


Coral Sea Diving Liveaboard Spirit of Freedom is very popular with serious divers and at busy times can be booked out months ahead. Departures are from Cairns in North Queensland. Check out Getting to Cairns

Scuba Pro - Cairns Liveaboard

Operating between Cairns and a number of specially selected Great Barrier Reef dive sites is the Scuba Pro fleet. Three identical vessels that are able to operate 3 day/ 2 night recreational liveaboard diving 6 days per week departing from Cairns everyday except Tuesday. This is a high quality professionally run operation that is so popular that you will have to book weeks ahead to ensure your place.

Cairns Liveaboard Dive Trip

Snorkellers also find this cruise very enjoyable because while the divers are away on the walls, swim throughs and drop-offs, the snorkellers can float lazily on top or on the edge of the reef for as long as they like. The Cairns Liveaboard Dive Trip is the most popular of all Australian dive liveaboard trips. See Getting to Cairns

Kiana - Airlie Beach Liveaboard

Head 700 km south from Cairns to Airlie Beach - gateway to the Whitsunday Islands. The Whitsundays are renowned for great sailing with long periods of south east trade winds providing ideal sailing conditions. Combine this with an abundance of coral and marine life on the Great Barrier Reef and you have a perfect opportunity for a sail/dive liveaboard cruise.


Great Barrier Reef Diving Trip on Kiana offers a 3 day 2 night cruise which includes diving at Bait Reef on the Great Barrier Reef recognized for amazing underwater photography. Departures are from Airlie Beach - check out Getting to Airlie Beach

New Horizon - Airlie Beach Liveaboard

New Horizon was built in 1994 in Launceston out of Tasmanian hardwood. The 97 foot ketch rigged sailing ship offers customers a very stable and exceptionally strong classic sailing experience. She offers both double and single bunk style accommodation in her three huge, fully air conditioned cabins and comfortably takes 32 passengers.

Whitsundays Diving Liveaboard

Combine traditional sailing with scuba diving in the Whitsunday Islands and other water sports on a Whitsundays Diving Liveaboard New Horizon sail/ dive 2 day/ 2 night liveaboard cruise. New Horizon departs from Airlie Beach (See Getting to Airlie Beach)

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Coral Sea Scuba Diving Liveaboard

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Coral Sea Dive Trips - Rates

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Airlie Beach FreeDiving Dive Course - PADI
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Cairns PADI Diving Course
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Whitsunday Dive Centre Blogs
Best Whitsunday Islands Dive Sites

Best Australia Diving Liveaboards
Best Great Barrier Reef Dive Sites
Where is Cairns Australia
Where is Airlie Beach Australia
What is Barrier Reef Coral
What is Barrier Reef
Scuba Diving in Australia

Protect the Great Barrier Reef
Whitsundays and Airlie Beach Weather
Cairns Weather
Best Whitsunday Islands Dive Sites
Airlie Beach Images Gallery
Coral Sea Underwater Images
Spirit of Freedom Images
Getting to Airlie Beach
Getting to Cairns
Airlie Beach Liveaboard Diving Trips
Cairns Liveaboard Diving Trips

Whitsunday Islands Dive Sites
1.Whitsundays Dive Site Alcyonaria Point
2.Whitsundays Dive Site Bird Island
3.Whitsundays Dive Site Blue Pearl Bay
4.Whitsundays Dive Site Dolphin Point
5.Whitsundays Dive Site Eaglehawk Reef
6.Whitsundays Dive Site Mackeral Bay
7.Whitsundays Dive Site Mantaray Bay
8.Whitsundays Dive Site Maureen's Cove
9.Whitsundays Dive Site Pinnacle Point
10.Whitsundays Dive Site The Woodpile

Coral Sea Liveaboard Diving Trip
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Cairns 4 Day OW Course Itinerary
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Cairns Australia Dive Site Flynn Reef
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Cairns Australia Dive Site Pellowe Reef
Cairns Australia Dive Site Thetford Reef

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