Liveaboard Scuba Dive Tours

Take your time and really get to explore the Great Barrier Reef at your leisure on a Liveaboard Scuba Diving tour. Spend your days – and nights – diving to your heart’s content at a dazzling array of sites far from the crowded hotspots.

Top 5 Liveaboard Scuba Dive Tours

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What is a Liveaboard Scuba Dive Tour?

Spend a night or spend a week on the Great Barrier Reef and really make the most of your diving time with a Liveaboard Scuba Dive Tour. You will travel to several different dive sites by day and by night, you’ll sleep aboard your boat out on the reef.

What is the difference between a One-day Scuba Dive trip and a Liveaboard Scuba Dive Tour?

Generally on a day trip, a boat transfers you to the reef in the morning where you can enjoy a dive or two, then returns to the mainland in the afternoon. A liveaboard cruise anchors on the reef overnight and you remain on board, sleeping on the boat and diving at your leisure each day. Liveaboard cruises can visit several different dive sites in a day and can travel to more remote sites on the outer reef.

Benefits of a Liveaboard Scuba Dive Tour

Overnight tours are a great way to maximise your time on the Great Barrier Reef and ensure a truly unforgettable experience:

  • Fit more diving into your trip than you can on a day tour
  • Enjoy early morning and night dives
  • Spend less time travelling to and from dive sites
  • Save money on land-based accommodation and meals
  • Enjoy greater flexibility with the timing and duration of each dive
  • Dive at remote and uncrowded sites

How long does a Liveaboard Scuba Dive Tour last?

You can choose how long you spend on the reef with tours varying in length from a single overnight experience to a trip lasting up to a week. We can help you choose from a variety of liveaboard trips with three-to-five-night options among the most popular. Private charters are available for divers who’d like to spend even longer on the reef.

Dive highlights of a Liveaboard Scuba Dive Tour

With more time to explore the Great Barrier Reef, you also have a greater number of diving options at your fingertips including:

  • Night dives
  • Early morning dives
  • Cave dives
  • Deep dives (beyond 30m)

You also have the added pleasure of catching the spectacular sunrise and sunset over the ocean each day.

Where does a Liveaboard Scuba Dive Tour visit?

Head to far north Queensland for an excellent choice of Liveaboard Scuba Dive Tours to suit all group sizes, skill levels and budgets. Several depart daily from Cairns and Port Douglas with the itinerary changing depending on the season, weather and duration of the trip. Advanced divers can find themselves diving sections of the outer reef deep in the Coral Sea, some 230km east of the coastline while other tours visit the famed Ribbon Reefs, populated by schools of reef sharks, Trevally and Barracuda as well as giant clams, Cuttlefish and sea turtles. A visit to Cod Hole provides divers the chance to get up close and personal with the impressive and imposing Potato Cod.

TIP: There are a handful of scheduled and chartered Liveaboard Scuba Dive Tours departing the Whitsundays. Most run to an overnight or two-night schedule and generally stick to the islands in the Whitsunday passage.

What is included in the tour?

It is best to confirm each tour’s inclusions with us before booking. The cost of a Liveaboard Scuba Dive Tour includes accommodation on board the vessel and all meals. Scuba equipment, including air tanks, regulators and BCDs, are available although some tours charge a hire fee for divers who don’t provide their own gear. We can also arrange transfers to and from your hotel. Each boat is well-staffed with dive instructors, crew members and catering staff ensuring a smooth, enjoyable experience for everyone onboard.

What are the boats like?

Most Liveaboard Scuba Dive Tours operate from modern, well-appointed catamarans and engine-propelled vessels. These have a variety of private quarters and amenities and shared living spaces spread across two or three levels. There are a few sailboats that offer Liveaboard tours, both in the Cairns and Port Douglas region as well as the Whitsundays.

TIP: Many liveaboard vessels include creature comforts such as wi-fi and air-conditioning. Check with your us when when booking!

Where will I sleep?

Many boats offer a variety of accommodation to suit all budgets and travelling party size. They can include:

  • Budget Rooms – often with bunk beds and shared bathroom facilities. Can accommodate between two and four people.
  • Double/Twin Share Rooms – either two single beds or one set of bunk beds.
  • Premium Rooms – usually have ocean views and private ensuite bathrooms.
  • Deluxe or Statesman Rooms – more spacious and equipped with a double or queen bed and private ensuite bathroom.
  • Suites – extra private living space in addition to the bedroom and bathroom facilities

Are meals included?

Yes, meals are included in the cost of scheduled Liveaboard Scuba Dive Tours. If you are privately chartering a boat for a liveaboard experience, you may need to negotiate meal costs and catering when you book.

TIP: Make sure you speak to us about any dietary requirements you have when booking your tour.

Do I need to be a certified Scuba diver to take part in a Liveaboard Scuba Dive Tour?

These tours are certainly tailored towards keen Scuba divers, but experience is not always necessary. Some tours offer Introductory Scuba Dives or incorporate learn to dive courses so beginners can gain their Open Water Diving certification over two or three days. Most Liveaboard Scuba Dive Tours, however, are designed for experienced divers as boats can travel to more remote and challenging sites on the outer reef. Some tours require divers hold Advanced Open Water Diving certification or Divemaster status owing to the demanding nature of the diving offered.

Do I need to bring my own equipment?

Many experienced divers prefer to use their own equipment while some beginners and tourists do not have access to their own gear. Liveaboard Scuba Dive Tours offer several equipment options to guests including:

  • Full dive gear: When divers require a full Scuba kit including mask, snorkel, fins, weights belt, buoyancy control device, wetsuit, tanks
  • Tanks and weights dive gear: When divers supply their own gear and only require tanks and weights.
  • Wetsuits and stinger suits: Depending on the season and water temperature, divers can usually choose from thin, full-body lycra stinger suits or thicker neoprene wetsuits with long or short sleeves and full or half-length legs.
  • Dive computers: Some operators loan dive computers to all guests while others charge a hire fee.
  • Prescription masks: Divers who wear glasses may find themselves in need of a Scuba mask with prescription lens. We can check if your dive boat carries your prescription before you board. If not, we can help you find a dive shop that hires or sells the mask you need.

TIP: We can give you a detailed breakdown of any hire charges or equipment costs at the time of booking, so you’re not caught out on board.

Do I need any special equipment for night dives?

Night dives are one of the highlights of a Liveaboard Scuba Dive Tour – the reef looks completely different once the sun goes down! You can either hire or bring your own waterproof torch to better glimpse nocturnal marine life. Also invest in cyalume glow sticks, fluorescent tubes you attach to your tank for night dives to stay visible to your dive buddy and spotter.

TIP: Don’t forget to pack spare batteries for your torch. They’re impossible to replace if they go flat in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef!

Do Liveaboard Scuba Dive Tours stock nitrox tanks?

Yes, many vessels stock nitrox tanks and hire them to experienced divers who have completed PADI’s Enriched Air Diver Course. As nitrox tanks allow divers to venture deeper, for longer and with less downtime between dives, an instructor or Divemaster will work with nitrox users to safely plan their diving schedule.

What is the ‘Reef Tax’ and do I have to pay it?

All visitors to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park are charged a small fee to help the Australian Government maintain and preserve this natural wonder. The fee is $4 per person per day, up to a maximum of $12 for overnight trips. Some operators include it in their fare while others charge it separately, but all divers and visitors must pay.