Australia Liveaboard Scuba diving Tours


Australia has the largest tropical coastline globally and has two of the largest reef structures in the world.

The Great Barrier Reef stretches over 2,300 kilometres along the eastern coast of Australia, and the Ningaloo reef is about 300 kilometres long on the north-western coast of the country.

While those reefs are impressive, they are only a portion of the reefs found around the coast. While you can find scuba diving through the country, the greatest concentration of diving is on the two reefs mentioned.

These are by no means small areas, and the dive centre is located in different areas.

While diving from day boats provide some outstanding diving, the best dive sites are more remote and are best visited by Liveaboard dive vessels.

Finding the best liveaboard

The nature of the Liveaboard is different around the different areas of the country. The Whitsundays is known as a sailing destination with some of the best sailing in the world.

Here the dive Liveaboards are smaller and often under-sail. The upper reef area such as that around Cairns has Liveaboards that venture further from the mainland, and here the vessels are often larger and faster boats.

The Ningaloo reef area is more remote, and the boats get the fewer customer,s resulting in a slower laid back industry.

Cairns Based Liveaboards

The largest concentration of Liveaboard diving can be found in North Queensland around the city of Cairns.


Cairns is the home port for two different areas of the Great Barrier Reef.

Some of the dive vessels, such as the world-renowned Spoilsport from Mike Ball’s expeditions and the Spirit of Freedom, explore the northernmost reefs of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, including the Ribbon Reefs and even extend out past the Australian continental shelf to Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea.

These vessels operate on a seven day sailing out of Cairns, but the voyage can be joined or left at Lizard Island, allowing three or four-day trips aboard these Liveaboards.

Both of these vessels are purpose-built for scuba diving while still retaining a high level of comfort.

With the popularity of the Great Barrier Reef for scuba diving, snorkelling and just sightseeing, the cities of Cairns has one of the largest daily dive fleets in the world.

Scuba Divers have several different dive operators to choose from to take them to various dive sites near some of the inner reefs and out to the outer reefs less than two hours away.

Many of these dive operators also operate Liveaboard vessels.

These Liveaboards generally use the outer reefs for their diving and provide extraordinary dives such as sunrise dives and night dives on the outer reef.

The only way to experience these types of dives is by a Liveaboard. Most of the Cairns-based Liveaboard is purpose-built. The MV Reef Encounter is not only an outstanding Liveaboard, but she boasts accommodations equal to a fine boutique hotel. It is a wonderful option for those who want to explore the Great Barrier Reef but is not a diver or has limited time.

Guests can join Reef Encounter on any day and for as many days as they wish.

The vessel’s sister company will transfer guest to the Reef Encounter aboard the daily dive boat, the MV Reef Experience.

MV Reef Encounter

Whitsunday Islands

The Whitsundays is another area of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef that is popular with Liveaboard divers.  In this area, the dive boats are smaller and more intimate.

Also, they are more likely to have a mix with more non-divers than divers.

The dive sites are more often fringe reefs around the islands. The Whitsunday Islands boast some of the world’s best sailing water, and many of the Liveaboards here are sailboats. The islands often have white sand beaches, so divers will often do their surface interval on the beaches.

Ningaloo Reef

Being as isolated as it is, the Ningaloo gets far fewer divers than the centres on the Great Barrier Reef. Also, many of the divers’ find that the easily accessible reefs are fascinating and prefer to use day boats or shore dives.

Those that do venture out on the Liveaboards will find reefs that are seldom seen and are much more likely to have a whale shark or a manta ray follow them. Whatever style of diving you prefer or whatever location you choose, rest assured that Liveaboard diving is the best in the world.