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Coral Sea

Coral Sea / Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard Cruises

Dive Tour Options and Travel Information

For those who want to experience the best diving holidays that Australia's Great Barrier Reef has to offer, there is no substitute for a diving tour of the Coral Sea regions of the Ribbon Reefs, Osprey Reef and Bougainville. Experienced scuba divers must accept no nothing less.

Map of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia (click to enlarge in a new window)

Running along the northern edge of the Barrier Reef in north Queensland and holding such famous dives as the Cod Hole and Steve's Bommie, the Ribbon Reefs consist of long, thin reefs ranging in depth from 5-20 metres and usually no wider than 450 metres.

The Australian North Coral Sea contains an isolated reef system located off the coast of Cairns to the very far north. Osprey Reef and its lesser known neighbours to the south, Holmes Reef and Bougainville, represent world class diving and the best tours that Australia has to offer.

The distance at once spells one thing: an abundance of unspoilt marine life. As a remote oceanic reef, not part of the continent of Australasia, there are deep water upwellings here, meaning plenty of nutrients that support an abundance of life. Visibility here ranges from the impressive to the incredible.

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Diving Cruise Options

The boats operate open-deck policies which allow you to dive when you prefer. They are also photographer-friendly, often with dedicated camera facilities, underwater photo competitions and courses.

These charters are very popular so we recommend booking well in advance. Experienced divers may not be satisfied with the quality of diving on the Great Barrier Reef in locations other than at the Coral Sea sites.

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Spirit of Freedom

From US$ 313 per day

Customer rating: Very good!


From US$ 326 per day

Customer rating: Very good!

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The Climate, Diving Season and Best Time to Visit

The Great Barrier Reef is a year round scuba diving holiday destination, with steady water temperatures (24 to 29°C) and a wonderful tropical climate. December to February are the warmest and wettest months. September to December have the calmest seas. Routes are most likely to require changes during monsoon season, especially January and February.

There are also some seasonal patterns for marine life: minke whales are most commonly seen between June and August. Humpback whales are mostly likely between August and October.

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Ports of Departure and How to Get There

You can view which ports the various boats use on their trips in the 'Departures & Prices' section of each boat's webpage. If departing from Cairns, the boat operator normally provides a transfer to the boat from the local airport or hotels (if you overnight beforehand). We will send you full departure details (Including domestic flight arrangements) during the booking process.

We recommend you take out insurance to cover diving and travel activities, including trip cancellation. See our insurance programme for a competitive quotation:

Get your travel and diving insurance from World Nomads

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Places to Stay

If you plan on staying in Australia before or after your diving safari, you can find a large range of accommodation options at, our affiliated hotel reservation specialists. Browse their website, use their on-line chat to ask questions, then simply use your credit card to make your booking:

Save on your hotel -

All bookings carry a 'Low Price Guarantee' to ensure you get top-dollar value for money.

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Useful References for The Coral Sea

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