7 Night Cod Hole + Coral Sea Trip
DIVE LEVEL: We recommend this Great Barrier Reef dive liveaboard trip to Advanced Divers, or divers with at least 20 logged ocean dives including 5 in the past 12 months.
DEPARTS: Cairns 12 pm (noon) Thursday RETURNS: Cairns 8:00 am Thursday
DIVES: 26 (including two night dives)
For the diver who wants to see it all, our 7-night dive liveaboard trip begins every Thursday from Cairns and combines the 3 Night Cod Hole/Ribbon Reef and 4 Night Coral Sea trips into one of the world’s most epic liveaboard dive boat adventures.
Stepping aboard the sleek and spacious ‘Spirit of Freedom’, your Great Barrier Reef dive liveaboard expedition begins with a 240km journey through the rarely visited Ribbon Reefs, to the famous Cod Hole dive site.
Along the ‘Ribbons’ you will the opportunity for up to 11 dives as you encounter clouds of colourful tropical fish, an incredible variety of vibrant healthy corals, giant clams, anemones, and huge schools of cruising pelagic fish, and a family of giant potato cod.
On Saturday, will make our way to the remote Lizard Island (Jiigurru), some 90km off the Queensland coast, for an overnight stay in the secluded Watson’s Bay where you will enjoy an evening BBQ dinner on the top deck.
In the morning, you will have time to explore Lizard Island as our 3-night guests depart for their flight back to Cairns and the 4-night guests arrive to join the trip as we move to more advanced diving conditions.
As you share tales of the past 3 days with your new dive companions, we make our way to the top of the Ribbon Reefs dive sites like Challenger Bay and Lighthouse Bommie, before an overnight crossing to the famous Osprey Reef (weather permitting) in the Coral Sea.
An old volcanic atoll lying 220km off the coast, Osprey Reef is renowned for its spectacular walls of 1,000m, its massive soft corals, shark action, and exceptional visibility. We will spend two days here exploring different locations.
North Horn, at the tip of the Osprey Reef, is a site where grey reef sharks and Silvertips congregate and your chance for a close encounter shark dive where you yo will typically see up to 30-40 sharks on this incredible dive.
Your final day is spent at Ribbon Reef Number 3, or occasionally if the weather permits, Bougainville Reef, to the south of Osprey Reef. Overnight travel on the last night returns you to Cairns early on Thursday morning where you will enjoy breakfast before departing the vessel with up to 26 amazing dives to add to your logbook, and many fond memories of your liveaboard dive trip aboard Spirit of Freedom.
See the full itinerary below for more details.
This trip includes daily cabin service and chef-prepared gourmet meals (see our sample menu for details). Australian wines & soft drinks are served with evening meals.
Special Expeditions: In June/July this trip offers the chance to swim with Minke Whales as they congregate in the Ribbon Reefs.
Cabins & Rates
Dive liveaboard trip prices are per person in AUD$ and include:
- Chef-prepareddrinks meals & snacks, wine and soft drinks are included with the evening meal.
- Tanks, air fills, Nautilus Lifeline and weight belt. Full equipment rental available.
- Daily cabin service.
- Cairns hotel or Airport transfers.
- GST and all reef levies and fees.
Located on the top deck with internal stairwell access to the main deck, as well as external access to the top deck and dive deck, the Ocean View Deluxe Cabin boats a 10.5m² area with 3 large windows overlooking the starboard side of the vessel.
A comfy double bed will ensure you are well rest for a full day of diving. The room features bedside tables, wardrobe and 26″ flat screen TV.
The cabin is fully air-conditioned and has its own private bathroom.
Double or Sole occupancy only.
Our Ocean View cabin is located on the top deck with internal stairwell access to the main deck, as well as external access to the top deck and dive deck.
As the name suggests, you will enjoy stunning views from this air conditioned 7.2m² cabin, which contains a double bed, private bathroom, a wardrobe and 26” flat screen TV.
Double or Sole Occupancy only.
The largest of all cabins onboard the vessel, The Stateroom cabin is located in a private area on the lower deck, close to the dive deck and dining saloon.
Fully air-conditioned, this spacious 12m² cabin contains a queen size bed, a private bathroom, extra shelving, wardrobe, bedside tables and 26″ flat screen TV.
Double or Sole Occupancy only: no twin share option available.
Spirit of Freedom has seven standard double or twin share cabins. Five of these cabins contain a double bed with a single bed over the top, bunk style. One cabin contains just a double bed and one cabin has two single beds.
These cabins are all located on the lower deck, with easy access to the main deck and have an average area of 10m² square metres in area.
Fully air-conditioned, the cabins have an ensuite bathroom and also contain a wardrobe, personal reading light and a bedside table.
Please advise your preference for double or twin share when placing your booking. Sole occupancy also available.
Located midships on the lower deck, the quad share cabin containing four single beds, bunk style and is a great options for groups or families as you explore the Great Barrier Reef on your epic dive adventure.
This 9m² cabin has easy access to the main deck and includes a private ensuite bathroom and personal reading lights for each bed.
The cabin is fully air-conditioned and also contains a wardrobe, as well as storage under the bottom two bunks.
The Spirit of Freedom courtesy bus will pick you up from your Cairns hotel around 11 am to transfer you to Trinity Wharf. There you will be greeted by the Spirit of Freedom crew, who will give you an orientation of the vessel before you depart on your 7-night liveaboard dive trip at 12 pm (noon).
Enjoy lunch on board while we cruise to the Outer Great Barrier Reef for an afternoon check-out dive and a twilight or night dive.
After dinner, we cruise north to the Ribbon Reefs.
These two days are spent diving at the most northern of the Ribbon Reefs, Number 9 & 10 Ribbon Reefs.
Dive sites and sequence may vary depending on the weather conditions, but will always include at least one dive at the Cod Hole, where you encounter a family of massive and very friendly Potato Cod. Other sites may include Wonder-wall, Pixie Pinnacle, Challenger Bay, Two Towers, Lighthouse Bommie, and the Snake Pit, just to name a few.
If the current is right, you may also take a drift dive at Dynamite Pass, well known as a channel for sharks to pass through. See the dive site page for site selection of some of our dive sites on the Ribbon Reefs. 4 to 5 dives will be available each day, including a night dive on Friday. On Saturday evening we overnight at Watson’s Bay, Lizard Island, and enjoy a sunset BBQ dinner on the top deck.
This morning after breakfast you will have the opportunity to go ashore at Lizard Island. This is a good chance to stretch your legs on land at the halfway point of your trip! We recommend taking the guided walk from Watson’s Beach to Mary Watson’s cottage, over Chinaman’s Ridge, and back to the beach.
Around 11 am we will cruise back to Ribbon Reef Number 10 for two dives at a choice of sites including the Snake Pit, Cod Hole, Challenger Bay, Lighthouse Bommie, Pixie Wall, and Pixie Pinnacle.
If the tide permits we may repeat a dive at the Cod Hole or visit new sites. We depart in the evening for a 10-hour crossing to Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea.
Two days will be spent diving Osprey Reef (weather permitting). Australia’s Coral Sea reefs are renowned for their crystal clear water, with visibility ranging from 30 to 100 metres. The landscape is amazing, with sheer walls laced with gorgonian fans, sea whips, and bright yellow soft corals, rising from the ocean floor thousands of feet below.
‘North Horn’ is a dive site at the tip of Osprey where grey reef sharks, silvertips, and the occasional oceanic congregate, and you can experience a close encounter with the Spirit of Freedom shark attraction dive. Four to five dives will be available each day, including a night dive on Monday.
On Tuesday night we will depart Osprey Reef for overnight travel to the Ribbon Reefs.
At Ribbon Reef Number 3 we will dive such sites as the sensational Steve’s Bommie, Temple of Doom, and Flare Point. A second option for this day, in special weather conditions, is to head south from Osprey to Bougainville Reef, known for its unusual underwater landscape or caverns, and its partially submerged wreck.
On Wednesday evening we will cruise overnight back to Cairns.
We arrive back in Cairns at 6:30 am. Enjoy a light breakfast onboard and a group photo opportunity, before being dropped back to your Cairns accommodation around 8.00 am.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
As our guest, you are free to enjoy your own diving style, within the boundaries of safe and responsible diving. As such we set no limits on time, depth or style of diving outside of normal safe diving practices. You and your buddy are in charge, planning your own dive and diving your own plan. Buddy teams may follow one of our inexperienced groups, led by a Safety Diver, and come and go as you please.
Every dive begins with a detailed dive briefing. The dive staff are on deck providing surface support including a safety lookout. When available, dive staff may be in-water offering support with photography and critter spotting. Spirit of Freedom does not offer a full guided dive service. Our Safety Divers are assigned to those divers who are at risk or to assist students.
Spirit of Freedom can accommodate a maximum of 24 guests and operates with a minimum of 12 crew members.
Yes, Travel Insurance is strongly recommended. You can get a free quote for liveaboard dive insurance here.
In the event the trip is cancelled due to inclement weather, deeming it unsafe to travel, the company does not offer refunds for cancellations for reasons beyond the company’s control (Force Majeure). Comprehensive Travel Insurance covering trip cancellation due to poor weather is strongly recommended in this case, particularly during the Australian summer months (November to May) when cyclones and high winds can affect our trips.
We strongly recommend travel insurance to cover you against any unforeseen eventuality, as our policies do not allow for refunds on cancellations within 60 days.
Also, should you experience any flight delays or cancellations, lost luggage, etc which may result in you missing the vessel departure, Travel Insurance should cover these issues.
We strongly recommend all passengers (divers and snorkellers) have evacuation and medical cover for scuba diving. Please be aware that scuba diving and in-water activities are not covered by all Travel Insurance Companies, and it is advisable to check with your insurance agent regarding your cover for scuba diving. It is important to note that in a medical emergency the costs involved for an evacuation, vessel relocation or medical expenses are the responsibility of that diver.
Spirit of Freedom provides divers with a mask, snorkel, boots, fins, tanks, weights, and weight belts. We also supply safety equipment including surface marker buoys, whistles, and Nautilus LifeLine Marine GPS. Cyalume sticks and torches will also be provided for night diving.
For more detail on what equipment is available aboard Spirit of Freedom, visit our equipment rental page.
Diving the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea is great year-round! During Cairns’ winter (May to August) the water is a little cooler and offers great visibility and beautiful clear days, but sometimes can bring stronger winds. During this season it’s a great opportunity to swim with minke whales.
From September through December the water warms up a little, and generally, conditions are clear with light winds. Many coral reef species breed at this time.
January through April is considered our wetter season, with amazing feeding and marine action following the breeding season. Refer to our Great Barrier Reed Diving Seasons and Weather page for more information.
Booking direct with Spirit of Freedom means you should always pay the lowest price on our trips. If you find any Spirit of Freedom trip advertised under the same terms and conditions (brand, date, number of people, availability, inclusions) and at a lower price online, we’ll credit you the difference between the price paid and the lower price found. All special offers and promotional campaigns are marked as such. Simply email us with details. See terms for full details.
Don’t just take our word for it, here are just some recent reviews for this trip.
Outstanding service, excellent accommodation, beautiful diving, safe, organised and exceptionally professional.
Dive guides checked me over before every dive, even defogging my mask and putting my fins on for me!! The captain drove the ship overnight and during our meal times to ensure variety of sites whilst also maximising diving time.The staff were second to none. Knowledgeable, very helpful, kind, funny, and very, very professional.
I have been on other liveaboard trips but none come even close to the quality of this company. I cannot rate them highly enough.
Unbelievable – Amazing – Superb Crew
Best diving ever!
Drift diving, cave diving, shark feeding, and more. So many memories.
You’d be bonkers not to go.