Liveaboard Great Barrier Reef
Australia has some of the best and most diverse dive sites anywhere in the world. The warm, clear waters of Far North Queensland, teeming with marine life and the world’s largest coral reef, make it ideal for a liveaboard Great Barrier Reef. Liveaboard dive trips maximise your time, allowing you up to 5 dives per day in the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef.
The Great Barrier Reef stretches through Queensland’s waters for more than 2,500 kilometres, covering around 345,000 square kilometres. The world’s largest World Heritage site is made up of more than 2,900 individual reefs, and 70 coral cays scattered along the edge of the continental shelf.
Why do a liveaboard trip instead of diving day trips from Cairns?
Although not all liveaboard excursions are created equal, most, including Spirit of Freedom will take you to more unique diving locations than day trips can. Day trips are beneficial for folks who wish to try diving or snorkelling for the first time, or else are short on time while in Cairns.
The appeal of diving day trips from Cairns stems from its proximity to the reef, but day trip vessels are not able to access some of the best portions of the reef; many of the best dive sites on the Great Barrier Reef are isolated and can take days of travel via boat to be able to visit. Only a liveaboard experience allows you to avoid the usual hour-long daily drive out to the reef, and experience getting up at 6 am and being in the water by 7 am for your first dive of the day!
Liveaboards are also preferred to Day Trips for many divers as it affords them the opportunity to experience the reef and its underwater denizens at several different times of the day and night, as at least one night dive is included in the itinerary on all Spirit of Freedom trips.
Liveaboard Great Barrier Reef – Where do they depart from?
Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, with most Great Barrier liveaboard trips departing from here.
The Cairns Marlin Marina is just a short walk from most hotels and a hive of activity during the day, as mots of the day trips from Cairns also depart here for dive sites on the outer Great Barrier Reef tropical island such as Frankland Islands.
Most Cairns hotels are just a few minutes away from our departure point. Guests joining the 3 or 7 night trips will be collected from their hotels and taken Trinity Wharf where you will meet your crew and begin the checkin process. Guest depart on the 4 night trip will also be collected from their hotel but taken to the Cairns General Aviation Airport, where you take a scenic flight up to the coast to join the vessel at Lizard Island, before beginning your dive liveaboard on the Great Barrier Reef.
Once on board the Spirit of Freedom liveaboard dive trip you will have the opportunity to explore over 20 different Australian dive sites within the Ribbon Reefs on the Great Barrier and the Coral Sea.
Liveaboard Great Barrier Reef – what to pack?
Ok, so you’re set on your first dive liveaboard on the Great Barrier Reef but what do you need to pack?
When you dive from a liveaboard, you’ll be able to go further from the mainland and explore more remote dive sites, as well as spend time with other dive enthusiasts for the duration of your vacation. And one of the keys to ensuring you have a great liveaboard trip is to plan your packing carefully.
Due to the fuel requirements for the light aircraft flight to and from Lizard Island, guests on the 3 night and 4-night trips aboard Spirit of Freedom are limited to a total baggage allowance of 20kg (45lb) per person including carry-on luggage, therefore space and weight matters when planning what to pack.
Don’t worry, we’ve outlined our top packing tips in this article – What to pack for a liveaboard dive trip
Pro tip: bring soft-sided luggage, allowing for easier storage on the plane and aboard the boat!