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The Best Australia Liveaboards

INTRO

Australia has some of the greatest liveaboard diving around. Famous for being home to the World’s largest reef system, stretching a total of 2300 km along the coast of Queensland.

Stunning coral gardens, and over 650 species of fish, like potato cod, maori wrasse, and moray eels – just to name a few! Its incredible underwater features, like the Great Barrier Reef and its countless stunning dive sites, are out. of. this. World.

Expect to be propelled far from the usual crowded tourist dive areas, experiencing beautiful unspoiled coral aboard dive boats that are specially designed to cater to your every need.

Not to mention seriously cool crew, and a trip to suit all budgets, schedules and experience…

In all honesty. Liveaboard Australia is the way to go. It will absolutely rock your world.

But with so many different and unique Australia liveaboard options available, how do you choose? Ribbon Reefs or Rowley Shoals?

What’s the best liveaboard in Australia? Is a Great Barrier Reef diving liveaboard expensive? What is diving the Great Barrier Reef even like??

Wooa. Never fear, mate! Diving Squad here. Say hello to the ultimate guide to liveaboards in Australia – where ALL your questions will find their answers.

QUICK LOOK - The Best Australia Liveaboards

Best ForLiveaboard Daily Cost (Euros)Max Guest Capacity Main Itinerary Length (Nights)No. Of Logged Dives RequiredMonths of OperationDestinations Check Best Price  
Overall & for Big GroupsPro Dive Cairns€€323 Days, 2 Nights4 All YearGreat Barrier ReefGET BEST PRICE
BudgetRum Runner 16A: 2 Days, 1 Night

B: 4 Days, 3 Nights
4 March – AugustA: Great Barrier Reef

B: Coral Sea & Great Barrier Reef
GET BEST PRICE
LuxurySpoil Sport€€€28A: 4 Days, 3 Nights

B: 5 Days, 4 Nights

C: 8 Days, 7 Nights
A: 0


B: 10


C: 10
All YearA: Great Barrier Reef

B: Coral Sea

C: Coral Sea & Great Barrier Reef
GET BEST PRICE
Beginners & Shorter TripsCoral Sea Dreaming122 Days, 1 Night0All YearCoral Sea & Great Barrier ReefGET BEST PRICE
Advanced DiversOdyssey€€€206 Days, 7 Nights20Sept & Oct ONLY

(All other months = non-diving trips)
Rowley ShoalsGET BEST PRICE
Groups W. Non-Divers & Longer TripsReef Prince€€€36A: 11 Days, 10 Nights

B: 7 Days, 6 Nights
1A: March – Sept


B: September & Oct ONLY
A: Rowley Shoals & Kimberly Dive Sites

B: Rowley Shoals
GET BEST PRICE
Small GroupsShore Thing€€€10A: 4 Days, 3 Nights

B: 6 Days, 5 Nights

C: 10 Days, 9 Nights
0March – DecNingaloo ReefGET BEST PRICE
Scuba Photography & Long TripsSpirit of Freedome€€26A: 4 Days, 3 Nights

B: 5 Days, 4 Nights

C: 8 Days, 7 Nights

D: 8 Days, 7 Nights
A: 10


B: 20


C: 20


D: 50
A, B, C: All Year

D: Oct
A: Codd Hole & Ribbon Reefs

B: Coral See & Ribbon Reefs

C: Codd Hole, Ribbon Reefs & Coral Sea

D: Far Northern Great Barrier Reef
GET BEST PRICE

Australia Liveaboard Reviews

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Australia Liveaboard Overall & for Big Groups

Pro Dive Cairns

  • Space for 32 guests AND, awesome service, AND the opportunity to do 11 dives, (3 days and 2 night)!!

  • Explore the Outer Great Barrier Reef

  • From € 163 / day

  • Trips last 3 days and 2 nights

  • Operates all year round!

Pro Dive Cairns offers extreme value for money liveaboard diving to the Outer Great Barrier Reef, Australia, aboard the M/V ScubaPro I, II or III (don’t worry – they’re all identical). This is liveaboard Great Barrier Reef at its best!

Catering to a maximum of 32 guests, liveaboard Cairns is perfect for a big diving squad crew of family, friends and that other dive squad you met on your last dive trip. The spacious sun deck provides plenty of room for lazing about between dives, and there is a seperate deck for storage. There’s also free Internet!

There are 16 centrally air-conditioned cabins with seriously comfy beds, and diving gear available to rent on this liveaboard too.

Three delicious meals are served per day, including a fully cooked hot/cold breakfast, lunches and dinner. Snacks, water, tea, and coffee are available throughout the day. And if you thought your night dives were a great way to end the day… just wait for the dessert afterward.

This liveaboard is perfect for basically every single type of diver. From the budget hunters, time-conscious divers, beginners, snorkelers and large groups of divers to the more advanced divers wanting to get a whole bunch of dives in. Pro Dive Cairns has everyone covered.

The amount of diving and snorkeling you’ll get to do as well as the opportunity to do night dives, combined with 16 centrally air-conditioned cabins AND a spacious sun deck, makes this liveaboard ideal for divers seeking experience and value.  

On every trip, Pro Dive Cairns visits a number of their 16 exclusive sites, providing some of the best outer reef diving available, like the opportunity to see gorgonian fans, giant clams, and bump-headed parrotfish. These sites have been selected for their variety and quality of coral and marine life, as well as some insane visibility.

Some of the more exclusive, un-populated reefs and dive sites the Great Barrier Reef has to offer are Flynn (excellent wall dives), Milln (home to resident turtles and white tip reef sharks), Thetford (made up of numerous coral bommies) and Pellowe (a small isolated reef located close to the edge of the continental shelf). These reefs happen to be where their 16 dive sites are located!

Dedicated local and international crew aboard Pro Dive Cairns liveaboards consist of a team of very experienced, patient, and great natured instructors – and their dive briefing is absolutely hilarious

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to dive the amazing Outer Great Barrier Reef – book early as this one gets A-class Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard Reviews, and spots fill up fast. You don’t want any of your squad left behind!

 

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Australia Budget Liveaboard

S.V. Rum Runner

  • This is the cheapest of our featured liveaboards & seriously budget friendly!

  • Visiting dive sites in the Great Barrier Reef and an option to include the Coral Sea too.

  • From ONLY € 124 / day – $

  • Trip lengths of 2 days, 1 night and 4 days, 3 nights.

  • Operating March through August

The S.V Rum Runner Australia is an awesome budget-friendly way to dive the Great Barrier Reef. This smooth sailer accommodates up to 16 guests in twin and 4-share single bunk-style berths. Cabins are not extremely spacious or private – kinda like a hostel, but on water. However, they are IDEAL for resting after a day of diving and snorkeling.

Common areas include an open salon and galley, as well as covered and open deck areas – perfect for chilling the non-diving hours away in the sun, or shade. The Rum Runner also has charging areas for cameras and phones, and separate male and female shared bathrooms with hot water showers. If you’re looking for a budget Great Barrier Reef liveaboard – Bingo!

All meals are included, and the Rum Runner has a BYOB (Bring your own Booze) policy – which is cool because there’s absolutely ZERO reasons you can’t sip on your favorite drink for sundowners this way. Winning. Just don’t forget to bring your own booze…

The classic 1-night trip is perfect for divers, snorkelers and beginners. 6 dives are available on this trip, including a night dive – meaning that you will get the most out of your 2 days on the Great Barrier Reef. From shallow coral gardens, isolated pinnacles to caverns, swim-throughs and spectacular wall dives.

For the more adventurous diver, the 3-night Coral Sea shark-diving trip is a must! Holmes Reef lies 90 miles outside of the Great Barrier Reef, and thanks to its isolation, is home to an abundance of sharks, large pelagic fish life and incredible visibility – up to 50m!

But wait – The crew aboard the Rum Runner are so confident of this that if you don’t have at least one dive at Holmes Reef of 30m plus or see any Sharks, they will offer a 100% Money back guarantee! (no other liveaboard does that btw).

Naturally with something this budget-friendly and catered to those looking to avoid all the added bells and whistles and just get DIVING – the Rum Runner fills up fast, so book well in advance!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Australia Liveaboard for Luxury

M/V Spoil Sport

  • Visits The Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea

  • From € 267 / day – $$$

  • Trip lengths of 4, 5 and 8 days.

  • Operates all year round.

Say hello to ultimate diving luxury. The M/V Spoilsport is not your typical liveaboard, it’s so much more than that. This 30m liveaboard was actually custom built to explore the Coral Sea!

This award-winning dive vessel has a professional crew of 12 onboard to ensure you have the BEST diving holiday possible. Top quality cuisine is served FRESH and the M/V Spoilsport takes huge pride in catering to vegetarians, vegans and all those with special dietary needs.

Guests can relax in the spacious lounge area, bar and sun deck with optional shade cover for those hot days that Australia is known for! Spoilsports premium cabins all have amazing sea views, an ensuite bathroom, and aircon with control from the cabin itself (there are also other cabins to choose from too).

One of the luxurious features of this boat will be especially attractive to those prone to seasickness – a twin hull design increases stability and reduces motion onboard. Insta-dive-shoot on your bucket list? Well, there will be no falling around on this liveaboard!

The most luxurious feature of this liveaboard? Well, with one of their fly – dive liveaboard trips, a flight aboard a light aircraft over the reef en route to/back from your trip is included!

You’ll have a birds-eye view of the Great Barrier Reef, and half of your 150-mile flight will be at a very low 180 meters (600ft) above the dive sites along the Great Barrier Reefs continental shelf.

Luxury dive amenities include a spacious dive deck with entry and exit platforms, a large camera table, rinse tanks and Nitrox. The highly trained, SUPER professional crew is on hand to ensure a hassle-free diving adventure and provide divers with the opportunity to discover truly unique marine life including the Dwarf Minke Whales.

Diving with this liveaboard will have you experiencing sites like Lizard Island, where you can see where the famous English navigator, James Cook climbed in 1770 to find a way out of the labyrinth of reefs. With this liveaboard, you’ll also visit one of the most popular sites known to this destination, Steve’s Bommie. This site is a photographers dream!

You’ll also get the opportunity to dive the Great Barrier Reef, which has 9 species of anemonefish, 43 species of butterflyfish, 1001 species of nudibranch, and 6 of the world’s 7 turtle species!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Australia Liveaboard for Beginners & Shorter Trips

  • 1 x free (10min) TRY dive offered to all first-time divers

     

  • Snorkeling and dive gear is included & Scuba Diving Courses available!

     

  • Visits dive sites in the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef

     

  • From € 137 / day – $

     

  • Trips last 2 days and 1 night

     

  • Operates all year

For beginners, this is the ultimate liveaboard diving! With something on offer that none of our other featured liveaboards are willing to share… A free 10-minute try-dive for non-certified divers! This really gives you the opportunity to experience the diving world before opting for one of their scuba diving courses on offer.

On holiday in Australia and looking to escape the crowds for a couple of days, but not too long of an escape, you know? Just to get out and explore the Outer Great Barrier Reef? Well, this is the liveaboard specializing in just that. With trips no longer than 2 days and 1 night – this is the ultimate time-budget liveaboard.

Topside the 18m Coral Sea Dreaming liveaboard is quaint, with a beautiful wooden interior. Choose from various cabins suited to all budget types: A 4-person shared bunk cabin, 2-person shared bunk cabin, and 3 private double cabins, all with shared bathrooms.

AC and fans are fitted throughout the boat for some relief from the Australian heat! There’s also a sundeck and hammock – great for chilling between dives.

The Coral Sea Dreaming yacht caters to just 12 guests, ensuring a more personalized service on board, uncrowded sites and full-length dives with all the attention on YOU. This is great for the beginner and more inexperienced divers, as the one-on-one time is perfect for absorbing all the new dive-knowledge/tips and tricks!

Depths you will dive range from 1 to 30 meters, giving divers a wide range of options depending upon experience. Expect to encounter some extensive coral gardens with an unbelievable amount of marine life, like turtles, reef sharks, and schools of pelagic fish.

An anchor at Milne Reef will be a highlight with this liveaboard for sure! The Whale dive site (a favorite of theirs) is a large coral bombie standing in 24 meters of water with excellent surrounding coral gardens, perfect for beginners and snorkeling, as it’s not too far from where the boat anchors.

Best part? The Whale is a great dive to see basking sharks – now that’s not something every beginner diver gets to experience!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Australia Liveaboard for Advanced Divers

  • 20 minimum logged dives required for this liveaboard.

  • Approximately 26 dives in total!

  • From € 279 / day – $$

  • Dive trips last 7 nights, 8 days

  • Diving months are September & October ONLY

The 24m M/V Odyssey Liveaboard offers limited diving trips to the Rowley Shoals for up to 20 divers. This means that their only diving months are September and October – as for the other months, diving with this liveaboard doesn’t happen.

With 6 deluxe double cabins and 4 twin share cabins, each equipped with individually controlled air-conditioning, storage units and bar fridges, as well as upper and lower dining areas – divers will be well cared for aboard this liveaboard!

The Odyssey Liveaboard is accompanied by ‘Homer’, a 12m expedition vessel which will ensure you reach the best dive spots in comfort and with ease.

Explore the diving country along the outer reef including Vee in the Wall and Odyssey Alley with the possibility of seeing a sailfish or humpback whale performing their daily acrobatics routine.

The advanced diver will really enjoy the stop at the famous Northern Wall, reported as one of the top three dives in the world, it will impress you. Featuring a steep drop to 80 m, gigantic gorgonians, mesmerizing color, huge dogtooth tuna, green turtles and what feels like every imaginable tropical reef species, lives at this spot.

Explore the outer reef at Jimmy Goes to China and Blue Lagoon too, which are both frequented by large pelagic fish and curious reef sharks (plenty of white tipped ones) and hammerheads – so keep your eyes peeled!

A minimum of 20 logged dives is required to get the most out of the best dive sites in the Rowley Shoals, which offers pristine coral-reef diving, mostly as wall and drift dives. Experienced divers will especially enjoy the sites visited as they will truly be able to enjoy all of them!

Another thing advanced divers will really enjoy is being free to swim with your dive buddy instead of as a big group – this is super cool!!

With a shaded diving deck, DIN Adaptors, tenders for diving and an experienced and relaxed crew, and the opportunity to dive 26 times in 7 days – advanced divers will really enjoy this one!

P.S. Dive gear is not available to rent on this liveaboard and you have to bring your own.

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Australia Liveaboard for Groups W. Non-Divers

  • Specializing in a personal family feel and catered to the non-divers too.

  • Trips as long as 11 days, catered to divers and non-divers alike!

  • From € 287 / day – $$

  • Operating March through September (11-day trip), and September and October ONLY (Rowley Shoals 6 day trip)

  • Rowley Shoals and Kimberly dive sites (Western Australia)

Dive squad made up of equal parts divers to non-divers? Well, it seems only fair to choose a liveaboard specializing in trips catering for non-divers AND divers alike. While there’s exceptional diving available with this liveaboard, diving only happens every other day to make room for some really cool non-diving activities too!

With an option for an 11-day liveaboard cruise too, this is also a great choice for those divers looking for a longer trip with an extended itinerary.

Breathtaking sights are visited, such as King Cascades, King George Falls, and Silicon Beach. With diving happening every alternate day, non-diving activities include snorkeling, bushwalking, fishing, turtle spotting, and beautiful beach walks.

For divers, the only options are the 6-day Rowley Shoals cruise and the 11-day Coastal cruise. These trips offer pristine visibility, warm water, and abundant marine life in a divers’ dream.

Topside, the 38m Reef Prince has a choice of accommodation to suit all budgets. There are four cabin classes available, each with en-suite bathrooms, TV, storage cabinets and a fridge. Best part? there’s also 24-hour cappuccino, tea, chai or hot chocolate available!

Aboard this liveaboard you get to explore hidden waterfalls, and a steep climb up the banks of a river to reveal the mysterious Aboriginal Bradshaw Paintings (Gwion Gwion), thought to be some of the world’s oldest indigenous art, dating back 20 to 60, 000 years! You may even get the chance to climb to the top of King Cascades waterfall!

Take a short cruise across Vansittart Bay and an easy walk to witness the site of a crashed WW2 transport plane – pretty decent! This site is really well preserved in the Kimberley bush, and your guides will fill you in on all the history.

With the 6 days Rowley Shoals Cruise, waaaay more diving is on offer, and you’ll get to dive some 20 times! As you gently cruise through the reef you’ll be offered The Superman dive, an exhilarating drift dive that takes you through Clerke Reef channel. Here you are suspended in turquoise and surrounded by delicate lace coral fronds of vivid pink, orange and yellow.

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Australia Liveaboard for Small Groups

  • Caters to just 10 guests!

  • Visits the Ningaloo Reef (West coast of Australia)

  • From € 282 / day – $$

  • Itineraries range from 3 – 9 nights

  • Operates March through December

The Shore Thing is the ultimate liveaboard for small groups, catering to just 10 divers per trip! This catamaran offers diving and snorkeling cruises to Ningaloo Reef on the West Coast of Australia from March through December.

Dive sites are uncrowded and marine-life colorful and plentiful in the Ningaloo Reef. Manta rays, turtles, reef sharks, and shy dugong can be spotted year-round.

Ensuring a unique experience on-board with their seriously small groups, there are 4 cabins available; 2 staterooms with private en-suite facilities and 2 deluxe cabins with shared facilities.

Divers can relax in the indoor salon & dining room between dives, or opt to chill it out on the hammocks, enjoying the sea-breeze and stunning views of pristine crystal clear waters  that surround you.

What’s really cool is that this liveaboard is also non-diver (snorkeler) friendly, and also has kayaks on board!

The dedicated local & international crew, along with a small capacity, allows for a really intimate and private liveaboard diving experience.

Get the opportunity to dive in and around on one of the shipwrecks of the historical ruins of Norwegian Bay.

This liveaboard sails through over 70km of pristine and remote reef between Coral Bay and Norwegian Bay.

The calm protected waters of the Ningaloo Reef make for an abundance of snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking opportunities, along with stunning secluded beaches to explore. Most insane part? No other Ningaloo Reef tour accesses these areas!

Sailing via Batemans Bay, home to a population of majestic Manta Rays, you will get plenty of opportunities to see turtles, dolphins, dugongs, and even whales (if the season is right) – all before your first dive! Just imagine what’s waiting for you once you gear up and dive in! More on diving season in the What You Need To Know section!

Imagine watching as the sharks swim into a large cabbage coral and hold themselves in the currents with their mouths open, whilst small cleaner fish dart in and out of their mouths and gills… cool right?

Well, it’s a possibility at Asho’s Gap, which is a cleaning station for grey reef sharks and a dive spot on this liveaboards route.

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Australia Liveaboard for Scuba Photography and Long Trips

  • Camera room with table, charging point, separate rinse for u/w camera and free internet!

  • Trips as short as 4 days and as long as 8 days

  • From € 243 / day – $$

  • Visits Codd Hole, Ribbon Reefs & Coral Sea

  • Visits the Far Northern Great Barrier Reef (only in October)

  • Operates all year round!

The M/V Spirit of freedom is an absolute no brainer for the underwater photographer. Offering year round, 3, 4 and 8-day diving cruises to the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea reefs, as well as special Far Northern expeditions (October) to dive and photograph the truly pristine and remote reefs.

With 11 cabins, all equipped with a private bathroom, wardrobe, ample storage, air conditioning, and housekeeping services. The top deck is a great place to unwind with a drink after some fantastic diving. The lounge is perfect for chilling out and relaxing and has comfortable seating and beanbags.

The dining salon has loads of seating for all divers, and is where a variety of quality healthy meals are available – prepared by an outstandingly good cook. Dinner is a set menu and soft drinks, wine, and beer are included with dinner!

An advanced diver certification with a minimum of 20 ocean dives, including 5 dives in the last 12 months, is recommended in order to make the most of all the dive site visited and capture all the amazing photo opportunities.

Year round, this destination is known for its unique ecosystems showcasing their amazing diversity: from picturesque coral gardens crowned with delicate anemones and cute little Nemo’s, to the 1000 meter walls of the volcanic atolls of the Coral Sea.

It’s home territory for reef sharks, whalers, schooling hammerheads, mantas, schools of barracuda and mackerel, and massive red and yellow soft corals. Top it off with some staggeringly amazing visibility, and you’ve got yourself a photographers dream.

However, the real treat on offer for photographers is the possibility to dive the Far Northern Great Barrier Reef in October! One of the last totally pristine areas of the Great Barrier Reef- these isolated reefs are off-shore from the northern tip of the Cape York peninsula – many of the reefs here are yet to be fully explored!

Think deep oceanic walls laced with massive gorgonians, whips, and soft corals, gardens of impressive coral formations, isolated pinnacles, bays, caves, and canyons! All waiting for you to snap the next National Geographic Photo of the Day.

Australia Liveaboards - What You Need to Know

Diving Insurance in Australia – It’s essential that you’re covered by proper diving insurance before you start your liveaboard adventure.  Find out more. 

Scuba Gear – You’ll need to either bring along your own scuba gear or rent it from the liveaboard for an additional fee. 

Find out more. 

Australia Liveaboard Packing List – To ensure an enjoyable and comfortable trip, there are several must bring items. Find out more. 

Australia Diving Season –Different seasons offer different rewards. Australia as a whole is a year-round dive destination but, for the most part, late August to early December (especially October) yields the best diving conditions.

 Find out more.  

Weather in Australia –Temperatures in Australia vary from around mid-20s to mid-30s.

Expect water temperatures of around 30° C during the summer throughout the central and northern Great Barrier Reef, and around 24° C in winter.

Western Australian dive destinations are around 5° C cooler.

Australia Dive Conditions – Diving in Australia is considered to be some of the best diving in the world. December through February means great visibility and warmer water, while June through November pays off with minke whales and humpback whales spotting and coral spawning.

Australia caters to everyone from the newbie-diver to the super advanced one!

Water Visibility in XXXX –Tides, Current and Surge all affect water visibility in Australia, however visibility still averages 15 – 21 meters around the reefs and can hit a high of 30 meters too.

Outside the reef, visibility averages a great 18 – 30 meters and often soar to more than 46 meters in the Coral Sea.

National park fees – All prices include a per person Environmental Management Charge or “park fee” that contributes to management and protection of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Thank you for doing your bit to protect and maintain our oceans 🙂

Diving Insurance in Australia

SPLASH! It’s important to remember that scuba diving is an extreme sport. Accidents can happen. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble.

What’s more, because diving can take you all around the world, it’s absolutely essential you make sure you are properly covered by the best scuba diving insurance before leaving your home country.

We recommend going with Dive Assure. Why?

  • Unbeatable prices.

     

  • They offer both short term and long term insurance.

     

  • Cover loss of diving equipment, emergency medical and evacuation expenses and flight/accommodation costs following injury.

Squad Inventory - Scuba Gear for Australia

Ok Squad! Here’s the deal. Scuba Diving requires a ton of gear. This should come as no real surprise, considering that the very nature of this sport is to breathe underwater – the exact opposite of what us humans are evolved to do! 

When you go on your liveaboard adventure, you have two options on the gear front:

  1. You can either rent the gear, at an additional cost, per piece. This generally costs around $25 for a full equipment rental per day (exact prices provided in the liveaboard links).

  2. Or you can buy and bring along some or all of your own scuba gear. This comes with two distinct advantages:
  • You get scuba gear that perfectly fits you and suits your tastes, budget and style. And hasn’t been peed in.

     

  • You will never again have to pay to rent scuba equipment! Think about all the diving you have ahead of you. Ultimately this can save a lot of money.

     

Below is a full listing and description of the entire inventory required to scuba dive. Let’s jump right in:

Diving Mask – Full Face Snorkel Masks are taking the world by storm but they can’t withstand pressure beyond several meters depth.  For diving you need an old school dive mask.

BCD – A BCD is the jacket divers wear to maintain optimum buoyancy, which they can adjust by operating the inflate and deflate buttons. This makes sure they neither sink to the bottom nor rise to the top of the water! As well as this, the BCD holds the divers regulator(s), dive gauge and air tank.

Regulator / Octopus – The regulator reduces pressurised breathing oxygen to ambient pressure and delivers it to the diver through a mouth piece. Remember, you need two – one for you and a spare for a buddy in case of emergencies!

Diving Torch – Absolutely essential for Deep Dives and Night Dives. So you can…you know – see. Bioluminescent plankton anyone? 

Scuba Tank – This contains the pressurised breathing gas – i.e. oxygen, that you will be breathing underwater (after it’s been reduced to ambient pressure by the regulator). Pretty essential right? 

Scuba Weight Belt – A diving weight belt assists with maintaining optimum buoyancy, by stopping divers from floating to the top of the water. How much weight you take will depend on your build, weight and diving ability.

Dive Computer – The Dive Computer is used to measure the time and depth of a dive. In doing so, it calculates a safe ascent profile, vital for avoiding decompression sickness. 

Dive Gauge – Essential for keeping track of your air consumption and the depth at which you are diving. The best ones also feature compasses and can read the water temperature (useful for bragging rights when you go on extremely cold dives!).

Scuba Fins – Fins greatly reduce water resistance when swimming and thus help to conserve energy and swim faster / against currents. They also allow you to unleash your inner mermaid/man. 

Dive Boots Designed to be worn under your fins, dive boots prevent rubbing and skin irritation from said fins – whilst also keeping your feet toasty and warm. 

Wetsuit – Crucial for keeping you warm. Even in hot countries, when you dive deep, it gets cold. Which one you pick will depend on the climate of where you’re diving. 

Ultimate Combo Package Whew! That’s a lot of gear we’ve covered. If you don’t yet have any scuba gear and want to bulk buy at great quality and value, this is the number one scuba starter pack out there.  

Australia Liveaboard Packing List

Whether you decide to rent scuba gear or buy  your own, there are some essential items that won’t be provided for you. You would not want to go on your liveaboard adventure without: 

Reef Safe Sunscreen It’s a little known fact that some sunscreens contain products that are highly toxic to coral reefs. Dive responsibly, avoid burning to a crisp and use eco friendly sunscreen. 

Reef Safe Body Wash and Shampoo – Many brands of body wash and shampoo also contain chemicals that are toxic to coral reef and fish. Dive responsibility whilst still not smelling like a Dead Whale.

Diving Camera –  Any normal camera will break if taken diving – even if it’s waterproof it won’t be able to withstand high depth pressure and the focus will not be designed for underwater photography. To share your diving adventures with the world, make sure you have a proper scuba diving camera.   

Full Face Snorkel Mask – In between dives, you’ll get countless snorkelling opportunities on your liveaboard trip. For snorkelling, it’s much better to utilise a full face snorkel mask for maximum comfort and 180 viewing! The best ones have an attachment mount for GoPros. 

Reusable Water Bottle Having a durable, reusable and recyclable water bottle that’ll keep liquids cold is essential for both eco awareness and hydration = scuba success! We love the TankH2O – It is all of those things and looks like a scuba tank!

Microfibre Towel Essential for getting all those bits of ocean off you. Microfibre towels are compact, dry quickly and lightweight. To look like a ninja of the sea, wrap around face. 

The

diving squad title 300

Backpack of Choice

After trying and testing an ocean of backpacks, we’ve come to the coralusion that the Dometool Waterproof Dry Backpack is the number one backpack for divers! Why? Well:

  • It’s completely waterproof and also floats.

  • Front zip pocket for easy access, waterproof storage of your phone, wallet, etc. 

  • Equipment ring at one side, water bottle bag at the other. 

  • PVC tarpaulin materials = resistent to tearing, corrosion and aging.

Best Months for Liveaboards in Australia

The simple answer is: there’s no best month, only 12 really unique ones! What you want to see and experience will determine when you should go on a liveaboard in Australia.

 

All year round offers great scuba diving in Australia, especially at the Great Barrier Reef. The best visibility, the least rain, and wind, is from August to December. Manta rays and hammerheads visit the Coral Sea from April to September. Minke whales make an appearance during June and July and this is the best time of year for a chance to swim with them. While coral spawning occurs in November or December.

 

So as you can see – the options are endless and the choice is yours! Don’t worry though, Dive Squad is here to help you make the best possible decision! Check out our month-by-month play-by-play of what you can expect when diving in Australia – and when.

 

H3 – Australia Liveaboards in January – January’s the classic wet season, with possible downpours of rain. However, winds are light and it’s actually really nice in the water! Outer reefs and deeper waters are always clear – no matter if it drizzles, rains or pours. However, visibility can be affected at dive sites closer to the shores due to flooding (not a problem on a liveaboard though!)

 

H3 – Australia Liveaboards in February- February’s in the middle of the wet season and yes, it’s summer, but yes – it rains during the wet season. But not all the time. it’s possible that sustained torrential downpours and cyclones (hurricanes) will occur during this month. The lack of trade winds during summer produces a lot of calm weather and ocean visibility can be great around this time of year. This is also the time of year that many turtle species are nesting and hatching, and all this turtle activity attracts… sharks 😉

 

H3 Australia Liveaboards in March An exciting month for diving in Australia, especially The Great Barrier Reef. it’s stinger season too, so you need to swim in a stinger suit or where there are stinger nets (all liveaboards will make sure you are well equipped for this, and diving in the correct gear/areas)

 

Waters are still warm (around 28° C) and there’s generally far less rainfall around. Look out for young Harlequin Sweetlips. Also, Black-tipped Reef Sharks give birth this month! Females will have their pups (baby sharks, not the dog kind) in the inshore estuarine nursery grounds, where the young sharks remain for the next few years.

 

H3 – Australia Liveaboards in April – In April the water is starting to cool a tiny bit, however, you’re still a month+ away from needing a wetsuit! Daytime temperatures are starting to become a little cooler, and far less humid now. The clear, blue waters team up with marine life and make for an awesome time of year to go diving. This month many of the coral bommies will become hidden by glassies, which are clear colored juvenile fish. Try spot them playing too!

 

H3 – Australia Liveaboards in May – This month, the waters in Australia do start to cool down, and some divers (especially those used to diving in tropical conditions) may want to start making use of their wetsuits this month. Winter is around the corner and trade winds start coming up from the south. As you explore swim throughs on some of the outer reef sites, look for gorgonian fans, fan coral and lionfish.

 

H3 – Australia Liveaboards in June – Say hello to the first month of winter! Temperatures are usually around 22° C around this month. This is a seriously exciting month for diving – filled with awesome possibilities. Not only will you see the amazing wonders under the Australian waves like colorful corals and Nemo’s, but you might also even have an encounter with a Dwarf Minke Whale! P.S. you’ll need a wetsuit this month.

 

H3 – Australia Liveaboards in July – Be prepared to swap a dive for a snorkel with some Minke Whales this month! June and July are Dwarf Minke Whale season, and such opportunities are possible right up until the end of this month. Being a winter month, wetsuits will definitely be necessary. This month is also a chance to see some beautiful schools of sweetlips.

 

H3 – Australia Liveaboards in August – The last official month of winter and the water is as cold as it will get, so you’ll need a wetsuit for diving in Australia this month. You can expect water temperatures of around 20-22° C around the Great Barrier Reef. It can be windy at this time of year, so if you suffer from motion sickness, then we highly recommend you pack in some motion sickness meds. August sees Humpback Whales visiting the Outer Reefs especially, until late in September. The world’s only all-white Humpback Whale (the Migaloo) is a regular visitor to the Great Barrier Reef at this time of the year.

 

H3 – Australia Liveaboards in September – This is an awesome month to go diving in Australia! The trade winds have started to drop down and often you will have days with completely glassed-out conditions. Visibility is usually excellent at Great Barrier Reef dive sites and further north in the Coral Sea. Snappers and Red Throat Emperors, start to gather in the reef’s shallows in preparation for spawning this month, and look out for marine turtles feeding too!

 

H3 – Australia Liveaboards in October- Well into spring now, and the waters are warming up again. The winds have generally died down and diving conditions are mind-blowing – great visibility and loads of activity. Breeding activity begins for most seabird species, so if you happen to be going to an island, you may be able to experience some of the noise and activity. This is also the time for turtle mating and nesting, so expect to see more turtles around now. Diving all over Australia this month is amazing, especially the Great Barrier Reef in October!

 

H3 – Australia Liveaboards in November – Australia is heating up this month and so is the Great Barrier Reef, in preparation for its annual coral spawning! This month you can leave the wetsuits behind and return to the lycra suits, with water temperatures returning to around 27° C. This month you could stand a chance to see the reef come alive with decorator crabs, slipper lobsters, and palao worms.

 

H3 – Australia Liveaboards in December – Summer is upon Australia now. Humid days and nights with the clear, blue waters offering a cool retreat for divers. Visibility is good and there’s loads of life, following the recent coral spawning. Loads of fish breed in December. Keep an eye out for Nemo (anemonefish), with their bright orange eggs! Oh, and Triggerfish. Titan Triggerfish more specifically. Summer is their breeding season and the time of year when these fish can become quite aggressive – So listen up when your dive instructors are briefing you for your fast dive.

Australia Liveaboard Destinations

Coral Sea

Home to the Great Barrier Reef (which was deserving enough of a destination section of its own, just below) and a magnitude of other amazing dive sites and diving opportunities, the Coral Sea deserves to be jotted onto your bucket list for sure!

A marginal region of the South Pacific, the Coral Sea stretches from the Great Barrier Reef on the northeastern coast of Australia out to the islands of Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, and New Caledonia.

The Coral Sea is a region of plunging depths and seamounts rising steeply from the ocean floor, attracting pelagics like Hammerheads, and providing divers with excellent wall diving with around 40 m of visibility. In order to dive the best of the Coral Sea, you’ll need to travel by liveaboard, and the Spoilsport is one of the best ways to do just that.

Aboard a liveaboard, clear turquoise waters that surround you make for picturesque mornings and stunning evenings. However, just wait until you get a taste of the underwater world!

For beginners, this site quite literally never disappoints, with exciting fish action alongside colorful gorgonian fans, whips, and soft corals. Newby divers will have so much all around them to discover with no real need to feel left out if they can’t dive any deeper. Resident barracuda and schooling bigeye trevally are just two of the species to look forward to encountering.

Osprey Reef is a submerged atoll, sitting around 63 km away from any other reefs. Here, experienced divers will find vertical walls which rise from the deep, attracting many sharks. Grey reef, whitetip reef, and the occasional silvertip sharks have all been spotted on these exciting dives.

Encompassing some of the most popular and famous dive sites known to Australia, this is an overall amazing dive destination for divers of all levels, however, experienced divers will have a few more diving opportunities here. Booking a liveaboard and getting the chance to experience the Coral Sea for yourself is not a memory you’ll forget anytime soon. So what are you waiting for?

Dive into the Squads' Favourite Read

ATTENTION! Diving Squad Member – Do you love a great book? Yarp!? We already know you love diving

Dive Atlas of the World, offers a beautifully photographed and professionally detailed tour of the worlds best dive sites, including both classics and new discoveries.

This stunningly presented book covers everything from Wrecks to Reefs, Muck Dives to Macro Photography, Blue Holes to Epic Walls and adrenaline soaked Drift Dives

Get inspired, learn something brand new and prepare for your next diving adventure.

This is hands down the most informative, stunningly presented and all encompassing scuba diving book known to Diving Squad. 

The Great Barrier Reef / Cairns

Say hello to the only living structure on EARTH that can be seen from outer space. As if that cool fact wasn’t enough, it’s also the world’s largest and healthiest coral reef system. With sandstone formations covered with colorful corals, ledges, caverns, and pinnacles to explore, this is a destination not to be missed!

Home to a number of amazing dive sites, it’s no wonder diving the Great Barrier Reef is so popular with the diving community, here are the most popular dive sites in the Great Barrier Reef off Cairns:|

  • Pellowe Reef
  • Flynn
  • Milln
  • SS Yongala
  • Lizard Island
  • Ribbon Reefs
  • Holmes Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is comprised of picturesque tropical islands with some of the worlds most beautiful sun-soaked, golden beaches. A true beauty, one that not every traveler to Australia gets to experience, lies below the waves…

Diving is great year round, and each different season offers unique rewards. December through February mean excellent visibility and warmer waters (yay, no wetsuits), while June through November lures divers in with the promise of minke and humpback whale-spotting and coral spawning.

The colorful reefs around Flynn and Milln are perfect for spotting reef sharks, sea turtles, and macro critters, like ribbon eel.

The Great Barrier Reef also hosts some incredible night diving opportunities, thanks to its calm conditions and easy to navigate landscape of bommies, pinnacles, and sand. These conditions also make the Great Barrier Reef an excellent destination for the diver-noobs!

Further away from the shore, Pellowe Reef promises the more experienced divers some much-anticipated pelagic action. Schooling barracuda, Napoleon wrasse, and jacks make regular appearances, while manta rays and whale sharks are often spotted during colder months, as they migrate through the region.

Diving in the Great Barrier Reef is really awesome. Coral cays and continental islands, and even a famous artificial reef: the wreck of the SS Yongala. The wreck, which sank in 1911, is an isolated artificial reef that really attracts the ‘cool stuff’, including large schools of batfish and barracuda, swarms of jacks and even some sneaky sea snakes.

To really experience and appreciate the beauty of this stunning destination, one truly has to go and dive into it yourself.

We can tell you how crystal clear the waters are, we can sing the colorful coral gardens’ praises all we like… We could even tell you that the Great Barrier Reef will redefine your idea of paradise. Or you could just go and experience it for yourself.

How to Give up Plastic - A Crucial Guide

“It is one world. And it’s in our care. For the first time in the history of humanity, for the first time in 500 million years, one species has the future in the palm of its hands. I just hope he realises that that is the case.”
Sir David Attenborough
Broadcaster, Natural Historian and Knight.

Some 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year, devastating the marine ecosystem by killing countless fish, seabirds, turtles, marine mammals and other creatures. 

How to Give Up Plastic is the definitive guide to learning what you can do in your home, commune and workplace to start bringing about the end of our plastic dependent age.

It covers everything from easy wins such as using a reusable keep cup for your morning coffee, to lesser-known hacks like fixing a filter to your washing machine to catch some of the microfibres released from your clothes (microfibres are responsible for up to 30% of plastic in the ocean).

This is an essential overview of why we should all be working together no matter where we are in the world to reduce the amount of plastic being produce. Diving Squad is thoroughly committed to ending plastic pollution and marine conservation. 

Ningaloo Reef, Rowley Shoals & Western Australia

The Ningaloo Coast is located on the western coast of Australia. The UNESCO World Heritage site is isolated and has both amazing land expedition opportunities, as well as an abundantly beautiful marine life.

Quick Note: There are only 3 liveaboards that venture over to the western coast of Australia: The Shore Thing, The Reef Prince, and The Odyssey.

This destination provides divers and non-divers alike some many naturalist opportunities. Visit a hidden and very interesting Aboriginal Wandjina rock art gallery, try your luck at fishing and exploring the beaches, or explore Bigge Island and a stunning display of the distinctive and relatively modern Aboriginal rock art in beach caves.

What is most attractive of this region, however, is seen only once you’re geared up and made your way under the water! Western Australia, and especially Ningaloo Reef, is an out of this world diving experience. This destination provides you with the opportunity to swim with mighty whale sharks, the largest fish on the planet – it’s a divers dream.

The Abrolhos Islands are home to seriously cool nudibranchs and plenty of shipwrecks. There are 122 islands to explore, all of which boast their own collection of coral reefs and are perfectly suited to the beginner divers.

Catered to the more experienced diver, the Rowley Shoals features 3 separate coral atolls that are renowned in diving circles for its breathtaking wall dives. A unique opportunity to swim amongst giant clams and shellfish awaits you, all while exploring one of the ocean’s largest and most pristine coral gardens.

So if a unique experience is something you’re after, an experience quite different to the usual Great Barrier Reef dive sites, and the opportunity to dive where only a select few liveaboards ever travel – diving in Western Australia is the spot for just that.

Diving Squad Debriefing

Alright, Diving Squad! Well done, you’ve finally reached the end of your Australia pre-journey! Now it’s time to really get the ball rolling and book the actual trip. What are you waiting for – you’ve got all the info you need to know!

Now you are seriously well armed for liveaboards in Australia, thanks to this amazing article. From Osprey Reef all the way to the Rowley Shoals and beyond – you have all the info.

Knowing what to expect when scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef is fantastic, but not only are you clued up in that department, but you also have some seriously cool reviews on liveaboards in Australia too – From the best budget one to the coolest luxury one, and literally everything in between. There will be no surprising you, Diving Squad!

Gorgeous turquoise waters, lively underworlds and awesome islands… Australia has your name written all over it. Yes, Jimmy, we’re talking to YOU!

Don’t wait until spots fill up, fill them up yourself – before it’s too late!!

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Help Diving Squad with Marine Conservation

EPIC FAIL HUMANITY:

  • Over 18 billion pounds of plastic enters the World’s Oceans every year. That’s enough trash to cover every foot of coastline around the world with five full trash bags of plastic (Every. Year).

     

  • As well as containing it’s own toxic chemicals, like BPA, plastic absorbs even more potent toxins from other pollutants in the Ocean such as oil, untreated sewage and radioactive waste.

     

  • Plastic is indestructible and never degrades. Instead it simply breaks down into smaller pieces which accumulate together, en masse.

     

  • Today, each square mile of ocean has over 45,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.

     

  • Plastic is mistaken for food and eaten by marine animals. Because it can’t be digested, it fills their stomachs and causes them to starve to death.

     

  • For those “lucky” individuals that don’t eat plastic, the toxic chemicals present in every part of sea water from plastic, wreck havoc throughout the ecosystem causing changes in animals behaviour, immune systems and reproduction.

     

  • There are 200 known ‘dead zones’, or areas deprived of oxygen and devoid of life, (area between 1 and 70,000 km²),  in the world ocean, due to plastic: this number has doubled every decade since 1960.

     

  • Chemicals in heavily polluted waters can make their way back to us and cause serious health issues like reproductive problems, hormonal problems, kidney damage, and nervous system damage.

     

  • It’s estimated that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (by weight). AND IT’S GETTING WORSE

The Time to Act is NOW

To Diving Squad, the grizzly stats above are appalling, tragic and completely UNACCEPTABLE. That’s why we are working hard towards combating plastic pollution in the ocean.


How do we do this? Through spreading awareness, providing informative guides on eco friendly diving and donating
10% of all profits that we make towards combating plastic pollution in the Ocean.


So, how does Diving Squad make money? Through You! Every time you click on one of our painstakingly, yet lovingly researched liveaboard, gear or insurance links and spend money – we earn a % commission thanks to affiliate partnerships.


We then donate 10% of this towards Marine Conservation Schemes that target plastic pollution.


What does this mean? It means that if you book a Liveaboard through a Diving Squad link – some of that money goes directly towards Marine Conservation. Buy a piece of Gear through a Diving Squad link?

 Nice! You’ve just contributed money towards Marine Conservation. Booked yourself Diving Insurance through Diving Squad? Go, go Marine Conservation!


So help us…help you…help the Ocean. Together, we can do this.


To which Marine Conservation charity do we donate, you might ask?
Our squad is already hard at work selecting the ideal candidate. The winner will be announced at the end of 2019. Have a suggestion? We’d love to hear… If we pick your suggestion, there just might be something in it for you…


Contact us at: Alex Hatton:
[email protected] (Grand Admiral at Diving Squad).