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Rum Runner

Diving Squad Rating:


8.3 / 10

Rum Runner is a budget friendly, multi-share hostel on water, for scuba divers. 

Visiting some of the most remote dive sites the Great Barrier Reef has to offer, she has a fun and laid back vibe. 

Great for: Unique Trips, Short Trips, Beginners, Singles, Low Cost. 

Trip Lengths: 2 – 4 days

Max Guest Capacity: 16


The 2 day trip explores Thetford reef which lies on the Outer Great Barrier reef.  Divers will experience shallow coral gardens, towering pinnacles, swim throughs as well as a spectacular night dive. There’s 6 dives in total and you only need your open water cert plus 4 logged dives.

The 4 day “Coral Sea Shark Diving Expedition” has 9 dives; including a shark feed dive and ventures to the remote Holmes reef, which lies 90 miles outside of  the Great Barrier Reef. 

Holmes reef is famous for sharks, awesome visibility and large pelagic fish. There’s many caves, wall dives and truly epic dives to be enjoyed, with a range of beginner friendly and also more challenging dive sites. Guests can embark on this tour with just open water cert and 4 logged dives. Besides Spoilsport, Rum Runner is the only liveaboard to visit Holmes reef!

For both trips, divers can either follow the dive leader, or if they have more experience, are allowed to buddy off without a guide. 

With multi-share twin single bunk areas, semi-private twin single bunk cabins and a 4 share single bunk cabin, Rum Runner is the equivalent of a multi share hostel on water.

Admittedly these cabins are not very private or spacious, but they’re more than adequate for resting at the end of the day. There’s also a cool, laid back social buzz onboard. 

There are charging areas for cameras and phones as well as male and female shared bathrooms with hot water shower.

All meals are included on the boat but there is a bring your own alcohol policy – no glass is allowed. This can be a bit of a hassle!

For common areas, there’s an open salon and galley in addition to open and covered deck areas. These aren’t very spacious, but do remember that Rum Runner is the joint second cheapest Great Barrier Reef liveaboard!

Guest Reviews:

Eric DUnited States
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"Improved diving skills, beautiful reefs, interesting conversations with people from around the world".
Julie LSwitzerland
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"Really nice dives with some through "coral tunnel", a night dive and a really good time just chilling on the boat. Great experience"!
Sheridan VAustralia
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"Mystery - towering coral columns and swim throughs made this site something special".

Other Features:

  • Camera station

  • Separate rinse for u/w camera

  • Snorkelling equipment

  • Sun deck

  • Outdoor dining

  • Aircon cabins

  • Snacks all day

  • Western and local food

  • Vegetarian and vegan options

Ananda S from the United States said:

“Music onboard, hot shower after the dive, the rocky boat sleeping experience, the gorgeous fish, coral, and caverns on the reef.

1) Captain PJ with his reef talk and guitar playing, 2) Kate and her excellent briefings, friendliness, and professionalism, and 3) the amazing underwater beauty”.

Don’t forget you can check out our main article on the Best Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard here.

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Written by:

Picture of Alex
Scuba fanatic, travel ecstatic and loveable rogue. A rootless divemaster and perpetual adrenaline-junky, Alex holds the esteemed rank of Grand Admiral of the Diving Squad; a title he most nobly awarded to himself. A scuba-junky since 2014, he's dived much of the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Maldives, Red Sea, Ireland, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. It's hard to say where he'll pop up next for he never settles; forever a leaf on the wind... or perhaps a lone bubble blasted along on the current.