These are the cheapest liveaboard boats on the Great Barrier Reef

If you’re wondering ‘how much does it cost to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef‘, this depends. The answer to this question depends on whether you’re land based or scuba diving from a liveaboard boat. For this post I’m going to explore the cheapest liveaboard great barrier reef option.

What are the cheapest liveaboard great barrier reef - Diving on a budget

If you are on a budget with your scuba diving travel, you'll probably be looking for the cheapest liveaboard boats for scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef. But just because the liveaboard is cheap, this doesn't mean the diving experience is cheap too. The cheapest liveaboard Great Barrier Reef will be as stunning as the most expensive, as they’re on the same reef.


Liveaboard diving the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is probably on most scuba diver's bucket list. It was the place where I first scuba dived, and what a place to begin my scuba diving experiences!

The Great Barrier Reef stretches for 2300 kilometres (1,437 niles) along the east coast of Australia's Queensland. The reef can be seen from outer-space. This world famous dive site has unrivaled natural beauty and is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

The Great Barrier Reef is a World Heritage Site, and is one of the top dive destinations on planet earth!

Top sea creatures of the Great Barrier Reef

Top sea creatures of the Great Barrier Reef to see from a liveaboard

The sea creatures of The Great Barrier Reef are too numerous to list completely, but here's a taster:

  • Reef fish of all shapes, sizes and colour, which includes the infamous Clownfish, which was featured on Disney’s Finding Nemo.
  • Sea turtles - 5 of the 6 species of sea turtle including green turtles and loggerheads.
  • Moral eels.
  • Manta rays.
  • Eagle rays.
  • Nudibranchs, shrimps, lobsters and crabs.
  • Sea snakes.
  • Minke whales.
  • Humpback whales.
  • Dolphins.
  • Giant potato cod of Cod Hole.
  • Grey reef, whitetip and blacktip reef sharks.
  • Hammerhead sharks.
  • Silky sharks.
  • Tiger sharks.
  • Wobbegong sharks.
  • Nurse sharks.

Some of the above sea creatures only visit the Great Barrier Reef at certain times of the year. For example, the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef to see the Humpback Whales and Dwarf Minke Whales is between July and August.

The best budget diving liveaboards for the Great Barrier Reef

These are the best low priced and affordable liveaboards trips to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef:

4 cheap liveaboards on the Great Barrier Reef

Coral Sea Dreaming - Cheap liveaboard Great Barrier Reef
Coral Sea Dreaming - Cheap liveaboard Great Barrier Reef - Image courtesy Liveaboard.com
  1. Coral Sea Dreaming - This is a cheap liveaboard sailboat, which is a steel ketch with a beautiful wooden interior. Diving is focused around the Outer Great Barrier Reef. This includes famous reefs such as Flynn Reef and Milln Reef. This is an uncrowded liveaboard boat which caters for just 12 guests. She is just 18 metres (60 feet) in length and has just 4 air conditioned cabins. The Coral Sea Dreaming is also available for charter too. Itinerary includes 2 days 1 night dive trips to dive and sail. But note that when you book this liveaboard it's for the cruise only. But a 4-day dive package can be added at an additional charge. Open water certification is required and no minimum logged dives.

    Review of Coral Sea Dreaming - 4.5 Stars out of 5, rated 9.1 Superb!

    Jan and Cam were real personalities and with a group of 10 divers the atmosphere created was terrific. The dive experience day and night was superb. 'Shark life was plentiful and dive sites were stunning.' The boat was sail and motor which was relaxing. The dive sites were incredible. A relaxing trip with great team of people. 10 out of 10 Exceptional 5 stars out of 5! Stuart M - The United Kingdom.
    Pro Dive Cairns - MV ScubaPro I - Cheapest liveaboard Great Barrier Reef
  2. Pro Dive Cairns - M/V ScubaPro I - Perfect for the budget conscious diver with limited time to spend diving on vacation. This low budget option is a 24 metre (78.5 feet) liveaboard boat. She's designed for 32 guests and caters for scuba diving and snorkeling. Accomodation is in 14 twin cabins and 2 doubles. Dive trips are for 2 nights and 3 days and offers outer reef locations on the Great Barrier Reef. Offering up to 11 dives in total with two night dives. All the cabins have TV, DVD and en-suite facilities. Open Water certification or equivalent is required, plus at least four logged dives. Nitrox is available onboard and DIN Adapters. Departs Monday and Friday.

    Reviews of M/V ScubaPro I - 4.5 Stars out of 5, rated 9.2 Superb!

    Amazing trip, great value! "This was amazing! Usually diving trips for a 2-tank day dive are ~$250 per person but for about $600 per person (USD), we had 11 dives, all our gear, housing and unlimited food. The value was incredible and the experience of diving the Great Barrier Reef for 3 days was truly unforgettable. Pro Dive Cairns also made it very easy as they picked us up and dropped us off before and after the dive trip. At the end we all celebrated at a restaurant/bar. We made new friends, saw wonderful reefs, and made great memories. Highly recommend! Great food - fresh and healthy! Fun diving and exploring the reefs". Excellent crew and other travelers to get to know. 9.6 out of 10, Exceptional 5 stars out of 5! Mary B - United States.
    Ocean Quest Liveaboard - Budget liveaboard Great Barrier Reef
  3. Ocean Quest Liveaboard - Australia's Ocean Quest liveaboard is a cheap Great Barrier Reef diving liveaboard option. A 36 metre (118 feet) catamaran catering for up to 48 guests. This cheap liveaboard offers dive trips to the magnificent Outer Great Barrier Reef in Australia. All 22 cabins have an en-suite bathroom and air conditioning, plus a TV. Offering trips for snorkelers to beginner or introductory divers through to fully certified divers too. In June and July you will hopefully get to meet the Minke Whale. Plus the chance to jump in and see the Great Barrier Reef sharks at night. Itineraries from 2 days 1 night to 6 days 5 nights. On the longer trip there's the opportunity to dive up to 21 dives in total. Dive sites include Norman Reef, Saxon Reef and Hastings Reef. Nitrox and dive gear rental is available on board. Certified divers need an Open Water certification and a minimum of 4 logged dives.

    Review of Ocean Quest Liveaboard - 4.5 out of 5 star, rated 8.9 fabulous

    Fantastic, safety-minded crew. Highly recommend! "Had a great second trip out on Ocean Quest. The dives were fun and easy to navigate. Lots of beautiful coral and plentiful marine life to see on the Great Barrier Reef. Accommodation was spacious with a private bathroom. It gets a bit chilly in the rooms at night, so dress/pack accordingly. I've been on three different liveaboards in Cairns and you really cannot find a better value for your money. This liveaboard is all about the diving and the crew really shines when it comes to the safety of the divers and all of their equipment. If you prefer guided dives, they are $15 aud per dive, which is a small price to pay considering the budget price paid for the trip. Otherwise, it's easy to find a good partner to help you navigate the different dive sites. If your looking to get lots of great dives on the Great Barrier Reef with a professional, safety-conscious crew, I highly recommend that you book Ocean Quest." Value, safety and great diving! 5 stars out of 5,10 out of 10, Exceptional - Vicky H United States
    Rum Runner Liveaboard Australia - cheapest liveaboard great barrier reef
  4. Rum Runner Liveaboard, Australia - Another cheap liveaboard sailboat for scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef. Catering for up to 16 guests in four small cabins. Not the dive trip suited for those looking for privacy, but great if you're scuba diving on a budget! Itineraries include 2 day, 1 night trips to 4 day 3 nights. On the 4 day trip you get to dive up to 9 dives in total. Open water diver certification and a minimum of 4 logged dives is a requirement. For those of you who want to scuba dive with sharks, there's the 3-night Coral Sea shark-diving trip. DIN adapters are available and diving equipment rental onboard.

    Review of the Rum Runner Liveaboard - 4 out of 5 stars, 8.5 Fabulous


    Felt as though we had a real diving experience without unnecessary comforts and distractions. "Improved diving skills, beautiful reefs, interesting conversations with people from around the world." Professional dives, good company, escape from the internet. 4.5 stars out of 5, 8.8 Fabulous - Eric D United States.

Great Barrier Reef diving difficulty

The Great Barrier Reef is suitable for all diver levels. The diving is mostly easy and can range from 1 metres (3 feet) through to 30 metres (100 feet) of depth. Of course to dive the deeper dives to 30 metres, you'll need the relevant certification and logged dives.

However, many of the dives will not be any deeper than around 20 metres (66 feet), which is suitable for Open Water divers or equivalent.

The visibility in the Great Barrier Reef lends itself to both beginner scuba divers right through to experienced divers who appreciate clear blue water diving in warm seas.

Most of the above cheap liveaboard boats for the Great Barrier Reef require Open Water diver certification or equivalent.

Great Barrier Reef video taster

Here's a taster of what it's like to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef...

I hope you enjoyed this article about the cheapest liveaboard great barrier reef

I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkeling, in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof Gopro’s!

If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkeling or types of scuba diving (or specifically about the cheapest liveaboard great barrier reef), please comment below with your questions.

There will also be many more articles about scuba diving (and snorkeling) for you to read and learn about these fabulous sports.

Have fun and be safe!


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