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What Are The Cheapest Liveaboards Great Barrier Reef (Diving On A Budget)

What are the cheapest liveaboard great barrier reef - Diving on a budget large
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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 liveaboards diving the Great Barrier Reef option.

4 of the cheapest liveaboards Great Barrier Reef:

  1. The Coral Sea Dreaming.
  2. Pro Dive Cairns – M/V ScubaPro I,II or III.
  3. Ocean Quest Liveaboard.
  4. Rum Runner Liveaboard, Australia.

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.

The best way to dive the Great Barrier Reef, Australia is by a scuba diving liveaboard, especially the outer reefs. You can check the latest and best deals on Great Barrier Reef liveaboards using the following window:

All Australia dive liveaboards table

This list of all Australia liveaboards is in descending customer rating order, followed by Scuba Diving Luxury Rating (SDE Lux Rating, see below), so the liveaboards with the highest customer rating and the best SDE lux rating will be at the top of the list. If you want to change the list order, use the “Sort by” dropdown below.

Sort by:
Total Records Found: 8, showing 10 per page
Discover LiveaboardCustomer RatingSDE Lux Rating %Flexible BookingDive CoursesDietary RequirementsNitroxGear Rental
Review: Shore Thing Catamaran; Book: Shore Thing Catamaran 9.9 69% YES YES YES NO YES
Review: MY Spoilsport; Book: MY Spoilsport 9.4 73% YES YES YES YES YES
Review: MY Spirit of Freedom; Book: MY Spirit of Freedom 9.3 83% YES YES YES YES YES
Review: Coral Sea Dreaming; Book: Coral Sea Dreaming 9.2 62% YES YES YES NO YES
Review: MY Pro Dive Cairns; Book: MY Pro Dive Cairns 9.2 52% YES YES YES YES YES
Review: Rum Runner; Book: Rum Runner 9 44% YES YES YES NO YES
Review: MY Ocean Quest; Book: MY Ocean Quest 9 40% YES YES YES YES YES
Review: MY Odyssey; Book: MY Odyssey 8.6 60% YES NO YES NO YES

The Scuba Diving Earth Luxury Rating (SDE Lux Rating) is explained on each liveaboard review when you click the “Discover Liveaboard” link, and is my own Liveaboard Luxury Rating I’ve assigned to all liveaboards. Choosing between liveaboards is helped by customer scores, and if you get stuck choosing between two or three liveaboards, where each one has a high customer score out of 10, you can use the SDE Luxury Rating to help narrow down your choice.

Think about it like using when searching for the best hotel. also use a customer score where each customer rates hotels out of 10. This is similar to the liveaboard customer rating, which is also rated out of 10. But let’s say you only like to stay in hotels rated 8 and above on, but you also want the hotel to have WIFI or parking, or to have a swimming pool etc. The features each hotel has is usually secondary to the score out of 10.

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

1. Coral Sea Dreaming liveaboard

Coral Sea Dreaming - Cheap liveaboard Great Barrier Reef
Coral Sea Dreaming – Cheap liveaboard Great Barrier ReefCoral Sea Dreaming – Cheap liveaboard Great Barrier Reef – Image courtesy

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. search GBR-scroll

2. Pro Dive Cairns – M/V ScubaPro I,II or III

Pro Dive Cairns liveaboard Great Barrier Reef
Pro Dive Cairns – image courtesy of

The Pro Dive Cairns liveaboards are 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.

3. Ocean Quest Liveaboard

Ocean Quest Liveaboard - Budget liveaboard Great Barrier Reef

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.

4. Rum Runner Liveaboard, Australia

Charter dive liveaboard Great Barrier Reef

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.

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…

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef | beautiful underwater nature | Scuba Diving the Ribbon Reefs HD
The Ribbon Reefs are a string of ten large reefs that together form the outer edge of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. One feature of the Ribbons is that they serve to shelter the inner reef from big storm damage.

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.
  • Moray 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.

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!

What Are The Cheapest Liveaboards Great Barrier Reef (Diving On A Budget)

Article written by Russell Bowyer who has been a scuba diver since diving on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia in 1989. After his first dive he trained as a BSAC diver in the UK. He attained his Diver Leader certification with BSAC. He then went on to become a scuba diving instructor, teaching others how to dive and was voted as Diving Officer and Treasurer for the Saffron Walden BSAC club too. Russell has dived all over the world, including the UK, on liveaboards in the Red Sea, the Caribbean, South Africa and the USA. Russell is experienced in all dive types, including drift diving, deep dives that involved decompression stops and recreational dives too.

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