Mike Ball Reef Diving & Sydney Tour [ST-DiveMB10]
13 Days: Mike Ball Reef Diving & Sydney Tour [ST-DiveMB10]
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Highlights & Inclusions
  • Accommodation - Cairns (1 Night), Live-Aboard Diving Expedition (7), Cairns (1), Sydney (2)
  • International Flights - Los Angeles to Cairns (via Sydney), Sydney to Los Angeles
  • Australian Domestic Flights - Cairns to Sydney
  • Shuttle Transfers - Cairns Airport to Accommodation (return), Cairns Accommodation to Live-Aboard Dive Boat (return), Sydney Airport to Accommodation (return)
  • All Other Day Tours are Optional and not included
  • Visa Issuance for entry into Australia (US$15.00 per person)
  • F.I.T. (Free & Independent Travel, i.e. this is not an Organized Group Tour)
  • All Taxes and Fuel Levies (Except where noted)
  • Itinerary is flexible and can be tailored to suit your needs.
Itinerary Details
Day 1 - International Flight - Los Angeles to Cairns

Shortly after departing Los Angeles you will be served dinner and you will be given breakfast before landing.

Relax, watch some movies, and try to get some sleep!

Please confirm with the airlines at Check-in that they have all your Frequent Flyer information on record.

Day 2 - Shuttle Transfer Cairns Airport to Accommodation

Travel by shuttle from the Cairns Airport to your vacation accommodation in Cairns, Australia.

Departures occur approximately 30 minutes after aircraft arrival-time for domestic flights. For international flights this will be considerably longer because of customs and other formalities.

Luggage restrictions apply as per standard economy Australian domestic flights of 2 standard bags under 30kg (66 lbs) per passenger. Excess baggage is AUD$5.00 per bag payable on board. If traveling with excess baggage please advise the shuttle company upon reservation confirmation so appropriate trailer size is available.

Days 2 to 3 - 1 Night Accommodation in Cairns

Travel to your accommodation Cairns, Australia, where you will be staying whilst on vacation for 1 night.

Your 4 Star vacation accommodation is located on the waterfront, overlooking Trinity Bay and the extensive parklands of Cairns, Australia. Elegantly appointed rooms with private balconies offer panoramic views to the Coral Sea or to Australia’s majestic rainforest clad mountains. The hotel facilities include a restaurant, wine bar, and swimming pool. Travel and experience Australia’s nature and culture by visiting the Great Barrier Reef or Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. Or travel along Captain Cook Highway and visit picturesque Mossman Gorge.

Days 3 to 10 - 8 Days Live-Aboard Diving Expedition

Coral Sea Safari. 7 nights – unlimited dives.
Imagine yourself as a feeling of excitement arises as you cruise north in the shelter of the Great Barrier Reef. Your choice of hot beverage delivered to your cabin begins the next day in a civilized way. On deck you are greeted by the fabulous turquoise waters of the Ribbon Reefs. To port is historic Cooktown to starboard is the vastness of the Coral Sea.

Day 1: Check-in and Departure
Cruise overnight to the magnificent Ribbon Reefs, the first stop on your 700km dive odyssey.

Day 2: Ribbon Reef #9 – Pixie Gardens, Cod Hole
Buddy up with diver size fish that dive with you at the Cod Hole!
Swim with giant potato cod, napoleon wrasse and moray eels.
Enjoy close encounters with huge Maori wrasse.
Anticipate spectacular coral gardens, spotted rays, reef sharks and green turtle sightings.
Night dive where decorator crabs, egg cowry shells, moray eels and crayfish are just a few of the creatures you can find.

Days 3 & 4: Coral Sea – Osprey Reef
Cruise 100 miles overnight to Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea.
Enjoy 40 meter (132ft) visibility with spectacular walls disappearing to 1000metres.
At North Horn swim with giant potato cod, napoleon wrasse, moray eels, tuna and barracuda.
Witness the resident shark population including grey whalers, whitetip reef sharks, silvertips and hammerheads.
Search for the commonly seen green and loggerhead turtles.
Find the caves, overhangs and spectacular walls adorned with huge soft coral trees and gorgonian fans.
Night dive.

Day 5: Lizard Island & Ribbon Reef #10 & #9 – Cod Wall, Cod Hole, Challenger Bay
Climb “Cook’s Look” at Lizard Island where Captain Cook searched for safe passage through the reef.
Explore the rarely dived Cod Wall at the outer reef edge that disappears into 60 meters (200ft).
Glide back towards the Cod Hole while enjoying the clear water and spectacular coral formations.
Choose to dive the Cod Hole again if you agree with us that one day is not enough to enjoy its diverse marine life.
Shallow but fantastic, Challenger Bay is extremely rich in biodiversity from spectacular coral gardens and unusual critters through to large schooling fish. Great night dive location watch out for Baza the Barra!

Day 6: Ribbon Reef #9, #5, #4 – Lighthouse Bommie, Pixie Pinnacle, Andy’s Postcard, Clam Beds, Vertical Gardens
Circumnavigate Pixie Pinnacle and Lighthouse Bommie shrouded in fusilier baitfish. Fluorescent purple and orange anthias attract predatory fish to these photogenic sites. Majestic Minke whales are seen here in June and July.
Rising from 80 meters the pinnacle of Andy’s Postcard is encrusted in had corals, lion fish, nudibranchs, octopus, schooling trevally and barracuda.
See spectacular giant clams at Clam Beds as well as caves, canyons and coral encrusted bommies awaiting exploration.
Sheer walls covered in whip corals and sea fans brim the natural amphitheatre of Vertical Gardens. Marine life varies from the many colourful nudibranchs to large schooling bump head parrotfish.
Night dive.

Day 7: Ribbon Reef #3 – Flare Point, Joani’s Joy, Steve’s Bommie
Spiral majestic coral pinnacles teeming with diverse marine life.
See huge schools of baitfish stalked by barracuda, mackerel and trevally.
Anticipate spectacular coral gardens, spotted rays, reef sharks and green turtle sightings.

Day 8: Dock
Early morning docking at Trinity Wharf – Cairns, breakfast, courtesy transfers to Cairns city hotels.

Note: Itinerary subject to change.

This itinerary has been designed to include the ‘prime’ Ribbon Reef sites that have restricted access.
If weather forces an itinerary change our surety of access to the prime Ribbon Reef sites is your guarantee of the best diving.
Additional Ribbon Reef sites: No Name Reef, Yonge Reef, Day Reef, Hicks Reef.
Drift dives with schooling fish at the northern Ribbon Reef passes between No Name Reef, Yonge Reef and Hicks Reef, can be substituted for the standard Monday itinerary.

Days 10 to 11 - 1 Night Accommodation in Cairns

Travel to your accommodation Cairns, Australia, where you will be staying whilst on vacation for 1 night.

Your 4 Star vacation accommodation is located on the waterfront, overlooking Trinity Bay and the extensive parklands of Cairns, Australia. Elegantly appointed rooms with private balconies offer panoramic views to the Coral Sea or to Australia’s majestic rainforest clad mountains. The hotel facilities include a restaurant, wine bar, and swimming pool. Travel and experience Australia’s nature and culture by visiting the Great Barrier Reef or Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. Or travel along Captain Cook Highway and visit picturesque Mossman Gorge.

Day 11 - Shuttle Transfer Cairns Accommodation to Airport

Travel by shuttle from your Cairns vacation accommodation to the Airport in Cairns, Australia.

Luggage restrictions apply as per standard economy Australian domestic flights of 2 standard bags under 30kg (66 lbs) per passenger. Excess baggage is AUD$5.00 per bag payable on board. If traveling with excess baggage please advise the shuttle company upon reservation confirmation so appropriate trailer size is available.

Day 11 cont - Australian Domestic Flight - Cairns to Sydney

Travel within Australia by domestic air from Cairns to Sydney.

Day 11 cont - Shuttle Transfer Sydney Airport to Accommodation

Travel by shuttle transfer from the Airport to your vacation accommodation in Sydney, Australia.

Days 11 to 13 - 2 Nights Accommodation in Sydney

Travel to your accommodation in Sydney, Australia, where you will be staying whilst on vacation for 2 nights in your studio room apartment.

Just 30 minutes from Sydney Airport, your accommodation is conveniently located between Darling Harbour and the Sydney CBD.

The friendly staff at your accommodation can attend to your every need with 24 hour guest reception. Enjoy a scrumptious breakfast at their signature restaurant.

Relax in a stylish and comfortable haven whilst being in close proximity to shopping at Westfield’s Pitt St Mall and Darling Harbour. Don’t forget to take a stroll down Pitt St towards Circular Quay to take in more of Sydney’s world famous sites- like the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Day 12 - Free Day to Explore Sydney

With Sydney at your fingertips, take the chance to explore the Darling Harbour area at your leisure, which is a modern collection of Shopping Malls, Parkland, Restaurants and Harbour Front activities.

Walk to Circular Quay and catch a ferry to our wonderful harbour-side Taronga Park Zoo, or take the 30 minute ferry ride to Manly Beach, Sydney’s premier beach resort. Here you can enjoy the laid back beach culture as well as many festivals and events. If you prefer to stay closer to downtown Sydney, Bondi Beach is approximately a 10 minute train ride and is one of Australia’s most famous and iconic beaches. Save some time to take a beach walk from Bondi Beach to Bronte Beach, it’s known to be a true highlight. If visiting on a weekend then go to the Rocks Market and shop for local Arts, Crafts & unique Australian Souvenirs.

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Opera House Tour

This inspiring tour provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to venture inside one of the world’s most recognised global landmarks.

This one hour tour outlines the intricate and controversial history of the Sydney Opera House along with details of the unique design of this architectural masterpiece. You will visit a number of the six performance venues, including the magnificent wood paneled Concert Hall and the Opera Theatre as well as the new Utzon room. You will also visit the glass enclosed northern foyer areas which boast spectacular views of Sydney Harbour – a perfect photo opportunity.

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Bridgeclimb

Reach new heights and climb the famous Harbour Bridge in Sydney!

Achieve exhilaration and personal satisfaction as you climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. For approximately 3.5 hours you and 11 other eager climbers will join a climb guide and weave through catwalks, climb up ladders and then arrive at the most spectacular point of all – the upper arch climb. The steady incline to the upper arch leaves you free to focus your attention on your Sydney experience, with opportunities for 360 degree views of Sydney, including east to the ocean, west to the mountains and the harbor city surrounds.


It is at this point that you not only have a bird’s eye view of the beautiful Sydney Harbour and the city, but have the exhilarating and rewarding experience of reaching the top of the iconic Harbour Bridge.

When you reach the top you will have a sense of achievement you’ll remember forever – you’ve conquered an Australian icon recognized the world over! No other Sydney tourist attraction can give you this feeling of standing at the top of the world, with the harbor spread before you.

All climbers will be issued a complimentary photograph of your climb group.

Operates: Daily, in all weather conditions (except in cases of extreme weather conditions like electrical storms or high winds).

Need to Know: Wear comfortable, enclosed rubber-soled shoes and comfortable clothing; Secure lockers will be provided to store your personal belongings; No cameras, phones, GoPros or other video and mobile devices are allowed on the climb; Children ages 8 – 15 must be accompanied by an adult. Children younger than 8 are not permitted on the climb; Maximum of 14 people per group.

Times: The climb lasts approximately 3.5 hours. Climbs are available at dawn (limited departures), day, twilight or night.

Inclusions: BridgeClimb cap; Certificate of Achievement; A complimentary Climb Group photo.

Photo Credit: BridgeClimb Sydney

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Blue Mountains

On your vacation, discover the spectacular Blue Mountains and see native wildlife Explore World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park, located outside of Sydney, Australia.

Discover the spectacular World Heritage listed Blue Mountains and see native wildlife. Stretching for over one million hectares, the Blue Mountains is an inspiring mix of rainforest, canyons, tall forests and heathlands, truly one of Australia’s natural one wonders.

Your first stop is at Echo Point where you can view the famous Three Sisters rock formation and hear the ancient Aboriginal legends of this impressive rock formation.

Visit the Waradah Aboriginal Centre and expreience Aboriginal song, dance, didgeridoo and culture.

Next, arrive at Scenic World where you will have free time to join the optional rides or grab some morning tea and enjoy the amazing views (own expense).

Discover Leura village, a delightful blend of groomed gardens and quaint shops. Enjoy free time to wander the streets of Leura and enjoy a delicious two course cafe style lunch at the Loaves and Dishes.

Next, experience an afternoon encounter at Featherdale Wildlife Park and have your photo taken with a cuddly koala, see kangaroos, wombats, dingoes and cute little penguins. Full Day Tour.

Depart approximately 8:00 AM, return at approximately 5:45 PM.

Upgrade to small group touring available – please inquire

Day 14 - Shuttle Transfer Sydney Accommodation to Airport

Travel by shuttle from your vacation accommodation in Sydney, Australia, to the Airport.

Day 14 cont - International Flight - Sydney to Los Angeles

Depart Sydney from the International Airport and fly to Los Angeles. Note: You will be traveling back across the International Date line so you will gain a day. You actually arrive in the USA on the same day you leave Australia.

  • a) All prices are USD$/person (including all Taxes). Subject to availability and seasonality. Other Conditions Apply (see Terms and Conditions).
  • b) Land Content Only represents the pricing for the full itinerary as detailed, except the International Flights from the USA (and return) are NOT included.
  • c) An Infant (Lapchild) must be less than 2 years old on the date of departure. Infant must travel with at least one adult. An infant with a seat pays the price of a Child.
  • d) A Child must be aged between 2-11 years on the date of departure. Child must travel with at least one adult.