Liveaboard Dive & Sydney, Australia [ST-DiveSOF2]
14 Days: Liveaboard Dive & Sydney, Australia [ST-DiveSOF2]
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Highlights & Inclusions
  • Must depart the US on a Friday
  • Accommodation - Cairns (1 Night), Liveaboard Diving Vessel (7), Cairns (2), Sydney (2)
  • US Domestic Flights and International Flights are not included. Flights may be added as per your request.
  • Australian Domestic Flights - Brisbane to Cairns, Cairns to Sydney
  • Shuttle Transfers - Cairns Airport to Accommodation (Return), Sydney Airport to Accommodation (Return)
  • Overnight Tours Inculded - Cairns: 7 Night Liveaboard Dive Expedition Great Barrier Reef
  • Live-Aboard Diving Expedition includes: Transfers to/ from Cairns city accommodation, Opportunity for 24 to 26 dives, En-suite cabin with daily service, Chef prepared meals, Australian wines & soft drinks with evening meal. Starting price reflects Quad Share Cabin.
  • Day Tours Included - Sydney: Sydney Opera House Tour
  • 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
Fri (Day 1) - Hometown to Los Angeles (Check quote for inclusion)

Travel by domestic air to your destination.

If you request US domestic air pricing, this inclusion will be reflected in your quote.

Fri (Day 1) - International Flight, USA to Australia (check quote for inclusion)

Travel by international air to your destination.

International air to your destination is not included in the starting price. If you requested international air, this inclusion will be reflected in your quote.

Sun (Day 2)- Australian Domestic Flight from Brisbane to Cairns

Travel within Australia by domestic air from Brisbane to Cairns.

Sun (Day 2)- Shuttle Transfer from Cairns Airport to the 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.

Sun-Mon (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 4.5 star accommodation combines contemporary decor with a tropical ambience. The magnificent location of this 176 room hotel is perfect for exploring the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest or Kuranda and the Atherton Tablelands. Other nearby highlights include: Cairns Casino, Marlin Jetty, the Esplanade and the Night Markets. Unwind with a cocktail by the pool or bar followed by a sumptuous meal at the award winning Bushfire Flame Grill.

All rooms and suites have individual balconies, individually controlled air conditioning, refrigerator, television, broadband internet access, hair dryer, iron and ironing board, along with tea and coffee making facilities. Facilities include: 24 hr reception, tour desk, wireless internet, Bushfire Flame Grill, bar, pool, business services on request, coin operated laundry on four floors, room service, laundry & dry cleaning.

Mon-Mon (Days 3 to 10) - 7 Nights Liveaboard Diving Expedition of the Great Barrier Reef

For Live-Aboard diving enthusiasts this live aboard dive trip represents the ultimate dive vacation. Dives include Osprey Reef, on the Coral Sea with other sites such as Cod Hole, Dynamite Pass, North Horn, Bougainville Reef, Steve’s Bommie, Temple of Doom and Flare Point. With Gourmet Meals and the Outstanding Level of Service you will feel like you are aboard your own private yacht.

Day 1: Depart Cairns & Dive

Board Spirit of Freedom at 11:15am at Trinity Wharf (complimentary transfers from Cairns city hotels are available) for a 12 noon departure. Lunch will be served on board while we cruise to the Great Barrier Reef for an afternoon orientation dive and a twilight or night dive.

Days 2 & 3: Diving Ribbon Reefs

These two days are spent diving at the most northern of the Ribbon Reefs, Number 9 & 10 Ribbon Reefs, 120 miles to the north of Cairns. You will dive at the Cod Hole, where you encounter a family of massive and very friendly Potato Cod. Other sites may include Wonder-wall, Pixie Pinnacle, Challenger Bay, Two Towers, Lighthouse Bommie, and the Snake Pit, just to name a few. 4 to 5 dives will be available each day, including a night dive on Day 2. On Day 3 you will overnight at beautiful Watson’s Bay, Lizard Island, and enjoy a sunset BBQ dinner on the top deck.

Day 4: Mountain Walk & More Diving

This morning some of guests will depart at Lizard Island and some new guests will join the vessel. There will be time for a morning walk on the island. This afternoon we will have the opportunity for two dives at a choice of sites such as the Cod Hole, Pixie Pinnacle and Challenger Bay before departing in the evening for the Coral Sea.

Days 5 & 6: Dive Osprey Reef

Osprey Reef. Australia’s Coral Sea reefs are renowned for crystal clear water with average visibility in excess of 100 feet. Two days can be spent diving at Osprey Reef, including North Horn, well known for its shark action. You can expect to see grey whalers, silvertips, reef sharks, occasional hammerheads, schooling barracuda, trevally, and other pelagics. The landscape is amazing with sheer walls laced with gorgonians, sea whips, and bright yellow soft corals, rising from thousands of feet below.

Day 7: Dive Bougainville Reef or in the Ribbon Reefs

After overnight travel back to the Great Barrier Reef arrive at Ribbon Reefs Number 3 where you will dive such sites as the sensational Steve’s Bommie, Temple of Doom, and Flare Point. A second option for this day, in special weather conditions, is to head south from Opsrey to Bougainville Reef, known for its unusual underwater landscape and caverns, and its partially submerged wreck. This evening you will cruise overnight back to Cairns.

Day 8: Arrive in Cairns

Arrive Cairns approximately 06:30am. Breakfast will be served on board and hotel transfer will be arranged for approx 07:30am.

Operates
Departs every Monday

Need to Know
Please note that above itinerary is a sample only and sites may vary, or the sequence may change. Access to the Cod Hole and the Coral Sea is weather conditional and while every attempt will be made to keep to the advertised itinerary, the Coral Sea and specific sites on the Great Barrier Reef are not guaranteed.

Diver experience recommendation: Advanced Diver certification with minimum 20 ocean dives including 5 dives in the last 12 months.

Diver Health: If you have a medical condition or are currently taking prescription medication, you will need a medical clearance. For further details refer to our Diver Information form or contact our Reservations team.

Luggage Restrictions: Due to light aircraft restrictions, your total weight of your luggage is limited to 20 kilograms/ 45 lb per person, including your dive gear and carry-on luggage.

Snorkelers: The (at times) deeper reefs tops and swift currents of the Coral Sea, make the Coral Sea reefs only suitable for very experienced snorkelers and strong swimmers with a high level of fitness. You may not be able to snorkel at every site. Please note that while you may be safe under the watchful eye of the ‘look-out’ crew, a snorkel buddy may not always be available and you may be required to snorkel alone and to wear floatation equipment.

Room Types Available are: Ocean View Deluxe, Ocean View Standard, Stateroom, Double/Twin, Quad Share (paired with other divers)

Mon-Wed (Days 10 to 12) - 2 Nights Accommodation in Cairns

Travel to your accommodation Cairns, Australia, where you will be staying whilst on vacation for 2 nights.

Your 4.5 star accommodation combines contemporary decor with a tropical ambience. The magnificent location of this 176 room hotel is perfect for exploring the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest or Kuranda and the Atherton Tablelands. Other nearby highlights include: Cairns Casino, Marlin Jetty, the Esplanade and the Night Markets. Unwind with a cocktail by the pool or bar followed by a sumptuous meal at the award winning Bushfire Flame Grill.

All rooms and suites have individual balconies, individually controlled air conditioning, refrigerator, television, broadband internet access, hair dryer, iron and ironing board, along with tea and coffee making facilities. Facilities include: 24 hr reception, tour desk, wireless internet, Bushfire Flame Grill, bar, pool, business services on request, coin operated laundry on four floors, room service, laundry & dry cleaning.

Tues (Day 11) - Free Day to Explore Cairns

Take the day and explore what could be considered the capital of the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns!

A major outlet to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest amongst its many attractions, the tropical paradise of Cairns is sure to enchant you. With many area activities centrally located there’s enough to occupy everyone in the family because Cairns literally has it all! Have a visit to the Esplanade where you can experience all walks of life and make memories. With a nightlife that caters to singles and families alike you’re visit will be filled with so many things to do, so take a deep breath and have fun!

Photo Credit: Tropical Tablelands Tourism

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Kuranda Heritage

A wonderful day awaits as you are transported on the historic Kuranda Scenic Rail to Kuranda. The Kuranda Boarding Pass ensures preferential seating, discounted entry into selected Kuranda Attractions and a detailed map is also included. Rainforestation, set in 40 hectares of lush gardens, is your next stop. Board the amphibious Army Duck and enjoy the Koala & Wildlife Park. Transfer back to Kuranda, then it’s time to board Skyrail for your return journey.



Check in: Our Driver will check you in at your accommodation using our Kuranda Boarding pass, offering pre-allocated seating on the Kuranda Scenic Rail and Skyrail, preferential seating on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, a detailed map of Kuranda, and discounted entry into selected Kuranda Attractions.




Kuranda Scenic Rail : At the scheduled time board the famous Kuranda Scenic Rail. An amazing journey awaits you as you travel one of the world’s most scenic rail routes, through hand-hewn tunnels and over bridges spanning spectacular gorges.

Kuranda Village : Once you arrive at beautiful Kuranda Station, you have ample time to explore the many and varied shops, as well as the Heritage Markets which operate daily.

Rainforestation : Your shuttle coach will transfer you to Rainforestation, set in 40 hectares of lush gardens and tropical rainforest, where a number of unique attractions await you. Board the unusual amphibious Army Duck for a different look at the rainforest. Also included in your tour is the Koala & Wildlife Park. The shuttle bus will then take you back to Kuranda.

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway: Board Skyrail, an experience which takes you over the rainforest canopy with stops along the way allowing you to take a stroll or visit the CSIRO Interpretive Centre. Our hostess will meet you on completion of Skyrail and will assist with your return transfer to your accommodation.

Operates Daily Pick Up Between 7-8am Return at 5:30 approximately

Upgrade to Gold Class: Dedicated host service; Individual seating, lounge-style chairs; Quality refreshments including sparkling Australian wine, beer, orange juice, soft drink, ice water, mocktails, tea, coffee and appetisers and a chilled refresher towel during the journey; Ambient, historical décor, including timber look flooring, historical photographs and cedar interior; Kuranda Scenic Railway gift pack including Kuranda Scenic Railway badge, pen, postcard and postage; Souvenir trip guide

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Cape Tribulation Safari

Enjoy a day exploring the rainforest and amazing landscapes of the Cape Tribulation wilderness area with a visit to Mossman Gorge Center and Cape Tribulation.



Mossman Gorge Centre: Visit the Mossman Gorge Gateway Centre for morning tea before boarding your shuttle for the transfer into Mossman Gorge. Your driver/guide will take you for a guided walk, sharing their knowledge of this enchanting rainforest environment. Learn about the fascinating secrets of one of the world’s oldest tropical rainforests.



Daintree River Cruise: Reach an understanding of this wildlife environment for one hour, habitat of birds, tree snakes, unique plants and of course the estuarine crocodile.

Tropical Lunch: With special access at a private rainforest property, enjoy a short walk along a delightful rainforest creek before a delicious tropical lunch. Choice of quality steak, fish or vegetarian meal with fresh salads and fruit platter, followed by coffee or Daintree Tea.

Cape Tribulation: Walk on this world-renowned rainforest beach and admire the coastline and fringing coral reef from the Kulki Lookout.

Daintree Ice Cream Company: Enjoy an afternoon refreshment at the Daintree Ice Cream Company. Included is a delicious cup of exotic fruit ice cream, made from fruit grown on their on-site orchard. Gluten / Dairy free options are available.

Alexandra Lookout: After winding through the rainforest of the Alexandra Range, enjoy this spectacular lookout over the Daintree River estuary, Snapper Island and beyond to the Coral Sea.

Operates: Daily (Does not operate on Christmas Day); Departs from Cairns around 6:45am & Returns around 7:00pm; Departs Port Douglas around 7:45am & Returns around 6:00pm

Includes: Return Hotel Transfers from Cairns & Port Douglas; Professional driver/guide; Mossman Gorge Centre with Morning Tea, Driver Guided Walk in Mossman Gorge; Daintree River Cruise; Lunch at Noah Valley in rainforest setting, Cape Tribulation Beach & boardwalk; Daintree Ice Cream Company; Alexandra Lookout

Need to Know: Tour not recommended for children under 4yrs due to the length of the tour & time spent in the vehicle.

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - White Water Rafting (Half Day, Afternoon)

Discover a fun and exciting way to discover the pristine rainforest, with a half day of rafting on the Barron River!

Located just 20 minutes outside of Cairns, the half day raft is perfectly suited for the first time adventurer! This tour can be arranged from Cairns, the Northern Beaches or Port Douglas.

No previous experience is necessary to raft these exhilarating grade 1 to 3 rapids through the majestic scenery of Barron Gorge National Park. You don’t even need to know how to swim as you will be fitted with a helmet and lifejacket and have your experienced river guide at your side.

Here you can feel the rush of rafting within the awesome wilderness of Australia’s tropical rainforests with operations all year round, tropical water temperatures and breath-taking scenery and rapids. So take a ride through our planet’s oldest continuously growing tropical rainforests on rivers that still run totally wild. Take home the memories and be sure to smile as professional photographers take your pictures which are available for purchase at the end of the day! Last stop is at the cafe where you can take a break and have some drinks before returning to your accommodation.

Includes: Transfers to/from Cairns accommodations (Transfers from Port Douglas also available with 3 hours of free time to explore Cairns), 2 hours of rafting, equipment: life jacket, helmet, spray jacket and experienced river guide, light refreshments

Operation Days: Daily; Estimated Times: Departs: 2:15pm & Return: 5:00pm
Minimum Ages: 13 years or older; Payable on Board: AUD$25.00 Environmental Levy

Upgrade Available (extra cost): Full Day Tully River (Grades 3-4)

Need to Know:
By booking this tour you confirm that you do not have a medical condition that would make it unsafe to participate. If you are pregnant you will be unable to raft. If you have a medical condition or are unsure that you are physically able to participate, we recommend that you consult with a medical practitioner.
Prior to your rafting trip you will be required to complete a medical questionnaire and sign our liability waiver (either online or on paper).

Insiders Tip: Visit The Esplanade

Experience the leisure atmosphere at the playground for locals and tourists alike at The Esplanade in Cairns!

With so many activities available The Esplanade has always been a focal point for this city. This is a place that literally has everything! Take a stroll and do some bird watching on the boardwalk but as you enjoy the views don’t forget to stop off at Foreshore Promenade for a bite to eat at the many available restaurants. Access to The Lagoon is easy here which is set overlooking the Barrier Reef and Trinity inlet and features all year free swimming where you can take a dip in this filtered saltwater lagoon. Let the kids can play in the sandy edges and in the shallow waters while you lounge on the semi-shaded timber decks. For the kids, don’t miss out on the Trinity Bay foreshore playground “Muddy” with equipment for all ages. For the older kids, stop off at the Skate Park to see some skaters and BMXers in action! Whether you decide to take a morning jog, fly a kite or just relax in the large grassy areas for some lunch you will surely enjoy the tropical lifestyle!

If you happen to be in Cairns on a Saturday be sure to check out the Weekend Markets which feature only locally made arts and crafts, clothing and much more. While you’re there listen out for the live music and fun street characters. The market gets into full swing on the promenade (just by the lagoon) every Saturday between 8am – 4pm.

Lagoon Hours: All Year, 6am-9pm
Closed Wednesdays until midday for maintenance

Wed (Day 12) - Shuttle Transfer from the Accommodation to Cairns Airport

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

Wed (Day 12) - Australian Domestic Flight from Cairns to Sydney

Travel within Australia by domestic air from Cairns to Sydney.

Wed (Day 12) - Shuttle Transfer from Sydney Airport to the Accommodation

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

Wed-Fri (Days 12 to 14) - 2 Nights Accommodation in Sydney

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

Your accommodation is located on George Street, right in the heart of the city, with easy access to major attractions such as Sydney Harbour, Darling Harbour, Chinatown, and all the shopping of the CBD.

Wed (Day 12) - Sydney Opera House Tour (1 Hour)

On your vacation, participate in an inspiring tour of the Sydney Opera House.


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.


Upgrade to Opera House Tour & Tasting Plate Available

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Rocks Aboriginal Dreaming Tour

Be touched by the most ancient human culture on earth on a 90-minute leisurely walkabout with an Aboriginal guide in The Rocks, and Journey into Dreamtime, the culture of Aboriginal People.

The Rocks Dreaming Aboriginal Heritage Tour is 100% Aboriginal owned and was developed by Aboriginal Elder, Margret Campbell, a Dunghutti-Jerrinjah woman. It is led by Aboriginal guides who have Margret’s permission to share her cultural knowledge and interpretation of Sydney’s Dreamtime Symbology – all within Sydney’s natural billion year old saltwater harbour and marine environment, sandstone strata, fresh waterways, flora and fauna that continue to influence Aboriginal people’s thinking and lifestyle today in cosmopolitan Sydney.

The tour content is grounded in Aboriginal Culture with Aboriginal guides who are experts in culture, horticulture and storytelling. The journey will begin with a traditional OCHRE acknowledgement of Earth Mother’s EORA Cadigal heritage. This is further showcased in an interactive leisurely ‘walking on county experience’ that will connect you to the living wisdoms inherent in Sydney’s natural waterways, skies, and landscape.

This 90 minute walkabout tour in The Rocks is a perfect introduction of Aboriginal Culture. It highlights the perspective of Sydney’s Dreamtime heritage that is intimate, enlightening and very informative.

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Harbour Cruise Express (Hop on Hop off)

On your vacation explore Darling Harbour in Sydney, Australia with this unlimited full day pass, or take the 1 1/2 hour round trip cruise and see all the main harbour sights with commentary.

Hop On and Hop Off at up to seven famous harbour attractions with this unlimited full day pass, or simply take the 1 1/2 hour round trip cruise and see all the main harbour sights with commentary.

The Harbour Express stops at:
Fort Denison: The historic island and cafe in the middle of Sydney Harbour.
Taronga Zoo: Discover Australia’s amazing wildlife including koalas, platypus and kangaroos.
Shark Island: This island national park is the perfect destination for a BYO picnic lunch, complete with a small beach area for swimming.
Watson’s Bay: Home of Doyle’s famous seafood restaurant and only a short walk to beautiful harbour swimming beaches, HMAS Watson and headland parks.
Luna Park: Sydney’s famous fun park with rides and games, or walk across the Harbour Bridge from Milsons Point station.
Darling Harbour: Aquarium & Wildlife World, Australian Maritime Museum, shops, restaurants and only a short stroll or Monorail to Sydney Tower, Star City Casino, Powerhouse Museum and China Town.
Circular Quay: The Rocks historic precinct, weekend markets, Opera House, Royal Botanic Gardens and Harbour Bridge pylon.

(Additional Fees apply for Park Entry to Fort Denison, Shark Island & Taronga Zoo).

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Sydney Harbour Bridgeclimb Adventure (3 Hours)

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

Insider's Tip: Australian Opals

View the world famous black opal, the ‘Aurora Australis’, valued at 1 Million Dollars; with the opportunity to bring home the colors of Australia with a beautiful piece of opal jewelry.

Australia is known as the country of origin for this splendid stone with 95% of the world’s precious gem opal found exclusively in Australia. Australian opal displays all the colors of the rainbow and holds a spectrum of colors found in nature, fire, the ocean and more. It is these contrasts that make opals a truly fascinating and unique gemstone with no two opals appearing exactly the same. In the Middle Ages the Romans considered opal a stone that could provide great luck, as it was believed to possess all the virtues of Emeralds, Sapphires and Rubies.

Share this unique experience and be educated about Australian Opal at Altmann & Cherny. Established in 1948 with hopes of sharing this unique gemstone with the world, they have built a reputation of excellence with 3 generations actively involved the families are considered leading opal experts. Please visit them at:

18 Pitt Street
Sydney, NSW
Telephone: 61 2 9251 9477

Fri (Day 14) - Shuttle Transfer from the Accommodation to Sydney Airport

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

Fri (Day 14) - International Flight, Australia to USA (check quote for inclusion)

Travel by international air to your destination.

International air to your destination is not included in the starting price. If you requested international air, this inclusion will be reflected in your quote.

Fri (Day 14) - Los Angeles to Hometown (Check quote for inclusion)

Travel by domestic air to your destination.

If you request US domestic air pricing, this inclusion will be reflected in your quote.

Packages by About Australia, a fully bonded and ARC Accredited travel company.