Swimming with Minke Whales [ST-MNK1]
12 Days: Swimming with Minke Whales [ST-MNK1]
Scuba Dive Deal

Book By: July 4, 2019

Starting at
$3,533
Highlights & Inclusions
  • Accommodation - Cairns (1 Night), Liveaboard Diving Vessel (4), Cairns (2), Sydney (3)
  • US Domestic Flights not included per your request.
  • International Flight - Los Angeles to Sydney (Return)
  • Australian Domestic Flights - Sydney to Cairns (Return)
  • Shuttle Transfers - Cairns Airport to Accommodation (Return), Sydney Airport to Accommodation (Return)
  • Overnight Tours Included - Cairns: 4 Night Liveaboard Minke Whale Dive Expedition
  • Live-Aboard Diving Expedition includes: Transfers to/ from Cairns city accommodation, Opportunity for 16 dives, En-suite cabin with daily service, all meals, wetsuits, air fills and dive and snorkel guides.
  • 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
(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.

(Day 1) - International Flight, Los Angeles to Brisbane

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

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) - Australian Domestic Flight from Brisbane to Cairns

Travel within Australia by domestic air from Brisbane to Cairns.

(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.

(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.

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

(Days 3 to 7) - 4 Nights Minke Whale Liveaboard Diving Expedition

Explore the underwater wonders of the Ribbon Reefs on board a luxury liveaboard vessel. See the best of The Great Barrier Reef and get the chance to swim with dwarf minke whales!

Wake up to the sunrise over the Great Barrier Reef. On this luxury liveaboard vessel, the ocean is your playground, and the Great Barrier Reef is your new neighborhood.

As Cairns’ most established and renowned dive operator, this liveaboard expedition provides everything you need for your days out on sea. From the moment you step on board the friendly and attentive staff will make you feel right at home.

Explore the waters with up to four dives daily, including on night dive. See some of the most pristine sites in the Great Barrier Reef, such as Norman Reef and Steve’s Bommie.

But the most incredible experience awaits at Light House Bommie. This is where you’ll meet the gentle minke whales.

Unlike any other whale experience in the world, the expedition doesn’t go looking for whales. The whales come to us. As some of the most social and curious whales, minkes often like to stay close to swimmers and dive vessels for several hours at a time. With a 90% success rate of in-water encounters during peak season, meeting these gentle giants will be an unforgettable experience.

Daily Itinerary:

Day 1 (Friday)
You’re journey starts here! Check-in at 7:30am to board the transfer vessel, navigating to the Outer Barrier Reef where you will enjoy two dives on Norman Reef. You’ll then transfer to your liveaboard vessel at approximately 2:30pm, reaching the Ribbon Reefs overnight.

Day 2 (Saturday)
Wake up to the sun rising over the Great Barrier Reef at Light House Bommie, where most of our interactions are with the Minke Whales. You will enjoy four dives at different sites on the upper Ribbon Reefs. Included in today’s dives is one night dive.

Day 3 (Sunday)
We see the weekend off with more diving and snorkeling throughout the Ribbon Reefs. Today you will have the opportunity to explore some of the most untouched areas of the Great Barrier Reef. We will also take part in an exploration dive. Four dives are included in today’s itinerary altogether, including another night dive, when the reef will transform into a completely different world with all new nocturnal marine life just waiting to meet you.

Day 4 (Monday)
Explore more of the Great Barrier Reef at various dive sites along the Ribbon Reefs over four incredible dives, including a dive at Steve’s Bommie, one of the most pristine dive sites that the Ribbon Reefs have to offer. The reef sites that we visit are home to many tropical fish species and offer magnificent viewing of bright, mesmerising coral. On completion of our final night dive we will head south towards Cairns.

Day 5 (Tuesday)
Wake up to your last morning on you liveaboard epedition. After breakfast, you will be transferred back to your Cairns city accommodation at approximately 8:30am. Please note, itinerary may vary slightly depending on weather conditions. During Minke Whale season, the dive schedule may be altered to allow for as much in-water interaction with the whales as possible.

This 4-night liveaboard expedition includes all meals, snorkeling equipment, wet suit, stinger suit and small flashlight for night dives.

Scuba diving equipment is not included. Gear hire available.

(Days 7 to 9) - 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.

(Day 8) - 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) - 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! 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, 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)

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Cape Tribulation Safari

Travel along a scenic coastal drive to Port Douglas to experience the wildlife, rainforest, rivers and beaches of the region.

Travel in air-conditioned comfort today in a luxury purpose-built vehicle on this eco-accredited tour led by experienced and knowledgeable guides.

Visit Mossman Gorge Centre and enjoy morning tea before boarding the shuttle for your transfer into Mossman Gorge. Discover secrets of the world’s oldest tropical rainforest as your driver takes you on a guided walk through the Gorge boardwalk, sharing their knowledge and the history of this World Heritage listed region.


Next you’ll hop aboard the Daintree River Cruise and reach an understanding of the intricate Daintree eco-system. Keep an eye out for wildlife including the elusive Saltwater Crocodile.

Enjoy a delicious BBQ lunch in the rainforest of Noah Valley – this area is renowned for the existence of primitive flowering plants including the Idiospermum which links back to the most ancient lineages of plants found in the world today.

Up next is Cape Tribulation where the rainforest meets the reef. Walk on this world-renowned rainforest beach named by Captain James Cook on his voyage of discovery in 1770; admire the coastline and fringing Coral Reef from the Kulki Lookout.

Stop for an afternoon refreshment included at the Daintree Ice Cream Company. Enjoy a delicious exotic fruit ice cream cup featuring four flavours (gluten free and dairy free options available).

After winding through the rainforest, you’ll finish the day with a spectacular lookout over the Daintree River Estuary, Snapper Island and beyond to the Coral Sea.

Operates Daily: Pickup appx 6:45am Drop-off appx 6:00pm

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Kuranda Heritage

Experience the Kuranda Rainforest, Aboriginal Dancers and Australian Wildlife.



Glide silently above the rainforest canopy aboard the Skyrail Cableway to Kuranda. Experience the magic of the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary before visiting Rainforestation where you can feed kangaroos and view koalas. Enjoy a show by the Pamagirri Aboriginal Dancers, set in a rainforest amphitheatre.




Try your hand at boomerang throwing then board the amphibious Army Duck, crossing land and water through the rainforest. Relax over a tropical barbecue lunch. Journey back to Cairns on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, passing waterfalls and ravines.

(Day 9) - Shuttle Transfer from the Accommodation to Cairns Airport

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

(Day 9) - Australian Domestic Flight from Cairns to Sydney

Travel within Australia by domestic air from Cairns to Sydney.

(Day 9) - Shuttle Transfer from Sydney Airport to the Accommodation

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

(Days 9 to 12) - 3 Nights Accommodation in Sydney

Travel to your accommodation in Sydney, Australia, where you will be staying whilst on vacation for 3 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 10) - 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

(Day 11) - 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) - 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)

On your vacation climb the famous Harbour Bridge in Sydney.

Achieve exhilaration and personal satisfaction as you climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. For approximately two hours you, along with 11 other eager climbers and a climb guide, 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 harbour 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 exhilaration of the truly rewarding experience of reaching the top to the Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia. When you reach the top you will have a sense of achievement that you’ll remember forever – you’ve conquered an Australian icon recognised the world over! No other Sydney tourist attraction can give you this feeling of standing at the top of the world, with the Harbour spread before you. All climbers will be issued a complimentary photograph of your climb group.

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

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

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

(Day 12) - 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.

(Day 12) - 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.

*Terms and Conditions

All prices are in US dollars and correct as of May 15, 2019 Pricing is from “per person” based on Double Occupancy (2 Adults) in hotels. Single Supplements apply. Upgrades available on request (upgrade supplements apply). No refunds allowed. Changes are permitted (fees may apply). Other restrictions may apply. Not combinable with any other offer or discounted vacation package. About Australia reserves the right to adjust the amount of any outstanding balances at any time according to USA Exchange Rate variations. All taxes, GST & Fuel Levies are included in the Price unless specified otherwise. Prices may vary when you book your travel package and are not guaranteed until payment in full is received. Airlines, hotels and tour operators frequently change their prices as a result of rate increases, fuel surcharges, government imposed taxes or fees. Prices may increase prior to full payment for those and/or other reasons. All prices, itineraries and routings are subject to change. After full payment, prices are guaranteed except only due to an increase in government imposed taxes or fees. By paying your deposit, you understand and agree to the possibility of such increases.

Flights, where included, will be operated by Qantas or their code-share partners; flight Taxes & Fuel levy included; Economy Flight Class of Service. Flights maybe based on Fares which can not be held in advance of purchase, same day ticketing may be required.
Visa required additional $15 per person.

Permitted US Departure Dates: TUESDAYS ONLY June 4, 11, 18, 25, July 9 & 16, 2019

Subject to availability. Blackout dates and seasonal supplements will apply; these vary by travel vendor and are subject to change. Travel may be permitted outside the dates listed, but may attract seasonality or special event surcharges.

All hotels are centrally located, inspected and approved by About Australia.

Tour Restrictions:
Diver’s Den Ocean Quest departs on Tuesdays and requires a $20 per person per day Marine Park Levy & Port fee and may require a fuel levy, should the world-wide price of fuel increase. Pricing based on a Twin Share Cabin. Diving equipment is not included.

Sydney Opera House tour does not operate December 25 & 31, 2018, January 1, March 10, April 19, August 31, & September 1 2019.

Contact About Australia directly to get a firm quote based on current prices for your preferred travel dates.
 
Book By: July 4, 2019

 Book your Australian Vacation Today
 
Call 888-359-2877 (8:30am – 5:00pm, CST USA)
 
To customize this itinerary, or check availability for your travel dates, please use the ‘Request-A-Quote’ button (below)

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