What are the Best Airlie Beach Liveaboard Dive Trips - Review

By Alan from Whitsunday Dive Centre, Great Barrier Reef Diving Expert

Whitsunday Islands, Airlie Beach liveaboard dive trips give guests the option of diving the Great Barrier Reef or the Whitsunday Islands on a sail/dive cruise.  Airlie Beach is located in Central Queensland on the Whitsunday Coast and offers an easily accessible arrival and departure point for Whitsundays liveaboard dive and day dive trips.
Airlie Beach is one of Australia’s major tropical tourist destinations offering accommodation, tours and local attractions  to suit all ages and budgets  There are 3 Airlie Beach liveaboard dive trips from which to choose. All offer 3 day / 2 night sail/dive adventures to either the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands or the Whitsunday Islands only.  Introductory dives with a qualified diving instructor are also available.

When is the best time to dive in the Whitsundays?

Scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef in the tropics is comfortable all year round.  Water temperatures remain around 25 to 30 degrees all year round due to the tropical location of Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands.


The Airlie Beach Hotel

Advantages of a Whitsunday Islands, Airlie Beach Liveaboard Dive Trip

Day trips to the Whitsunday Islands are numerous and very popular with tourists. Some more specialised operators offer scuba diving as well as snorkelling. Whitehaven Beach is one of the internationally famous attractions of this region and is an inclusion on many day trips from Airlie Beach.
Airlie Beach is the mainland access port to the Whitsunday Islands, It is about 36 nautical miles (roughly 70 km) from the Outer Great Barrier Reef, considerably further than the closest reef complexes off Cairns.  Cruising time to the Great Barrier Reef from Airlie Beach is approximately 2 hours each way on a day dive trip and this does not include a visit to Whitehaven Beach or the Whitsunday Islands. If you want to explore the Outer Great Barrier Reef as well as the Whitsunday Islands, then an Airlie Beach - Whitsundays liveaboard dive trip is a great option and will ensure that there is plenty of time for travel, diving and relaxing. There simply is not enough time to do it all on an Airlie Beach day trip.

When you book an Airlie Beach Whitsundays liveaboard dive trip you will enjoy a combination of exciting discoveries in a beautiful, unspoiled environment in a friendly atmosphere with like-minded people.

Airlie Beach Whitsunday Liveaboard Dive Trip Limitations

As mentioned earlier in this article Airlie Beach liveaboard dive trip operators fall into two distinct categories. All of these vessels are sailing boats but they differ in that one vessel travels to the Outer Reef offering up to three dives while the others restrict their destinations to within the Whitsunday Islands and offer one dive only. Both will visit the best locations to maximize your experience, depending of course on the prevailing weather and especially tidal conditions, however,  because they are sailing boats time for diving is limited. Trip destinations are flexible so that skippers can select sites that are sheltered and provide a the safest environment for sailing, snorkelling/diving and shore based activities.


Coral Sea Marina Resort at Airlie Beach

Very occasionally weather conditions and sea state prevent travel to the Outer Great Barrier Reef. In this event sheltered bays within the Whitsunday Islands will be selected by the skipper so that guests can still be afforded the opportunity to dive and snorkel on the beautiful coral outcrops that surround foreshores of the islands.

Whitsunday Islands

The Whitsunday Islands are a group of 74 islands most of which are uninhabited and unspoiled with colourful fringing coral reefs in protected bays and on prominent headlands ? generally 10 to 12 metres in depth. With over 100 charted dive sites in the area, you can experience a few different diving styles and experiences, including swim throughs, caves and exploring coral gardens and walls. The water temperature varies from 25 degrees in winter to about 30 degrees in summer. Quite comfortable with minimal use of wetsuits required all year round.

This is a perfect destination for those seeking a combination of diving, snorkelling, relaxing and shore based activities and exploration.  Beginner divers (Introductory divers) are also well catered for on these trips and they will appreciate the relatively shallow depths and protected waters. 
Your Airlie Beach liveaboard dive trip in the Whitsunday Islands is an opportunity to explore the great beauty of these islands, relax or swim on golden beaches, snorkel on coral reefs teeming with marine life and include some scuba diving as an option whether you are a certified diver or a beginner.

Bait Reef

Bait Reef is located 18 nautical miles North of Hayman Island in the Whitsunday group of islands and southwest of the Reefworld Pontoon on Hardy Reef.  Bait Reef is a wonderful location for divers and snorkelers with canyons, swim throughs and drop-offs and is a much prized destination of underwater photographers.  Manta Rays often frequent the dive sites such as the ‘Stepping Stones’ ‘Manta Ray Drop Off’ and ‘Gary’s Lagoon’ on Bait Reef


Airlie Beach Diving Liveaboard - Kiana

Airlie Beach Whitsunday Islands Liveaboard Dive Trip Cruises

Full details of Airlie Beach Whitsunday dive trips 3 day / 2 night adventures are contained in the Whitsunday Dive Centre website.  Departures are Thursday and Sunday, or Friday and Monday from Coral Sea Resort Marina in Airlie Beach.  Guests are required to check in the day before departure (by 5pm). 

Booking an Airlie Beach Whitsunday Islands Liveaboard Dive Trip

Book online or by phone with Whitsunday Dive Centre. There is no booking fee charge and only a deposit is required to hold your place. Advanced bookings are absolutely essential for these popular cruises so think ahead and book ahead to avoid disappointment!

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