With multiple dive and snorkeling opportunities, our overnight liveaboard on the Great Barrier Reef was a highlight of our Australian vacation. When you factor in the cost for accommodations, meals, renting equipment, and other ocean excursions, the cost of Coral Sea Dreaming’s 2-day, 1-night experience is an amazing value.
The Cairns marina is busy with several wharfs. So, showing up and wandering around is not a good plan. After you park, go straight to Dock A to meet with your crew. Parking cost us around $33AUD at The Shangri-La Hotel in their underground self-parking, the closest facility to the Coral Sea Dreaming’s port.
Skip and avoid the crowds by taking the small “A” ramp on the Left.
If you want to know more about the details of the vessel, checkout our article on Coral Sea Dreaming Yacht , showcasing the rooms and amenities.
The Experience Begins
Coral Sea Dreaming visits several private moorings on the Great Barrier reef they choose from based on weather and reef conditions. An overnight experience typically consists of two locations on the reef.
We sailed for about 3.5 hours before reaching our first destination and mooring on Milln Reef. Listening to music and the tours of our surroundings, we were pumped up for this journey. The friendly crew offered beverages and had meds for sea sickness if needed. They made sure we were comfortable while we enjoyed the sun and ocean breeze.
Gear and Fittings
Coral Sea Dreaming has top of the line equipment for their guests to use for diving and snorkeling the GBR. Read in more detail here, The Coral Sea Dreaming Yacht. During our sail to the outer reef, the crew went through standard safety instructions, liability paperwork for scuba, and had everyone fitted with their wetsuits, fins, masks, and snorkel. It was clearly handled in orderly manner so we didn’t waste any time once we reached our destination.
Day 1 – Diving and Snorkeling
We have snorkeled a lot, but we never experienced scuba diving. Coral Sea Dreaming offers “explorer dives” for those who are not certified. They instruct us “first-timers” with the mandatory steps to complete in the water before being able to dive. Another nice thing, if you can’t pass the series of checks in the water, they will not charge you for the dive.
Check out our Scuba diving Milln Reef article for amazing pictures of the sea creatures and coral we encountered.
The instructors can only take 2-3 people on the dives at a time, with a maximum of 6 people diving at any given period. This was the perfect opportunity for the other guests to snorkel.
You can checkout out all of our great snorkeling pictures of sealife and corals on our Snorkel The Great Barrier Reef article.
Meals, Rest, and Relaxation
After hours of snorkeling and scuba diving on the reef, everyone surfaces for a meal. We also rested before heading out to the next reef location. It was great time for everyone to share about what we saw while exploring under the water. Lunch was served and consisted of a variety of lunch meats, cheese, breads, salads, veggies and fruit.
Once the sun was set, the guests and the crews came back from their diving and snorkeling adventures with worked up appetites. Everyone dried off, put on some warm clothes, and settled in for dinner. This time the conversations varied from personal stories of where people lived and their occupations, dreams, and past vacations. It was neat hearing perspectives and life from all around the world.
After dinner, the option for night diving becomes available to the guests. On this particular trip, no one chose to do so. Instead, we shared more stories about the days experience, what life is like back home (Holland, Germany, Austria, and the US), and enjoyed the night time sky over the reef. We asked the crew to turn off the lights so we could see the stellar twinkles glistening in the stars above. The moon was almost full, so we were not able to see the sky’s greatest potential. But it was magnificent nevertheless.
Waking up on the Great Barrier Reef
Gorgeous colors filled the morning sky right outside our cabins on the reefs. The calm of our surroundings, along with the hot cup of coffee, helped to wake us up from a sound night’s sleep.
For breakfast, we made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. There was yogurt, granola, and fruit served as well. We were fueled and ready to go for another day of dives, snorkeling and sailing.
Day 2 – Snorkeling and Diving
Soaking It All In
Our vacations are usually scheduled with packed full traveling and itineraries. Taking this trip on a liveaboard slowed us down to take time for rest and relaxation. Everything we needed was provided. Our responsibilities seemed to dwindle down to pure enjoyment while soaking it all in.
Experiencing falling asleep then waking up on the Great Barrier reef, viewing amazing coral reefs and sealife, making new friends and being pampered is what Coral Sea Dreaming offers. For those seeking memories or adventure, this is the tour for you.
Sailing back to Cairns
It was an amazing trip filled with some of the most remarkable undersea life on earth, good people, and an attentive crew. Thank you Coral Sea Dreaming.
- Let them know when booking of any special requests or needs. They will promptly respond to make sure you are taken care of.
- Arrive early and know in advance the location of where to meet on the dock, next to the boat.
- If you have extra luggage to store, bring them with you and the staff will safely store and return the items after your trip.
- You can only towel change in and out of your wetsuit on the deck. Make sure you have a large enough towel or covering to give you some privacy.
- If you start feeling seasick, look at the horizon. This is your holiday / vacation. Let the crew know if you are feeling uneasy or are having any problems.