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This Queensland adventure includes mesmerising encounters with graceful dwarf minke whales by liveaboard and manta rays from a tropical island at both ends of the Great Barrier Reef.

The adventure begins in Cairns with opportunities to explore Daintree National Park and dive the Great Barrier Reef. Set sail on a week long liveaboard to the Ribbon Reefs and home to migrating dwarf minke whales.

At the southern reaches of the Great Barrier Reef, spend time on a tropical island renowned for its diversity of marine life and manta ray encounters.

It’s an adventure worth travelling for!

Suggested itinerary

  1. Day 1: Depart the UK for Cairns, Australia

    Depending on your chosen airline, it’s possible to break the long journey with a city stopover on the way. We recommend flying with Singapore Airlines.

  2. Day 2: In flight

  3. Day 3: Arrive in Cairns, Australia

    You will be met on arrival and transferred to your accommodation. Check in for four nights stay at the 4 star Pacific Hotel Cairns (or similar). Rest of day at leisure.

  4. Day 4: Discover Cairns

    Our recommended hotel is perfectly located to explore and enjoy the attractions of Cairns and surrounding areas. Today is at leisure to help overcome jet lag.

  5. Day 5: Discover Cairns

    After plenty of rest from the journey, today it’s possible to book a day of diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Departing from Port Douglas the full day trip includes two dives and a visit of up to three different reef sites (additional cost).

  6. Day 6: Explore Daintree National Park

    Today is an opportunity for topside exploring. It’s possible to book a full day tour visiting the unique coastal region of Kuku Yalanji and walk in the Mossman Gorge in the Daintree national park, a rewarding cultural experience (additional cost).

  7. Days 7-14 : Minke whale liveaboard adventure

    Transfer to the dock late afternoon to join the Mike Ball Minke Whale trip. This unique week long adventure operates in June and early July. Sailing to the Ribbon Reef #10 it offers the best sightings of the graceful dwarf minke whale as well as fantastic dive sites. Snorkellers are welcome and the trip includes the opportunity to take part in monitoring and researching the whales, whilst learning more from evening lectures by the crew.

    On your return to port, disembark early morning and transfer to the airport for your flight to Hervey Bay via Brisbane. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your accommodation for a one night stay at the Mantra Hervey Bay hotel. Located on the esplanade, the property boasts a prime location over looking the marina and is in close proximity to cafés and restaurants. 

  8. Day 15: Transfer to Lady Elliot Island

    Today you will be transferred to the airport for the short flight to Lady Elliot Island resort located on the southern reaches of the Great Barrier Reef. On arrival, check in for five nights. Rest of day at leisure.

  9. Days 16-19 : Dive the Great Barrier Reef

    Over the next four days, enjoy eight boat dives in the pristine waters of the southern Great Barrier Reef. With over 15 dive sites to explore, the highlight here is the manta ray encounters as they come to visit the cleaning stations. Snorkellers are welcome.

  10. Day 20: Transfer to Hervey Bay

    This afternoon, fly back to Hervey Bay and check in to the same accommodation as previously visited for an overnight stay.

  11. Day 21: Explore Hervey Bay and depart

    This morning it’s possible to spend the day at sea on a humpback whale watching excursion (additional cost). This afternoon, transfer to the airport for your flight to Brisbane, where you will remain in transit before checking in for your international flight later in the evening.

  12. Day 22: Arrive UK

You should note: This trip idea is timed to optimise dwarf minke whale and manta ray encounters. It’s possible to get on board the Spoilsport or visit Lady Elliot Island at other times of the year.

Key info

Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
  • Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 22 days from £6,425 pp
  • When to go: Jun-Jul
  • Included in the price/package:
    • Return flights from the UK
    • Domestic flights
    • 11 nights accommodation
    • 7 nights liveaboard
    • Breakfast daily
    • Full board on liveaboard
    • 6 days diving on liveaboard
    • 4 days resort diving
    • Tanks and weights
    • All Transfers
Featured location:

Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

Stretching almost 3,000 kilometres along the coast of Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef is a complex ecosystem blessed with the breathtaking beauty of the world’s largest coral reef. There are over 2,900 individual reef systems, cays and tropical islands.

  • Ideal for viewing: giant grouper, white-tip reef shark, green turtle, hawksbill turtle, dwarf minke whale
  • Excellent for: Liveaboard diving, Whales, Reef diving
This itinerary is available on the liveaboard shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Mike Ball’s Spoilsport

Experience the best of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea on board this luxurious liveaboard. Three, four and seven night itineraries are available to the Ribbon Reefs, Cod Hole and Osprey Reef.

Suggested accommodation is shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Lady Elliot Island

This low-key eco-resort is a unique island paradise, located in the southern reaches of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. It offers world-class diving experiences, and is one of the top destinations for manta ray encounters.