Swim With Minke Whale Dive Trips 4 Night Fly/Dive

Tour Code: 671

Departing: Cairns

Swim With Whales July - August
  • On your swim with Minke Whale dive trip in Cairns enjoy a 250km low level scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef
  • As a bonus to your swim with Minke Whales dive trip we get to swim with friendly man size Potato Cod at the world famous Cod Hole on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia
  • When you enter the water with the Minke Whales you will understand what we say about how it changes you when you swim eye to eye with the Dwarf Minke Whales 
  • And another big bonus to our Coral Sea dive trips is you also get to scuba dive with packs of sharks on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

Included In Price

  • Accommodation in twin/double cabins
  • Delicious meals & snacks, wine and soft drink are included with the evening meal
  • Tanks, air fills and weight belt
  • Daily cabin service
  • Reef ecology programme
  • Dive computer workshop
  • Transfer to the airport or Cairns hotel after your expedition
  • Scenic flight Lizard Island to Cairns
  • Vivid Pix digital photo editing software workshop
  • Nautilus Lifeline GPS

Swimming with Minke Whales, an incredible experience! Every Australian Winter, the Dwarf Minke Whales make their annual migration from Antarctica to the Great Barrier Reef from May to August. Plan your swim with Minke Whales trip between June & July on the best liveaboard trip from Cairns.

Swim with Minke Whale Dive and Snorkel Expeditions with the experts - A unique marine encounter opportunity on the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns in Australia.

We have been snorkelling and scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef for the past 49 years so we know the reef more intimately than most other dive companies.

All of our liveaboard dive expeditions are conducted more than 100 miles away from Cairns out on the Coral Sea or on the world famous Ribbon Reefs where we conduct our swim with Dwarf Minke Whale dive tours.    

This is a really special experience! Our liveaboard dive and snorkel tours for swimming with the Dwarf Minke Whales only happens in the northern section of the Ribbon Reefs in Tropical North Queensland, Australia and it’s unique, as it is an encounter on the mammals terms, not the humans.

When a pod of Minke’s are spotted, the boat crew place a rope into the water and then invite everyone on board to slip gently into the water.

As they quietly hold on to the rope the whales approach for a closer look and choose to either stay around and play or leave as they like.

Dwarf Minke Whales came to attention in the early 1980’s when they began approaching boats on the Great Barrier Reef.

Prior to this they were a virtually unknown species and still today not very much is actually known about them.

Our swim with Dwarf Minke Whales tours are part of the Minke Whale Research project and quite often we have scientists on board our tours which makes it even more engaging for our divers and snorkelers.

Swim With Minke Whale Expedition Description

Our swim with Dwarf Minke Whales expeditions on the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns are dedicated to maximising your in-water interactions at the world’s only known Minke Whale aggregation sites, whilst also enjoying the other diverse and unique marine life interactions on the Ribbon Reefs such as the giant Potato Cod and our famous shark dives.

Whilst we are a liveaboard dive boat these Minke Whale tours are designed for both divers and snorkelers.

For some reason Minke Whales seem to prefer snorkelers to scuba divers. They tend to get closer to and hang around longer when humans are not wearing large bubbly air tanks.

Abiding by strict codes of practice from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, a maximum of two surface ropes will be placed in the water with snorkelers then positioned 3-4 metres apart whilst they wait quietly for these gentle creatures to approach.

The whales actually control the encounter in that they decide how close they then interact and how long they choose to swim with us

Minke Whales are known to be very generous with their time and once a few or a pod is spotted and they approach the boat voluntarily, it usually means they are keen for some interaction and play time.

The 4 day itinerary is dictated by the whales, visiting areas of high Dwarf Minke Whale activity and our key scuba diving sites. 

The number of scuba dives below is the approximate number of dives provided but may vary to enable our whale-focused itinerary. 

Since commencing our Dwarf Minke Whale Expeditions from Cairns in 1996 we have been fortunate to have had a 98% success rate to the delight of our guests.

The largest pod of whales we have seen was 28, and the longest in-water encounter was an unbelievable 10 hours of which we had to leave. We are sure these whales would have preferred for us to stay and play.

During the peak months on June and July every day has a high probability of whale encounters. 

If we are not able to locate the Minke Whales at our usual sites, up to two hours at a time is spent searching for whales further afield.

If we are unsuccessful we will dive and snorkel as many of the famous Ribbon Reef sites as possible.

About The Liveaboard Dive Boat

We have a passenger average of 22 with a maximum of 28 and onboard boat crew of 12.

  • 4 x Premium – queen or double bed, private bathroom, ocean views.
  • 4 x Standard – twin beds, private bathroom, ocean views.
  • 4 x Club – twin bunk beds, private bathroom, no ocean view.
  • 2 x Budget – twin bunk beds, share bathroom, no ocean view.

Our boat was custom designed for the waters of the Great Barrier Reef and its twin hills reduce potential seasickness

Liveaboard Dive Boat Guest Facilities

  • Air-conditioned accommodation
  • Lounge and bar
  • Sundeck
  • Alfresco deck
  • Music/DVD player, large screen TV
  • 2, daily cabin service

Our Dive Services

  • Nitrox
  • Solo diving
  • Open Deck diving
  • Camera table
  • Rebreather service
  • Help for novices
  • Freedom for experienced divers
  • Digital photo shoot out on every expedition

Swim with Dwarf Minke Whale 4 Night, 12 Dive Itinerary

Sample itinerary, subject to change based on conditions.


  • Check in at our office (3 Abbott St, Cairns) between 8:30am and 4:00pm.
  • From 4:00pm make your own way to Mondos Café, Bar & Grill (200m from our office) to meet your fellow passengers. Please note that dinner is not provided on the first evening so you may wish to eat before boarding.
  • 5:50pm: Our crew will lead you from Mondos to board our boat.  Enjoy a glass of sparkling wine and light snacks while your Trip Director provides a full briefing.
  • 6:00pm: We departs Cairns. Time to organise any rental equipment and put your dive gear together on the dive deck.

Friday (4 dives + night dive)

This is a sample of a ‘typical day’, however exact times may vary to optimise the prevailing weather conditions on the day.

  • 6:30am: Wake up call, light breakfast available in dining room
  • 7:00am: Dive brief & diving commences
  • 9:00am: Full cooked breakfast
  • 10:30am: Dive briefing & dive. “Open decks” accommodate 1-2 dives either am or pm
  • 2:00pm: Lunch
  • 3:30pm: Dive brief & diving
  • 4:30pm: Afternoon tea
  • 6:30pm: Night dive brief & dive
  • 8:00pm: Dinner

Saturday (4 dives + night dive)

As per above

Sunday (4 dives)

As per above.
Exit last dive by 4pm.
As the sun sets we pour the bubbles, lay out the nibbles and get ready for an Aussie BBQ party night. Don’t forget to wear your loudest tropical shirt or dress and sing along to music played by our talented crew.
Moor off Lizard Island.


  • 7:00am: Light breakfast
  • 8:00am: Disembark. Our crew will walk you to the airport on Lizard Island.
  • 9:30am: Board a light aircraft for a low level flight over the reef back to Cairns (flight time approx. 1 hour).
  • 11:45am: Land Cairns and courtesy transfer to inner Cairns city hotels, the airport or our office where we can store your luggage until 5:00pm if you have a later flight.

Important Information

We recommend that you allow 24 hours between your last dive and your onward flight (all diving is finished by 4pm Sunday).

A luggage allowance applies to the flight from Cairns to Lizard Island:

  • 25kg / 55lb per person plus 3kg / 6.5lb – carry on
  • An additional 10kg/22lb is allowed for professional photo/video housed systems.

Book your cabin early as only limited departures from Cairns for these specialised marine animal encounters.

See our 3 night and 7 night Minke Whales Expeditions and our whale watching tours.


Tour Languages Offered
  • English
Departs From


Departure Time


Departure Instructions

Check in before 4:00pm at the dive office


Where the Dwarf Minke Whales hang out, Lighthouse Bommie, Pixie Pinnacle, Steve’s Bommie, The Cod Hole, Gotham City, Ribbon Reefs, Dynamite Pass, Lighthouse Bommie, Pixie Wall, Coral Kingdom, Flare Point, Blue Lagoon, Vertical Gardens

Months of Operation

June - July

Days of Operation


Departs Thursdays from 10th June 2021 to 15th July 2021


4 nights

Available for Purchase / Hire
  • Beverages from the bar
  • Gear Hire: wetsuits, gloves, tanks, GPS, safety sausage, nitrox fills, tanks, weights, guages, BCD, light/torch
  • Note: we recommend you bring your own wetsuit, mask snorkel and fins to ensure they fit well.
  • Dive Courses are available on board, discuss options at time of booking
  • Underwater camera hire
  • Trip videos
  • Underwater photography course
Fitness Level Required

Medium, Active

  • This tour is recommended for confident snorkelers to advanced divers
  • We recommend that you allow 24 hours between your last dive and your onward flight (all diving is finished by 5:00pm Wednesday)
  • Passengers MUST understand English

Scuba Diving Restrictions

  • Certain medical conditions and medications may preclude some people from scuba diving.
  • Participation is subject to a medical questionnaire completed on board with the tour operator
  • Minimum age for scuba diving is 12 years.
  • Flying after scuba diving: a wait of 12 hours is recommended after one dive, 18 hour after 2 dives and at least 24 hours after multiple dives, before ascending to an altitude of 300 metres or greater.

Advanced Dive Medical Intro Dive Medical

Read more about Diving Safety on the Great Barrier Reef.

  • A luggage allowance applies to the flight from Cairns to Lizard Island: 25kg / 55lb per person plus 3kg / 6.5lb – carry on plus an additional 10kg/22lb is allowed for professional photo/video housed systems.
  • Excess luggage may be left at dive company office. We take care but not liability.
  • You should bring your own personal toiletries, hair dryer, personal medication, swimming costume, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, foot wear (sandals or tennis shoes), T-shirts, shorts, sweater and sweat pants – light weight pants and tops for the evening are a good idea. Also your wildest “loud” shirt/dress for the BBQ evening.

  • We seldom have children onboard however we do welcome ONE family per expedition with children minimum age 8 years.
  • We are unable to supply dive gear in children’s sizes
  • Children must be over 12 years old and must be fully qualified.

All cancellations must be in writing. Please note that all cancellations will incur an administration fee. Please see our terms and conditions for details prior to booking.

  • All cancellations must be in writing.
  • Less than 60 days prior to departure - forfeit 30% of trip fee per person.
  • Less than 30 days prior to departure - forfeit 100% of trip fee per person.
  • Insurance should be taken to cover: weather problem; expedition cancellations; airline difficulties; medical problems and lost or damaged luggage.
  • Unforeseen weather or machinery problems may cause us to cancel or change an itinerary.
  • No refund is offered for time lost due to the medical evacuation of a guest or reduction of dives due to weather conditions.
  • No compensation is offered to guests to change flights or holiday plans.
  • DiveAssure offers cover for both Australian residents & non-residents traveling to Australia.

Swim With Minke Whale Dive Trips 4 Night Fly/Dive

Tour Code: 671

Departing: Cairns

Swim With Whales July - August



Prices are AUD, per adult and include all levies fees and taxes.

Child: au$2,342.00
Family: au$9,368.00

Tour Code: 671



16 yrs & over

8 - 15 yrs

Ages of Children
(Discounts May Apply)
1300 231 118
+61 427 074 745
1300 231 118
+61 427 074 745

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