Swim With Minke Whales Expedition – 7 Nights | MB

Tour Code: 672

Departing: Cairns

Swim With Whales
  • Another bonus of our Cairns dive tours is the opportunity to swim with a family of man size Potato Cod at the world famous Cod Hole on the northern sections of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia 
  • You may not believe us but you will be swimming eye to eye with the Dwarf Minke Whales as they come up and take a good look at you and spend hours with you in the water 
  • A highlight for our more game scuba divers on our Coral Sea dive trips is the opportunity to go scuba diving with sharks on the northern section of the Great Barrier Reef
  • Whilst waiting for flights you can enjoying an hour or two to explore world famous Lizard Island
  • Also include in your 7 day dive the Coral sea tour is a low level scenic flight from Cairns to Lizard Island for you to meet the boat out on the Great Barrier Reef

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
  • Vivid Pix digital photo editing software workshop
  • Nautilus Lifeline GPS

Swim with Minke Whales on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia in June and July. Limited departures and availability for this unique 7 day liveaboard marine encounter. Swimming with Minke Whales, diving with Sharks, hanging with Giant Potato Cod fish and playing with puppy like Humphead Maori Wrasse

Swimming in the water with the Minke Whales is described as a life-changing experience.

It’s not uncommon for people to emerge from the water screaming with joy, crying with happiness, or just with a blank look on their faces and speechless.

It’s astounding watching and listening to the stories as the snorkelers emerge from the waters of the Great Barrier Reef after just spending time swimming with the Dwarf Minke whales.

Blindly chattering away at what they saw, how they felt and what the Minke Whale did and what it looked like, and how it sounded.

It’s an animal encounter experience they simply cannot wait to do again.

If you too want to add this amazing marine encounter to your Australia Holiday Bucketlist, then you need to book your berth on our 7 day swim with the Dwarf Minke Whale tours today!

Departure Dates (current as of 02/07/24):

  • 2024 Departure dates: SOLD OUT
  • 2025 Departure dates: 5th June, 12th June, 19th June, 26th June (4 SPOTS LEFT), 3rd July, 10th July & 17th July

Minke Whale Expedition Description

Dwarf Minke Whales travel through the Great Barrier Reef waters each tropical winter, with most sightings occurring during the months of June and July. 

To date the Great Barrier Reef is the only location in the world where snorkel and dive tours with Minke Whales are available as it is the only known place in our vast oceans where these whales can be predicted to gather in numbers at the same place annually.

Most Minke Whale sightings occur at Ribbon Reef # 10, where some of our best scuba dive sites are located.

When Swimming with Minke Whales on the Great Barrier Reef you can hear them communicating under the water with a robotic type of sound that is entrancing.

It is a truly remarkable moment when these inquisitive whales slowly approach you and glide gracefully past, and they sneak a look directly at you eye to eye.

Your body and brain spasm in unison with the feelings and emotions of what just occurred, you nearly forget to exhale the water from your snorkel.

Spending time with these amazing marine creatures you’ll realise just how privileged we are to share the ocean with them.

A Great Barrier Reef Marine Park code of practice is in place to manage safety for both snorkelers and whales, providing the maximum opportunity to see whales at very close range while ensuring the whales interact purely on their terms.

When the whales are spotted the boat turns off it’s engines and lays flotation ropes in the water.

The guests put on their snorkel gear and slide quietly into the water and await the approach from the whales whist holding onto the floating ropes.

Whilst the whale sightings are not guaranteed, to date we have had 98% success of swimming with the whales.

These encounters can be brief or they can last for 10 hours or more dependant on how inquisitive and playful they wish to be.   

Every day we will be looking for the whales and using every single opportunity to swim with them.

Most diver and whale interactions occur while snorkelling as the whales do not seem to like the scuba tanks on the backs of divers.

Our swim with Minke Whale expeditions are suitable for both snorkelers and certified open water scuba divers. 

The close-up whale action combined with excellent winter visibility on the Ribbon Reefs makes for some of the best scuba diving in the world.

Amazing Scuba Diving

Advanced divers come from the world over to dive these same reefs the Minke Whales seem to love and over the 7 days on board the liveaboard dive boat you will have the opportunity to tick off some other bucket list items such as diving with a gam of sharks, and diving with the famous Giant Potato Cod at the Cod Hole.

About the Great Barrier Reef Dive Sites

The Ribbon Reefs

The most prized dive region of Great Barrier Reef, this stretch of reef from Lizard Island to Cooktown is also where the Minke Whales migrate each year to breed and calve.
Nutrient rich waters from the Continental Shelf attract abundant fish and coral species.

Gotham City

A sloping reef, rich with hard and soft corals and reef fish.
Minke Whales are sometimes spotted here.  
This site makes a very exciting night dive with congregations of hunting fish such as gams of sharks and trevally

Lighthouse Bommie

This is one of the best places to see dwarf minke whales but it’s also an excellent dive site in its own right with one large pinnacle attracting tonnes of marine life including sharks, rays, turtles and reef fish, olive sea snakes, stonefish and other critters.

Lizard Island

Mid-expedition we moor off Lizard Island, saying goodbye to some guests and welcoming new ones.
You will have a few hours to relax on the beach, go for a swim or climb the hill to Chinaman’s Ridge for a view. 
One of our crew members will show you around.

The Cod Hole

The Cod Hole is famous for its diver-sized potato cod.
These fish are incredibly inquisitive and don’t mind getting very chummy with divers.  
A great opportunity to capture photographs of these magnificent characters or simply hang out and enjoy their company.

Pixie Pinnacle

An exciting pinnacle dive, draped in soft corals and absolutely heaving with fish life. 
Spiral your way up the pinnacle and search for interesting critters such as the flame file clam, or ‘disco clam’, named for the flashing light that appears to pulse along its mantle.

Steve’s Bommie

Steve’s Bommie is a photographers dream with an incredible quantity of diverse marine life. Hunt out such creatures as stonefish, scorpionfish, octopus, clown anemone fish and turtles, not to mention the many schools of fish that call this place home.

About the 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.

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

Itinerary Ultimate Swim with Minke Whales Expedition - 7 Night

Sample itinerary, subject to change based on conditions.


  • Check in at our office between 8:30am and 4:00pm.
  • From 4:00pm: Make your own way to Mondos Café, Bar & Grill  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 liveaboard boat. Enjoy a glass of sparkling wine and light snacks while your Trip Director provides a full briefing.
  • 6:00pm: We depart Cairns and head off to swim with the Minke whales.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, however all diving is finished by 5:00pm. We moor off Lizard Island for the evening.
As the sun sets we pour the sparkling wine, 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.

Monday (2 dives + night dive)

  • 7:00am: Light breakfast
  • 8:00am: Bid farewell to passengers doing the 4 night expedition who will disembark here.
  • 8:00am: Stay onboard or take a tender over to Lizard Island to stretch your legs and explore a little of this beautiful island.
  • 11:00 am: New passengers join us here.  Sparkling wine and light snacks provided.
  • 12:45pm:  Dive brief and dive
  • 2:00pm: Lunch
  • 3:45pm: Dive brief and dive
  • 4:45pm: Afternoon tea
  • 6:00pm: Dive brief and night dive
  • 8:00pm: Dinner

Tuesday (4 dives + night dive)

  • 6:30am: Wake up call, light breakfast available in dining room
  • 7:00am: Dive brief & diving commences
  • 9:00am: Cooked breakfast
  • 10:30am: Dive briefing & diving. “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

Wednesday (4 dives)

As per above.
Exit last dive 5:00pm.
As the sun sets we pour the sparkling wine, lay out the nibbles and get ready for a final farewell party!
Overnight cruise to Cairns


  • 7:00am: Light breakfast
  • 8:00am: Disembark and courtesy transfer to Cairns inner city hotels, the airport or our office where we can store your luggage until 5pm 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 5:00pm Wednesday).

Book your Swim with Minke Whale liveaboard dive trip early to ensure your berth on this amazing Great Barrier Reef tour.

See our 3 night and 4 night Minke Whales Expeditions or whale watching tours.

Tour Languages Offered
  • English
Departs From


Departure Time


Departure Instructions
  • Check in 8.30am to 4.00pm at our Cairns office and then board to boat at Trinity Wharf at 6.00pm
  • Disembarks Thursdays 8.00am
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • 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


2024 Departure dates: SOLD OUT
2025 Departure dates: 5th June, 12th June, 19th June, 26th June (4 SPOTS LEFT), 3rd July, 10th July & 17th July


7 nights

Available for Purchase / Hire
  • Beverages from the bar
  • Gear Hire: wetsuits, gloves, tanks, GPS, safety sausage, nitrox fills, tanks, weights, gauges, 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

  • Experience: Snorkelers, novice & 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.

We understand things may change, so we have made cancellations very easy.

In every instance we always recommend you purchase travel insurance for life’s last-minute hiccups.

Please see our terms and conditions for details prior to booking.

Operators policy:

Payment Schedule:
  • 30% of trip fee per passenger as deposit to confirm the booking.
  • Remaining balance 30 days prior to departure date.

Cancellations by Client:

  • Cancellations must be advised 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.

Cancellations by MBDE:

  • Due to weather: 85% refunded to client. 
  • Refunds are issued to client via Agent, not MBDE.


  • Minimum child age is 8 years. Those travelling with children are responsible for childminding.
  • Minimum age of diver is 12 years.
  • Allocation of one family with children per expedition.


  • 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 Whales Expedition – 7 Nights | MB

Tour Code: 672

Departing: Cairns

Swim With Whales



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

Child: au$4,459.00
Family: au$17,836.00

Tour Code: 672



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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