This is the dive excursion of a lifetime, primarily designed for divers. However snorkelers are more than welcome to join the expedition exploring our favourite spots in the Southern Great Barrier Reef.

Well visit and dive iconic destinations such as Lady Elliot Island, Lady Musgrave Island, the Fairfax Islands, before topping off the tour with wreck dives on the ex-HMAS Tobruk.

Your adventure departs from Hervey Bay in in southeast Queensland, and the 3 day tour includes at least 10 dives/snorkels, including a night dive. Diving from our motor sailing dive vessel Advance II, you will be guided by our experienced PADI qualified dive instructors and dive masters.

Travelling through the night will have up and about nice and fresh for the daily activities.

route map2

route map images


The Southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) has numerous dive sites with a wide variety of topography and depth range. The liveaboard expeditions will be travelling to four different areas, Lady Elliot Island, Lady Musgrave Island, Fairfax Island, and the ex-HMAS Tobruk wreck site located within the Great Sandy Marine Park.

Visibility can anywhere between 10m up to 40m depending on the time of year and of course weather conditions and on the outer reef depths will range between 10-25m and inside the lagoon between 2-8m. The ex-HMAS Tobruk dive will take you to 31m.

The Southern Great Barrier Reef hosts the most amazing array of sea life and in particular the manta ray populations at Elliot and Musgrave. During winter months the majestic Humpback whales can be encountered as they hang out on their migration from Antarctica. 

great barrier reef dive trip

Lady Elliot Island

Lady Elliot Island is a coral cay located at the southern tip of the GBR and is situated within a highly protected ‘Green Zone’. The coral cay is a sanctuary for over 1,200 species of marine life and is known for its abundance of manta rays, turtles, amazing array of spectacular marine life and unspoilt coral reef. 

Lady Musgrave Island

Lady Musgrave lies 23nm north of Lady Elliot Island and is surrounded by a vast turquoise lagoon. Set on 3000 acres of living reef, the protected lagoon stretches eight kilometres around the island. The island is built entirely of coral polyps and is covered in dense Pisonia forest, She-Oaks and Pandanus trees. Other than a walking trail through the forest, composting toilets for campers and a ‘lighthouse’, the rest of the island remains completely untouched.

Fairfax Islands

Fairfax Islands is a pair of small coral cays, both of which have been used as a bombing range in days gone by; They are located just a few miles north of Lady Musgrave Island. The marine life and reef structures are like that of Musgrave, and it is this location where the tour experiences a ledge dive and drop off.

Ex-HMAS Tobruk Wreck

HMAS Tobruk (L 50) was a 127m Landing Ship Heavy (LSH) of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), based on the design of the Round Table-class of the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary. She was sunk in Great Sandy Marine Park in 2017 and is now considered one of the best wreck dives in Australia. She sits in 30m on the sand bed and is resting on her starboard side which makes her a fantastic dive site. The ship is located 25nm north of Hervey Bay. 

Tour & Inclusions

Proposed Itinerary:

Note: Weather on the day and tides may alter the program slightly ..

 Day 1 

  • Check in 1 hour prior to departure time.
  • Depart on the high tide of the day
  • Motor sail to ex HMAS Tobruk for Dive 1 and Dive 2 (night dive if possible)
  • Overnight to Fairfax Islands

Day 2

  • Dive 3 18m dive at Fairfax         
  • Motor to Lady Musgrave (1hour)
  • DIve 4 18m fringe reef dive at Lady Musgrave Island
  • Motor into Lagoon and anchor up 
  • Dive 5 Scooter/snorkel in lagoon
  • Landing - Eco tour of Lady Musgrave Island (shoes are mandatory)
  • Dive 6 9m night dive in the lagoon
  • Overnight at Musgrave

Day 3 

  • Wake up to a swim/snorkel around the lagoon
  • Weigh anchor and depart lagoon
  • Dive 7 16m fringe reef at Musgrave
  • Motor Sail to Lady Elliot (4 hours)
  • Dive 8 at Lady Elliot
  • Dive 9 at Lady Elliot (maybe Drift dive)
  • Depart Elliot and overnight to Fraser Island waters

Day 4     

  • Cruise along Fraser (K'gari) Island
  • Dive 10 snorkel/scuba depending on time conditions etc
  • Arrive Hervey Bay on the Tide
  • Disembark

What’s included?

  • Up to 10 dive tours including, 1 x night dive/ and various snorkel opportunities
  • Tanks and weights
  • In-water dive instructors/dive masters/guides
  • Meals provided will include breakfast, morning tea; lunch; afternoon tea; dinner and snacks (special diets should be discussed at booking)
  • Drinks; tea & coffee; fruit juice; soft drinks
  • Bedding and towels
  • Sunscreen
  • Fish and coral reference books
  • 12v charging facility for battery packs/cameras and the like

NOTE: Dive/Snorkel Equipment hire is available on request and at an extra charge.

What to bring?

  • Clothing. The temperatures in Nov- March are warm! Shorts and t-shirt day and evening. Pack a long sleeve top for cooler nights. April – Oct are cool in the evenings and mornings so pack layers and a couple of warm sweatshirts. Don’t forget the beanie!
  • Swimwear
  • Sun protection – Hat, sunglasses and a light sun shirt
  • Dive/snorkel equipment (the ship will carry an array of spares)
  • Toiletries and medication (soap, hand wash and sunscreen are provided)
  • Camera of course
  • Luggage allowances on-board include: 1 x soft dive kit bag excluding tanks and weights. 1 x soft personal bag up to 15kgs. We prefer soft bags for ease of stowage.
  • BYO - We allow BYO alcohol. NOTE: consumption of alcohol is at the discretion of the ships master or his/her nominee. 

Not included

  • Accommodation in Hervey Bay
  • Flights/Travel
  • Cost of dive medical – if required
  • Trip cancellation, interruption and COVID cancellation insurance
  • Travel insurance, also covering diving medical emergencies


Majority of the dives on this tour are conducted off shore in open waters many miles from assistance. Safety is a priority for the tour and the following is not negotiable! Each diver MUST have:

  • SMB - Safety Marker Bouy with thumb reel with minimum 30m line
  • Dive Computer
  • Gloves
  • Certified Diver Proof (evidence required prior to departure))
  • Must have dived within last 12 months

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

All of the dives are conducted in either the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park or the Great Sandy Marine Park. All divers must observe best practice and instruction from the guides at all times, for example:

  • touching marine life is prohibited
  • removing shells/coral or the like is prohibited

Take nothing but photos and memories and leave just bubbles!

Vessel & Crew

Advance II

Your expedition vessel Advance II is a 18m, 60-ton motor sailing ketch. This little ship was strongly built for extended cruising by Owen Griffiths and has worked from Port Stephens to many areas of the GBR. She is powered by a reliable 6LXB Gardner and a ketch sail plan with 6 sails. She is not a speed boat hence why all the travelling is undertaken while you are sleeping through the night.

advacne 2 dive expedition great barrier reef


Each cruise will have a minimum of 3 crew to look after you and your needs.


The principal skipper is Ed Gibson who hold a Master V, MED2 and is also an offshore Yacht Master (Ocean). Ed has sailed on all the world oceans with some 60,000nm to his log. Ed is also a dive master/guide and will take every opportunity to get into the water.

Deck & Dive Team

Other than the Captain, the remaining 2 crew members will be either Michael, Ben, Helen or Rachel and all are either dive instructors, dive masters or rescue divers. All crew are trained in multiple deckhand roles as well.


The accommodation is typical for this style of expedition sailing vessel; comfortable, shared and communal. Our adventure experience is all about the diving, food and fun! If you want butler and spa service this will not be the boat for you.

The forward cabin comfortably sleeps 4 in bunk configuration with the top bunk convertible to a double. There is a toilet and shower is the forward cabin.

The aft cabin also sleeps 4, 2 in bunks and one double and has a toilet and shower.

Crew sleeping quarters are on the upper deck.

dive vessel layout

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