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Hello fellow divers - i have just booked my first trip to OZ and am very excited! It appears my dive buddy from NZ will be able to meet me in Cairns Sept 12-18th, but she won't know for sure until August..and we are definately budget travellers.
#1 - during that time period is it necessary and or cheaper to pre-book a 3or4 day liveaboard? or might we get a better deal when we get there?
From reading thru this forum, it looks like Oceanquest, Scubapro or Kangaroo Explorer have the best deals
#2 - if she can not make the trip, will i have trouble finding a buddy
and will i be charged a single supplement surcharge?
#3 - any suggestions for budget lodging in Cairns for the nite b4 and after the dive trip?
Thank you for any suggestions and information!!
1.For September defiantly pre book. You can always change dates but it is peak season and the only way to guarantee a place is pre book. Why chance it? You will not save money in peak season by leaving it later to book.
2. Most travellers go on these trips alone and the dive supervisor will buddy you up with one or two divers. So don’t worry about that. Plenty of people to dive with!
3. There are some great hostels in Cairns. Way too many to list here but I would try Gilligan’s, Bohemia, Global Palace as the best options are these are mega hostels with pools, bars single and dorm rooms etc. All in town and pickups available.
You are correct in picking Ocean Quest, Scubapro and Kangaroo Explorer as the 3 most popular budget boats, but if you can stretch to it I strongly recommend seeing if you can do a trip to the Ribbon Reefs further north as this is the best of the GBR. Taka is the most budget of these trips (Mike Ball and Spirit of Freedom are more pricey because they offer a one way scenic flight (plus a few other luxuries!).
I'd definitely look into mike ball and SoF... I'm not sure about peak season, but when i was looking to go away they were only a few hundred more than Taka.... for the pure convinence of having the low level flight back and not spending ????? hours on the boat, nicer boat, better food, service etc it's worth it. plus taka has 4 berth rooms at the cheap end, Mike Ball has doubles only.
Just a tip. Peak season has started. Mike Ball books up about 2 months in advance and Spirit of Freedom not far behind. Taka will be booked up a month in advance.
We did a booking for November on SOF today and they were 3/4 full.