The kids and I had such a great trip out to the outer Great Barrier Reef last year. I’m still feeling proud of myself for finding a trip that suited Teen17, Teen15 and the 8 year old twins.. and me… and it felt like a real adventure too.
I love sailing yachts so the overnight trip aboard the Coral Sea Dreaming appealed as soon as I heard about it. I knew I wanted to go to the Reef for a couple of days, and I knew that’s an expensive desire.
Going on an overnight trip was certainly more cost effective that doing two day trips plus staying in a hotel, see what we paid for this trip at the end of the post.
So this is the boat we went on. Coral Sea Dreaming is a 16m steel sloop, she sleeps 12 passengers and three crew in the marine equivalent of bunkhouse accommodation.
(I didn’t take this aerial shot, sadly, have pinched it from the Coral Sea Dreaming website.)
Here’s our competent captain, and the mainsail is up as we set out from Cairns early one morning and out to the reef.
I love to just lie on the deck and watch the sails, takes me right back to my sailing holidays as a child around the Hebrides in Scotland – sigh.
The captain finds a willing crew member.
Now in this post I am just doing a show and tell on the yacht itself. Here’s the view we saw often as we snorkelled about on the three reefs we visited over our two days.
There’s plenty of space on deck for the passengers and crew, plus all the wetsuits, snorkels etc etc
The other passengers were a real highlight of this trip, in fact. No-one minded the fast that I had the teens and twins with me, and were very chatty with the kids which they loved. My three boys shared a cabin with a Dutch-Moroccan stunt pilot… great yarns from him!
You can see the below decks layout on the yacht’s website here. My wee daughter and I were in cabin 3, and let me tell you it is really small. The cabins are for sleeping only, we spent all the rest of the time up on deck.
Here’s Rusty Rocket the cabin boy in his berth, he shared a 4-berth bunk cabin. It’s very cramped, tricky for changing into your pjs.
Behold the bathroom! The yacht has two pump action toilet, a tight squeeze all round. But who cares?
Our hostess shows Ms8 all sorts of different fishes, we spotted heaps of these underwater.
Lounging on the decks was a favourite past times for the kids. Me too.
Smith in her natural habitat.
Teen 17 and Teen 14 (at that time) went scuba diving with the dive master, I just snorkelled with the kids. I’m telling you that seeing the three of us in a photo together is unusual… seeing us smiling is rare indeed. This trip worked!
Coral Sea Dreaming has over 20 mooring that can be used when she is out. So the captain can choose to visit the reefs that will be best, depending on the weather conditions.
On day 1, we set off and visited two reefs, doing three separate dives/snorkels. We sleep like babies and are awake early. Day 2 sees three more underwater adventures on two different reefs and then the cruise back to Cairns.
Plenty of time to enjoy leaping and diving from the yacht.
The dive master aboard is in charge of all matters underwater and gives a good briefing on each site.
There is nothing, NOTHING, like being far from land as the sun sets.
This trip would work for you if…
You’re looking for something more adventurous than a simple day trip
You don’t want to be on a huge boat with hundreds of other people
Your children are old enough not to fall overboard
You don’t mind a bit of roughing it – we didn’t shower for two days though there are showers aboard
You love being out at sea
But don’t forget to…
Dose yourself and the kids up with anti-seasickness tablets
Coral Sea Dreaming – The Details
Cost: We paid $460/$440 for myself and the teens, and $295 for the twins for the two day/one night trip.
Diving: My teens did a 3-dive introductory package for $150 each
Food: is included, it was pretty basic on our trip but fine for us.
Read more on the Coral Sea Dreaming website.
The same company owns the bigger day trip boat Passions of Paradise which I’ve heard is also a great trip.
You’ll Love These Cairns and Port Douglas Posts
If you’re thinking of a holiday to Cairns or Port Douglas start with..
Tips for Planning Family Holiday to Cairns and Port Douglas (has a good list of things to do)
And here are detailed posts on what we enjoyed
Miracle on the Great Barrier Reef – Kids Take Photos of Mum For Once!
When shall we get out to sea again?
Have you been to the Great Barrier Reef?
Happy bubbling under