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Submerged Survivor Expedition - Freediving Retreat

(includes PADI Freediver Course)

Submerged Survivor Expedition - Freediving Retreat

About the Course

Current Special: $849

The Submerged Survivor Expedition Retreat is the most holistic Freediving, Spearfishing, Icebath and Breathwork Retreat to Mount Gambier and the fantastical Kilsby’s Sinkhole!

You’re just one breath away from starting an incredible underwater journey!

Diving Adelaide has partnered with Primal Minds to bring you the most comprehensive and holistic Freediving Retreat Experience in Australia! This 3 day, 2 night experience will give you all the skills needed to get out and begin exploring the underwater world comfortably whilst successfully completing your PADI Freediver certification.

Freediving is about holding your breath and learning to be comfortable with discomfort. During the course we’ll be taking you out of your comfort zone, into the icy waters of the Mount Gambier sinkholes (including world famous Kilsby’s Sinkhole) and the occasional ice bath, getting you comfortable there and then teaching you the correct breathing and relaxation techniques to make sure that you can be calm and in control of your mind and body in any situation. You will learn how to focus your power and control your fear. We’ll take you on a hike through breathtaking scenery and spend some time stretching, meditating and practicing breathing techniques, while getting you connected with your body and the natural environment all around you.

Upon Completion of the course you will receive the Worldwide Recognised PADI Freediver Certification giving you lifelong membership for the PADI freediver family. This means you can plan dives with similar or more qualified buddies who will feel comfortable knowing that you are armed with the knowledge and skills to freedive safely and be competent enough to rescue them should anything ever happen. You will also begin your Freediving journey with the correct habits, allowing you to progress faster and safer, making it more comfortable and enjoyable in the long run.

We will also cover the Basics of Spearfishing including – Equipment, Guns, How and Where to Plan Dives, Hunting Techniques, Weather Charts, Safety, Buddy Systems etc. You will walk away with all of the knowledge to get started in spearfishing and really know what it would be like to “live off the land”! Not interested in Spearfishing? No problem! This part of the course is optional, so feel free to sit it out.

After the course we’ll do a scheduled recreational freedive in Kilsby’s Sinkhole so you can enjoy your new found set of skills in one of the most picturesque and iconic freediving sites in the country!

You will be accompanied every step of the way by the marvellous mind behind Primal Minds, Alex Gibbons. With over 14 years of dedicated freediving and spearfishing experience and an unmatched passion for connecting people with nature, the water and themselves, you couldn’t be in better hands.

This is so much more than just another Freediving course!

Why choose Diving Adelaide to start your Freediving adventures?

This is a question we get asked a lot by people who want to take the plunge with us, so we decided to put a short list of the main reasons on our website. This is just the short list, if you would like the longer version, please don’t hesitate to shoot us an e-mail!

Standard Course Schedule

The Diving Adelaide and Primal Minds Freediving and breath work course not only gives you the core skills for exploring the underwater world but also the life skills to control stress more effectively, improve sleep and recovery, improve your energy levels, reduce inflammation and minimise depression, anxiety and self-doubt. It deepens your connection with self and develops confidence allowing you to connect better with others.

This is a short overview of the retreat schedule:

Home study (10 – 12 hours): PADI Freediver eLearning
Friday afternoon (@ Mt Gambier): Theory session, breathwork, Ice Bath session and evening BBQ.
Saturday (@ Mt Gambier): Confined water session, meditation and lung warm up session, Open Water session 1 and group dinner in Mount Gambier.
Sunday (@ Mt Gambier): Theory session, Open Water session 2, Kilsby’s Sinkhole fun dives.

What you need to know before you start the course:

  • The home theory portion of the course will take about 10 hours to complete so make sure you allow yourself enough time to complete it.
  • You need adequate swimming skills and need to be in good physical health. No prior experience with snorkelling, skin diving or freediving is required, however, you need to be able to swim with fins.
  • You will also need to complete a short medical questionnaire to determine if there are any specific health risks that may exclude you from participating in the course.

The PADI Freediver Course itself consists of four main phases:

  1. Knowledge development about freediving techniques through independent study with PADI Freediver eLearning.
  2. Interactive theory session with demonstrations designed to make learning fun. We cover Equipment, Physiology, Breathing and Relaxation, Pressure and Depth, Hyperventilation, Mammalian Dive Reflex, Equalisation Techniques, The Open Water Environment and Freediving Disciplines for Confined and Open Water.
  3. Confined Water Session to learn breath hold techniques, Static and Dynamic Apnea, safety, rescue and buddy systems, correct kick and glide techniques.
  4. Two Open Water Sessions covering Weighting, Equalisation, Free Immersion and Constant weight Techniques, Duck Dives, Streamlined Body Position, Rescuing a Diver Simulating a Blackout.

Course Inclusions

  • A fabulous weekend away with freediving instructor extraordinaire Alex Gibbons.
  • Two nights of accommodation at the Old Gaol in Mount Gambier (or similar, depending on availability).
  • Full PADI Freediving course including eLearning and certification.
  • Basics of Spearfishing course.
  • Guided meditation, breath work and Ice Bath sessions.
  • Breath work routines to take home with you.
  • Entry fees and permits for Mount Gambier Swimming Pool and Little Blue Lake.
  • Resort Facilities (showers, BBQs, etc).
  • Entry to Kilsby Sinkhole for a recreational dive after the course.
  • Photo package by a professional photographer.


Come and join a small group of likeminded individuals on an unforgettable trip and make buddies for life!


PADI eLearning®

Where some dive schools still choose to teach the theory side of the learn to dive course in a traditional classroom setting, Diving Adelaide has chosen for the faster, cost-effective way of teaching the theory via online training. To us, the advantages of e-learning are clear:


  • E-learning provides a single experience that accomodates the three disctinct styles of auditory learners, visual learners and kinesthetic learners, allowing for more efficient training.

  • E-learning is self-paced. Advanced learners are allowed to speed through the theory, while others slow their own progress through content, eliminating frustration with themselves, their fellow learners and the course.

  • E-learning has on-demand availability, which allows the student to complete the training conveniently at off-hours or from home (as a student you can log on and off to do parts of the theory as many times as you want) and doesn’t require the student to travel to training location.

  • E-Learning reduces the learning time on average by 40 to 60 percent, which means the overall time that you will be spending on the theory will most likely be only half of the time you would have spent in a classroom setting.


What you will need to bring:

The following freediving equipment is required for the course:

  • Wetsuit (5mm open cell or 7mm standard).
  • Proper fitting, low profile/freediving mask and snorkel.
  • Freediving fins.
  • Rubber weightbelt with weights (spare weights will be available).

If you do not have the above equipment, we have some gear available for rental! Alternatively, come and see us in our new Adelaide megastore at 21 Grove Avenue, Marleston or check out our online store: Online Dive Gear for the best prices in Australia!

Limited hire gear is available, so please let us know well in advance if you would need to hire any or all of the above.

Frequently Asked Questions

Would you like to share your diving experiences with someone close to you or give the gift of endless adventures? You can now easily give the gift of diving with a Gift Voucher!

You can collect a physical gift voucher from the store or simply purchase one through our online store from the comfort of your home.

The online gift voucher will be delivered via email and can be redeemed online.

Online Gift Vouchers

We have taught the youngest kids all the way up to 70 years old to dive, so don’t think you need to be superfit to participate in this course!

You don’t have to be superfit to do the course, but at least an average fitness level is recommended. Almost anybody can learn to freedive, but the fitter you are, the easier it will be. Being comfortable in the water will go a long way too!

All participants need to fill out a dive medical questionnaire before the course. Simply follow the steps on the form to determine whether you will need clearance to start your course. We recommend SPUMS Diving Dr Anne Sampson from Hallett Cove for dive medical (Mobile: 0418 803 250).

The minimum number of participants for us to run the PADI Freediver Retreat is four. About 95% of our courses run as planned, as apart from the occasional midweek course in the middle of Winter, it hardly ever happens that we don’t get four bookings on a course.

If we have to cancel a course because of lack of interest, you have the option to reschedule (free of charge of course) or get a full refund of your course fees

The minimum age to do this course with us is 18 years old.

Whether you’re sick, got COVID19, need to isolate, haven’t completed the PADI eLearning in time or can’t make the proposed course dates anymore, you can reschedule at any time before or during the course for any reason.

Costs may apply. Please contact Alex from Primal Minds for details.

The theory for the PADI Freediver Course is delivered through PADI eLearning. The eLearning is included in the course fee.

The main thing to remember is that we are going to get wet anyway, so if it rains a little that is totally fine.

The good thing about diving in the fresh water sinkholes in Mount Gambier is that the weather doesn’t influence the experience as much as it would in the ocean. Only in extreme cases will we have to cancel and reschedule the course. We always keep an eye on the weather forecast and will notify you beforehand if we expect this to be the case!

The PADI Freediver Retreat is normally run over 3 days in Mount Gambier (usually a Friday, Saturday and Sunday).

Any dive centre around the world will recognise your PADI Freediver certification card. PADI is the largest certification agency in the world with more than 6000 dive centres worldwide.

Even if you end up diving somewhere in the world with a non-PADI dive centre, they will recognise your certification.

Rental gear is not included in this course, but we do have a range of gear available to rent through our online rental gear portal.

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