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Scuba Diving Australia

Including the Great Barrier Reef, Heron Island and Whitsunday Islands

Diving Australia articles, reviews, and reports from Undercurrent

Diving Australia Overview

Cairns, the jumping-off spot for the Great Barrier Reef, is a youth-oriented, tropical city with plenty of hotels and restaurants as well as an assortment of day boats going to the Reef and overnight trips to Cod Hole. Cairn's "beach" is a mud flat dotted with roseate spoonbills and other tropical birds, and you can visit the reptile farm to gawk at saltwater crocodiles eating chickens or take the Kuranda Railway for a look at a magnificent waterfall. ...

The best diving, with pristine reefs and oodles of fish, is to the north, reachable only by live-aboard during their summer months, roughly November to March. The Ribbon Reefs are known for big sharks, lots of them, including fleets of bronze whalers.... Pack safety sausages, whistles, strobes, mirrors, and any other safety devices that would make you noticeable if a current carries you too far from the boat. However, Aussie dive rules are now tight (far tighter than the Florida Keys, for example), with redundant head counts after every dive.....

Pricey Lizard Island is the northernmost land-based operation; they have day trips to Cod Hole to pet friendly, refrigerator-sized potato cod. Although the GBR (or, as our correspondent called it, the Pretty Good Barrier Reef) gets most of the press, better by a hundred miles is the Coral Sea, whose outlying atolls and pinnacles such as Marion Reef offer some of the best diving in the world. To the south, the wreck of the /Yongala /out from Townsville may be the best fish-covered wreck in the world....

Moving from Queensland south, you'll pass from full-on tropics, through temperate water, to chilly water in Sydney, and finally into the really cold stuff when you reach Tasmania.... Don't worry about the Great White in the GBR; they hang around south of Sydney, off Adelaide where the water is cooler. On the west coast of Australia, sea planes from Exmouth lead dive boats to schools of whale sharks on Ningaloo Reef.

Australia Seasonal Dive Planner

Yes, it's reversed Down Under: Australia's winter is during the Northern Hemisphere's summer. Summer weather is sultry and oppressive, with tropical showers.... Water temperature is below 80 and colder in their winter, so bring rubber; visibility can at times be in the 50-foot range. That's the easy part. From there, it gets increasingly complex; Australia's diving areas are vast. Cyclone season is January through March; April, May, and June see heavy trade winds. The best season to dive Australia on a liveaboard (really the only way to see the best) is July through November. Best vis at Osprey, in the northern Coral Sea, is between June and September. Whale Sharks congregate at Ningaloo Reef during March and April.

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Diving Australia Feature Articles and Reader Reports

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Australia Dive Reviews

from our Instant Reader Reports
 
Dive Operation Resort Name Area Reporter Dive Date
Yongala Dive Review [same] Ayr, Queensland Mel Turner 2016/10
Resorts Padi Dive Center Review Morten Island Tangalooma island Briton M Tater 2015/12
Odyssey Expeditions Review [same] Rowley Shoals Judy Ormandy 2016/11
Lizard Island Resort Review [same] Lizard Island, Great Barrier R Richard Bruch 2016/01
Spirit of Freedom Review [same] Coral Sea Jeffrey R. Johnson 2016/04
All Reader Reports on Scuba Diving Australia
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Choose years, land-based or liveaboards, which dive ops, where diving, ... You can view this online, download it or print it.

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Diving Australia Articles - Land Based


Available to the Public
Australia, Grand Cayman, Philippines . . ., and when its really the best time to dive in Raja Ampat, 11/11
A Tale of Three Fees, 10/11
Why the Dive Industry Is Dying: Its the Medias Fault, 10/09
Kangaroos and LSD, Looking for leafy sea dragons in Australia, 10/99
Diving Western Australia's True North, it's more than just skurfing, whale sharks and waterfalls, 4/99
Whale Sharks in Oz, 9/95

Diving Australia Articles - Liveaboards

Six Hours Adrift Alone, a stirring tale of Australian true grit, 8/16
Climate Change Wreaks Havoc on Coral, and raises more than one stink!, 7/16
Australias Great Barrier Reef Controversy, science versus commerce?, 5/16
A New App for Coral Sea Diving, 4/14

Available to the Public
Spoilsport, Great Barrier Reef & Coral Sea, Australia, something for everyone, even snorkelers, 10/11
Did Gabe Watson Get Away With Murder?, 7/09
Aussie Liveaboard Gives Divers a Wild Ride, 6/09
MV Odyssey, Rowley Shoals, Western Australia, great diving Down Under, 4/07
Nimrod Explorer, Coral Sea, Australia, a sea full of turtles, 6/06
More Trouble on the Reef Explorer, the $3000 Australian cruise from hell, 1/99
Spirit of Freedom, 1/95

Australia Dive Reviews

from our Travelin' Divers' Chapbooks

Land Based Dive Resorts in Australia

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For Public 2011 2010
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Australia Liveaboards

For Members 2016 2015 2014 2013          
For Public 2012 2011 2010
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Contact Information for Dive Resorts and Liveaboards Worldwide
All Australia Diving Reviews -- Instant Reader Reports

Editor's Book Picks for Scuba Diving Australia
Including the Great Barrier Reef, Heron Island and Whitsunday Islands

The books below are my favorites about diving in this part of the world All books are available at a significant discount from Amazon.com; just follow the links. -- BD

Diving In Indonesia Diving In Indonesia
by Sarah Ann Wormald

Indonesia covers a large area - an archipelago that consists of at least 17,500 islands. It's 3000 miles from Pulau Weh in the West to West Papua in the East, and nearly all of it has exceptionally good diving. A book that attempts to encompass such an area is very ambitious. Sarah Ann Wormald has concentrated on the areas that she knows, including Bali, North and South Sulawesi, Nusa Tengarra, Maluku and Raja Amat. The author writes with authority and the voice of someone who has actually experienced first-hand the places she writes about The maps are detailed, the photographs excellent. Whether you are interested in the macro-life of Lembeh, the mantas of Nusa Penida or the wobbegongs of Cape Kri, this is a useful volume in a format that can be carried with you.

Click here to order through Undercurrent and you’ll get Amazon’s best price -- and our profits will go to save coral reefs.



Four Fish Diving Indonesia's Bird's Head Seascape
by Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock

This dynamic duo's book describes 130 dive sites of Raja Ampat, Triton Bay and Cenderawasih Bay, while offering practical information about the area. The detailed descriptions of the sites, complete with GPS coordinates, explains the terrain, how to dive the site, and the kinds of animals, coral and critters you can expect. Excellent photographs will help you identify many of the critters you will encounter.

If you have been to Raja Ampat, or dream about going, this thoughtful and well-illustrated book is for you. The book, priced at $35, is only available at New World Publications.


Click here to order through Undercurrent -- and our profits will go to save coral reefs.



Dive Palau (The Shipwrecks) Dive Palau (The Shipwrecks)
by Rod MacDonald

The author has followed a format similar to that of Dan E. Bailey's seminal work, World War II Wrecks of Truk Lagoon, although this 295-page hardcover book is significantly smaller. There's the history, the contemporary black & white photographs, both of the ships themselves and from aerial reconnaissance, the more recent surface photographs of wartime remnants of installations and detailed maps. In a second section, each vessel is covered in individual chapters, detailing how and where they were built, how they went down and what it's like to dive them now. There are sketches of the wrecks as they lie at the bottom of the lagoon today.

Click here to order through Undercurrent and you’ll get Amazon’s best price -- and our profits will go to save coral reefs.



Nudibranchs Encyclopedia - Asia/Indo-Pacific Nudibranchs Encyclopedia - Asia/Indo-Pacific
by Cobb and Mullins

The second edition of the Nudibranchs Encyclopedia has been revised and updated by scientists Gary Cobb and David Mullins, but Neville Coleman is still very much in evidence. With more than 300 pages mostly bearing eight colored identification photographs per page, one could almost be forgiven for assuming that if a particular nudibranch isn't included in the more than 2000 photos, then it doesn't exist, but then, we all know that there will always still be more waiting to be discovered. In fact, it modestly claims only to include around 70 percent of the most commonly observed species of opisthobranchs as divers throughout the Asia/Indo-Pacific region discover more.

Click here to order through Undercurrent and you’ll get Amazon’s best price -- and our profits will go to save coral reefs.



Nudibranch and Sea Slug Identification: Indo-Pacific Nudibranch and Sea Slug Identification: Indo-Pacific
by Terry Gosliner, Ángel Valdés and Dave Behrens

Indonesia has so much to offer the nudibranch enthusiast. For example, on Nudi Wall at Lembeh Strait, nudibranchs litter the seabed as if a great big sack of Gummy Bears has been carelessly tipped out. Nudibranchs are colorful slugs that wear their feathery gills on their backs. There are so many varieties, but how do you know which you've seen? New World Publications has come to the rescue with this weighty tome of 400 pages packed with color pictures, along with basic information to help the reader get the best chance of the right identification.

Click here to order through Undercurrent and you’ll get Amazon’s best price -- and our profits will go to save coral reefs.



Reef Fish of the East Indies Reef Fish of the East Indies
by Gerald R. Allen and Mark V. Erdman

It's got a list price of $250 and a weight of 14 pounds, but the price and the poundage will be worth it to add this three-volume set to your library. Renowned marine biologists Gerald R. Allen and Mark V. Erdman have combined 60 years of surveys, fieldwork and research to create the most definitive guide of the Coral Triangle to date, perhaps forever. The 1,292 pages of text and 3,600 photographs (40 percent of which are of fish not seen before in print) gives comprehensive information on every known reef fish species from a region known as the global epicenter of marine biodiversity. An essential reference for any scuba diver.

Click here to order through Undercurrent and you’ll get Amazon’s best price -- and our profits will go to save coral reefs.



Reef Life: A Must Have Guide to Tropical Marine Life Reef Life: A Must Have Guide to Tropical Marine Life
by Brandon Cole and Scott Michael

What? Another fish ID book when you thought Paul Humanns and Ned Deloachs were enough? Yes indeed, and while I rarely say this, Reef Life: A Guide to Tropical Marine Life is a must-have for the library of every traveling diver. And if you only want one ID book, this is it.

Click here to order through Undercurrent and you’ll get Amazon’s best price -- and our profits will go to save coral reefs.



Reef Creature Identification: Tropical Pacific Reef Creature Identification: Tropical Pacific
by Paul Humann and Ned Deloach

Paul Humann and Ned Deloach have done it again, releasing a definitive identification guide to 1600 extraordinary reef creatures of the Tropical Pacific. with this 500+ page softbound guide, you get upwards of 2000 exceptional photos of shrimp and crabs and stars and worms and lobsters and nudibranchs and slugs and squid and bivalves . . . well, all those invertebrates that move along the reefs of this region without fining, so it seems. There are several photos of some creatures to help you identify them during different life stages, and about ten percent of the book is descriptive copy so you can tie down your identification. Even if you have no plans to go to the tropical Pacific, just to thumb through the pages, gawk at the complexity and uniqueness of these animals, and read a thumbnail sketch will give any serious diver vicarious thrills for endless hours.

Click here to order through Undercurrent and you’ll get Amazon’s best price -- and we'll get a cut of the proceeds to continue our reef-protection efforts.



Reef Fish ID Reef Fish Identification: Tropical Pacific
by Gerald Allen, Rodger Steene, Paul Humann, & Ned Deloach

At last, here's a comprehensive fish ID guide covering the reefs of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The generous 500-page text, displaying 2,500 underwater photographs of 2,000 species, identifies the myriad fishes that inhabit the warm tropical seas between Thailand and Tahiti. The concise text accompanying each species portrait includes the fish's common, scientific and family names, size, description, visually distinctive features, preferred habitat, typical behavior, depth range, and geographical distribution. This is an essential book for every diver traveling westward. 6x9 inches. Order through us, get Amazon.com's best price and a good hunk of the profit will be donated to preserve coral reefs.



You might find some other books of interest in our Editor's Book Picks section.



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