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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
Great Escape Charter Company Review [same] Western Australia Robert & Gayle 2014/11
Mike Ball Spoilsport Review [same] Coral Sea Robert & Gayle 2014/10
Spirit of Freedom Review Spirit of Freedom [N/A] Jayne A Murrill 2014/10
Fish Rock Review [same] NSW coast Malcolm Hunter 2014/10
Mike Ball Spoilsport Review [same] Great Barrier Reef Jim Tompkins 2014/10
All Reader Reports on Scuba Diving Australia
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Diving Australia Articles - Land Based


Available to the Public
Australia, Grand Cayman, Philippines . . ., and when it’s really the best time to dive in Raja Ampat, 11/11
A Tale of Three Fees, 10/11
Why the Dive Industry Is Dying: “It’s the Media’s 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

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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Australia Liveaboards

For Members 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

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.



Dive Sites of the Great Barrier Reef Dive Sites of the Great Barrier Reef
by Neville Coleman.

With 2900 reefs in 220,000 square miles, the enormous Great Barrier Reef has incredible dives -- and some very ordinary ones. If you're contemplating a trip, Neville Coleman's Dive Sites of the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea will help you ensure you pick the best. This 176 page book, with good maps and scores of colorful photos, describes the significant sites, the topography and the critters, then rates and ranks them so you can pick the best. Don't even consider a trip to Australia without consulting this. $24.95



Indo-Pacific Coral Reef Field Guide
by Gerald R. Allen, Roger Steene.

I was trying to pack light for a change. Surely the Solomon Sea would have good identification books aboard. Not so; the only book on the boat belonged to a fellow passenger. It was one that I had not seen before, the Indo-Pacific Coral Reef Field Guide, by two of the best fish guys around, Gerry Allen and Roger Steene. The problem was this fellow passenger kept it in a plastic baggie most of the trip and I had to beg to see it. Great book, good traveling size, and it covers everything from fish, shells, marine plants, mammals, corals, and invertebrates to sea birds and more. Now I've got my own, and it won't do you any good to beg me to borrow it. This is one of two books that I will not travel to the Pacific without. Good for travel to the Red Sea, East Africa, Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives, Andaman Sea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, Micronesia, Polynesia, and Hawaii, it has 1,800 color illustrations in a 6x8 1/2 paperback format with 378 pages. $39.95.



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




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