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Dive Review of Lady Elliott Island Eco Resort in
Australia/Lady Elliott Island

Lady Elliott Island Eco Resort: "Healthy reefs, great resort, dive operation could be improved", Oct, 2019,

by Hugh E Aaron, FL, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 26 reports with 19 Helpful votes). Report 11191.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments We were on Lady Elliott for a total for five nights in early May. Both morning and afternoon dives were offered each day. We dove three days making a total of six dives.

Lady Elliott diving is decidedly not concierage diving. If you are expecting someone to carry your gear and help you get your fins on, Lady Elliott is not that kind of place. Divers are pretty much expected to take care of setting up and handling their gear on their own. And to be generally independent. Although if someone needs special assistance, I suspect the dive staff would help them upon request.

Divers assemble their gear at the dive shop located in the developed part of the island near the housing units. Divers then load their gear on a flat bed truck and ride in a trailer to the beach. At the beach, divers suit up, including tanks, BCs and weights, and walk across the beach. If the tide is high enough, the dive boat, which is a landing craft style boat with a ramp on the front, picks the divers up on the beach. If the tide is low, divers walk out to the boat. It is not easy and probably not a great idea for people with physical limitations.

Most of the dives were drift dives in about 60 feet (20 meters) of water. The dives were mostly in open water over sand with some coral heads. Most dives had plenty of current which is to be expected in a big animal place. The dive staff and, it appeared, most of the guests, are focused on seeing the big animals. During our visit in early May, we saw numerous turtles on every dive. Although less common, we also saw Manta rays. The highlight of the trip was a tiger shark sighting.

Consistent with the overall diving experience, getting back on the dive boat is not easy. Don’t expect much help. Expect to be scolded if you don’t get your fins off fast enough.

The rental gear is, well, crap. The booking paperwork suggests that it would be very difficult to bring your own gear due to weight restrictions applicable to the flight to the island. As it turns out, most of Australians, many of whom appeared to be Lady Elliott regulars, brought there own equipment. We wished we had.

The staff and other divers seemed less interested in diving the reef. That was a disappointment to us as the reef was spectacular. It reminded me of the Caribbean in the late 70s when I began diving. There were large fields of staghorn, coral which I took as a sign of a very health reef system. There was none of the macro algae we often see in other parts of the world, including the Cairns area. I suspect the reef health is directly attributable to the island’s remote location and the resort staffs’ laser focus on taking care of the environment.

Our last day we requested a reef dive and the staff agreed, sort of. I think the problem with the more shallow reef dives from the staffs’ perspective is the fact that the bigger animals tend to hang out in deeper water.

While the diving is very rigid — you dive only when and where the staff tells you to dive — the snorkeling is much more flexible. Guests can snorkel on their own. The snorkeling is fantastic.

The dive shop policies were inefficient and frustrating. The morning dives are scheduled for 8 am. Everyone with their own gear is typically ready to go by 8 am. However, the dive shop does not open until 8 am for rental gear pickup. In addition, they tend to issue rental gear one piece at time. So gear pick up is a laborious and rushed process. To make matters worse, they would repeatedly issue gear with broken buckles and missing straps necessitating additional trips through the pickup line. The worst part of the whole process was the fact that they make you turn in your gear at the end of each day and then reissue you different gear the next day. So you end up have to go through the same frustrating and inefficient process everyday. They should just let you keep the same gear for the duration of your time on the island.

While we weren’t particularly impressed with the dive operation, the eco resort itself is fantastic. They offer a range of accommodations options. We stayed in one of the Garden Units. It was basic but comfortable.

We opted to purchase the breakfast and dinner buffets, but not the lunch buffet. The buffets were tasty with a nice range of options. For lunch, we ordered off the sandwich menu. It was fine.

The resort has a well run educational center. We thoroughly enjoyed their science lectures and island tours.

The eco resort is the only development on the island. The operation is VERY environmentally friendly. They desalinate their own water, generate almost all of their electricity using solar panels, and process all waste on site. The “behind the scenes” tour offered through the educational center was fascinating.

Five days on the island was a nice stay. Most people seemed to be staying for fewer days.

In summary, we were disappointed in the dive operation but otherwise thoroughly enjoyed our stay on Lady Elliott Island. If you go, take your own gear and leave time for snorkeling so you get to see the best coral.
Websites Lady Elliott Island Eco Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving USVI, BVI, California, Hawaii, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Caymans, Curacao, Dominica, Roatan, Belize, Saba, St, Barths, St Kitts, Nevis, Saint Martin, Culebra, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Bahamas, Bonaire, Thailand
Closest Airport Hervey Bay Getting There The eco resort offers charter flights to and from the island and several mainland locations. We flew from Hervey Bay which also allowed us to visit Fraser Island — don’t miss it.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 76-77°F / 24-25°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 50-80 Ft/ 15-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions They have many rules and you better follow them. Dives averaged about 50 minutes.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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