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Dive Review of Yongala Dive/Parkside Motel in
Australia/Ayr, Australia

Yongala Dive/Parkside Motel: "Yongala Wreck dive", Nov, 2015,

by Henry O Ziller, CO, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 33 reports with 16 Helpful votes). Report 8808 has 1 Helpful vote.

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 3 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments This was a dive scheduled into a tour of the east half of Australia. We wanted to dive on Kangaroo Island to see the weedy sea dragon, but the only dive shop on the island closed down. We thought about diving in Port Douglas north of Cairns, but most diving was off huge boats with 50 divers so we did not do that.
The dive we did do was on the Yongala Wreck near Ayr, Australia south of Townsville.
We stayed in Alva at the Parkside Motel that is about 30 minutes from the Yongala Dive, dive shop. Restaurants don’t keep very convenient hours in some parts of Australia. Dinner and the bar at Parkside Motel is open from 6 PM to 8 PM. They only have room service for breakfast so just fill out your order the night before and it is delivered on time. The breakfast was huge. Since we had a fridge and microwave my wife and I split one breakfast and had the other the next day. There is a pool but it is under a canopy so the water is cool. We stopped at a bottle shop (liquor store) so we could have happy hour since the bar is only open 6 – 8 pm. The owner did supply us with ice which was nice.
We rented equipment from the dive shop which was quite worn, but it all worked fine. The toughest thing was getting in and out of the 7 mil wet suit. There was no zipper at the feet to loosen up. We normally only wear a skin down to 76 degrees F, and the water temperature was 80 F. They provided a lightweight fabric hood to everyone since stingers were prevalent. I never saw any but some of the beaches we were visiting had inflated booms with screen dropped down to the sand to keep jellyfish out to allow people to swim, so we wore them. A 4 wheel drive vehicle takes everyone to the boat launch where you walk out to the boat. The boat held about 16 dives and crew and had all the necessary safety equipment. The boat is powered by two – 200 hp outboards so it is fast, but takes about an hour to get to the Yongala. The web site will tell you it is a half hour, but it took us one hour. Some of the live a boards visit this site, and that is the best way to dive Australia. A briefing was given back at the dive shop so when we arrived at the sight it was time to put on fins and mask and back roll into the water. A sturdy ladder is provided for exit. The routine is to go down the decent line to the wreck since the current can be quite strong. Today it was not. We circle the ship and returned via the same line. Report back on with 50 bar and report 50 bar even if you are at less. Reporting more is fine, just not less. The wreck is the only thing of interest in the area so it is a magnet for all kinds and sizes of fish. We saw two of the largest grouper ever. They looked to be 6 feet long. We also saw tons of small fish, very large bat fish and large turtle. Some people saw a guitar fish and had the picture to prove it. We did our second dive after an hour surface interval that included fruit snacks and water. After the second dive it is back to the shore which is closer since the tide has gone out. There is now about a half mile walk to the Jeep, so we off load into the water and start walking, all except one, a divemaster who runs to the Jeep and she saves you half the distance. A bar-b-que is ready when you return to the dive shop and rinse your wet suit and hang it up. The rest of the gear is being brought in by the divemasters and boat crew.
If you have not been to Australia you may not know about the fly problem they have away from the major cities, but they were not bad here. Some areas they were really bothersome, so much so that we purchased hats with screens over our faces. Well worth the $10 AUD.
Australia is also very expensive for most things, food, drinks, clothing, just about everything except airfares within the country. A six pack of beer runs $18 to $25 AUD. The exchange rate was in our favor .71 USD = 1 AUD, so you were getting a 30% discount. ATM’s are everywhere, but both credit cards we used charged $10 per use in the ATM so it is best to use the card for all purchases.
I would say the best way to dive Australia’s Great Barrier reef or Coral Sea is by live-a-board.
Websites Yongala Dive   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Throughout the Caribbean, Micronesia, Indonesia, Philippines, Maldives, Tanzania, Australia.
Closest Airport Townsville Getting There Flights available from Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas currents
Water Temp 80-80°F / 27-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 50-70 Ft/ 15-21 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions The routine is to go down the decent line to the wreck since the current can be quite strong. Today it was not. We circle the ship and returned via the same line. Report back on with 50 bar and report 50 bar even if you are at less.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments No camera for this trip
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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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