Whenever you think of Diving Australia the first thing you think of is the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). There are however many other places to dive in Australia than just the worlds largest living structure. I only managed to dive a number of places whilst I was there for just under 3 months.
Great Barrier Reef
I dived the GBR from Port Douglas with a Uni friends’ brother who was an instructor out there. I dived with the company his was working for called Haba. They provided a great service, it was a long boat ride out to the dive site but it was on a very comfortable large catamaran. I was slightly disappointed at the reef life. Maybe I was expecting a lot more, especially after watching so many documentaries about the GBR. However, you have to think that for just a day trip they are going to take you to a good reef within the time and money constraints avaiable. If you really want to see good parts of the GBR then a live-aboard is the way forward. We did 2 dives there, both were good but like I said, maybe I was expecting more. Thanks to Richard and Sharon for taking such great care of me. I was expecting to see great schools of fish and lots of sharks but unfortunately I saw a lot of stag horn coral and a few fish! Perhaps a trip on a live aboard to some of the further less traveled places would have been better.
I dived around the Whitsunday’s whilst on a boat trip from Airlie Beach and here I saw my first Manta and reef sharks. An amazing experience even if they were a way in the distance. I also did my first proper night dive here. I remember being surrounded by the numerous glowing orange eyes of the sharks that were circling around us during the dive. Something to get your heart rate going! We also did a couple of day dives around the islands, great dives and great experience. Read more here
One of my favourite dive sites in the whole of Australia had to be the Yongala Wreck near Townsville. A 107m long ship that was sunk in a cyclone in 1911. Now lying on its side and having been underwater for so long itis now built up with coral. There are no other coral reefs for miles around so the Yongala attracts most of the marine life to live in and around the wreck. Only Advanced Divers can do this dive due to the depth and currents surrounding the wreck.
The wreck is full of fish, so much so that you sometimes have to push fish out the way to see other fish! I dived with Yongala Dive based out of Alva Beach, a good outfit who take care of you. The wreck is a thrilling 30min ride from the beach and the site hosts – Giant gropers, schools of giant trevally and cobia, sea snakes some turtles, rays and thousands of other creatures on the now coral-encrusted structure. Read more here
Other places I can recommend but have not been myself – Nigaloo Reef (Whale Sharks), Melbourne (Weedy Sea Dragons), Cod Hole – Giant Groupers.