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Rating: Ranked as Excellant by independant reviewsRanked as Excellant by independant reviewsRanked as Excellant by independant reviewsRanked as Excellant by independant reviewsRanked as Excellant by independant reviews95%
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Australia (East) Scuba Destination Info:
      Overall summary of Australia (East)
Australia is home to some very varied diving conditions and experiences. People forget how vast it is and just tend to focus on the Great Barrier Reef, however, it has a lot to offer.

After the inevitable long trip to get here, moving around Australia is easy with plenty of cheap interconnecting national flights. The country is also well set up as a holiday destination with a well developed tourist infrastructure. As well as diving, in most places there will also be plenty to do on the surface after the dive.

The east coast of Australia runs from the Cape York Peninsula in the north, all the way down to Sydney. Along the way, you can experience all of the many Great Barrier Reef locations and islands, or the more accessible coastal diving. Getting out to the Great Barrier Reef is usually done via Cairns and is best achieved with a Liveaboard. Many operators exist with different standards and quality of boat - you will be spoilt for choice. It is also very easy to get in touch by the internet and book in advance or just turn up in Cairns. You can also do cruises that depart from Cairns every week. You do less dedicated diving but it feels very different. There are usually a lot fewer divers on the boat (say 6-10 out of 100 people on the boat) and so you do feel a bit less crowded. You will be diving every other day, and visiting islands on the other days.

The Great Barrier Reef rightly dominates the diving on offer on the east coast. It is 2,300 km long and stretches from the northern tip of Queensland to just north of Bundaberg. It is a Marine Park and a World Heritage area. For more information on the Great Barrier Reef and detailed reports on its state and quality, visit the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park website. The Great Barrier Reef management area also includes the coastal dive sites from the Cape York Peninsula down through Cairns and Townsville (home to the SS Yongala), taking in the Whitsundays, and Rockhampton with Heron Island and Lady Musgrave Island.

Outside of this area you still have other great diving. As you carry on past Brisbane, you have Jew Shoal home to HMAS Brisbane deliberately sunk in 2005. Lord Howe Islands lies further out in the ocean, and Jervis Bay just past Sydney.
      How to get to Australia (East)
Sydney, although not the capital, is one of Australia's busiest airports and most major carriers have services into Australia via Sydney.

The rest of Australia can be accessed by an extensive airline route network, with the major carriers being Qantas, Virgin Blue, Rex (Regional Express) and Tiger.

      Top travel tips for Australia (East)
It is a big country so either fly or hire a car.
The summer temperature can reach 40*C.
      What's the diving like in Australia (East)
Diving the Gt Barrier Reef is a great experience , but if you are going from Cairnes choose your dive boat with care, so many of them are a large in personal and not much fun.
The SS Yongala is a great dive.
Byron Bay, Mullaway, South West Rocks and Forster in NSW are all really good spots.
      Best wreck dives in Australia (East)
The SS Yongala out of Townsville is the most popular wreck dive in Oz.
      Chance of big fish in Australia (East)
      Coral quality in Australia (East)
      Best time to dive in Australia (East)
      What to take to Australia (East)

Big Blue Planet knows about the following locations in Australia (East):

Ayr is located about 88 km south of Townsville and around 1200 km north of Brisbane and is in the heart of one of the most productive sugar cane regions. It is a quiet town with a large selection of motels and hotels but it has one well kept secret ...
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Diving in Brisbane is fantastic, a little bit of everything. Marine life, corals, wrecks you name it they seem to have it. When you have completed your diving there is so much else you can do within a small distance from the Sunshine Coast to Redclif...
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Byron Bay
The diving around Julian Rocks (about 10 minutes by boat from the beach at Byron Bay) is GREAT. Julian Rocks is easily accessible by boat - it's only 2 and a half kilometres offshore, and I was intrigued by the way the boat was launched. A small tru...
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Cairns is known as the australian main diving resort since it's so near the Great Barrier Reef. It usually takes an hour by boat out to the reef but since the journey is inside the reef there is no need to fear seasickness. If you still suffer from s...
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Cook Island, Tweed Heads
Cook Island.....where do I start!! The small island has at least 3 different ecosystems and a good variation of bottom terrain to suit all interests and levels of experience. An ideal place to complete most of the PADI speciality courses. The range o...
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Great Barrier Reef Liveabord
While in the UK I was sadly searching the internet and going through old copies of dive magazines trying to find any information on the Great Barrier Reef but it wasn't until I arrived in Cairns where all the huge livaboards depart from the excitemen...
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Heron Island
Heron Island is a unique resort. Located at the heart of the Capricorn Cays National park the only way to get to the island is by boat or by helicopter (both serviced from Gladstone, Queensland). The website gives a pretty good ...
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Jervis Bay
Jervis Bay is located three hours south of Sydney. A popular weekend getaway in the New South Wales South Coast region, Jervis Bay has been recognised with Marine & National Park status. Many people come to dive, snorkel, fish, surf, whale watch and...
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Jew Shoal
The Noosa Jew Shoal area off the Noosa National Park boasts 20 hectares of rock bommies and canyons covered with a diverse range of colorful hard and soft corals and is teeming with marine life including manta rays, nudibranchs, seasonal humpback wha...
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Lady Musgrave Island
Best diving in Australia! Not a lot of people know The Great Barrier Reef starts in Bundaberg. and it is the best part of the reef. Not a lot of tourists, high living coral coverage and fish diversity and lots of Mantarays. It is a beautiful coral ...
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Lizard Island
I have dove off shore from Lizard Island at Cod Hole. At this site a number of very large groupers may be found, commonly called Potato Cod. There are other fish to see here like, big Buffalo parrot fish, sharks, as well as many tropicals abound in t...
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Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island is 700 kilometers north-east of Sydney. You arrive there on a 36 seater Qantas Link plane to arrive on Lord Howe Island. I had heard that it is one of the most picturesque island groups in the world and it's true! Lord Howe Island...
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Merimbula is a lovely small town on the Sapphire Coast - half way between Melbourne and Sydney. The diving is on reefs or wrecks, from boat or shore. The town is a popular family holiday place so there are lots of other activities and beautiful beach...
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Mission Beach
'Mission Beach & Beaver Cay Marine Sanctuary' Great Barrier Reef Queensland Australia. Easy access for International & Domestic passengers through Cairns International Airport, with a 1.5hour bus trip, car or train connections to Mission Beach. Th...
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Port Douglas
Picturesque Port Douglas, hub of the region, is just 70 kilometres north of Cairns international airport along a spectacular scenic coastal drive. Holidaymakers relish Port Douglasí natural beauty and excellent year round climate. Its relaxed seaside...
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Port Stephens
Nelsons Bay, located in Port Stephens is home to a number of great dive sites including: Broughton Island - Twenty kilometres north of Port Stephens is beautiful Broughton Island. Diving is diverse, ranging from 40 metre walls to the 15 metre swim...
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Solitary Islands
The Solitary Islands Marine Park at Coffs Harbour is midway between Brisbane and Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. It is where the tropical waters from the north mix with the sub tropical waters from the south. A blend of marine life that is not ...
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South-West Rocks
South-West Rocks is a beachside holiday town about an hour's drive south of Coffs Harbour. Diving here centres around the famous Fish Rocks and more famous Fish Rock Cave, an underwater fissure which is navigable from end to end and stretches over 12...
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Sydney offers a variety of dive sites for the beginner through to the technical diver, with wrecks off the shore in depths from 27m to 60m. The diversity for wreck diving is amazing. For those who love the reef and more shallow diving Sydney again co...
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The Whitsundays
The Whitsunday's offer a great variety of Diving. Not only are there the Island fringing reefs but the Great Barrier Reef is only a few hours East. Here the dive sites are untouched and coral formations are the best Ive seen. We saw an abundance o...
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The Yongala Wreck and Wheeler Reef off Townsville are two of the most amazing dive sites in Queensland. The Yongala Wreck is rated as one of the top 5 wreck dive sites in the world, and it is not hard to see why. The 100m long ship lies in 30m of w...
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Tweed River, Tweed Heads NSW
I dive in the Tweed River all the time as it's just around the corner from home. Its an easy dive, max depth is aobut 12m and is tide dependant. Visibility can get up to 20m on a very good day though mostly its about 8-10m. The water entry point is n...
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