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paperdesk
05-19-2009, 20:13
I'm plannning a trip to Australia this January, and would like to spend a couple days diving the GBR.

Is January a good time of the year to dive? Anything in particurlar I need to know? What are good op's to go with?

Thank you so much for the help!

Ted

Sansho
05-19-2009, 20:27
If you haven't already, do a search here, as there has been quite a bit posted on GBR dives. I was there last November (did a trip report, too), and was disappointed with the closer-in reef dives out of Cairns. If you really want to get the best of the GBR, I'd recommend a liveaboard that takes you out to the Coral Sea area.

Also, a fabulous dive was out of Townsville, south of Cairns, on the Yongala wreck. We took the train down from Cairns, did the dive, then flew out of Townsville back to Sydney.

paperdesk
05-19-2009, 21:59
Thanks for the tips Sansho. I really have no reference point yet, on what to expect, so I hope we can make our short time there count.

roby jeff
05-20-2009, 02:02
If you decide to just to do the beautifull dive at yongala , you should also do the wheeler reef dive (50nm east of townsville) & see the reef itself. Adrenaline dive do a full day trips to wheeler on tues, thurs, fri & sunday unless its over 20knots. Only max 20 divers and nice bommie 50 me behind the only mooring 10- 28me and beautifull coral gardens 0-10 me around the reef edge. Adrenalin Dive Townsville - Great Barrier Reef - SS Yongala - Learn to Dive - Townsville Scuba Diving - Reef Trips - Prodive (http://www.adrenalindive.com.au)

I reckon cairns is a bit of a meat market but some great trips up the ribbons and out to osprey reef in the coral sea 4-8 days.
january is nice 30-32c, very humid, water 27c. light winds except when the odd cyclone is about...then forget it all.

oddbod
05-20-2009, 03:21
Unluckily January is the wet season up there, stifling humidity, lots of rain and regular cyclones (read HURRICANE in Yank), you may get some nice weather in between though:smilie39:. I think the liveaboards still run though, although you are at the mercy of the weather warnings, agree with the other posts the further out you get the better the reef, recommend Mike Ball, Spirit of Freedom and Taka. :smilie40:

georoc01
05-20-2009, 16:46
Concur with those that recommend a liveaboard if you can swing it. Sites are much nicer than those closer to shore.

Daved
05-20-2009, 22:03
wow--really hot that time of year---really.really hot. Cairns is a cattle call for all looking to get certified. Most stay with in a couple of three hours boat ride from Cairns. If you have the time and money the liveaboards which go above Cooktown are amazing.

Yongla is worth everydime--if the seas are calm. If there is big seas--it can be a long boat ride.

Dive safe have fun and take in a Sunday session in Cairns for me

paperdesk
05-20-2009, 22:53
We're really excited about making plans and hope the weather will cooperate!

Yongala is highly recomended, so I'm looking into that for sure.

I checked Mike Ball and some other recomendations, and realized they were out of my budget, way out. Also we only have a couple days, maybe one or two night liveabored, not three for sure.

Any specific recomendations for shorter liveabord trips? Is it worth doing a liveaboard for a one or two night trip, as opposed to day trips?

Thank you,

Ted

gbrdiver
05-23-2009, 06:25
The 2-3 day liveaboards can be hit and miss. I have been on all of them here in Cairns and can honestly say it is just luck. I've been on the cheapest, crapiest boat here and had the best GBR experience ever, just happened to have a 300'+ vis day (I'm understating it), no current, just perfect. But I've had the opposite as well. Coral Sea trips are always good however. Just as someone mentioned having a great dive at Wheeler Reef off Townsville - I wish I could say the same on my 4 dives there!

roby jeff
05-23-2009, 08:45
The 2-3 day liveaboards can be hit and miss. I have been on all of them here in Cairns and can honestly say it is just luck. I've been on the cheapest, crapiest boat here and had the best GBR experience ever, just happened to have a 300'+ vis day (I'm understating it), no current, just perfect. But I've had the opposite as well. Coral Sea trips are always good however. Just as someone mentioned having a great dive at Wheeler Reef off Townsville - I wish I could say the same on my 4 dives there!

* Hey GBR .....sorry to hear your wheeler reef trips have not been up to scratch, i'm feeling giulty as i'm always telling people how good it is. We go out in our own boat so i'm wondering if the local dive charter boat is doing it justice nor not??
Its one of my favorite spots. I 'll start a thread with some photo's and description of the dive sites at "Wheeler reef" . Feel free to comment as to what you have found there.
rob

paperdesk
05-23-2009, 22:22
The 2-3 day liveaboards can be hit and miss. I have been on all of them here in Cairns and can honestly say it is just luck. I've been on the cheapest, crapiest boat here and had the best GBR experience ever, just happened to have a 300'+ vis day (I'm understating it), no current, just perfect. But I've had the opposite as well. Coral Sea trips are always good however. Just as someone mentioned having a great dive at Wheeler Reef off Townsville - I wish I could say the same on my 4 dives there!

So would it be just as worthwhile to do day trips, or is it really too far out for that?

Ted

Sansho
05-24-2009, 07:06
So would it be just as worthwhile to do day trips, or is it really too far out for that?
If I were to do it again, I'd see about trips out of Port Douglas, just North of Cairns. My sense is that it's not as busy as Cairns, and for shorter trips the reefs might be in better shape.

In term of Cairns, the outfit we used was OK, it's just that the reefs weren't in the greatest shape. See http://forum.scubatoys.com/australia-new-zealand/19124-trip-report-cairns-townsville.html

paperdesk
05-24-2009, 09:19
So would it be just as worthwhile to do day trips, or is it really too far out for that?
If I were to do it again, I'd see about trips out of Port Douglas, just North of Cairns. My sense is that it's not as busy as Cairns, and for shorter trips the reefs might be in better shape.

In term of Cairns, the outfit we used was OK, it's just that the reefs weren't in the greatest shape. See http://forum.scubatoys.com/australia-new-zealand/19124-trip-report-cairns-townsville.html

I guess the poor quality of the reef had to do with it's proximity to shore? Is this typical? Since I'm expecting this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me I'd hate to blow it on mediocre diving. Of course we are at the mercy of the weather, but that can't be helped . . .

gbrdiver
05-25-2009, 18:03
The operators out of Port Douglas are good. Their sites, like the Cairns companies are dictated by the weather (strong SE winds most of the year) as well as plethora of other factors.

OTGav
06-21-2009, 22:25
Day trips out of Cairns don't get many peoples tick of aproval, Yongalla out of Townsville does (often in the top 10 world listings).

Other possabilities - Strabrooke island (just off Brisbane), can beat the inner reef at Cairns with a big stick most days. Little backpackers diving lodge there does good business.

A few hours North of Brisbane is Wolf Rock - not very well known to tourists, but an excellent option if you can find another reason to be in the area (Fraser Island is the best excuse). Very many Grey Nurse Sharks + other fun stuff.

Other North Morton dives are good out of Birsbane if you are about at the weendend (not enough trade for week day diving - therefore not too busy with other divers).

Heading South QLD / North NSW a bit you can try Byron/Kirra - very nice stuff round there. then down to Coffs, further down to Fish Rock cave - then you are well into NSW and out of my range ;o)

Hope that helps.

Travelnsj
06-23-2009, 01:19
Some where I have enjoyed is Heron Island about an hour off Gladstone via Helcopter.....Great Island you can walk around it in about an hour...and dive around the Island....some good diving.

aquapro
09-04-2009, 03:59
Hi there. I live and work in Cairns as a dive instructor (since 1991) and have experience with most of the trips there. Also I run a small web booking site that offers discount on the trips there for divers from these forums.

I solidly recommend Ocean Quest for a 3 day or 2 day trip out of Cairns.

If you can go a little bit more upmarket and have the time - Spirit of Freedom, Taka and Mike Ball are the best 3 that run to the Ribbon Reefs (best of the Barrier Reef and includes the Cod Hole) and Coral Sea.

Info on these trips can be found here and please feel free to contact me if anyone needs any unbiased advice.

Kevin

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Discount dive travel to the Barrier Reef and Coral Sea - live aboard and day trips.

http://www.aquaprodive.com/Cairns_diving_trips.html (http://www.aquaprodive.com/Cairns_diving_trips.html)

aquapro
09-10-2009, 03:24
double post, so deleted. Sorry!

paperdesk
12-27-2009, 20:43
Followup, a wonderful family member is helping to sponsor the trip, so we were able book with Mike Ball! Yay! Thank you everyone for the helpful suggestions.

Ted

PhD4JC
04-13-2010, 09:02
The 2-3 day liveaboards can be hit and miss. I have been on all of them here in Cairns and can honestly say it is just luck. I've been on the cheapest, crapiest boat here and had the best GBR experience ever, just happened to have a 300'+ vis day (I'm understating it), no current, just perfect. But I've had the opposite as well. Coral Sea trips are always good however. Just as someone mentioned having a great dive at Wheeler Reef off Townsville - I wish I could say the same on my 4 dives there!


Is there a website that provides profiles for the GBR dives, since they seem ot be so various?