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Best GBR day-trip operators

Discussion in 'Australia' started by diver42, Jul 25, 2019.

  1. diver42

    diver42 DIR Practitioner

    I'm organizing (for two of us) a few day trips to the Great Barrier Reef in October. What are the top-of-the-line operators?

    We won’t be doing a live-aboard, but we’ll probably do several trips over a few days. I am not cost-sensitive in this instance.

  2. WetPup

    WetPup Weedy Sea Dragon

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kiwiland
    The GBR is big :) Where will you be based? Cairns? Port Douglas? Elsewhere?
  3. diver42

    diver42 DIR Practitioner

    It is big! Luckily, I can chose to go anywhere. I’ve been told that day trips are only reasonable from Port Douglass, but I’m open to wherever is best.
  4. CWK

    CWK Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Probably on a LOB somewhere
    Perhaps Fascination III. Private charter out of Lizard Island.
    diver42 likes this.
  5. diver42

    diver42 DIR Practitioner

    Any thoughts on locations on the coast but still on the continent?
  6. WetPup

    WetPup Weedy Sea Dragon

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kiwiland
    Cairns or Port Douglas for mainland-based diving :)

    Some of the southern GBR islands are nice though.
  7. diver42

    diver42 DIR Practitioner

    I was under the impression that GBR diving from Cairns was live-aboards. Is that wrong?
  8. Aquapro Dive Services

    Aquapro Dive Services Dive Travel Professional

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Cairns, Australia
    Some of the better ones you can find here but I would got for Tusa as my personal favourite (and being a Cairns local). Newest of the day vessels with plenty of room, great variety of sites and more ratio of crew to passengers. Guides also now included in the prices as are the Reef taxes so good value.

    More budget but still great variety of sites (all these offer up to 3 dives on 2 sites per day and around 90mis travel time) would be Reef Quest or Evolution.

    Out of Port Douglas Aqua Quest is (IMO) the best of the crowd and very well priced compared to others like Poseidon. Very few options out of Port compared to Cairns which is the gateway to the GBR and has far more to choose from.

    If you want smaller vessels then look at ABC dive out of Port or Reef Day Tripper out of Cairns.

    Also consider a 2 day 1 night option out of Cairns as this gives great value ( 7 dives over the 2 days and remember food and accommodation costs when added to 2 days trips would usually be far less than the day trip option. Ocean Quest and Reef Encounter offer the 2 day 1 night option.
    diver42 and delacrue96 like this.
  9. Benn

    Benn New

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Australia
    Cairns Local here.

    No there are a hell of a lot of day trippers or overnight operators to answer your question.

    Don't know what your after for top of the line but descriptions of operators I have dived on.
    Tusa T6 & Divers Den. 2 dive sites, up to 3 dives in total. Dive time 45 mins per dive. Can go unguided if you choose to. Roving permits so can go to many different reefs depending on the weather. Both pretty good operators.
    Passions of Paradise. 2 dive sites, up to 2 dives in total. Dive time 60 mins per dive. Can go unguided if you choose to.T Pretty good set up and is becoming a lot of locals operator of choice.
    That's about it for the unguided option as far as I know.
    Generally most operators are pretty good I can't think of any I would not recommend.
    Generally look out if you get 3 dives in and which reefs you would go to. Weather dependant as always.
    Flynn, Milln are pretty good reefs to get out too.
    Most Operators generally do Norman, Saxon & Hastings.
    There are a few good live aboard options a Ocean quest for divers den is a good option where you can put a few days out and get in 5 dives a day.
    If you can justify the time and money would highly recommend Spirit of Freedom or Mike Ball.
    The outer reefs are spectacular.
    There is an option of doing the outer reef with Rumrunner which is a really budget option and not as well set up or as polished as other operators but for the price is good and the diving is great.
    Not to be discounted are the pontoons for Reef Magic and Great Adventures.
    Have been diving them lately and the coral and life out there is really good.

    Port Douglas would be Divers Den or Calypso.

    But if your near Townsville or Whitsundays try to do the Yongala.
    One of the best dive sites you could possibly go to.

    PM me if you have any questions about certain operators.

    I know I haven't narrowed it down for you but there are a lot of options.
    GEOFF SPRATT and diver42 like this.
  10. David Novo

    David Novo REEF Volunteer

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Porto, Portugal, Europe
    The Yongala is indeed very good. But do yourself a favor and dive it from Ayr. It is a 30 min boat ride vs 3 hours from Townsville.
    Did 4 dives during 2 days in the beginning of this month there and can't recommend it enough. Humpbacks on the surface breaching in one of the days.
    diver42 likes this.

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