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Budget Diving between Cairns and Sydney

Discussion in 'Australia' started by sutt13, Jul 20, 2019.

  1. sutt13

    sutt13 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: UK
    5
    1
    3
    Hi,

    I am moving to Aus from the UK on a working holiday visa in September, initially planning to arrive in Cairns beginning / mid Sept and travel down the coast (via Greyhound hop-on-hop-off bus) to Sydney over 6 weeks or so.

    En-route to Aus, I will stopping off in Indonesia for a few weeks diving Nusa Penida and a budget LOB in Komodo. (Not booked yet). While I have dived NP in the past, this will be my first trip to Komodo and also my first LOB.

    Now looking for some options for more diving between Cairns and Sydney. Seems a shame to not visit the GBR and surrounds while I have the opportunity; however, the best rated trips (SOF & Spoilsport) are going to eat too much into my overall travel budget to justify the expense. Can't seem to find any budget trips which visit Ribbon Reefs during the time I will be there, so assuming this isn't an option...

    1/ Is it still worth booking a short trip to the outer reef (i.e. Ocean Quest or similar) bearing in mind I will have just come from Komodo? I've read so much about over-crowding, coral damage etc. on Cairns day-trips that I'm wondering whether it's just better to save my money for something else.​

    2/ Suggestions for other places to dive between Cairns & Sydney that won't break the bank? SS Yongala looks like a must-do, although I prefer reefs over muck or wrecks.​

    FYI - I currently have a PADI AOW cert and 30 dives, last dive was in Bali just over a year ago. Will probably do another 20+ dives in Indo, so 50-60ish by the time I reach Australia. Don't own any of my own gear (yet!).

    Also looking at Ningaloo for next Aug/Sept if I manage to make it out the WA.

    Cheers!
     
  2. Oz Chris

    Oz Chris Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Sydney, Australia
    105
    58
    28
    Most of the diving south of the GBR will be 2-tank day / half-day trips and shore dives.

    Lots of great dives between there and Sydney though - Byron / Julian Rocks, South West Rocks, Forster, Seal Rocks, Nelson Bay (great shore dives if you want budget - but more macro than imply you are into), Swansea (interesting shore dive on the bridge - needs some local knowledge).

    And Sydney itself has heaps of dives (lots of shore dives, but great boat dives too). Most of the dive shops run regular social dives so getting in the water here won't be hard.
     
  3. Russjstewart

    Russjstewart Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Melbourne
    200
    103
    43
    I would definitely be diving the Yongala. It is well worth the effort I suggest you contact Dive Yongala in Alva Beach. Yongala Dive

    They do have dorm style accommodaton. Give yourself a couple of days there as the site is very weather dependant. Not sure of the logistics of getting to Alva, we hired a car and drove down from Townsville. The bus does stop at Ayr, which is about a 15 min drive to Alva Beach.

    Adrenalin Dive in Townsville run a boat from Townsville to the Yongala, http://adrenalindive.com.au/wp/day-trip/, but I had a few trips to Townsville over the years to dive the Yongala with Adrenalin, without any luck.

    Dive Quest in Mulloway, just North of Coffs Harbour run two tank dives out to the North Solitary Islands which are good for Grey Nurse sharks.
     
  4. Mike1967

    Mike1967 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Victoria, Australia
    642
    236
    43
  5. Aquapro Dive Services

    Aquapro Dive Services Dive Travel Professional

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Cairns, Australia
    563
    55
    28
    I agree with the above and I am based in Cairns!

    Cairns us the gateway to the Reef proper and as you have found Mike Ball and Spirit are the best overnight to the Ribnins.

    Some decent Outer Reef trips but if you have dived Indo then its similar but we have way more fish life.

    Look at Aquaquest out of Port Douglas to visit southern Ribbon Reef as a day trip.

    Best day trips here out of Cairns but definitely do Yongala.
     
  6. Russjstewart

    Russjstewart Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Melbourne
    200
    103
    43
    I agree about South West Rocks Dive Centre, I have dived with them a couple of times and will dive with them again. They do have accomodation available at reasonable prices. SWR is off the main highway, but I believe ( courtesy of google) that there is a bus from Kempsey about an hour away. Just by way of comparison just be aware that Cairns to Townsville is probably the same as London to Manchester
     
  7. sutt13

    sutt13 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: UK
    5
    1
    3
    Hi all,

    Thanks for all your great input and suggestions.

    I will pencil in some dives from Cairns / Port Douglas, Yongala with Yongala Dive, and Julian Rocks since I was planning to head to Byron anyway.

    If you could only do one out of southern Ribbon Reef from Port Douglas or Outer Reef from Cairns - which would you choose?

    South West Rocks also looks fantastic but think Fish Rock (this seems to be the highlight?) would be a bit too claustrophobic for me - I much prefer a visible exit and looking at the dive maps the tunnel seems quite long and dark.

    What water temps should I expect Sept/Oct?
     
  8. Russjstewart

    Russjstewart Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Melbourne
    200
    103
    43
  9. sutt13

    sutt13 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: UK
    5
    1
    3
    Prepare for cold then!

    Good to know - thanks! Will contact them to discuss as would love to dive it, but definitely not keen on going through the cave.
     
  10. Aquapro Dive Services

    Aquapro Dive Services Dive Travel Professional

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Cairns, Australia
    563
    55
    28
    I would look at a 2 day1 night Outer Reef on Ocean Quest or Reef Encounter rathet than a day trip from Port Douglas. More value when you compare accomodation costs, meals etc
     

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