With over 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) that stretches over the Queensland coast, making the Great Barrier Reef is a magnificent place to do underwater activities such as diving and snorkeling. At the same time, you share with the rich marine life. The Great Barrier Reef is listed as the world heritage site and natural wonder of nature. Some areas are protected so you can be sure of its pristine condition, a truly must-see creation. Before going onto the best places to dive in the Great Barrier Reef, let’s check some frequently asked questions by readers on the internet.
What is the best time of year to dive into the Great Barrier Reef?
Well, the BEST time is the Australian Winter (June-August). The water temperature averages around 26°C (79°F), which makes for amazing frog kicking! It’s great to dive with schools of giant fish like manta rays, whale sharks, and humpback whales. But what’s more on offer than that? There are beautiful soft corals that live all year round on deep dives or spectacular hard corals that come into flower during the summer on shallow dives. Plus, winter is breeding time for turtles and humpbacks; snorkellers can see turtle eggs hatching before their very eyes – it’s fantastic!
Where is the best place to dive into the Great Barrier Reef?
It’s difficult to answer this question as the reef stretches over 1,400 miles, and what may be a beautiful dive spot for one person might be a disappointing experience for someone else. That said, if you’re looking for a resort-style trip where your every need is met from the moment you arrive at the time you part ways, then Airlie Beach in northern Queensland would not disappoint. Airlie Beach is home to Hastings Reef Cottage, which offers private cottage accommodation with all meals included – perfect for those who want total freedom to explore at their leisure. Choose from scuba diving expeditions or enjoy water sports such as kayaking or windsurfing without having to secure transport yourself.
How much does it cost to dive the Great Barrier Reef?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question varies greatly depending on what you want to do. Based on our personal experience, we recommend contacting an individual company and reaching out to their customer service department for a more accurate quote. The cost varies, but expect to pay around $200-600+ USD.
1. Osprey Reef
Being described as an ultimate reef diving adventure where the beautiful large and colorful soft corals that sit on the vast area can be seen. It is described as an oval-shaped reef that is located in an isolated top part of the Great Barrier Reef. With a depth of 12-40m, that caters to experienced divers.
They offer high-quality diving equipment to ensure the safety of scuba divers. It homes an amphitheater underwater where different kinds of sharks are seen, such as whitetip, silvertip, and grey reef sharks. The view underwater is breathtaking and is famed for its exciting reef shark feeding.
The remoteness of this reef helps maintain its pristine condition. You can dive any time of the year because of its great visibility with water temperature that never goes below 22°C and never goes beyond 29°C during the summer season.
2. Heron Island
This island comprises about 20 dive sites where you can encounter different sea creatures such as manta rays, reef sharks, and scorpionfish, but the most guaranteed encounter is with the sea turtles that are nesting. You can swim straight off from the beach to a garden of coral where you can see rich marine life through the clear waters.
Just travel minutes through a boat, you will be taken into its fantastic reefs where you can dive. The water surrounding this island is shallow, which is why diving in its dive sites caters to both amateur and professional divers. They offer both day dives and night dives too.
The distances between the 20 dive sites are relatively short, so you can maximize your diving experience by going to each and every site depending on the water conditions as directed by your guide. Heron Island has 3 rock formations where divers can have a great drift dive while seeing a majestic view of the coral gardens.
3. Agincourt Reef
Located at about 65 kilometers (40 miles) from Port Douglas’s coast along Australia’s continental shelf, home a 16 dive sites. Even though it encompasses a huge water depth, it still has high underwater visibility where you can enjoy the exceptional water gardens abundance in colorful marine life.
This is an excellent great barrier site where you can snorkel to swim with different kinds of gorgeous fishes, scuba dive to appreciate the coral reefs in different sizes and colors, or ride in a helicopter to have an overall glimpse of its wonder from above.
Feel the cool and refreshing waters that will give you a relaxing vibe. These are some of the diving spots that you will miss if you are in Agincourt Reef, the Point Break, Channels for caves, Fish Bowl, Blue Wonder’s wall dive, and the Nursery Bommie.
4. Ribbon Reef
This reef is characterized by long and thin strips of corals beneath the surface of waters that give texture to the Great Barrier reef’s outer edges, situated about 50-100km away from the northern Queensland shore. The overall area is no more than 450m in width and is relatively shallow, with 15-20m in depth. It is covered with eye-catching flora and fauna.
The underwaters have great visibility all year round to do different activities such as fish feeding and snorkeling with its calm sea surfaces. The ribbon reef also gives scuba diving opportunities to different types of divers, from beginners to experts.
If you see the Ribbon reef’s aerial view, you’ll see a wave-scoured reef crest that sits in the shallow ocean side with a British pink glow from above. You’ll see patches of algae and shadows of small corals that peep as the air touches the waters. In just 20m below the waters’ surface, you’ll see a vast sandy area full of live corals and different kinds of stone formations.
5. Flynn Reef
This area in the Great Barrier Reef offers a combination of intricate wall dives and dramatic coral formations. Its depth is about 30 meters, but the visibility area is about 20 meters only. There is a wide range of sea creatures if you swim at night time, such as reef crabs, sleeping turtles, painted lobsters, barracuda, and a lot more.
If you don’t want to miss painted lobsters’ beauty, you need to bring the best dive light for lobsters with you for a great diving experience.
Flynn Reef is located where large fish swim species, especially mackerel, dogtooth tuna, and some species of sharks. It is described as a picturesque site because you haven’t explored the whole area yet, but your eyes are already full of spectacular surroundings brought by nature. It has a large scenic view, but you don’t have to go down deep to explore it.
Get to see the huge plate corals that are home to thousands of fishes, as well as the sandy lagoon holes that serve as a hotel for anemones that are having their honeymoon. This is a perfect spot for those aspiring barrier reef divers who want to enjoy practicing their diving skills.
6. Lady Elliot Island
This is situated in the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef, which is in the “Green Zone” area, making it a sanctuary for over a thousand marine species with an abundance of the population from different kinds of turtle species sharks to manta rays.
This island’s surrounding waters have varying depths and terrain with the most profound ocean depth of 40m, wherein the coral reefs in this area are still in good condition. The beach where the Lady Elliot Island seats are armored with pebbles and different sizes of cobbles.
Barrier reef divers will truly enjoy their overall experience on this reef island because its condition now can be compared to a virgin reef where all you can see is the creative output under the waters. Tourists who visited the area describe this place as being great to amazing. You may need to have a number of training sessions before you are allowed to dive the great barrier reef.
7. Escape Reef
The one that is ideal for diving activities is the one that is sheltered, which is the lagoon area. This is another Great Barrier Reef destination that is comprised of two sides, the lagoon facing and the ocean-facing. The Escape Reef is the least visited diving spot among the Great Barrier Reef areas, preserving its mint condition.
The underwater life is a multitude of colorful and healthy corals without any signs of coral bleaching, a condition of corals where it will turn white due to temperature changes and stress from its environment. The Escape Reef has noticeable shallow water but is rich in marine life.
The best months to visit this reef site are during June, July, and August. Aside from the rich marine species seating in the area, it also has a variety of great coral stocks and giant clams where you can explore. With a depth of only 10m, you don’t need to have multiple training sessions to experience the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef.
Tips Before Diving
Before you go on in any of these best places to dive in the Great Barrier Reef, here are some things to keep in mind:
Check every equipment that you will be using
It is important to check all the equipment you will use, from the tanks to your flippers. All should be maintained and serviced properly days before the actual diving, so you can still replace or fix them if there are some problems. Before going to the site, check your gears by doing a dry run, make sure that all is working well. If you have a partner, make sure to check each other’s gear as well.
Communicate with your team
Planning to dive entails communication with your buddies. Even though you have the skills to dive, communication is still an important factor, especially with other divers. It would be best if you communicated about the depth and time limits.
Test your equipment in a controlled environment
To make sure that your equipment will work properly underwater, you may test it out in a controlled environment first, such as in the swimming pool or a shallow dive. This is advisable if you have newly acquired your equipment. It would help if you got used to how to use it before the actual dive, and you don’t want to struggle using your new equipment underwater while you are on a deeper dive.
Make sure you are 100% ready to dive.
When your body is feeling unwell, you should listen to what it has to say. You may feel like diving when really the best thing for everyone involved would be if you could skip this session and save yourself some pain in advance!
This input states that one’s state of mind impacts their ability or inability- but there needs more detail as well as specific examples about how these feelings manifest physically (i.e., stomach aches). You should be ready physically and emotionally for you to enjoy the adventure truly.
Consider the water situation
Diving in the ocean can be a great way to spend time with friends and family, but there are some considerations before you do. One factor that should not escape your attention when considering where and how often one plans to go diving in water temperature. It will determine what type of wetsuit they need for protection against cold waters or heat waves from tropical regions such as Africa or south-east Asia.
The currents also have an effect, so if strong ones exist near your planned location, consider postponing any sessions until conditions improve; otherwise, danger may arise due to this being too slow-moving; however, these same types could offer exciting opportunities attractions while we wait out bad weather.
Know your limits
Even if you are already a pro when it comes to diving, you still have your limits. Only dive into the certain depth that you are qualified in. There are different pieces of training that you need to undergo to have a specialty in diving. Your safety should be your no.1 priority when it comes to diving. Check our latest post about diving safety: “What Should Scuba Divers Do For Their Own Safety? “
You should be an alert diver
When you are at sea, you should be attentive and alert to your surroundings. You are advised not to have any alcohol consumption 24 hours before your dive so that you will not feel any hungover during the diving session. If you are in a group, you need to follow the leader and be mindful of the precautionary advice was given to you before diving.
Check your gauges regularly
The diving life can be dangerous, and one of the major causes is negligence. When you are at sea, other than following your leader to be safe, another thing that must not be taken lightly is checking the air in tanks before starting a dive, so as long as there’s still enough left for both partners, then all should do their part by helping out with this task together- especially if some aren’t familiar with how things work or what they need to look like. You and your partner should help together in checking the gauges of each other.
Be familiar with the dive signals
Hand signals are your only way of communication under the sea. It is important to know it by heart before diving because if you are unable to deliver the messages accurately to your peers, it may pose a potential risk. Ensure that you and your peers understand different kinds of signals, especially the important ones. Before diving, equip yourself with the do’s and don’ts to ensure that you will enjoy your water adventure safely.
Be humble and take responsibility
Diving is a great way to explore the ocean and see what’s down below, but there are always risks. Even if you are an expert diver, there will come a time that you will make a mistake and be corrected. Be open to warnings and suggestions because it might be for your own good. You are responsible for yourself underseas. You need to ensure that you are following the guidelines for safe diving to put yourself away from danger.
So it pays off in more ways than one if we take time now before our first dive in to learn how important these safety precautions really are!
Diving in the best places to dive in the Great Barrier Reef will help you realize that there is an amazing surprise that awaits you below the surface of the water. There are a lot of things to consider and learn about before you can try this adventure. Still, as soon as you master the art, you will surely be in love with the wonders you can see and be privileged because not all people can experience the fascinating feeling that you will only experience diving the different dive sites in the Great Barrier Reef.