If you have dived in Port Douglas before, please share your experiences: Dive spots you would recommend, which Dive Center you used, Fishes & Diving, Visibility, Currents, etc. Please post your comments in the section below, by doing so you will help fellow divers to plan their next trip
In this page you will find more detailed information about scuba diving in Port Douglas.
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Dive centers in Port Douglas mostly dive on the Agincourt Reef System which is part of the excellent Ribbon Reef. There are about 45 dive sites in the area. It is mostly drift and wall diving. There are also very easy dive sites featuring shallow and colourful coral gardens worth exploring, which also make great spots for the the snorkellers our there! The package usually includes 2 or 3 dives, the lunch and snacks onboard.
The reef is incredibly healthy with a teeming marine life. You can spot many pelagic fishes such as Barracudas and Dogtooth Tunas. It is also not rare to spot a Whitetip Shark and other species of reef Sharks as well as the Blue Spotted Stingray.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/miqspix/5260659237/
During the right season you might even spot a Humpback Whale, a Minke Whale or a pod of dolphins, and dugongs are also sometimes spotted.
The Great Barrier Reef is home to six different species of Turtles! So you will definitely have a good chance of at least spotting one of ’em coming up for air!
If you take a Liveaboard, you can dive more remote areas such as the excellent Osprey Reef offering some of the best diving in the world! It is home to many of the big fishes with lots of Shark action and you could even observe a wild Shark feeding at North Horn dive site. However this destination is more suitable for experienced divers.
I usually use this website to book in advance my Liveaboards in Australia as they usually have the lowest rates I find. I like it because they have an easy booking system.
How to dive Port Douglas?
The main and best parts of the Great Barrier Reef are located quite far away from the mainland. If you want to dive on the magnificent Osprey Reef you need to take a liveaboard. The best spot is called North Horn, and is famous for its resident population of Sharks.
The dive operators often feature shark feeding and you can have the chance to spot Whitetip Reef Sharks, Silvertip Sharks or the rare Tiger Shark! Many Packages are available from the low budget liveaboard to very luxurious vessels.
Most of the liveaboard trips start from Cairns but several dive operators start from Port Douglas.
Port Douglas Dive centers:
Port Douglas is closer to the Ribbon Reef than Cairns, and you can reach the best spots within 1 or 2 hours on fast boats. The most famous dive site of the area is called Cod Hole where you can observe friendly giant Potato Groupers up close. It is an excellent place for underwater photography.
Watch this video to see a bunch of divers up close and personal during a cod feed!
Where to stay?
I usually use this website to book in advance my hotels in Port Douglas as they usually have the lowest rates I find. I like it because it's free to cancel and change the dates.
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Best time to dive in Port Douglas
Port Douglas has a Tropical Climate. The weather is mostly sunny with occasional heavy rainfall. The summer (November to April) is hot and humid while the winter (May to October) is a bit cooler. The air temperature ranges from 23°C to 30°C year round. It is possible to dive all year round on the Great Barrier Reef:
- The wet season runs from January to March with usually heavy rain early in the morning or late afternoon but nothing really to worry about and rainy days are rare.
- Dry season with sunny weather runs from May to December.
- The visibility is very good all year round but the best visibility is generally in June and from September to November.
- The Minke Whales season runs from June to August.
- The humpback whales season is from June to November.
- The Coral Spawning occurs in October and November
- High Season runs from May to September. Port Douglas is a popular holiday destination and during this period the population of 3000 people can double! So you should book your diving resort or your cruise well in advance!
The best scuba diving season on the Great Barrier Reef runs from mid-August to mid-December with excellent conditions.
- From November to March is the Jellyfish season. Protected swimming areas are set up on the popular beaches.
Top liveaboards in Port Douglas according to divers reviews
Port Douglas is a fantastic place to learn scuba diving with excellent and easy sea conditions. There are many dive centers in the town and it is possible to pass your Padi Open Water certification in any of them. There is also the Tech Dive Academy. They are specialised in teaching advanced and tech diving to go deeper but they also offer the all the Padi courses.
Dive centers in Port Douglas provide excellent services and dive training. Most of the diving is done on superb fast boats with great services onboard.
Scuba Diving conditions
Conditions are good all year round in Port Douglas.
Water temperature ranges from 23°C to 29°C with July being the coldest and February the hottest month.
The current is generally gentle around Port Douglas but can be fierce if you go on the Ribbon and Osprey Reefs.
The visibility on the Great Barrier Reef is generally between 15 to 60 meters. The further you go, the better the visibility will be.
The depth ranges from 5 to 30 meters but most of the dive sites are suitable for beginner divers and don’t go below 20 meters deep.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/84329163/
Snorkelling in Port Douglas
Port Douglas provides excellent snorkelling opportunities. You can snorkel right in front of the beach or you can join a snorkelling tour on the Great Barrier Reef! It is possible to hire equipment from your resort or in several places in town. If you book a tour, the rental of the snorkelling gears is included in the package.
As for the divers, you will need to pay a “reef tax” of $20 per person in addition of the tour price.
- When Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, don’t forget your sunscreen and a T-shirt to protect from Sunburn! The Australian rays can be harsh.
If you are planning an upcoming dive trip or travelling to Port Douglas, it is a really good idea to invest in travel insurance for scuba diving, because you never know what could happen and when you might need it (because accidents do happen!). I recommend this diving insurance as they offer worldwide coverage and focus on providing scuba divers a quality insurance and medical assistance service.
Now that you know all about the underwater world, you might want to start planning your scuba holiday! Check out our Port Douglas Travel Review for information about how to get there, activities and excursions, where to stay, and more.