• Learn to say 'no' to the good so you can say 'yes' to the best. John C. Maxwell

Dive the Great Barrier Reef, Australia




Scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef will undoubtedly be the highlight of your trip, each section of the reef brings something different. The Ribbon Reefs and Osprey Reef offer the most amazing dives in quiet, pristine locations, which means your Australian diving trip will be truly unforgettable.

Famous dive sites like Cod Hole will provide you with the opportunity to come up close and personal with giant potato cod that are virtually tame, or wet your suit whilst perched on the sandy bottom at North Horn in the North Coral Sea as you come to within snapping distance from a shark feeding frenzy.

Beginners, students, or those who simply don't have the time for a longer trip, can join a liveaboard trip that visits the Outer Barrier Reef, which is in fact the closest cruise destination to Cairns. Here you can make some dives on the Great Barrier Reef but we strongly advise experienced scuba divers not to limit their time to this location. The sites further to the north such as the Ribbon Reefs, Cod Hole and Osprey Reef are really the only ones that will impress in terms of marine life, topography and action!

Other highlights in Australia include destinations like the much sought after Rowley Shoals in Western Australia, and great white shark cage diving in South Australia. You can find liveaboard departures in these 2 destinations, as well as to the Great Barrier Reef, by using our liveaboard departure calendar.

How to Dive Australia

Great Barrier Reef liveaboards are the most popular way to make the most of your diving holiday to Australia.

Dive The World also offers you access to the better Cairns barrier reefs with day-trips, or more often short liveaboards to maximise your number of dives.

Due to the distance to the Ribbon Reefs and Osprey Reef, they are accessible through liveaboard cruises only and are your key to the splendour that can only be found on these distant parts of the Great Barrier Reef. However, due to the low number and popularity of these trips, we recommend you booking well in advance.

Rowley Shoals and South Australia cage diving trips are also very limited in number, so the same recommendation of booking well in advance applies there.

Diving Season

Australia as a whole is a year round dive destination but, for most part, late August to early December yields the best Great Barrier Reef diving conditions. Other seasonal aspects to consider for the Great Barrier Reef are as follows:

  • The waters are warm in North Queensland, ranging from a low of around 23°C during the winter months of June to August, to 29°C in the summer period of December to February.
  • The most popular time for Australia liveaboard diving is July to November, although in the Coral Sea at Osprey Reef and North Horn, visibility peaks during June and September. The calmest sea conditions tend to be between September and February.
  • June to November is the driest period, where rainfall is rare. The summer months of December, January and February experience the most rainfall, usually at night.
  • Minke whale season is usually from June to August and is the ideal time to spot and interact with these gentle giants. Humpback whales are most likely to be in the vicinity between August and October with November being the best month to observe coral spawning events. The giant Potato cod that will happily pose for photos to impress your friends are present all year round.
  • The jellyfish season in North Queensland is from November to April, although they rarely cause problems for scuba divers and do not include box jellyfish which are coastal dwellers and not present on the reef.

October is the month for liveaboard trips to the Rowley Shoals in Western Australia.

In South Australia, the season for diving with great white sharks runs from May to February. Generally speaking May to October sees the most predator action since this is the time when young seals venture out in search of food. November until February is considered summer time and often sees plenty of action for great whites since thousands of seals gather at this time to give birth. This is also the best time for bronze whalers and mako sharks. May, June and July are the best months for seeing large female great white sharks. So no matter what time of year you visit, there is always something awesome going on (except for March and April). Giant cuttlefish mating season is May to June.

Reef Summary

Good for: Large animals, underwater photography, reef life and health, beginner divers and snorkelling Not so good for: Wreck diving Depth: 5 - >40m Visibility: 10 - 40m Currents: Gentle to moderate Surface conditions: Usually calm but can be choppy Water temperature: 24 - 29°C Experience level: Beginner - advanced Number of dive sites: >300 Access: Australia liveaboards Recommended length of stay: 1 - 2 weeks


Success stories

Emma Vermeulen

May 11 at 22:52 pm
I love it

Hazel todd

Mar 12 at 23:45 pm

Kim Funnell

Dec 23 at 00:18 am
family trip to the great barrier reef :)