SimonR - Bluewater Dive Travel



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Best Diving in Australia - Top 10


LOCATION: Lord Howe Island

I've been fortunate enough to have several trips to Lord Howe Island and do a fair bit of diving there. Lord Howe is a World Heritage listed area and regularly features as one of the best holiday destinations in the world. It is a truly unique place. The Island is located about 600km (370mi) east of Port Macquarie on mainland Australia. So it's part of Australia, but a long way from anywhere. The whole island is about 10km long and between 0.3 and 2km wide. No more than 400 tourists are allowed on the Island at any one time and it's accessible by flights from Sydney, Brisbane and Port Macquarie. There is no mobile phone coverage and limited internet access so it's really an escape from everyday life. A dozen people in the one place is a big crowd for Lord Howe Island. It's relatively expensive. Flights and accommodation are relatively expensive. There are very few shops on the Island but they can supply all your basic needs. But once you are there you are in paradise, above and below the water. There are great walks, beaches, lot's of birds, fishing. It's not an action adventure destination, it's a relaxing laid back place.

There is great snorkelling right off the beach, particularly at Ned's Beach. You can also do some real nice snorkelling sites in the lagoon but they are better done via a tour with one of the local operators. They are all good. There are two dive operators on the Island. There are a range of boat dives you can do, mostly a short trip away. Some of these are just outside the lagoon, others off the Malabar headland or the Admiralties (a group of rocks and very small Island now far from the main island). Diving around the Island is generally in 12-18m. There is a lot to see and around the Island you can take your pick with wide-angle or macro photography. Arguably the best diving is at Ball's Pyramid which is about 23km SE of the Island and when the weather is good boats head out there for a days diving. Ball's Pyramid is a 562m high rocky outcrop which is the tallest volcanic stack in the world. Diving at Ball's is in around 30m plus and is like swimming in an aquarium. A good day there is the equal of just about any dive site in the world. Bring your wide-angle for Ball's because everything is scaled up!

The dive shops have all the equipment you need but it's basic diving only (i.e. no nitrox or rebreathers etc that I'm aware of). They will have very basic spare parts and items for sale (mask's, snorkels, things for basic repairs) and they will go out of their way to fix a problem with your gear. But because the Island is so remote and everything comes in via plane or the small cargo ship that supplies the Island they keep it pretty simple.

The Island is the southern most reef in Australia and has an interesting mix of tropical and temperate conditions. You'll need a wetsuit to dive even in summer, and definitely in winter. The marine life is incredibly diverse as there are over 90 species of coral and 500 species of fish inhabiting the reef: turtles, reef sharks, morays, lobster, clown fish, angelfish, nudibranchs and more. I was even lucky enough to be on a trip that swam with a young whale shark we encountered on the way to Ball's Pyramid several years back.

Visited on 01/2014 - Submitted on 08/04/2014
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