Australia is a Mecca for everyone who loves Nature and freedom. A fascinating Country, dominated by Mother Nature: one of the few places on Earth still giving the sensation of the authentic adventure. The size of this huge island gives endless possibilities for adventurous travellers.
My first choice was Queensland, the “sunshine state”, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the legendary Coral Sea. The Great Barrier Reef is the biggest reef in the world, a complex ecosystem, entirely made by living creatures and visible from the Space. The Coral Sea it’s all about sharks, mantas and big pelagics. A serious diver should definately have both in his logbook!
Queensland, Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea.
Climate: There are two seasons: winter, cold and dry, from june to august and summer, hot and rainy, from september to may.
Best time of year: August, for whale watching, but remember that this is the peack of winter, so bring warm clothes and a 5/7 mm wetsuite with hood.
Where to stay: There are endless possibilities, from campings to 5 star hotels and finding a place to stay is very easy. In Hervey Bay, Shelly Beach Motel (www.shellybeachmotel.com.au) owned by two nice sisters and conveniently located, right in front of Shelly Beach; in Airlie Beach the Portside Whitsunday (www.whitsundayportside.com), central and panoramic; in Port Douglas the Boathouse Tropical Apartmentes (www.boathouse.com.au), in the little town north of Cairns has 18 elegant apartments: it’s the ideal place to rest before the journey to the wild Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the reef.
Diving centers: Cairns Dive Center (www.cairnsdive.com.au); Mike Ball Dive Expeditions (www.mikeball.com)
Best dive sites: Bait Reef, Ribbon Reefs, Cod Hole, Pixies Pinnacle, Challenger’s Bay, Pixie Wall, Pixie Gardens, Lighthouse Bommie, Steve’s Bommie, Temple of Doom, Dynamite Pass, Coral Gardens, Opal Reefs, North Horn, Around the Bend, Silver City, Admiralty, Castles.
Must see: Humpback whales in Hervey Bay (from july to october); Fraser Island, the biggest sandy island in the world: here, if you’re lucky, you can see dingos; a three day sail cruise in the Whitsunday Islands, departing from Airlie Beach, aboard “Anaconda III” (www.airliebeach.com); Cape Tribulation; a dive cruise in the Coral Sea, with Mike Ball Dive Expeditions (www.mikeball.com); Byron Bay, in New South Whales, south of Brisbane. Don’t miss a kayak excursion in the bay with the resident pod of bottelnose dolphins; from july to october, you can even have a close encounter with humpback whales (www.goseakayakbyronbay.com.au)
Diver’s tip: Be visible on the surface and always carry a flag to show your position.
Be awere of box jellyfish, especially from november to april.
If you see a sea snake, you must know that they are very poisonous but, because of the small size of their mouth, they can only bite you in your ears or between your fingers, so if you wear hood and gloves you’re totally safe.