Diving Port Douglas

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Port Douglas, Australia

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Country: Australia  Area: Queensland

Water Temp: 23 - 29°C (73 - 84°F)

Visibility: 10 - 30m (33 - 98 ft)

Depth Range: 10 - 40m (33 - 131 ft)

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Crystal-clear waters, beautiful corals and incredible fish-life can be found at Agincourt Ribbon Reefs, an easy day boat ride from Port Douglas and on the very outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef.

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Port Douglas is on the East coast of Australia in the Queensland region approx 70km north of Cairns. This town is uniquely positioned between the Daintree Rainforest and the Great barrier reef and so has easy, quick access to both, making this a must visit for nature lovers.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and it comprises of over 2900 individual reefs stretching over 2600km along the Queensland Coast from the South coast of Papua New Guinea to Lady Elliott Island and Fraser Island in South Queensland. Due to its uniqueness and wide diversity of marine life a huge part of the reef is now a protected marine park which helps limit the damaging impact of humans.

Climate

The cyclone ‘Season’ is December to March, but statistically few occur. June to September has cooler but clearer water.

The best diving conditions are September to early January when the water temperature is 29.

During winter (May – Sept) it can be windy (up to 30k). From Port Douglas all travel is inside the Barrier Reef so maximum waves only 2m and all moorings are sheltered by the reefs.

Marine life conservation

The dive sites are all in ‘Green Zones’ where no fishing or collecting is permitted and moorings are used to avoid coral damage.

A lot of the dive operation are Advanced Eco Certified, have qualified Marine Biologists on board and experienced Eco Skippers and crew.

 

Content, Dive & Marine Life Information and Photos kindly supplied by Poseidon Outer Reef Cruises

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Diving

The Agincourt Ribbon Reefs are long narrow reefs located along the very Outer Edge of the Great Barrier Reef, 70km North East of Port Douglas and easily reached by day boat and liveaboards from Cairns. These reefs are the main diving destination of boats departing from Port Douglas.

These reefs are flushed out at every tide by clear oceanic water welling up from the Coral Sea Trench nearby. Coral thrives in this clear water creating spectacular gardens and a huge variety of marine life. These pristine reefs are opposite the Daintree Rainforest, well North of any agricultural run-off from cultivated areas, and provide the best possible diving opportunities including deep walls and drop offs.

The reefs provide good safe diving in clear waters, the visibility is always above 10 metres but usually closer to 20m.  There is varied diving ranging from drift and wall dives, isolated pinnacles surrounded by pelagic fish, and coral gardens with their endless variety of colourful wrasses, cods, parrot fish, clown fish, angel fish, clams and anemones that make a healthy living reef so beautiful.

The Great Barrier Reef is home to 1500 species of fish, 400 corals and 4000 molluscs and this wide diversity of marine life is one of the main attractions of this area to divers. It is home to over 30 species of Whale, Dolphin and Porpoise and is one of the only places you can swim with the Dwarf Minke Whale in the winter months of June and July. In these months there is a population of 100 or more of these whales around the Ribbon Reefs in the Great Barrier Reef they tend to approach boats and snorkelers, it seems that they like the company of people and they purposefully seek them out and will go right up to snorkelers in the water. This thrilling encounter with these gentle giants of the seas is a once in a lifetime experience.

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How to get there

Port Douglas can only be reached by road. Cairns International and Domestic Airport is only 45 minutes away with regular shuttle buses and car hire available.

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Where to eat & drink

Port Douglas is a beautiful ambient tropical village and very cosmopolitan, there are over 50 restaurants from 5 star world famous restaurants to small takeaway shops. There are 2 great Australian pubs also.

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Other activities

Port Douglas is home to the Daintree rainforest as well as the reefs so there are many activities in the area for non diving time and it is a great place for nature lovers with the reef life and rainforest wildlife so close together.

There are many rainforest day trips that show you the area and hopefully some of the local wildlife. The rainforest is home to the unique and rare Cassowary as well as the Salt Water crocodiles that live in the Daintree river. A great way to see the rainforest is the Skyrail, which is a famous cable car which takes you across the rainforest allowing you excellent aerial views and then plunges you back through the canopy down through the trees to the inner rainforest.

For the more energetic there is sailing, kite surfing, mountainbike riding, and bush walking plus many more activities.

Family friendly activities

Snorkelling, introductory diving, certified diving (subject to age and health limits) are all available for children. There is also a huge range of other family friendly activities in the Port Douglas to entertain the children whilst not diving.

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Tips

Make sure you have proof of certification and AUSTRALIAN dive medical for any health or fitness issues that may restrict diving including taking certain medications.

Queensland has the strictest diving safety rules in the world.

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