Is it better to dive from Cairns or Port Douglas?
Diving in Cairns versus Port Douglas: which is better?
Located in the tropical north of Queensland, Australia, both Cairns and Port Douglas are popular destinations for diving enthusiasts. With a range of dive sites, clear waters, and abundant marine life, it can be tough to decide between the two. In this article, we'll compare diving in Cairns and Port Douglas to help you make an informed decision.
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First, let's look at the location of Cairns and Port Douglas. Cairns is a city located about 1,700km northwest of Brisbane, and is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Port Douglas is a small little town located about 70km northeast of Cairns. It's a popular destination for tourists, with a range of resorts, golf courses, massage spas, restaurants, and other adventure activities on offer.
Soft and Hard Corals
Nemo and Diver
When it comes to diving, both Cairns and Port Douglas have a lot to offer. The Great Barrier Reef is home to a staggering array of marine life, including over 1,500 species of fish, 400 species of coral, and numerous other animals such as turtles, dolphins, and whales. Cairns is the most popular starting point for diving expeditions to the Great Barrier Reef, with a range of dive operators offering daily trips to the reef and overnight liveaboards.
Port Douglas, on the other hand, is known for its more relaxed atmosphere and access to a range of dive sites on the Agincourt reef systems. While it does have the same range of marine life as the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns, it offers a more personalised diving experience and is generally less crowded than Cairns.
So which is better for diving - Cairns or Port Douglas? Ultimately, it depends on what you're looking for. If you want to experience the full range of marine life that the Great Barrier Reef has to offer, Cairns is the way to go. With a range of dive operators offering daily trips to the reef, it's easy to find a tour that suits your needs. Cairns is also the only place extended overnight liveaboards depart from. However, if you're looking for a more personalised diving experience with fewer crowds, Port Douglas may be the better choice.
One factor to consider when choosing between Cairns and Port Douglas is the time of year you plan to visit. Cairns has a tropical climate, with high humidity and temperatures ranging from 20-30°C throughout the year. The rainy season in Cairns is from December to March, when the area can experience heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. The dry season is from April to November, with clear skies and cooler temperatures. Check out our dive seasons in Cairns month-by-month guide.
Calypso Dive Snorkel Boat Port Douglas
Scuba Divers in the new Port Douglas Training Centre
Deep reef walls on Agincourt Reef Port Douglas
Port Douglas also has a tropical climate, with high humidity and temperatures ranging from 20-30°C throughout the year. However, the rainy season in Port Douglas is from January to March, and the dry season is from April to December.
So if you're planning to visit during the rainy season, Cairns may be the better choice as there are allot more things to do from Cairns in the rain like White Water Rafting and Waterfalls tours. However, if you're visiting during the dry season, both Cairns and Port Douglas offer great diving conditions.
Another factor to consider is the type of diving you want to do. Both Cairns and Port Douglas offer a range of dive sites, including shallow coral reefs, coral garden dives, and deeper walls. However, Cairns has a wider range of dive sites on offer, with something to suit all levels of experience. You have the option of extended overnight liveaboard dive trips from Cairns. Port Douglas is known for its more relaxed diving experience, with a focus on smaller groups and personalised tours.
If you're an experienced diver looking to explore a range of dive sites and marine life, Cairns is the better choice. However, if you're are interested in relaxing at a beautiful resort and just visiting the reef for a day then Port Douglas is a wonderful option.
Tips for Diving from Cairns:
Cairns is a popular destination for diving, with the Great Barrier Reef and other natural wonders just offshore. Whether you're an experienced diver or a beginner, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make the most of your diving experience. Here are four tips for diving from Cairns:
- Take a dive course: If you're new to diving, it's important to take a dive course before you hit the water. Not only will this help you feel more confident and comfortable in the water, but it will also ensure that you know how to properly use your dive equipment and follow safety protocols. There are many dive schools in Cairns that offer courses for all skill levels, so you can find one that's right for you.
- Plan your dive: Before you head out on a dive, it's important to plan your route and have a good understanding of the local dive sites. This will help you stay safe and make the most of your time underwater. You should also consider the weather and sea conditions, as these can affect your dive.
- Pack the right gear: Diving requires specialized gear, and it's important to make sure you have everything you need before you hit the water. This includes a wetsuit, fins, a mask, and a dive computer. If you're diving in colder water, you may also need a hood and gloves.
- Dive with a buddy: Diving is always safer when you have a buddy with you, so make sure you dive with someone you trust. Not only will this give you someone to share the experience with, but it will also ensure that you have someone to assist you if you run into any problems.
By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to having an enjoyable and safe diving experience from Cairns.
Tips for Diving from Port Douglas:
Port Douglas is a popular destination for scuba diving, with its beautiful coral reefs and diverse marine life. Here are four tips for diving from Port Douglas:
- Get certified: If you're new to diving, it's important to get certified before you head out on a dive. There are a number of dive schools in Port Douglas that offer certification courses, so you can choose the one that best meets your needs.
- Choose a reputable dive operator: There are many dive operators in Port Douglas, but not all of them are created equal. Make sure to choose a reputable operator that has a good safety record and experienced dive staff.
- Plan your dive: Before you head out on a dive, it's important to plan your dive carefully. This includes deciding on a dive site, choosing the right dive gear, and making sure you have enough air for the duration of the dive.
- Be mindful of the environment: Scuba diving is a great way to see and appreciate the beauty of the underwater world, but it's important to remember to be mindful of the environment. Avoid touching or disturbing coral or other marine life, and follow proper dive etiquette to help protect the fragile ecosystem.
By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to having a safe and enjoyable diving experience in Port Douglas. So, these are the tips for diving from Port Douglas.
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Cairns Dive Adventures has been on every Cairns & Port Douglas outer reef cruise. We are happy to provide unbiased advice and trip reviews, to help you select the best day tour to suit your budget and experience. All of these trips are full-day tours with options to book overnight liveaboards. Contact us for more info on +61 7 4041 1638 | email@example.com
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FREE UNDERWATER CAMERA HIRE*
Spend over $550.00 AUD on your Great Barrier Reef tour with us and receive the latest Digital Underwater Camera Hire. Take amazing High-Resolution images and 1080 HD Video.
Not available for any tours to the Islands as fine white sand damages the seals on the cameras and makes them leak!
You need to come into our shop located on the Cairns Esplanade the day before departure to pick up the camera before 5:30 pm. You also need to supply your own SD Camera Card and drop the camera off back at our shop before 5:30pm.
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