Enjoying the Great Barrier Reef [ 6 Tips for Scuba Divers ]

By Josh •  Updated: 05/06/21 •  7 min read

If you are an avid ocean-lover who loves scuba diving, you must have heard of the Great Barrier Reef. Acclaimed as the largest living structure on Earth, this reef is nothing short of an other-worldly destination. Question is, can you scuba dive the great barrier reef

It is entirely possible to go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. In fact, it’s one of the best diving sites in the world as of now. Stretching over 1400 miles, this living coral reef is home to millions of marine life including sharks, corals, stingrays, etc. which makes for an incredible sight while diving. 

However, it’s super important to have some inside info beforehand if you want to ensure an enjoyable diving experience.

So, let’s find out about some incredible tips regarding scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef to help you plan your trip out perfectly. 

Coral reef and tropical fish swimming underwater at the Great Barrier Reef Queensland, Australia
Enjoying the color and vast array of life in the Great Barrier Reef

Where Is the Best Place To Scuba Dive In The Great Barrier Reef?

Even though you can reach the Great Barrier Reef via both Cairns and Port Douglas, it’s more accessible through Cairns. In addition to the direct access, you will find multiple hotels and diving facilities in there that caters to all sorts of budget. 

Once you have booked the necessary arrangements, you’ll need to investigate around a little to find the best diving sites. You should prioritize your diving skills, location accessibility, and specific viewing preference while selecting the diving site. 

For example – you can dive from the Osprey reef for drift diving at the north end of the reef.

Again, to visit the Cod hole, Maori Wrasse, and Steve’s Bommie, go for the Ribbon reefs. 

For shallow depth and loggerhead turtles, go all the way south to dive from Heron Island. And for turtles and occasionally, humpback whales, Lady Elliot Island is the best option. 

There are multiple other gorgeous diving sites in both Cairns and Port Douglas including the famous SS Yongala wreck. So, do your due research on each of them and visit the site that interests you the most. 

6 Tips for Scuba Divers for Enjoying The Great Barrier Reef

Did you know that you can go scuba-diving in the Great Barrier Reef the whole year round? Every day thousands of travellers dive into this iconic Coral Sea to take in its magnificent views.


If you are thinking of doing the same, here are a few important tips to help you out with your journey. 

Pack the Essentials

If you are a pro at scuba diving, you already know what to bring for a diving tour. However – here’s a brief overview for beginners.

Always keep sunscreen, sunglasses, shorts, sun hats, respective medicines, and of course, your diving gears with you on trips like these. 

Remember to buy reef-safe sunscreen instead of the normal ones. The chemicals in normal sunscreens can pollute the ocean and harm the living corals.

However, make sure to check whether or not you are allergic to the new sunscreen. Don’t use it if it burns or itches your skin. 

Get A Travel Insurance

If you don’t already have travel insurance, it’s high time to apply for one right away. Travel insurances are a great way to ensure your safety during, well, travels. And since diving is considered an extreme sport in several places, you might just get the extra benefits.

That being said, do remember to check whether your insurance covers scuba diving. That way, if you get injured, your medical necessities will be covered by the insurance. So, if it doesn’t cover diving, might just be the time to ditch the current one and get a better insurance plan. 

Diving Facility Selection

There are at least hundreds of diving shops and facilities in both Cairns and Port Douglas combined. Dig around a bit to find the best facility within your budget and preferred location. 

For example – don’t book a facility near the Osprey reef if you want to dive into the south end of the reef. Calculate your options calmly and decide on the best possible choice.

As for budget, don’t settle for a low-quality facility even if you don’t have a high-end budget. Make sure to check whether the facility is entirely certified and whether they can ensure proper safety. 


If you feel satisfied with the overall servicing prompts of a certain facility, check out the day-long tour plans from their brochure. Book the one that resonates most with you and make sure that the pricing is within your capability. 

Resort/Hotel Selection

Well, you won’t be staying out in the waters all day, will you now? You need to find a place to relax after your day-long (or night-long) diving at the reef. 

If you can afford it, it’s best to go for a personal resort as that will give you the most bang for your bucks. Most resorts come with an amazing view over the reef so that’s even more of an incentive.

On the other hand, if you are on the lookout for a cheaper place to stay, Airbnb is always there to help you out. There are some great hotels in and around Cairns as well that can accommodate you and your friends/family. 

Make A Proper Timetable

Your routine can get quite messy while trying to take in the overwhelming beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. So, you have to make sure where you are at all times so that you don’t miss out on anything important. 

Once you book a tour, you cannot be late for the departure under any circumstances. Because the facility won’t wait for you any longer than they have to.

So, unless you want to miss out on hanging around with some friendly turtles and whales, it’s best to maintain a strict timetable.

However, don’t forget to bring your confirmation slip in a hurry. The same goes for getting back on the boat after diving. Don’t drift too much apart from your fellow divers and if you do, get back within the assigned time. 

Even though the Great Barrier Reef is suitable for beginners, danger indeed lurks at every corner if you aren’t careful. So, it’s best to stick around your tour guide at all times.

That way, even if you get into any sudden trouble, the guides will always be there to help you out. 

Track Your Diving Gear

As I just said, safety comes before everything. Before you dive into the deep waters, triple-check your diving gears to make sure whether everything is working properly. Get it checked by a professional or your respective tour guide as well. 

Do not go into the water with outdated diving gear as that increases the chances of sudden malfunctioning. Get a new set entirely or if needed, rent a set temporarily.

Record your trip! As a hint if a GoPro or similar are too expensive to purchase, you can also rent an underwater camera from local shops to capture the best parts of your tour. 

That being said, if you are bringing your own gear and camera into the reef, keep an alert eye on the weight limit. Do not bring anything that will weigh you down. 

Furthermore, if you cannot handle an underwater camera properly, do not try to swim with one. The lively Coral Sea has already lost half its life force due to all the pollution. There’s no need to pollute it with a non-bio-degradable camera even further. 

Final Thoughts on Exploring the Great Barrier Reef with Scuba Gear

So, can you scuba dive the great barrier reef? Without any doubt, yes, you can. And with proper farsightedness, diving into the largest living reef in the world can turn out to be the best experience of your life so far. 

Thank you for reading and I hope this article has sparked your interest to go and visit the magnificent Great Barrier Reef.


Josh is a loving dad and husband, writer, business owner, and someone who loves to explore the world. He last travelled to Australia to visit Sydney, Brisbane, and Cairns and am looking to head back soon to see more! He is a huge fan of hiking, drawing, and so much more!

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