Shark Diving in Australia

Osprey Reef

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...Good for: Visibility, underwater photography, large animals, walls, reef life and health, advanced divers...
...Not so good for: Small animals, wrecks...

Situated nearly 350 km away from Cairns, Osprey Reef is the most northerly of the reefs in the Coral Sea. It is separated from the continental shelf by a deep water trough and is regarded as one of the premier Great Barrier Reef dive liveaboard destinations, both for the visibility that it offers and the big fish action. The remoteness of Osprey Reef is a highlight in itself, where you will often find yourself far removed from anything that isn't wet and colourful.

Roughly oval in shape, Osprey Reef consists of a lagoon area, that is only 30m deep, but within 1 km of the reef the water shelves to 1,000m deep. This creates the perfect meeting ground for huge amounts of pelagic action including Australia's famous shark feed dive at North Horn. The reef is in pristine condition with spectacular colourful soft corals that often exceed 2m in height. Shoals of pelagic fish and amazing walls will leave you wanting more no-stop time. Show more

Dive Site Descriptions

Admiralty - Osprey Reef is generally considered to represent the best diving in Australia's Great Barrier Reef area. Since it is further offshore and not part of the continental shelf it enjoys clear and rich waters, 2 key factors needed for excellent diving conditions. Admiralty showcases both factors well. There is a steep drop-off where nutrient-filled currents rise up against the solid structure making the area rich in food and therefore rich in feeders. Visibility here is often phenomenal, rising above 60 metres, and the topography of the site means there is often plenty to see in the distance. Show more

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How to Dive Osprey Reef

Due to its remoteness, access to the Osprey Reef is by Australian liveaboard only. For more information on the cruises, tour durations, and all the other travel information you might need to visit Australia, read:

Liveaboard safaris to Osprey Reef are very popular and fill up quickly. We recommend you book well in advance.


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Diving Season

Thanks to North Queensland's tropical climate, the northern Great Barrier Reef is a year round diving destination. The average water temperature never dips below 22°C in winter, with an average of a toasty 29°C during summer.

From June to November it's humpback whale season, with the coral spawning taking place around October / November, but a dizzying array of marine animals are on display all year round.

Visibility is great throughout the year, with exceptional visibility around September to November.

As the Australian summer is the wet season, the likelihood for rain increases around December to February, with showers usually confined to mornings and late afternoons. Winds are also changeable during this monsoon period and may affect itineraries. During the winter months, the dry season, rainfall is pretty low.

Surface conditions through the year are calm, with June to August experiencing moderate conditions. Monsoon months may bring less settled surface conditions.

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Where is Osprey Reef and How Do I Get There?

Review our maps below of Great Barrier Reef, showing the location of Osprey Reef, and its host country Australia. Here, you will find information on how to get to the Great Barrier Reef.

To cut down journey time to the reefs on shorter trips, some operators do also leave from, or return to Lizard Island, which is accessible by flight. The flight departs from Cairns and flies to Lizard Island over the reef, providing you a scenic trip with an overview of what you'll be diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

Map of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia (click to enlarge in a new window) Map of Australia (click to enlarge in a new window)

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Reef Summary

Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 10 - 60m
Currents: Moderate
Surface conditions: Generally calm but can be choppy
Water temperature: 25 - 30°C
Experience level: Intermediate
Number of dive sites: ~15
Distance: ~350 km north of Cairns
Recommended length of stay: 1 week

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Useful References


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