select - diving
Written by Oryx
No words can truly capture the vibrancy of scuba-diving on a shimmering reef, surrounded by meandering fish in violent pink and Nemo orange, among corals of pastel shades of ivory and peach. Jet-set to a tropical island, strap on your tank, and plunge in.
Long famous as a tropical getaway, some of Bali’s best experiences lie off its golden beaches, with diverse dive sites for everyone. Novices can try the easy diving at Amed, with its fantastic coral displays and occasional visits from (harmless) wobbegong sharks. Experts will be astounded at Tulamben, with its huge wall of coral and incredibly diverse marine life, or the seahorses and scorpionfish of Secret Bay.
Exceptional diving for experts and beginners alike, coupled with Balinese charm and sophisticated tourism facilities.
Tulamben on Bali’s northeast coast is internationally recognised as an outstanding scuba-diving site.
HOW TO GET THERE
Bali is accessible within a short drive of its international airport at Denpasar, where Qatar Airways flies to daily.
The variety and quality of diving on offer in the Red Sea is spectacular. On the Sinai Peninsula off the well-known resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, scuba enthusiasts can dive off boats; farther along the coast at Dahab or Nuweiba you can simply wade onto the reef. Real enthusiasts can take safari boats out to sea for days and enjoy shipwrecks and walls of coral along the Red Sea’s west coast around Ras Mohammed (an outstanding marine national park) or Hurghada, or attempt caves and swim-throughs at Marsa Alam in the far south, a more recent scuba-diving destination. Either way, it’s a feast for the eyes, from gently waving fan coral to shoals of flashing silver jackfish, vermillion basslets, and blue fusiliers – as well as impressive barracuda and tuna in deeper waters.
Outstanding diving, much of it easily accessible to novices, and at a fraction of the cost elsewhere.
The Red Sea stretches 2,000km but is most easily enjoyed from Egypt’s east coast and Sinai Peninsula.
HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways flies to Cairo; from there connect to the dive centres of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh.
Great Barrier Reef
Extending some 2,000km along the east coast of Queensland, this congregation of thousands of reefs and islands is the world’s greatest. Parrotfish with dazzling colours, black-and-white zebra fish, and bold blue damselfish swim by. Giant clams open to reveal a startling beauty. Humpback whales, dolphins, dugongs, and green turtles are also on show. Dozens of cruise companies offer day trips to the reef, or you can stay on 26 of the islands – from family-friendly Dunk to exclusive Bedarra or Hayman – and just wade into the coral. Serious divers can take excursions to more inaccessible sites such as the renowned Cod Hole, where massive potato cod loiter majestically in the shadows, Temple of Doom (sharks and rays), and the North Coral Sea (barracuda, cuttlefish and moray eels). And that’s just the beginning.
It’s the world’s greatest reef, yet also one of the most accessible, available even to scuba-diving novices and day trippers.
The reef runs from the tip of Papua New Guinea down the east coast of Australia almost as far as Brisbane.
HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways flies to Melbourne daily. Connect to Cairns in northeast Australia.