Aching to book that next diving holiday but anxious about the Christmas budget? We’ve got you covered. Having scoured all the rate sheets for the South East Asia and South Pacific regions, we’ve put together the 5 Best Value Dive Trips to book right now.
At the eastern tip of the Coral Triangle, the most biodiverse marine habitat on Earth, lies the Munda, in the Solomon Islands.
With direct flights from Brisbane to Munda in the Solomon Islands’ Western Province, and a choice of budget accommodation at Agnes Gateway Hotel, Munda is one of the most affordable places to dive in the South Pacific, with packages starting at AU$1270 for diving and accommodation and a choice of over 50 dive sites to explore, including WWII wrecks, beautiful coral walls to drift along and mysterious caverns to explore.
If you haven’t dived the USAT Liberty wreck in Tulamben Bay, you really need to add it to your dive bucket list – the biodiversity at this one dive site alone will have you strolling from nearby Tauch Terminal Resort four or five times a day, not to mention the other great coral and macro diving on Bali’s north east coast. A week’s diving and accommodation here will set you back around AU$1080.
If it’s big stuff you prefer, hop across the Lombok Strait to Nusa Lembongan to dive with Mantas and, perhaps the world’s weirdest marine mega-fauna; Mola Mola. A week at Lembongan’s Hai Tide Resort with 12 dives starts at AU$1760.
Less than three hours flight from Australia’s east coast, Vanuatu boasts some of the Pacific’s most famous WWII wrecks including the SS President Coolidge and Million Dollar Point on the island of Espiritu Santo, and incredibly varied diving off the coast of the island nation’s Port Vila.
Diving in Vila ranges from the staghorn fields and anemone gardens of Hideaway Island to stunning dives such as the Semele Federesen wreck and the Cathedral sea cavern. And let’s not forget the beautiful swim throughs (and active volcano) on the island of Tanna. A week’s diving will set you back AU$1450 with Pacific Dive on Santo, AU$1150 with Volcano Divers on Tanna and AU$1920 at Hideaway Island in Vila.
Malaysia’s Tioman Island sits inside a marine protected area and as such is home to some of the healthiest reefs in South China Sea, with a huge variety of reef fish, turtles, sharks, cuttlefish, as well as fantastic muck diving and even a wreck.
A week diving here with B&J Diving including 10 dives starts at AU$1700 – including road and ferry transfers from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur international airports.
North Sulawesi is a bit of a double whammy, its east coast famous for the macro wonders of the Lembeh Strait and west coast for the beautiful coral walls of Bunaken National Park (Manado) and pristine coral gardens of Bangka Island. Some dive resorts offer two-in-one and even three-in-one packages which allow divers to sample two or three of these North Sulawesi dive experiences, taking care of all transfers making the trips between locations seamless.
Thalassa Lembeh Resorts offer a 7-night, 12-dive stay at Manado for AU$1470, at Lembeh for AU$1820 or 5 nights at each with 18 dives for only AU$2450. Murex Resorts offer a 3-in-1 Passport to Paradise package, which includes diving in Bunaken, Bangka and Lembeh. Three nights at each resort, with 16 dives costs AU$2890.
*NB: All pricing based on per person twin share/double bookings, using exchange rates at time of publishing (29 Oct 2019). Terms and conditions apply. Additional costs maybe incurred such as marine park fees and nitrox. Airfares not included.