Traveling around Australia with dive gear

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alecto

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Location
Los Angeles
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25 - 49
Hi guys,

I'm looking to come out in December to do some diving and exploring of Australia. I'm thinking a liveaboard in Cairns, a few days in Ayr for the Yongala, a dive or two in the Whitsundays, and then another dive or so in Sydney. I also want go to Fraser Island on a 4wd tour but I think that only has snorkeling.

I figure that I'm in for 2 domestic flights, from Hamilton Island to Brisbane and Brisbane to Sydney. The international flights I'm not concerned about luggage as the requirements don't appear to be too strict. However, I'm concerned about having to check a domestic flight.

How strict are they on the weight limit of 7kg (15lbs)? There is no way I could come close to that with my gear/main bag but I could for my backpack that I would put under the seat as a personal item. If I fit the size dimensions with the bag, would they still make me check it for weight? It will probably weigh between 30-45 lbs.

I'd prefer to keep all my gear with me and save some money as well. If I'm forced to check no matter what, I might as well plan on bringing a bigger bag.
 

MA

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65
Location
Melbourne, Australia
# of dives
500 - 999
If it looks heavy you will have a high risk of being checked, particularly if you have no checked in luggage. Personally I would check in. Depending on airline you are usually allowed a laptopbg as well. So I generally check in clothes, Bcd, exposure suits, fins etc. then carry on regs in laptop bag, and camera gear in backpack. That way the more fragile gear is with me and because I've checked in thy are less likely to weigh the backpack which is often overweighted.

by the way if you are going to Fraser see if you can tie in a trip I lady elliot which is a bit firther out past Fraser. Awesome diving - resident manta rays! It's a tiny island you can walk across in 5 minutes. Beautiful.

---------- Post added July 30th, 2014 at 06:48 AM ----------

Oh and checking in here only costs about an extra $10 and qantas I think is still no extra cost.
 

Wobbegong wannabe

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Queensland, Australia
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I work in aviation and I think you'd be pushing your luck trying to take all your gear as carry on, particularly twenty kilos worth. I haven't worked in the terminals for a few years now, but back then the security screeners were told to look out for heavy carry on bags when they put them through the X rays. IME most divers check in the bulky stuff and carry their regs/camera with them. As MA said, checking in a bag with Qantas (and generally with Virgin, unless it's a cheapo carry-on only fare) doesn't cost any extra, you just have to wait for it at the other end. The budget airlines are well aware that people try to carry on heavy stuff and make a nice profit stinging them for last minute check-in baggage costs, which can end up being more expensive than a baggage included ticket from the two main carriers.

Have a great trip! The Yongala is fabulous, and so is K'gari (Fraser). The original name means Paradise, and IMO it's not far off the mark. As an aside, if you're going there in a car try to take all your food, grog and other supplies with you, because all those things are very expensive on the island. Same with fuel; if you're taking a diesel car you might want to think about taking a few jerry cans with you, because if you think mainland Australia is expensive (and you will :shocked2:) it's budget when compared to the islands. :wink:
 

alecto

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Los Angeles
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Ok, so I guess I'm resigned to the fact that I will need to check 1 bag and then i'll have a small carry on and my backpack. I'm thinking a small wheeled bag that is the size of a carry on for the checked bag and then a small duffel (30L) and my camera backpack. I think that will work for the airplanes.

However that leads me to another problem/question. Where do I store all of these bags when I'm taking the bus? Do the greyhound stations have lockers to fit these kind of bags? Specifically I was hoping to bus from Cairns to Townsville overnight, take the ferry roundtrip to Magnetic Island, then get on the last bus to Ayr and spend the night there. I'm doing the Mon-Thurs liveaboard in Cairns and was hoping to be able to do the Yongala dive on the Saturday. But I also want to hug a koala and go looking for them in their natural environment. I heard that sometimes you can find them in the trees on that island. However, that might be difficult if I'm lugging all of that gear. I would only need my backpack on the island.

Same problem with the bags on that Thursday. The liveaboard will hold the unneeded bags while I'm at sea but they give them back to me. I'd like to stroll around the city or lay on a beach. But what do I do with my gear since I wont have a hotel?
 

Aquapro Dive Services

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Location
Cairns, Australia
# of dives
5000 - ∞
Can you cut down on some of the gear? You are unlikely to need a wetsuit as its summer here, so boardies and rashie would work.

Depending on what live aboard you do, equipment is included (Yongala its extra and the Ribbon Reef trips it is too). Not sure about the islands. But ditching wet suit saves a fair bit.

Regs you could take on board the plane as they are small and light.

Most bus stations have small lockers. Airports have bigger ones but not at regional ones like Cairns.

You may be better just to take it and get it locked up at your accommodation.
 

MA

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Location
Melbourne, Australia
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A small duffel and a camera backup kind of sounds like 2 carry on bags. Just ensure you can do that! I had thought it was a laptop bag plus a separate bag that was allowed. Just check whichever airline you go with. Australia isn't always the laid back country its made out to be :)


Ahh i take it back. That might be alright. Here's Qantas allowances:

Australian Domestic (except Dash 8 services and flights to/from Olympic Dam)All Classes:

  • 2 x 105cm (41in) bags or
  • 1 x 105cm (41in) bag plus 1 x 185cm (73in) non rigid garment bag or
  • 1 x 115cm (45in) bag
7kg (15lb) per piece
 

NautilusCairns

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Location
Cairns Australia
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500 - 999
A small duffel and a camera backup kind of sounds like 2 carry on bags. Just ensure you can do that! I had thought it was a laptop bag plus a separate bag that was allowed. Just check whichever airline you go with. Australia isn't always the laid back country its made out to be :)


Ahh i take it back. That might be alright. Here's Qantas allowances:

Australian Domestic (except Dash 8 services and flights to/from Olympic Dam)All Classes:

  • 2 x 105cm (41in) bags or
  • 1 x 105cm (41in) bag plus 1 x 185cm (73in) non rigid garment bag or
  • 1 x 115cm (45in) bag
7kg (15lb) per piece

Qantas is the most generous of the domestic carriers. Really need to check with the airline that's being used. Virgin and Jetstar only allow one piece of carry on and the weight allowance also varies. All airlines are getting tough with carry on luggage.
 
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alecto

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Location
Los Angeles
# of dives
25 - 49
I'm not going to bring my wetsuit. I figured I'd rent it wherever need be. But I will be in Australia for about 4 weeks so I don't think all the dive gear, camera stuff and clothes/toiletries will fit in just 1 carry on and backpack. it's a pretty small pack. doesn't hold much more than my 7d with lens and separate 70-300mm big lens. enough space to hold maybe an outfit for another day.

it looks like magnetic island ferry has storage lockers at the terminal. hopefully they are big enough to fit a carry on. with all the backpackers i imagine my problem cant be all that rare.

do a diving note: is flinder's reef something i should definitely check out? i'm doing the fraser island tour and thought maybe i could squeeze that in the day after and the day before i fly to sydney. or should i save that dive day, fly instead to sydney and then have an extra day in sydney to explore or dive?
 
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