Lord Howe Island FAQs

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1. What is Twinshare Accommodation
"Twinshare" means the hotel bedroom is for a couple to share, e.g. 1xKing, 1xQueen, 2xDouble or 2xSingle beds.  Our preference is always King or Queen.
2. What are the luggage weight restrictions onboard the dive boat?
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Fly/Dive itineraries do have luggage weight restrictions of 20-25kg (45-55lbs) per person depending on the dive boat you are booked on. Luggage restrictions also may apply to itineraries that do not include a flight.  Boats do request that you keep clothing and personal items to a minimum.  You will be advised of any luggage weight restrictions prior to departure.  Dive office may have facilities to store excess luggage.

You may be required to pack using soft sided luggage if your itinerary includes a fly/dive itinerary.
3. What essential items should I bring on board the dive boat?
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Personal items and toiletries, swimwear, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, casual clothing, footwear (sandals or tennis shoes) and sweatshirt in the winter (May – Sept)
4. Will I need a power adaptor?
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Australian domestic power standard is 240V @ 50htz, with 3 pronged power sockets. You may need to bring your own international power adaptor to use your electrical appliances or battery chargers.
5. What food and beverages are provided?
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All dive boats include all meals and snacks for the duration of your trip.  Special dietary needs can be catered to with prior notice.  Tea, coffee & water are complimentary on all boats.  Some drinks are available at no additional charge depending on the meal service.  Any alcohol served on board is available for purchase.  Please do not bring an alcohol on board with you.
6. How can people reach me in an emergency?
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All boats have the ability to be contacted in the case of an emergency.  To be contacted, please leave contact information (phone number & email address) of the dive boat with your emergency contact.  The emergency contact will need to contact the dive office to have a message relayed to you.  Please ensure your contact has your name, vessel and dates of travel.
7. I have my own digital camera. Do you have an option to download on board?
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Some boats do have the capabilities to allow an option to download on board. 

*Some dive boats do offer the option to rent a digital camera.  Please ask About Australia if you will need to rent a camera while on your dive trip.
8. How do I pay any onboard expenses?
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You can settle your onboard expenses with either Australian dollars or credit card.

9. What about tipping?
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Tipping is not mandatory.  Tips are always appreciated by a dive crew for a job well done.  There is no set percentage.  It is the practice of the dive boats to divide all tips received amongst the entire crew.
10. Do I need to bring my certification card?
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Yes, you will need to present your certification card upon boarding.
11. Do I need a dive medical?
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A dive medical is not required for all divers.  If you have a history of a medical condition contraindicative to diving (i.e. asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, heart or lung disorders, etc) you will be required to provide a diving medical certificate stating you are fit to scuba dive.

Also, if you are participating in Advanced, Nitrox or PADI Open Water Course you need to be medically fit to dive as indicated by completing the PADI Australia Medical Questionnaire.  In some cases, a dive medical may be required.
12. What dive equipment is provided on board?
Tanks and weight belts
13. What size are the tanks?
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Tank sizes range from 8 – 11.4 litre / 66-88 cubic feet depending on the dive boat selected.

14. What rental scuba gear is available?
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The following gear is available*: BDC, regulator, wrist mount dive computer, wetsuits, torch and cylume sticks, alternate air source, & gauges.

*Not all equipment is available on each boat.  These items may be offered as a complimentary item or there may be a rental charge.  Please enquire after deposit should you need to rent any equipment from the dive company.
15. What is the standard tank fitting?
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US style yoke connections. DIN fittings and adaptors are not provided.
US style K valve. DIN Valves are not available, and adaptors will be required.

16. Is it required that I use a dive computer?
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Yes, all divers must dive with their own dive computers depending on the dive boat selected.  Dive computers may be available for rental.  Some dive boats also offer a complimentary dive computer workshop.
17. What is the recommended weight wetsuit?
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It is recommended that you wear a wetsuit to protect against the cold, sun and abrasions.  Lycra skin to 3mm are suggested for the summer months (Oct – Mar) and 5mm for the winter months (Apr – Sept).  Below is an average water temperature chart for the Great Barrier Reef area.

18. Can I get Nitrox refills on board?
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Nitrox fills are available on board at an additional cost.  Please bring your Nitrox certification card with you.  Regulators will need to be O2 approved by the manufacturer.

19. When is the best time of year to dive the Great Barrier Reef?
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January – March is considered the wet season with amazing feeding and marine action followed by the breeding season.  April – August is winter (colder water) but offers great visibility with beautiful days but stronger winds.  October – December has warm weather with many coral reef species breeding at this time.
20. Concerned about seasickness?
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Most dive ships offer natural ginger tablets on board to aid in fighting seasickness.  However, if you are concerned about seasickness, please consult with your pharmacist or doctor.  It is best to try your seasickness remedy before your trip to familiarize yourself with any side effects you might experience.  It is important to remember to keep well hydrated while taking motion sickness medicine.
21. What happens if I can’t make the trip?
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Dive companies do not offer refunds on late cancellations due to illness or a change in your travel itinerary/plans.  It is strongly recommended you purchase travel insurance to cover you in cases of illness or cancellation.
22. Do I need dive insurance?
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Depending on the dive boat selected, you may be required to have DAN insurance to cover you in an emergency situation.  In a medical emergency, any expenses incurred are the financial responsibility of the diver involved.
23. Where is the nearest chamber?
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The nearest recompression chamber is in Townsville, 450km to the south of Cairns.  All passengers are required to carry insurance to cover for a medivac from the reef
24. What are your recommendations for flying after diving?
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It is recommended that there is a No Fly Period of 24 hours after your last dive to prevent decompression illness.  This relates to any increase in altitude – including but not limited to skydiving and hot air balloons.  Individual airlines have their own policies.  Please verify with air carrier before departure.
25. Can I use my credit cards when I travel?
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Visa and Mastercard are probably the most popular credit cards used in Australia, New Zealand & Fiji. American Express Credit Cards are also widely used, but may not be accepted as widely as Visa and Mastercard. Discover Cards are not commonly accepted in Australia, New Zealand or Fiji. Travelers Checks are also widely accepted throughout Australia, New Zealand & Fiji, although these are not commonly used anymore.

Australia, New Zealand & Fiji are well serviced with many ATM facilities that are globally connected. You can withdraw the local currency from ATMs using your Visa or Mastercard (please confirm with your bank that your credit/debit card is set-up correctly). Here is a link that you can use to help you locate ATMs worldwide: http://visa.via.infonow.net/locator/global/jsp/SearchPage.jsp

Please contact the Bank for your Credit Card and advise the Security Department of the dates that you will be traveling to Australia/New Zealand/Fiji. If you do not let them know they may "cancel" or "freeze" your Credit Card as soon as they see unusual Foreign Transactions appearing on your account. THIS IS IMPORTANT - PHONE THEM RIGHT NOW IF YOU ARE TRAVELLING SOON!

26. How long does it take to get to Australia/New Zealand/Fiji?
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An average non-stop flight from the the USA (West Coast) to Australia or New Zealand is approximately 14 hours. On the way back, the flight time is approximately 12 hours due to the prevailing Easterly winds across the Pacific. Flight times may vary depending on routing.

27. Do I need Power and Phone Adapters (USA to Australia)?
28. Where can I find phone numbers for places in Australia and New Zealand?
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For Australian Phone Numbers, Addresses & Timezones see www.whitepages.com.au

For New Zealand Phone Numbers, Addresses: www.whitepages.co.nz

For Fiji Phone, Numbers, Addresses: http://www.whitepages.com.fj/

29. When is the best time (climate) to travel to Australia?

Spring or Autumn.  For more details see: http://www.aboutaustralia.com/Weather.htm

30. How do I dial an International Phone Number from the USA?
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You can use the following website for help with dialing Internationally: http://www.countrycallingcodes.com/

‘61’ is the country code for Australia
'64' is the country code for New Zealand
'679' is the country code for Fiji

EXAMPLE - To dial an Australian Phone Number from the USA use the following example as a guide.

To phone Heron Island Resort, the Australian Number is (07) 4972 9055. From the USA dial 011-61-7-49729055. 

‘011’ to dial another country
‘61’ is the country code for Australia
‘07’ is the Area Code for the Australian State of Queensland (drop the ‘0’ when dialing from the USA)
4972 9055 is the local phone number.

31. What time is it in Australia/New Zealand/Fiji right now?
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To find the current ‘Time’ for any location within Australia, New Zealand or Fiji - go to www.worldtimeserver.com.  From this website you can also display the ‘Time Difference’ from your location to any location within Australia, New Zealand or Fiji.

32. Where can I find online street maps for my destination?
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For online Australian Street & City Maps go to www.whereis.com.au

For online New Zealand street & City Maps go to http://nzguide.newzealand.co.nz/whereis/

33. When in Australia who do I phone in an Emergency?

In case of an Emergency whilst in Australia Dial "000" (not 911).

34. What are Australia's School & Public Holiday Dates?
35. What are the Seasonal Dates for finding lower airfares to Australia?
Airfare pricing Tips: http://www.aboutaustralia.com/Airfare_Pricing_Tips.htm
36. What are the Child Discounts on Airfares to Australia or New Zealand?
37. What are the Current Special Airfares?
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Special (cheap) airfares are often announced by the airlines to help increase flight loading during slow periods or to match fares offered by competitive airlines.  These fares are typically announced at short notice (e.g. 1 day - 3 months prior to the required date of travel).  We can help you "cash-in" on cheap airfares. If a special fare is currently not available for the dates you want to travel, then we can offer you a "Special Fare Monitoring Service".  Call us to find out how this service works, or you can simply join our Mailing List and we'll send you an email every time a Special Fare is announced. 
To view current Airfare Specials click here SPECIAL FARES
38. Do I need Vaccinations to Travel to Australia
No vaccinations of any kind are required for travel into Australia, New Zealand or Fiji.
39. What is the current exchange rate?
The rate constantly fluctuates however, if you use the following website you will be able to view the current accurate rate for Australia, New Zealand & Fiji - www.xe.com
40. How much will it cost to travel to Australia?
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Prices for our travel packages from the USA to Australia typically start at US$3000 per person for 2 weeks including all accommodation, flights (domestic and international), transfers, tours, some meals and Visa issuance for entry into Australia. 
Pricing is dependent on the "class" of accommodation (3-5 Star) and the "number" of travelers in your group, the more people to share costs the less it will cost per person. Pricing is also significantly affected by the "Dates" you chose to travel ranging from Basic Season (cheap) to Super Peak (expensive). 
We are happy to tailor any existing itinerary to meet your needs.  We can jazz it up to include rooms with a view, private tours or helicopter transfers to an Island on the Great Barrier Reef.  Alternatively we can tone it down to bring pricing within your budget in which case you might opt to eliminate select tours and/or transfers (chauffeur driven vehicles to & from major Airports). Basically, just let us know what you want and we'll do our best to accommodate your needs.

41. What is the Australian/New Zealand Date Format?

Common date format in both Australia and New Zealand is: DD/MM/YY (not MM/DD/YY).

EXAMPLE: May 3rd, 2010

US Date - 05/03/10

Australia/New Zealand Date - 03/05/10