Australia is a diver’s paradise, and not just because of the Great Barrier Reef. While the Great Barrier Reef is no doubt breathtaking and exploring it a truly memorable and enchanting experience, Australia has plenty of other amazing diving experiences to offer.
Australia is blessed with so many beautiful natural and man-made dive sites that make it a diverse and exciting venue for divers. At just about every turn there’s a magnificent reef or diving spot waiting to be explored. Here is our list of some of the best dive spots in Australia:
SS Yongala Wreck
The SS Yongala Wreck is considered by many as the best wreck dive in the world, and it’s not hard to see why. The wreck is a 110m former passenger and freight steamer that sank in 1911 during a tropical cyclone. It wasn’t until 1958 that the wreck was found. It remains mostly intact and now serves as home to an amazing array of marine life. Giant groupers, Manta rays, sea turtles, sea snakes, Barracudas and various species of shark can be spotted in these waters. The surface current however, can be quite strong and thus diving experience is required.
Australia’s second largest coral reef, the Ningaloo Reef is lesser known than the Great Barrier Reef but offers a similar diving experience plus a chance to swim alongside enormous whale sharks! These gentle giants pass through this area between March and August every year, with the best chance of seeing them during April and May. There are also plenty of other marine life to see, around 300 species of coral and more than 700 species of reef fish to be exact, making it a great choice for underwater photography.
If you’re looking for something more thrilling, you can try cage diving with Great White Sharks at Neptune Islands. These dives put you in a steel cage just below the ocean’s surface, where you can safely watch these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.
Rowley Shoals offers another great diving experience, featuring three ring-shaped reefs that rise from very deep water some 300 km off the coast of Western Australia. There’s much to be seen in these waters, over 200 species of coral and almost 700 species of fish, to be exact. A favourite of many experienced divers, the Shoal also features crystal clear waters, sharks, whales, quiet lagoons, racing drift dives and more.
Lord Howe Island
World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island is uniquely positioned-- at the crossroads of five major ocean currents. This has resulted in a wonderful mix of temperate, sub-tropical, and tropical species of coral and fish.
The island has over 60 beautiful dive sites but the most popular has to be the Balls Pyramid, a castle-like sea stack with caves and rocky columns you can explore. It is here where you can catch a glimpse of Ballina angelfish, which are typically found in depths of over 100m but can be found in these waters at just 25m in depth.
Fish Rock Cave
Around 2km off Smoky Cape at South West Rocks, on the coast of New South Wales is Fish Rock Cave, a glorious 125m cave that serves as home to critically-endangered grey nurse sharks. It is a humbling, privileged experience to be swimming with these gentle giants, and exploring this deep sea cave is an exciting adventure for any experienced diver.
If you’d like to encounter fur seals in their natural habitat, then better check out Cape Hauy in the Tasman Peninsula, where fur seal encounters are common. This area also has giant kelp forests, underwater caves and sponge gardens you can explore.
The Great Barrier Reef
Of course, we can’t talk about Australia’s best dive spots without including the Great Barrier Reef. The largest reef on earth, it stretches over 2,000km and features numerous breathtaking reefs and dive sites. It’s a must-dive for every serious diver. Adventure and discovery seem endless when you go diving at the Great Barrier Reef.
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