Australia is a primary destination for scuba divers throughout the world, and one of the main reasons for this intrigue is the Great Barrier Reef that lies in the northern areas of the east coast. This also means that there are a lot of tourists in the main scuba diving areas, so for the diving enthusiasts it can be difficult to find a spot that is full of vibrant coral and not tourist groups. This can be done with some careful pre-trip planning with some advance knowledge of the area being helpful as well.
Diving Map of Australia
If you are interested in scuba diving in Australia then you should know that there are other fascinating sites to dive at other than the Great Barrier Reef. For example, close to Tasmania there is an area filled with a giant kelp forest. You can also see a variety of wonderful marine life and even explore some interesting wrecks, including one near Townsville that is considered famous among divers, the Yongala. Whatever you choose to do while you are scuba diving in Australia, you are sure to find yourself caught up in an exciting underwater adventure.
Wrecks to Explore in Australia
The HMAS Brisbane was an important ship in the Royal Australian Navy. It was put into service in 1967 and continued to serve her country for nearly thirty five years, until she was decommissioned. The government decided that instead of retiring this great ship altogether, they would instead turn her into an artificial reef and she was scuttled in 2005 just off the Sunshine Coast. The spot has become a favourite for many divers as the ship sits completely upright on a sandy floor. This position combined with the low swells and the clear water makes the dive something that can be enjoyed by divers of all levels of experience.
HMAS Brisbane Fore Gun
The Yongala is a wreck that attracts many divers for a whole host of reasons. This is because the site is not only a great wreck to explore, but the mystery behind its disappearance has also drawn a good number of adventure seekers. The ship originally sank in 1911 and the entire crew was lost with the ship, but she lay undiscovered on the bottom of the ocean for more than fifty years. Now, the Yongala has become an integral part of the marine life in the area as schools of cobia and trevally swim nearby and giant groupers have made a home for themselves beneath the ship?s stern. You might also get to see white sea snakes and turtles swimming close by as well.
The HMAS Perth is another battleship that was sank near Albany in order to create an artificial reef and dive wreck. Before she found her current home at the bottom of the ocean, she was an active missile destroyer that served Australia during the Vietnam War. During four separate occasions the ship came under fire and the scars from these battles are still present and can be seen by divers today. Many divers enjoy this wreck because when the Perth was sank much of her original equipment and machinery remained intact. Also, despite the ship?s recent immersion underwater, a large amount of marine growth has already appeared to take hold around the wreck, providing a very visually stimulating dive as well as a technical one.
HMAS Perth before sinking
In Dunsborough, the HMAS Swan is an extremely accessible dive that will appeal to both novice and expert divers because of its swim through opportunities and technical interest. The ship was scuttled in 1997, and is well known because of its large size. At one hundred and thirteen meters long, this naval destroyer is one of the largest available wrecks to explore in the region. Its size has attracted not only divers, but a variety of marine life has also taken up residence in the Swan since she was scuttled. You can expect to see bulls eye, King George whiting, and blue devil fish. Because of varying weather conditions the best time of year for many to dive at this location is from November to May.
Diving the HMAS Swan
An interesting wreck for diving is the Lady Darling located in Narooma. Because of the strong currents this wreck is better for the more experienced divers, but it is an amazing find. The ship was an old wooden one that sank in the 1880?s and is only accessible by boat. Many find the Lady Darling an exceptional swim because of the interest in seeing such an old wreck and how the ocean has affected it.
Best Time of Year to Dive in Australia
As much of Australia has an almost tropical climate, it is possible to dive there year round in most of the northern areas of the country; however, this is not always the case with the southern areas, so it is best to check on the diving availability before you finish planning your trip.
Notable Diving Locations In Australia
One of the most well known diving locations in Australia is the Great Barrier Reef. This chain of reefs is amazing to behold and is in fact the largest natural structure of its kind on earth. The beautiful coral and the huge variety of marine life have worked to create a portrait of complete natural beauty that is unsurpassed anywhere in the world and should not be missed. Just beyond the edge of the Great Barrier Reef there is even more to explore as you can encounter an underwater mountain range with rising walls covered in marine life.
The Navy Pierat Exmouth is an interesting dive because of the large variety of marine life that has made the underside of the pier its home. The site is considered to be among the best in Australia simply for this considerable amount of marine life that has taken root here. Some divers do not believe that pier dives can be that interesting, but that is just not the case and the site is something you should definitely check out if you are going to be in the area at all.
A dive for the more adventurous is Osprey Reef. This site is considered to be the best for shark diving in all of Australia and there are guided tours which allow you to take part in a shark feeding. Apart from the sharks, there are also quite a few interesting wall dives that will provide a spectacular view of marine life in all directions as the visibility in this area is pristine and on any given day you can expect to see up to forty metres.
There is an area near Tasmania known as Pirate?s Bay where there are two underwater sites that attract a great many divers. These are known as The Funnel and Little Waterfall Bay. The area of Little Waterfall Bay has sheer underwater cliffs that rise up out of the water to a height of about thirty metres. In addition to this there is a honeycomb of underwater caves to explore. The funnel is actually an opening in one of the cliffs that starts out quite large and narrows as it goes down, forming a funnel-shape, thus the name. This dive is interesting for all levels of experience, but it is an especially good site for novice divers to explore the underwater caverns and see marine life in a somewhat controlled setting.
Marine Life in Australia
Australia is notably home to the greatest variety of marine life that can be seen in any one area, so it would be impossible to list them all here. A few things you will probably catch a glimpse of include giant groupers, trevally, clownfish, giant turtles, coral polyps, manta rays, dugongs, cod, crayfish, bull?s-eye, King George whiting, blue devil fish, clams, anemones, nurse sharks, leopard sharks, stingrays, and guitarfish. There is also a chance that you might be able to catch a glimpse of the majestic humpback whale or the majestic great white shark, depending on where you dive.
Great White Shark
Australia Diving Fact Sheet
Average Air Temperature: 27C ? 35C
Average Water Temperature: 20C ? 31C (This can vary greatly depending on what section of Australia you are diving in)
Recommended Exposure Protection: A 3mm ? 7mm suit depending on what you?re comfortable wearing.
Average Visibility: Australia is a large continent with a great many different dive sites, because of this it is hard to gauge what your visibility will be without knowing what area you?re diving in. However, in most open water the average visibility ranges from fifteen to forty five meters.
Coldest Times: May to October
Hottest Times: November to April
Best Times to Dive: You can dive in much of Australia all year long. This is especially true in the northern regions because it is a more tropical climate. In the southern regions diving is most recommended from November to April.
Worst Times to Dive: In the southern region you may want to avoid the colder months from May to October.