Australian Scuba and Snorkeling Dive Cruises, Tours, Holidays, Schools, Live-Aboard Charters

Diving Locations and Operators in Australia

Australia has a truly unbelievable array of dive spots, dive tour, holiday and Scuba and Snorkeling trip operators, diving schools, day-trip cruises, live-aboard diving cruises, charters, resort diving and holiday packages.

This encompasses the magnificent Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area, which is certainly one of the most renowned and most magnificent diving destinations in the world. With over 30,000 km of magnificent and unspoiled coastline, Australia has some of the best and most varied snorkeling and scuba sites in the world including a large number of wreck and cave sites.

There is a broad variety of information available to select your ideal dive site, dive trip operators. There are a wide range of and dive shops that cater for a broad range of knowledge and experience from novice to expert. There is equally superb diving in the tropical waters of the famous reefs along the coast of Western Australia as well.

Diving on the Great Barrier Reef is a Unique and Fabulous experience.
Diving on the Great Barrier Reef is a Unique and Fabulous experience. | Source

Great Diving

There is brilliant diving in the temperate waters as well off the coast of Tasmania (TAS), South-East Queensland (QLD) South Australia (SA) Northern Territory (NT), Western Australia(WA), Victoria (VIC) and New South Wales (NSW). The reefs of the offshore islands in Torres Strait, Bass Strait, Norfolk Island, Christmas Island and Lord Howe Island provide additional diving resources that are serviced by a number of dive operators. There is stunning diving and in the monster kelp forest and rocky reefs in the cold Tasmanian waters and the unique islands of Bass Strait. Visiting these areas is an adventure of a lifetime. The renowned Solitary Islands that are located off the north of New South Wales, and the Julian Rocks off Byron Bay are very popular destinations within 3-4 hours drive from Sydney or Brisbane. There is also spectaclar diving at the Abrolhos Islands which lie off the southern coast of Western Australian near Geraldton, north of Perth.

There are lots of options to suit every individual taste along the huge Australian coastline. Snorkeling does not require any qualifications and you can hire the equipment you need from the many dive shops, and most trip operators supply the diving gear included with the cruise package. There are day-trips, sail and cruise diving packages, extended live-aboard cruises at the Whitsunday Islands and numerous other locations around the coast.

Diving on the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef is a fabulous and memorable experience. It should be on your list of things you must do before you die. There is more than 2,000 km of reef to explore extending north of Brisbane to Cairns and Cooktown. The Great Barrier Reef includes 20% of the World's total coral reef area. The coral reefs have an abundance of fish and marine life (2800 species of fish). The World Heritage reef extends from famous Lizard Island north-east of Port Douglas south down the coast to the Whitsunday Islands, near Bowen, and further south to include Masthead Island, North West Island, Lady Musgrave Island, Tryon Island, Lady Elliott Island, Heron Island and Wilson Island off Bundaberg.

All of these island have pristine coral reefs. Why not learn how to dive by signing up for a diving course and enjoy a stunning ocean or reef dive as the last open water dive for the course, after training in a local pool.

Diving Options include:

  • Diving schools including Resort Dive Training
  • Diving with Whales Sharks - off the coast of Western Australia
  • Shark Diving - with brave divers protected by cages, Victoria and South Australia
  • Dolphin Dives
  • Diving cruises
  • Live-aboard Adventures of 5 days or more - a fantastic experience including night dives
  • Dive and Sail Options - combine two fantastic experiences on a day cruise or 5-14 day adventure
  • Wreck Dives - large range of options available
  • Cave Dive - only for experienced and trained divers

Some of the Best Diving Experiences are shown below (see the table for a longer list):

The Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia - stretches about 250 km along the Northwest Cape midway up the coast of Western Australia. Ningaloo Reef is unique in being a fringing reefs and is very easy to access form the shore. It has a huge variety of marine life, including the huge but gentle giants of the sea - the Whale Shark. These sharks reach up to 18 m in length (60ft), and divers can cruise along with them when they visit the Ningaloo Reef from about March to June each year. Visitors can also see Humpback Whales that visit the area from June until November. Manta Rays, Green, Hawksbill and Loggerhead Turtles can also be seen in the area.

Heron Island, Queensland - One of the most beautiful and easily accessible sites for divers is the famous Heron Island (World Heritage listed). It is one of the few places on the reef where you can quite literally step off the island and go snorkeling or scuba diving. There are a range of about 22 dive sites including the Blue Pools, featuring by turtles, octopus and sharks; the Coral Cascades, with sea trout and anemones; the renowned Heron Bommie, which features eels, outstanding corals rays, Spanish dancers, eels; and much more with about 70% of the reef's species occurring in this site alone. You can dive with White Tip Reef Sharks, Wobbegong Sharks, Moray Eels, Parrotfish, Eagle and Manta Rays, Sweetlip and Hussars.

Lizard Island, Queensland- this is an outstanding location for divers to explore the beautiful reefs in the far north area of the Barrier Reef, north Cooktown. The island offers an excellent range of inner and outer reef dive sites offered by local tour operators. One of the world-famous diving spots in this area is the Cod Hole. This dive site has a range of huge friendly fish that you can dive with including: the huge Potato Cods, the Emperor, the Maori Wrasse, the Red Bass, and many other species. Other marine life found in the Cod Hole area are the Giant Clams, White Tip Reef Sharks, anemones, Solomon's Sweetlip, feather stars and Reef Sharks.

The Whitsunday Islands, Queensland - The total of 74 spectacular islands of the Whitsundays group offer a superb range dive sites both among the continental islands and on the ribbon reefs eastward from the islands. Various operators take tourists to the ribbon reefs on the outer edge, and there are excellent facilities for divers of widely varying experience and capabilities. The reefs are suitable for snorkeling and scuba diving. Popular dive sites in this area include Hayman Island, Manta Ray Bay, Fairy Reef, Blue Pearl Bay, Maureen's Cove, Hook Island and Hardy Reef. You can experience the spectacular and majestic manta rays by diving in groups off the southern tip of the renowned Bait Reef. There is a unique dive spot called 'Manta Ray Drop-Off' where you can often view these unique marine animals, especially during the winter months. Another dive spot at Bait Reef called 'Stepping Stones' is a great place to see a wide variety of tropical fish species such as the Gropers, Sweetlips, Lion Fish, Moray Eels, Coral Trout. The area also has some of the best corals anywhere on the reef.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia - is located about 20 km offshore from Perth, and has excellent snorkeling and more than 100 scuba diving sites of various grades. The area features a great range of coral species, fish and other marine life - all easily accessible without needing extensive diving experience. There are many terrific shipwrecks dotted around the reef off the Island that you can explore. The island is perhaps the most popular and most admired diving destination in Western Australia for both recreational snorkelers and scuba divers. For many people who take lessons in Perth, Rottnest Island is one of their first destinations after they complete their courses .

The Rottnest Island Marine Reserve has more than 25 species of coral and 400 species of fish. Fish include: Harlequin Fish, Cobbler, Dhufish, Baldchin Groper, Flathead, Samson Fish, Tailor, Leatherjacket, Butterfly Fish and Moon Wrasse.

A list of some of the more popular dive sites in various states is shown in the table.

State
Dive Spot
Barrier Reef Island (QLD)
 
Christmas Island
 
Heron Island (QLD
 
Lizard Island (QLD)
 
Lord Howe Island (NSW)
 
Norfolk Island (NSW)
 
NSW
Fish Rock Cave, South West Rocks
NSW
Bushrangers Bay, Shellharbour
NSW
Bare Island, La Perouse, Sydney
NSW
Bare Island, Sydney Harbour
NSW
Bonnie Dundee, east of Lake Macquarie
NSW
Camp Cove, Sydney Harbour
NSW
Fish Rock (not the cave) - northern NSW
NSW
Fly Point, Nelson Bay
NSW
Julian Rocks, Byron Bay, North Coast
NSW
Lighthouse Wall, Ulladulla
NSW
M V Noongah off South West Rocks.
NSW
Martin Island, Wollongong
NSW
North Solitary Island
NSW
S S Bega North of Tathra
NSW
S S Catterthun off Seal Rocks
NSW
S S Limerick South of Byron Bay
NSW
S S Nemesis off Cronulla
NSW
S S Rosedale Southeast of Fish Rock
NSW
S S Satara South of Seal Rocks.
NSW
S S Undola of Garie Beach
NSW
S S Unique Off Shoalhaven.
NSW
Shark Point, Sydney
NSW
ShipRock, Lilli Pilli, Port Hacking, Sydney
NSW
Shiprock, Sydney
NSW
Smugglers Cave, Jervis Bay
NSW
SS Birchgrove Park, Sydney
NSW
SS Caterthun off Seal Rocks NSW
NSW
SS Empire Gladstone, Merimbula
NSW
SS Tuggerah, Sydney
NSW
SS Undola, Sydney
NSW
Swansea Channel, Lake Macquarie
NSW
Tasman Hauler, Eden
NSW
The Arch, Bass Point, South Coast
NSW
The Docks, Jervis Bay
NSW
The Pinnacle, Forster
NSW
The Pipeline, Nelson Bay
NSW
The Sisters, Eaglehawk
QLD
Cochrane Artificial Reef, Bundaberg
QLD
Heron Island
QLD
Lizard Island
QLD
Ribbon Reefs, Great Barrier Reef
QLD
Cod Hole, Great Barrier Reef
QLD
Gold Coast Seaway, Queensland
QLD
Heron Bommie, Heron Island
QLD
HMAS Brisbane, Sunshine Coast
QLD
Manta Ray Bommie, North Stradbroke Island
QLD
Milne Reef, ff Cairns
QLD
North Solitary Islands, off Brisbane
QLD
Osprey Ree, Great Barrier Reef
QLD
Osprey Reef, Coral Sea
QLD
SS Yongala, Townsville
QLD
St Paul, Brisbane
QLD
Wolf Rock, Double Island Point
SA
Edithburgh Jetty, Yorkes Peninsula
SA
Kilsby's Sinkhole, Mt Gambier
SA
Piccaninnie Ponds, Near Mt Gambier
SA
Pines Cave, Mt Gambier
SA
Rapid Bay Jetty, Rapid Bay
SA
Rapid Bay Jetty, South Australia
SA
SS Ulonga, Fleurieu Peninsula
SA
The Shaft, Mt Gambier
SA
Wedge Island, off SA
TAS
Barrenjoey Island Seal Colony
TAS
Crayfish Point, Hobart
TAS
Golden Bommies, Bicheno
TAS
Phoque Rock
TAS
Stanley Breakwall, Stanley
TAS
The Nord, Tasman Peninsula
TAS
Tinderbox Marine Reserve
TAS
Twin Peaks
TAS
Waterfall Bay Caves, Tasman Peninsula
TAS
Waterfall Bay Kelp Forest
TAS
Waubs Bay - The Rock night dive Bicheno
VIC
Rip Bank-port Phillip Heads, Victoria
VIC
Lonsdale Wall, Port Phillip Heads
VIC
Pinnacles, Phillip Island
VIC
Sponge Gardens Drift, Port Phillip Heads
VIC
St Pauls Back Beach, Sorrento
WA
Abroholos Islands, off Geraldton,
WA
Exmouth Navy Jetty, North West Coast
WA
Ningaloo Reef, Sunset Coast
WA
Rottnest Island, off Perth
WA
Rowley Shoals, off Broome

© 2012 Dr. John Anderson

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