Abyss Scuba Diving

Where To Scuba Dive In Australia: Uncovering The Best Places


Where to Scuba Dive in Australia: Uncovering the Best Places

Australia is an underwater paradise teeming with vibrant marine life, stunning coral reefs, and fascinating shipwrecks. From the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef to the lesser-known kelp forests of Tasmania, Australia beckons with an abundance of captivating dive sites. Whether you're a novice or an experienced diver, prepare for an array of immersive underwater experiences that will leave you in awe. Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable underwater adventure and wondering where to scuba dive in Australia?

Key Takeaways

  • Explore Australia’s amazing underwater world with Sydney, Queensland, Western Australia and more!

  • Encounter diverse marine life, from Galapagos Whaler Sharks to humpback whales.

  • Enjoy topside activities & non-diving experiences while being prepared for your adventure!

Sydney: A Surprising Diving Destination

A scuba diver preparing to dive Bare Island in Sydney

Famous for its iconic landmarks and beautiful beaches, Sydney offers a surprising and exhilarating scuba dive destination with abundant marine life, including the renowned Shelly Beach and Botany Bay, serving as the gateway to Australia’s underwater world.

From vibrant sponge gardens to mysterious underwater caves, prepare to be amazed by Sydney’s rich underwater tapestry.

Gateway to Australia's Underwater World

Located in Botany Bay, Sydney Airport is Australia’s busiest and offers easy access to the city’s diverse marine life and dive sites. Botany Bay, as the largest natural harbour in New South Wales, houses dolphins, whales, sea dragons and sea turtles.

Botany Bay, as the portal to Australia’s underwater world, allows visitors to experience the incredible biodiversity of marine life residing in Sydney Harbour.

Rich Marine Life in Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour is a treasure trove of marine species, making it an attractive and exciting diving location for both locals and tourists. With an incredible 3,000 marine plant and animal species, the harbour is a haven for diverse fish species, sea urchins, and other marine organisms.

Additionally, the East Australia Current introduces warmer water and tropical species to the North and South Solitary Islands, presenting a rare chance to observe temperate and tropical marine life in one dive.

Shelly Beach: A Maze of Boulders and Seagrass

Shelly Beach, located near Manly in Sydney, offers a unique diving experience with a maze of boulders, seagrass, and abundant marine life. Over 160 species of marine life have been recorded at Shelly Beach, including giant cuttlefish, weedy seadragons, wobbegongs, and Port Jackson sharks.

Shelly Beach provides an ideal spot for novice scuba divers to experience shore dives. It offers protection from most weather conditions and an easy shore entry, descending to a maximum depth of 14 meters . Morning dives are recommended, but marine life is abundant throughout the year.

Queensland's Diving Hotspots

A scuba diver swimming in the Great Barrier Reef

Queensland, located in northeastern Australia, is a popular diving destination with the world-famous Great Barrier Reef and exciting wreck dives in Townsville. Queensland presents a diverse range of diving experiences, from vibrant coral gardens brimming with marine life to adrenaline-inducing wreck dives for those in search of an underwater adventure.

Great Barrier Reef: A World-Famous Dive Destination

Spanning over 2,300 kilometres along Australia’s northeastern coast, the Great Barrier Reef presents divers with a diverse range of marine life and dive sites, establishing itself as a must-visit destination. Home to sharks, turtles, and manta rays, the reef boasts a spectacular underwater world waiting to be explored.

The Great Barrier Reef offers a unique diving experience, ranging from the untouched coral gardens of Lady Elliot Island to the teeming marine life at Osprey Reef.

Townsville: Wreck Diving and Night Dives

Townsville, located on the northeastern coast of Queensland, provides thrilling wreck diving experiences, including the renowned SS Yongala. The SS Yongala wreck has been submerged in a cyclone since 1911. A wide variety of marine life has since taken residence here, such as:

  • Giant groupers

  • Sea snakes

  • Chevron barracudas

  • Eagle rays

  • Hawksbill turtles

Townsville also caters to those seeking an alternative adventure with night dives, where nocturnal creatures animate the waters and deliver a unique underwater experience.

Western Australia's Unique Dive Experiences

A whale shark swimming in the Ningaloo Reef

Western Australia offers unique dive experiences, such as swimming with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef and drift diving at Rowley Shoals. With crystal-clear waters, diverse marine life, and stunning underwater landscapes, Western Australia provides unforgettable diving experiences for those seeking adventure off the beaten path.

Ningaloo Reef: Whale Shark Encounters

Ningaloo Reef, located off the coast of Western Australia, is a top destination for:

  • whale shark encounters

  • diverse marine life

  • manta rays

  • fish

  • coral species

The reef, home to various reef sharks, provides a unique and vibrant underwater environment for divers to explore at this amazing dive site.

To maximize your chances of swimming with these gentle giants, consider visiting Ningaloo Reef between April and May.

Rowley Shoals: Drift Diving Adventures

Rowley Shoals, a group of three coral atolls located off the coast of Western Australia, offers exciting drift diving adventures for experienced divers. With strong currents and abundant marine life, Rowley Shoals provides a thrilling and exhilarating diving experience that adventurous divers will cherish.

With access limited to a brief period each year around October, the shoals become an exclusive and memorable dive destination.

South Australia's Diverse Dive Sites

Scuba divers cage diving with great white sharks in  South Australia

South Australia takes pride in its diverse dive sites, such as shark cage diving in Port Lincoln and shore diving in the Fleurieu Peninsula. South Australia caters to all skill levels and interests, offering a variety of diving experiences ranging from adrenaline-filled encounters with great white sharks to tranquil explorations of underwater caves.

New South Wales' Hidden Gems

A scuba diver swimming in the underwater world of New South Wales

New South Wales houses hidden diving treasures, including the uncrowded dive sites of Lord Howe Island and the aquatic paradise of Nelson Bay. These lesser-known diving destinations offer unique marine biodiversity and unforgettable underwater experiences for divers seeking adventure beyond the popular dive sites.

Lord Howe Island: Uncrowded Dive Sites and Galapagos Whaler Sharks

Lord Howe Island, a crescent-shaped volcanic remnant in New South Wales, provides uncrowded dive sites and opportunities to encounter Galapagos Whaler sharks and humpback whales. With only 400 tourists allowed on the island at any given time, Lord Howe Island provides a unique and exclusive diving experience for those seeking to explore Australia’s underwater world without the crowds.

Nelson Bay: Nelson Bay: Dive into an aquatic wonderland.

Situated in New South Wales, Nelson Bay offers divers an aquatic paradise with diverse marine life and breathtaking underwater landscapes. From the incredible marine species found at Halifax Park to the vibrant underwater world of Broughton Island, Nelson Bay offers a unique and captivating diving experience for those seeking to explore Australia’s hidden gems.

Victoria's Shipwrecks and Unique Piers

A scuba diver swimming in the underwater world of Victoria

Victoria provides unique diving experiences with shipwrecks and piers, giving divers opportunities to delve into the state’s underwater history. From the haunting wreckage of sunken ships to the bustling marine life found around piers, Victoria’s dive sites offer a fascinating glimpse into the past and present of Australia’s underwater world.

Tasmania's Kelp Forests and Undersea Caves

The kelp forests of Tasmania

Tasmania’s dive sites feature kelp forests, undersea caves, and unique marine life, making it an exciting destination for divers seeking a different underwater adventure.

Divers in Tasmania can explore enchanting underwater forests, navigate mysterious caves, and encounter the diverse marine species inhabiting the region’s waters.

Northern Territory's Blue Holes and Coral Reefs

Incorporating blue holes and coral reefs, the Northern Territory’s dive sites offer a unique diving experience for those venturing into Australia’s outback. With stunning underwater landscapes and an array of marine life, the Northern Territory provides a one-of-a-kind diving experience for intrepid explorers.

Liveaboards and Dive Resorts in Australia

The Mike Ball Seasport liveaboards on the great barrier reefAustralia

For divers of all levels and budgets, Australia’s liveaboards and dive resorts grant access to the country’s best dive sites. Some of the top dive sites in Australia include:

  • The Great Barrier Reef

  • Ningaloo Reef

  • Osprey Reef

  • Ribbon Reefs

  • Cod Hole

  • SS Yongala Wreck

Liveaboards and dive resorts offer unparalleled opportunities to explore Australia’s underwater world in comfort and style, providing some of the best scuba diving experiences, including scuba diving in Australia.

Diving Seasons and Conditions in Australia

A scuba diver exploring the vibrant coral reef in Australia, one of the top destinations for where to scuba dive in Australia.

Australia offers year-round diving, although the optimal seasons and conditions can vary by location. From the calmest sea conditions typically occurring between September and February to year-round diving opportunities in the Northern Territory’s Blue Holes, there’s always an underwater adventure waiting for you when diving in Australia.

Topside Activities and Non-Diving Experiences

A scuba diver swimming in the topside activities and non-diving experiences of Australia

Aside from diving, Australia offers a plethora of topside activities, including lounging on stunning beaches, encountering incredible wildlife, and immersing in unique cultural experiences. Whether you’re cuddling a koala at the Australia Zoo, watching penguins waddle home, or exploring the diverse rainbow community, there’s something for everyone in Australia.

Practical Information for Divers

Prior to commencing your underwater adventure in Australia, consider the following practical aspects:

  • Secure a valid scuba diving certification from an accredited diving organization.

  • Invest in travel insurance to protect yourself during your diving trip.

  • Pay attention to recommended diving seasons and conditions for your chosen dive sites to ensure the best possible experience.


From the world-famous Great Barrier Reef to the lesser-known kelp forests of Tasmania, Australia offers a wealth of unique and unforgettable diving experiences for both novice and experienced divers. With diverse marine life, stunning underwater landscapes, and exciting diving destinations across the country, Australia is an underwater paradise waiting to be explored. So, take the plunge and discover the wonders of Australia’s underwater world!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Australia have good scuba diving?

Australia is definitely a top-notch scuba diving destination, featuring the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef, along with a plethora of tropical marine life, massive kelp forests, and stunningly diverse shipwrecks. It truly is an unforgettable underwater paradise!

What is a famous place for diving in the east of Australia?

Embark on an extraordinary journey to the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef, situated east of Australia. Immerse yourself in its vibrant coral and tropical marine life as you explore a myriad of breathtaking dive sites. Encounter the enchanting Weedy Sea Dragons at Kurnell, and marvel at the majestic manta rays, guitar sharks, and leopard sharks that grace the waters of Lady Elliot and Lady Musgrave Island. Spanning an awe-inspiring expanse of 1,400 miles, the Great Barrier Reef encompasses more than 2,900 individual reefs, solidifying its distinction as the largest and most thriving coral reef ecosystem on the planet.

How much does it cost to scuba dive in Australia?

Experience the wonders of scuba diving in Australia for around $600! This cost covers equipment hire, pool training sessions, four open water dives, and certification and training fees. What a great deal!

What are some must-visit diving destinations in Australia?

Dive into Australia's stunning underwater world with a visit to the Great Barrier Reef, Ningaloo Reef, Sydney Harbour, and Tasmania's beautiful kelp forests!

When is the best time to dive in Australia?

Dive in Australia any time of year and enjoy great conditions! Spring and summer are the ideal times for the best diving experience.