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Australia Scuba Diving

Destination Overview

Diving in Australia - Image courtesy of Tourism Queensland

There is truly nothing like Australia. It is a unique destination highlighted by the diverse diving environments that make up this vast continent. From the northern tip of the world famous Great Barrier Reef on Australia’s east coast, all the way around to pristine dive conditions off Western Australia, you will be spoilt for choice. This stunning diving coastline is comprised of the states of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory, as well as the island state of Tasmania. Each of these locations are unique destinations within themselves as they spread across the world’s sixth largest country. 

Australia is without a doubt a world-class travel and dive destination. Below the surface, divers have the opportunity to experience spectacular sites and marine life. Whether it’s taking in colorful corals, diving through giant kelp which creates the illusion of an underwater forest, or having a chance encounter with a whale shark, it will be unforgettable. Above the surface you can enjoy astounding natural beauty as well as first-class dining and entertainment with a unique character and charm. It’s truly a magnificent place not to be missed by any diver.


Diver on the Great Barrier Reef
Queensland is known as the holiday destination of Australia and rightly so. It is home the Great Barrier Reef which is the largest coral reef system in the world and even demands a dedicated PADI Vacation Spotlight. The gateway destinations of Cairns and Port Douglas, let divers from around the globe explore this natural wonder of the world. The SS Yongala near Townsville and Ayr is regarded as one of the world’s top wreck dives. Further south are the idyllic Whitsundays which offers amazing visibility, untouched reefs and unique marine life. The region around Bundaberg and Lady Elliot Island is regarded as one of the tops sites to dive with manta rays. The 133 meter/433 foot HMAS Brisbane was sunk near the Sunshine Coast and is fast becoming a favorite wreck of many. Flinders Reef near Brisbane and the Gold Coast is an amazing diving spot and the reef has more than 175 fish species as well as mantas and turtles.
Marine Life in Australia
New South Wales offers a rich variety of year round diving with both warm and cold water currents spread across the 2000 kilometre/1250 mile coastline. In the north of the state you will find Julian Rock Marine Park near Byron Bay and Cook Island off Tweed Heads where you will encounter warmer water marine life. On the north coast the Solitary Islands Marine Park near Coffs HarbourSouth West Rocks and the Great Lakes Marine Park accessible from Nelson Bay and Tuncurry, all great getaway dive destinations. The Central Coast region has some spectacular sites including the HMAS Adeliade wreck. Sydney, known world over, has world class diving right on the doorstep of this exciting and vibrant city. Bare Island, Camp Cove and Shelly Beach are popular spots to learn to dive or simply experience the underwater world. Further south there are a number of pristine sites including Jervis BayUlladulla and Batemans Bay. These sites are also easily accessible on a day trip from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

This is a destination that is packed with attractions including incredible underwater environments. Near the lively capital city of Melbourne, is the Port Phillip Bay region which hosts some truly amazing dive sites including Londsdale Wall, Portsea Hole, and Popes Eye. Here you will encounter beautiful marine life including cuttlefish, octopus and sea stars and the region is known as a popular destination to become PADI certified. The ex HMAS Canberra near the Bellarine Peninsula also provides Victoria with a world class wreck dive in around 28 meters/92 feet of water. Rye Pier is another not-to-be-missed spot with its tranquil setting and underwater creatures including rays, seahorses and even seals. The southern coast of Victoria has some great diving acessible from Apollo BayPort Fairy & Warrnambool
Australia Fur Seals on the surface

South Australia has a rich heritage which is equally matched by its natural beauty both above and below the surface. Near the capital city of Adelaide you will be spoilt for choice for sites to explore including Port Noarlunga Reef, Edithburgh Jetty and Aldinga Pinnacles. Around Port Lincoln there is great diving on offer and unique marine life such as the leafy sea dragon. For keen wreck divers, the 133 meter/437 feet ex HMAS Hobart near Normanville provides a fantastic dive which is brimming with marine life.
Stunning dive site in Australia
Famous for being bathed in sunshine, Western Australia is fast becoming a world-renown dive destination and for very good reason. From Perth you can easily explore the beautiful dive sites of the Rottnest Island or the popular local sites near Rockingham & Mandurah, which are all great destinations to learn to dive. Western Australia also boasts some spectacular wrecks such as the HMAS Swan Wreck near Dunsborough and Bunbury, or the opportunity for a chance encounter with a mesmerising whale shark off Exmouth or Coral Bay near Ningaloo Reef. You will find yourself wanting to stay and dive here forever.
Cooler Water Diving
Separated from the mainland, Tasmania is a destination known for its natural and untouched beauty. With cooler water environments than most of the mainland, visibility can seem endless and colder water creatures call many sites home. The giant kelp forests near Munro Bight are one of the highlights of diving in Tasmania and you will be transformed into a world of an underwater forest-like environment. The Lanterns near Fortescue Bay as well as Cathedral Caves near Waterfall Bay are also two popular dives destinations in this part of the world. You can access the best diving spots of Tasmania from these diving hubs; HobartLaunceston, Devonport and Eaglehawk

The coral reefs off Darwin have a rich diversity of reef fish and invertebrates and arguably Australia’s best collection of World War II shipwrecks and plane wrecks. Diving at Gove Peninsular East of Darwin offers Manta rays, reef sharks, turtles, schools of pelagic fish and even whale sharks, in clear water at certain times of the year.


Depths: From surface snorkelling/diving to beyond 40 metres/140 feet.

Visibility: This ranges depending on area and time of year however most diving in Australia enjoys good visibility including up to 30 meters/100 feet in some areas such as the Great Barrier Reef.  

Currents: As Australia is a vast country, currents vary significantly from mild through to strong depending on your location. There is however usually a good range of diving conditions to suit individual diving preferences. 

Water Temperature: In the north of the country, Queensland experiences water temperatures of around 30°C/85°F in the summer and 24°C/75°F in the winter months. Many of the other states of Australia have summer averages of around 24°C/75°F in the summer and around 18°C/64°F in the winter months. Some southern states such as Tasmania however experience colder water temperatures.  

Dive Season: Australia offers year a round dive season. You can expect warmer conditions in most locations from September through to April however the winter months provide unique opportunities including the whale season in various states.

Weather: Australia has temperate weather for most of the year however this can vary due to the size of the country. The northern states including Queensland experience warmer weather year round while the southern states have milder or cooler winters. 

Access: Australia has several international airports including Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. There are also airports in all major cities and many of the popular diving regions including Cairns, which is the main gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. 

Skill Level: From a non-diver looking to become PADI certified through to experienced divers, Australia has a range of diving conditions. Many locations in Australia are perfect spots for learning to dive while opportunities for advanced divers, especially in current-rich environments, are also on offer.

Scuba Gear: Sub-tropical and temperate dive equipment is common in most locations. PADI Dive Centers and Resorts usually offer full hire facilities including dive computers.

Length of stay: While shorter trips can be enjoyable, most people would recommend at least two or three weeks to see some of the different parts of this vast country.

Featured Creatures: Australia has an extensive array of iconic and unique marine life. From enormous humpback whales through to the smaller critters like the weedy sea dragon. The dazzling Australian giant cuttlefish is found in many locations and can grow up to 9 kilograms/20 pounds. Marine creatures such as the wobbegong shark and blue-ringed octopus showcase the uniqueness of some of the marine life found across the country. Stingrays, nudibranch and groupers are also popular creatures that frequent many dives sites all over Australia.

Language: English (many tourist areas cater for international visitor languages). 

Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD). 

Tipping: Tipping Divemasters and live-aboard crews at the end of a trip is common for good service. Tipping is not mandatory, but 10 percent is a general guideline when needed.

Transportation: Domestic flights can be a cost effective way to travel long distances in Australia, whilst Rental cars are a good option to travel within states. Taxis and public transportation within most Australian cities and towns are also reliable. 

Major Airports: Sydney Airport (SYD), Melbourne Airport (MEL), Brisbane Airport (BNE), Perth Airport (PER) & Cairns Airport (CNS).

Religion: Predominately Christian.

Electricity: 240v/50Hz and Type I electrical outlets.

Airport Entry/Exit fees: Departure tax is usually included in the cost of airline tickets. A visa is required for most nationalities. Check the Department of Immigration and Citizenship page for complete information.