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Western Australia

Perhaps the world's most talked-about dive destination, the Great Barrier Reef in northeastern Australia is a huge creation and the range of diving is vast.
But there is diving in several places in this vast country. The west coast of the Indian Ocean with wrecks off West Australia and Perth, Ningaloo, (the world's second largest coral reef) famous for its whale sharks, tiger sharks and dolphins and more. Christmas Island and Rowley Shoals in north-west Australia offer excellent diving. You can also travel to the excitement of Christmas Island from Jakarta, Indonesia.

Adelaide and South Australia are known for cold waters where mainly white shark diving. The fabulously wonderful Weedy and Leafy sea dragons are usually seen in the right season. Sydney offers really good diving although it is not known for just the diving. Even outside Brisbane there are great dive sites.

Christmas Island

Western Australia is best known for fairytale Christmas Island. Christmas Island is world famous for its crab migration, but it also has great diving. Dramatic drop-offs, coral slopes with rich marine life and out in the big blue it is common to see large pelagics such as whale sharks, manta rays, eagle rays, stingrays, dolphins, sometimes pilot whales and even various species of reef sharks or slightly larger cartilaginous fish such as, tiger sharks, hammerheads and silky sharks are seen many times out in the blue. Christmas Island is a real gem for nature lovers and divers and a once-in-a-lifetime-must-do. The diving here is good all year round but can be rough in January - April and sometimes difficult to get out to the best spots.

Up on the northwest coast is Rowley shoals. A 90km long reef with three islands sticking up and attracting large numbers of fish. There are plenty of different corals and sometimes large sharks are seen coming in here. Even great white sharks have been seen here on occasion but more common are reef sharks, silky sharks and several species of rays. Mantas, turtles and dolphins are also common here and large groupers are often seen along the reef. A maximum of 200 people per year are allowed here so book early.

Ningaloo

Further south, the world's largest reef, Ningaloo, extends directly from land.  (A so-called fringing reef = the most common type of reef in the world). Compare barrier reef, which has a body of water between the mainland and the reef. At Exmouth and Ningaloo, whale sharks, tiger sharks, dolphins and other small whales are common. Even humpback whales and six different types of turtles.
At Shark Bay further south, dolphins are very common and here dolphins will come ashore to play with visitors and sometimes get a bite to eat. There are also plenty of tiger sharks in these waters and diving is also available.

Perth may not be well known as a diving destination but there are several marine parks and many dive sites here that offer really good diving. Here you will find the HMAS Swan, an Australian warship that was sunk in 1997. It is now an artificial reef and with its 140 metres length at 30 metres depth now attracts large numbers of fish and marine life. Hammerhead sharks circling the wreck and other smaller shark species are quite common here. Marine life is otherwise abundant here. And there is also the Wreck Trail. A series of wrecks, some car tires, a couple of smaller planes all sunk and tied up with ropes for easy navigation around. The site is richly vegetated with gorgonians, sponges, anemones and various corals. Here along the west coast you can see seahorses, dugongs and other remarkable marine life.

Continue east and combine

If you want to experience the Barrier Reef, Cairns and Townsville are the obvious starting points, check out our Eastern Australia page here. Along the eastern coast there are also a large number of small islands that also offer opportunities for scuba diving and in combination with liveaboard. Why not take the opportunity to enjoy some of these islands and have a real holiday and in combination with the opportunity to dive more.

The opportunities for good and exciting diving with both small and large in Australia are many. We have chosen a few operators that we have good experience with in a few different parts of Australia. But feel free to ask us and hopefully we can help with more options and opportunities.

Travel information Australia

  • Time zone: +10 GMT - Canberra, Australian Eastern AEST
                      +11 GMT - Norfolk Islands STD
                      +9.30 GMT - Adelaide, Australian Central ACST
                      + 8 GMT - Perth, Australian Western AWST
                      + 7 GMT - Christmas Island STD
  • Currency: Australian Dollar
  • Language: English.
  • Water: tap water is generally drinkable everywhere in Australia, but ask locally
  • Visa: Required for travellers from EU countries. Apply ahead. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your return
  • Health: Contact your local vaccination clinic for advice. 
  • Hyperbaric chamber: There are pressure chambers in every state in Australia except Christmas Island and the Norfolk Islands. Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Townsville, Hobart, Darwin all have pressure chambers.
  • Weather: Australia has all four seasons and depending on which part of Australia you dive in, the climate, weather and temperature is extremely variable.
  • Clothing recommendations: entirely dependent on which part of Australia you go to. Casual clothing will do just fine wherever you go.

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