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Best Places for Scuba Diving in Australia

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The Australian continent is synonymous with adventure – there’s no doubt about that. And, sure, there’s still some time to go before international travelers are allowed to cross its borders. Right now, the most likely scenario is that this will happen in mid-2022. But there’s nothing wrong with some planning. So, what better time to start looking up the best places for scuba diving in Australia than right now? If, for your next adventure, you’re planning on visiting Australia, here are the top spots you should consider visiting.

Best Scuba Diving In Australia

The Great Barrier Reef

If you’re a scuba diving enthusiast, then the Great Barrier Reef is probably already on your bucket list. The world’s largest coral reef system, stretching over approximately 133.000 square miles, consists of over 2.500 individual reefs and 900 islands.

In 19881, it was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites as one of the world’s richest and most diverse ecosystems. Not only is it home to over 1.500 species of fish and 400 species of coral, but it also houses a great variety of mollusk, birds, and a diversity of other species.

But, the best part about it is that you can see it for yourself.

If you’re looking for a full experience, the best course of action would be to make Cairns your home base and purchase a liveaboard stay. If you’re on a budget, this may be out of the question as prices easily reach $600-$1000 for a couple of days. But if you can afford it, it is the way to go.

Note that the best times to visit the GBR are from June to October.

scuba diving in australia
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the best places in the world, not just Australia, for scuba diving


Want a once-in-a-lifetime scuba diving experience but can’t afford to spend a thousand dollars on a couple of days? Then you might just find that visiting Townsville could be the perfect alternative for you.

A quieter option than Cairns, it’s a good base for visiting the GBR. But this small coastal city also offers plenty of exciting scuba diving opportunities of its own. Consider sites like the SS Yongala wreck, Magnetic Island, Kelso Reef, Keeper Reef, Wheeler Reef, Flinders Reef, Davies Reef, and China Wall.

If you’re looking forward to visiting the Yongala ship, keep in mind that it’s an advanced dive. Therefore, you’ll have to prepare and brush up on scuba diving safety tips to avoid any mishaps.

scuba diving australia townsville
Visit Townsville for some more affordable scuba diving in Australia

Whitsunday Islands

Are you a beginner scuba diver? Or are you traveling with a mixed group and want to make sure everyone has the highest chance of having fun? If that’s the case, the Whitsunday Islands might just be the perfect spot for you.

You definitely won’t want to miss a visit to the Pinnacles, which is a site great for both diving and snorkeling. Expect to see stunning coral bommies that almost reach the surface, Manta rays, Maori Wrasse, and whitetip and blacktip reef sharks.

whitsunday islands
The stunning Whitsunday Islands

New West Rocks

Planning a visit to New South Wales? Then allotting a day or two to this diving spot is a definite must.

One of the best places in the world for cave diving, New West Rocks may not sound like much before you’ve seen it. After all, you’re most likely to visit one single site, Fish Rock, which doesn’t look like much when observed from afar. However, once you’re underwater, your opinion is bound to change.

Located near the mouth of the Macleay River, this area is rich in sea life. It’s home to many species of fish, including cute Cheeky Groupers and not-so-cute but quite friendly Grey Nurse Sharks. So, if you’re one of those people who want to see sharks and possibly even catch a glimpse of a humpback whale, this is the perfect spot for you!

scuba diving spots australia
Coral reefs have the most amazing varieties of fish and marine life

Ningaloo Coast

Located in Western Australia, the Ningaloo Coast is an impressive choice for all enthusiast scuba divers. Spanning an area of 2.700 square miles, this fringing coral reef has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 2011 but has drawn interest for much longer.

Not only is Ningaloo Reef one of the longest near-shore systems in the world. But it’s a diving site featuring an impressively rich marine life, with hundreds of species of corals, fish, and mollusks.

It’s famous for its Whale Sharks, which are huge but not at all dangerous. Plus, it’s on the winter migratory route of dolphins, dugongs, Manta rays, and humpback whales, making Ningaloo Reef a must-visit site for any marine life lover. You should also know that the reef area is a breeding ground for various turtles, including loggerhead, green, and hawksbill. So if those happen to be on your must-see list, then you’ve got another great reason for paying this place a visit.

Another thing to know about Ningaloo Coast is that it’s the perfect destination for photography lovers. It offers ample opportunity both for underwater macro photography as well as breathtaking landscapes at Cape Range National Park.

whale shark ningaloo reef
Whale sharks are a common sight on the Ningaloo Reef


Last but not least, if your Australian adventure only takes you as far as Sydney, fear not. You’ll still have plenty of opportunities to get your feet wet.

With several impressive dive spots (both for beginner and advanced divers), Sydney offers the perfect mix of city getaway and breathtaking nature. Head over to South Head, Chowder Bay, HMAS Adelaide, or Old Man’s Hat, and enjoy the rich marine life. You may even encounter a few of those funny-looking Wobbegong sharks that are sure to become the stars of your Instagram profile.

sydney opera house

In Closing

There you have it, some of the best places for scuba diving in Australia. As you can see, the continent offers something for everyone, regardless of your budget, skill level, or time constrictions.

If you want to have the best possible time during your visit, make sure to plan ahead and to know exactly what it is you want to see. That way, you’ll be able to make an itinerary that’ll allow you to drink in the sights without becoming overwhelmed or exhausted because of a packed schedule. After all, being chill is a huge part of the Australian experience. So make sure not to miss out!

Author: Sarah is a life enjoyer, positivity seeker, and a curiosity enthusiast. She is passionate about an eco-friendly lifestyle and adores her cats. She is an avid reader who loves to travel when time allows.

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