Blog about Underwater Life and Scuba Diving

Australia’s Best Dive Sites

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Australia is a renowned holiday destination for a number of reasons. It has great beaches, bustling cities and a warm and sunny climate. However, one of the reasons many holidaymakers fly to Australia is the abundance of great locations for adventure sports and in particular diving. Here are the best five dive sites in Australia. Naturally, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the main attractions in this part of the world set to become world’s largest marine reserve and divers of all levels are keen to explore what it has to offer. Along its considerable length there are a number of great dive sites to explore. It is no wonder that Australia has become such a diving Mecca. There is a huge range of sites to choose from, including reefs and wrecks and all are populated with a magnificent variety of wildlife.

At the northern end in Queensland is Lizard Island, a very popular destination for divers, largely because of the Cod Hole dive spot. It is suitable for beginners but is also rated as one of the top dive sites in the world, let alone Australia. The warm waters here make it ideal for diving all year round.

Lizard Island is a National Park and therefore the waters are protected and teeming with wildlife. There are plenty of highlights to see on this part of the coral wonderland, including giant clams, manta rays and White Tip reef sharks.

At the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef there is another very popular dive site which displays another aspect of everything the reef has to offer. A listed World Heritage Site, Heron Island is an excellent site for divers and its ease of access makes it especially suited to beginners. It is situated around 70 kilometers north east of the city of Gladstone.Heron Island is renowned as a great spot for beginners and learners as a mere 15-minute boat ride out from the jetty takes you to at least 30 popular dive sites. Among these are the Heron Bommie, Coral Cascades and Blue Pools, all of which have plenty to offer. Visits are best made between July and September when visibility is at its clearest.

Perhaps the greatest attraction of Heron Island is the biodiversity on the reefs. It supports around two-thirds of the fish species and just under three-quarters of the coral species found on the entire Great Barrier Reef. Divers here will have the chance to see loggerhead turtles, wobbegong sharks and Moray eels, as well as coral banks and tunnels.

On a voyage from Melbourne to Cairns in 1911, the SS Yongala passenger ship encountered a cyclone, struck a hidden rock and sank. All 122 people on board died. Now, however, the wreck of the Yongala teems with underwater life and is rated one of the world’s best dive spots.At 110 metres long, the Yongala is one of the biggest shipwrecks in the world and is visited by approximately 10,000 divers every year. It is also full of a vast range of wildlife including, but by no means limited to, potato cod, clown fish and sea snakes.

The winter months offer the chance of seeing humpback whales and manta rays and visibility is typically better. In summer, the water temperature is warmer and schools of brightly colored bait fish are more common. For those who wish to combine their diving experiences with other activities in Australia, Byron Bay may well be the ideal location. It is one of the most popular destinations for backpackers in Australia and the glorious beaches are only a short walk away from your hostel or hotel accommodation.

The diving here is also spectacular. This is partly due to the interesting climate created by the warmer waters of the north meeting the cooler waters of the south – a condition which encourages a vast and diverse range of wildlife in the area. Julian Rocks, two small islands surrounded by a marine park, are a great diving location and are also suitable for beginners.

There are many larger species to see in the Byron Bay area, including humpback whales, leopard sharks and grey nurse sharks, as well as smaller creatures such as sea turtles, sea sponges and plenty of exotic coral and sponges. Leopard sharks are best seen in the warmer months, while humpback whales can be heard to sing between May and September. The Whitsunday Islands are another great diving location, also situated in close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and are a National Park in their own right. There is a dedicated dive center and the coral areas are teeming with marine life.

From some beaches, it is possible to simply walk into the sea and snorkel over fantastic coral fringes, but the real attraction is the ‘outer’ Great Barrier Reef, which is only a short boat ride away. Species that can be spotted while diving around the Whitsundays include dolphins, whales and dugong and many kinds of fish.

Photos credits to 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

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  • Jean Polo said:

    Australia could be the great diver’s mecca. There are a lot of gorgeous diving sites that you can find in this country for both newbies and experienced scuba divers. It’s every diver’s dream to be able to dive at The Great Barrier Reef.Shipwreck diving at Yongala sounds exciting too. What I like most about wreck diving is that it often has an interesting or tragic history. I can’t wait to go to Australia and dive there! :)


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