The waters surrounding Australia is perfect for enjoying water sports such as snorkeling, boating and scuba diving. In fact, these waters are home to unique underwater landscapes that are home to a diverse collection of sea creatures. You will also find the world’s largest coral reef — The Great Barrier Reef — just off the coast of Queensland. This is just an example of the exciting areas you can explore just under the surface of the water.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef offers some of the best scuba diving opportunities in the world. There are a variety of different dive sites along the reef, many of which are calm and shallow. These areas are perfect for first-time divers. All sites of the reef can be reached by boats ranging from small sail boats to larger luxury cruises. The best thing is that no matter where you choose to stay on the reef, you are generally within 20 to 60 minutes from an excellent diving spot.

Some main attractions at the Great Barrier Reef include the Cod Hole, Ribbon Reefs and Osprey Reef. Other great places to dive include Rowley Shoals in Western Australia and areas surrounding Southern Australia. There is also the North Horn in the North Coral Sea and the Outer Barrier Reef, which is closest to Cairns.

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Sea Life

The Great Barrier Reef and surrounding waters of Australia are home to a diverse collection of sea life. When diving, you might find yourself navigating the waters with one of the six different species of sea turtles or encounter dolphins playing around. Other sea life found in the waters surrounding Australia include whales, porpoises, sharks, mollusks, giant clams, cone snails, pipefish, seahorses and nudibranchs. You might even find yourself face to face with more than 1,500 species of fish, including clownfish, red bass and lionfish.

Rentals And Supplies

There are some pieces of equipment every scuba diver needs, especially when diving around Australia. Equipment you will need before going Scuba diving include a dive mask, snorkel, regulator/octopus, BC/power inflator, dive computer, Scuba fins, wetsuit and depth gauge. There are also some accessories that you might want to have to enhance your diving experience. These accessories include dive lights, a dive knife and a dive case.

Those traveling long distances to Australia might not want to bring all of their equipment with them. Or, those who are new to scuba diving might not have all the equipment necessary to enjoy a successful dive. There are some companies in Australia that offer equipment to travelers on a rental basis. Abyss Scuba Diving offers a wide variety of different equipment for rent to those wanting to explore the waters of Australia. You can also rent equipment from Scuba World on the Sunshine Coast. Both of these locations offer rentals and have equipment available to purchase, too.

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Guides

Dive the World offers a variety of day-trips trips to Ribbon Reefs and Osprey Reef. You can also plan a trip with Great Barrier Reefs Liveaboards, where you can take extended trips throughout the area. Other companies that offer diving tours and packages include Great Adventures, Reef Magic Marine World, Sunlover Cruises, Ocean Freedom, Reef Experience and Seastar Cruises. Many of these guided experiences will take you just about anywhere around Australia where there is water to dive. You will find yourself touring different locations, often including trips to the outer barrier reef.

There are two South Australia dive companies that offer cage diving, an experience that will allow you to view great white sharks. Companies that offer cage diving include Calypso Star Charter and Adventure Bay Charters.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Sunken Ships

In addition to exploring coral reefs and seeing all of the amazing sea life in the area, Australian waters are also home to a few unique sunken ships. These ships offer unique places for divers to go and explore. Thanks to the Historic Shipwreck Act of 1976, many of the sunken ships around Australia are not protected, preserving them for recreational, scientific and educational purposes. It offers an opportunity to explore a piece of history below the surface of the ocean.

Just off of Queensland you will find the SS Yongala, which sank off the coast of Townsville during a cyclone in 1911. In the northern territory near Darwin you will find a designated area for wreck divers of all skill levels. Eight ships, including two United States supply ships, sunk in this area in 1942 when the Japanese bombed the area. The waters off of Western Australia are home to the HMAS Swan, which was scuttled in 1997 in order to help create an artificial reef.

When planning your trip, you will find yourself wondering where to begin. If this is the case, start at the Great Barrier Reef and then make your way around the country to all of the other diving hot spots available. No matter where you go exploring, you are sure to encounter unique landscapes, colorful reefs and tons of native sea life. As a diver, this is one country you will want to explore.

Heather Landon (Heather Leigh Carroll) is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has combined two of her passions – writing and travel – to share her experiences with others. You can read more of her articles at Examiner.com.

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