11 Best Underwater Experiences in Australia

Scuba diving in Australia

Add these to your SCUBA Diving Bucket List

From the Great Barrier Reef in the east to the majestic whale sharks in the west, this list of the best underwater experiences in Australia will have you itching to get down under for an amazing dive adventure.

Lucky for you, there’s never been a better time book a trip to Australia.

Dive the Great Barrier Reef

There’s no way around it. If you’re a diver, the Great Barrier Reef needs to be on your bucket list.

It’s the biggest reef system in the world with over 2,900 reefs and 900 islands stretching 1,429 miles.

That’s massive!

It’s filled with nonstop underwater action and is perfect for divers of all levels.

It’s overflowing with all manner of aquatic life; 380 species of coral, over 2,000 species of fish, 4,000 species of mollusks, 500 species of seaweed and 6 of the 7 kinds of sea turtles.


Stand Where the Reef Meets the Rainforest

Cape Tribulation, Australia

Cape Tribulation, Australia

Okay, so it’s not an underwater experience, but it’s worth a mention!

Australia is home to the only place in the world where two World Heritage Sites meet. The Great Barrier Reef meets up with the Wet Tropics of North Queensland, a group of rainforests that make up the oldest rainforest system in the world, at Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Rainforest.

This majestic site offers a glance into what the world was like when dinosaurs roamed the earth. (Along with really great diving close by!)


Dive Ribbon Reefs

Just outside of Cairns, in the northern reaches of the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll find the Ribbon Reefs.

Made up of ten reefs, simply named Ribbon Reef 1 through Ribbon Reef 10, the Ribbon Reefs stretch for more than 50 miles along the edge of the continental self.

These reefs offer legendary diving for all levels of experience. There’s even really great snorkeling!

As you explore the Ribbon Reefs you are likely to find everything from large Maori wrasse to leopard morays, playing clownfish to large aggregations of batfish, bommie to whitetip reef sharks, and uncountable species of anemonefish.

Dive in June or July and you’re almost guaranteed to swim with a Minke whale.

Some great dive sites include: Challenger Bay, Steve’s Bommie, Acropolis, Cod Hole, Lighthouse Bommie and Snake Pit.


Come Face to Face with a Giant Potato Cod

Diving with Potato Cod fish at Cod Hole

Potato Fish at Cod Hole

Found in “Cod Hole” (Ribbon Reef #10) these giant grouper are extremely friendly and accustomed to being hand fed.

Find them off the coast of Cairns, Australia or Lizard Island on the North End of the Great Barrier Reef.

Start planning your Australian dive vacation with About Australia!


Witness a Shark Feed

Take a Live-aboard diving experience out to North Horn, Osprey Reef for an amazing shark frenzy experience.

The North Horn of Osprey Reef is a unique diving landscape with the reef starting 16 feet below the surface, sloping to 131 feet and then making a vertical drop to around 1,312 feet.

It feels like an oasis of life in the middle of a desolate sea and deep sea creatures are known to stop by for a visit. It’s a place where two ocean currents converge and a place famous for its shark dives.

Silvertips, grey reefs, grey whalers, white tips and even hammerheads come to the site for an easy meal. When the dive operators drop the bucket, the intensity of the free-for-all reaches a fiver pitch.

The sharks are accustomed to this feed and ignore the divers as they tear into their meal. You’ll get a nice adrenaline rush, without much actual danger.


Selfie with a Maori Wrasse (Humphead Wrasse)

This large personable fish can be found on reef slopes and lagoon reefs on the Great Barrier Reef.

They are one of the few fish that eat the reef’s toxic arch enemies.

With their large lips, comical eyes and friendly personalities, they make great selfie buddies!


Swim with Sea Turtles

Swimming with sea turtles is a dream come true for many divers.

The Great Barrier Reef is home to six of the seven species of turtles in the world.

One of the best places to swim with sea turtles (Green and Loggerhead) is from Heron Island. The reef surrounding Heron Island is also home to around 60% of the 1,500 species of fish and 72% of the coral species found on the Great Barrier Reef.

Visit in November – March for turtle breeding season!


Find Nemo

Scuba diver with clownfish

Great Barrier Reef

Dive the Great Barrier Reef and you are almost guaranteed to find him.


Swim with Whale Sharks, Ningaloo Reef

You don’t even have to be a diver for this one but an Australian aquatic wish list wouldn’t be complete without the majestic whale shark.

Don’t worry, whale sharks don’t have teeth.

For this amazing experience head to Ningaloo Reef on the Coral Coast in Western Australia between mid-March and the end of July.

Not only will you swim with the whale sharks, but you’ll see an abundance of reef life such as manta rays, dolphins and turtles.

Spot a Dugong



The seawater cousin of the manatee, the Dugong or sea cow can be found on the Coral Coast of Australia.

Shark Bay and Ningaloo Marine Parks support about 10% of the world’s population of dugongs.


Cage Dive with Great White Sharks

Cage diving with sharks in Australia

Cage diving with sharks in Australia. Photo Credit: Getty Images

You won’t find Great Whites on the Great Barrier Reef so the adventurous types should head to Port Lincoln in South Australia to catch a charter and cage dive with the sharks.

The pristine waters off Neptune Islands make it one of best places to see sharks in their natural habitat.

The cages keep you from becoming dinner!


Scuba with a Leafy Sea Dragon

Leafy Sea Dragon

Leafy Sea Dragon

These interesting creatures can be found hiding in the kelp leaves and seaweed off the coast of southern and eastern Australia.

Many divers travel to Australia only to find that the leafy sea creatures are tough to spot.

Make sure to ask your Travel Advisor about the best places and times to see the elusive Leafy Sea Dragon.

Experience the Best Underwater Adventures in Australia

Traveling to Australia for a dive trip is on nearly every diver’s Bucket List. Have you had the opportunity to experience it?

Luckily, there’s never been a better time to travel to Australia.

Start crushing your Bucket List and contact us today to create you dream Australia trip!

G’Day Mate! Get to know the passionate minds behind the scenes, the dream-weavers, the travel enthusiasts, and your dedicated guides to the beauty of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and the enchanting South Pacific.



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