12 Best Dive Sites in Australia

G’day mate! Did you know that Australia is home to some of the world’s best scuba diving?

With unique marine life that can only be found there, as well as a wide variety of sharks and stunning coral reefs, we think Australia should be your next diving vacation.

But with dive sites spread out all around the coast of Australia, it may be difficult to figure out where to head first. We have put together a list of our favorite dive sites to help you choose where to go. Whether you are looking for sharks and rays, shipwrecks, or fringing coral reefs, we have got you covered!

Here are our 12 best dive sites in Australia.

1.HMAS Brisbane Wreck

Just 2.9 nautical miles off the Sunshine Coast lies the wreck of HMAS Brisbane; A fantastic dive site that offers many species of turtles and nudibranchs, as well as groupers, octopuses, snapper, and if you are lucky, a leopard shark.

Sitting at a maximum depth of 28m (91ft), with the top at 15m (49ft) the HMAS Brisbane is perfect for both advanced and newly certified divers.

2. Ningaloo Reef

In Western Australia in the tropical resort town of Coral Bay, you will find the famous Ningaloo Reef. A UNESCO world heritage site, and Australia’s only fringing reef, Ningaloo reef delivers incredible marine life including manta rays and an abundance of fish and coral species.

As well as diving you can enjoy snorkeling with whale sharks, or a boat trip to spot humpback whales! Ningaloo Reef has something for everyone.

3. SS Yongala Wreck

Close to Townsville in Queensland, you can explore the wreck of SS Yongala; A 110m (360ft) long former passenger and freight steamer that sits between 25m-40m deep (82ft-131ft) and is considered by many as one of the best wrecks in the world. You will find impressive marine life on the wreck including giant groupers, and manta rays, as well as a variety of sharks.

The SS Yongala usually has strong currents and is only suitable for advanced divers.

4. Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is arguably the most famous dive area on the planet. It is the world’s largest reef system, stretching 1400 miles (2253km) down the east coast of Australia, so there are many dive sites to choose from! You are likely to spot things like sharks, turtles, and manta rays as you scuba dive.

Some of the best dive sites include: Lady Elliot Island, Flynn reef, Tennis Courts, and Osprey Reef. There is diving suitable for all experience levels around the Great Barrier Reef.

5. Navy Pier

In Exmouth (close to Ningaloo Reef) is Navy Pier dive site, an easy, shallow dive that boasts incredible marine life such as wobbegong, gray nurse, and whitetip reef sharks, as well as an array of macro life including nudibranchs and frogfish. 

Navy Pier is suitable for divers of all levels due to its shallow depth and no currents. However, visibility can be poor.

6. Whitsunday Islands

Also part of the Great Barrier Reef (but we thought they deserved their own paragraph), the Whitsunday Islands are a paradise for scuba divers and snorkelers. With white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and diverse marine life, the Whitsunday archipelago has stunning beauty both above and below the surface.

There are dive sites in the Whitsundays that are suitable for beginners as well as advanced divers.

7. Wolf Rock

Wolf Rock (known to many as Australia’s best shark and ray dive) has become famous with scuba divers for its pelagic action, with manta rays and stingrays, leopard sharks and gray nurse sharks as regular sightings, as well as various schooling fish. You will find Wolf Rock on the Fraser Coast in Queensland.

Wolf Rock is suitable for Open Water divers and above, however currents can be strong and visibility can be unpredictable.

8. Rowley Shoals

Only accessible for a short period of the year (around October), Rowley Shoals are famous for their strong currents and exciting drift diving. Located about 300km (186 miles) off the coast of Western Australia, Rowley shoals can only be dived from a liveaboard cruise from Broome.

For obvious reasons, this dive is only suitable for advanced divers with drift diving experience.

9. Christmas Island

Far off the coast of Western Australia is Christmas Island, a remote dive spot that has some of the best scuba diving in Australia. Large pelagic life visits Christmas Island, including spinner dolphins, manta rays, and reef sharks, and if you go between November and April you might spot a migrating whale shark.

Christmas Island has depths of over 1000m (3200ft) deep! Making it more suitable for experienced divers.

10. Fleurieu Peninsula

In the South of Australia lies the Fleurieu Peninsula that offers something extremely special… The leafy seadragon. This exquisite and colorful little creature calls this area its home, and can be found nowhere else in the whole world!

Diving in the Fleurieu Peninsula are easy, shore dives and are suitable for divers of all levels.

11. Shelly Beach

With large boulders and a maze of seagrass to explore, Shelly Beach is a beautiful dive spot in New South Wales. Over 160 species of fish have been recorded in the area and regular sightings include octopuses, wobbegongs, and various rays.

Shelly Beach is protected from most weather conditions, has an easy shore entry, and a maximum depth of 14m (46ft), making it suitable for beginner scuba divers.

12. Lord Howe Island

In the Tasman sea between Australia and New Zealand you will find Lord Howe Island; A stunning crescent-shaped volcanic remnant. Only 400 tourists are allowed on the island at a time, which makes for uncrowded dive sites and a peaceful underwater experience. Explore caves and rocky columns, and hopefully spot large schools of galapagos whaler sharks; which can only be found here and nowhere else in Australia. 

Diving at Lord Howe Island is suitable for scuba divers of all experience levels.

Australia is a haven for scuba divers and boasts stunning views both above and below the waves. Which dive site will you head for first?