9 Best Places to Go Diving in Western Australia

Australia is globally renowned for having some of the best and most diverse diving anywhere on the planet. Among all of these diving opportunities, Western Australia (WA) ranks highly, and many would even say that scuba diving in Western Australia is the best in all of Australia. 

From UNESCO-listed Ningaloo Reef and the ‘Galapagos of the Indian Ocean’ to world-famous wrecks, diving in Western Australia is incredible.

Colder waters in the south of the region are home to some of the ocean’s apex predators, while the tropical seas in the north of the region host reliable encounters with some of the most sought-after species of megafauna.

So let us take a look at some of the best places to go diving in Western Australia, including when to go there, and specific dive sites to visit.

The ultimate guide to diving in Western Australia.

Southern Region.

Albany is a historic town situated just over 400 kilometers (250 miles) south of Perth and can be reached in a four to five-hour drive.

1.HMAS Perth.

The main dive site that Albany is famous for is the HMAS Perth II; An Australian warship that was purposefully scuttled in 2001 to create a haven for marine life and divers alike.

This shipwreck is 133 meters (436 feet) long and requires a couple of dives to truly explore it. It sits in shallow waters, so the dive is suitable for all certification levels, and part of the wreck even breaks the surface.

This is a great place to go diving in Western Australia for diverse marine life. Kingfish, mulloway, large groupers, eagle rays, stingrays, as well as cuttlefish and even sea lions can be seen at the wreck. There are also many sponges, anemones, and other invertebrates such as crabs, crayfish, and octopi.

The chance to see one of the ocean’s top predators, the great white shark, is always present in these waters. Keep your eyes peeled to be lucky enough to lay your eyes on one of these magnificent creatures.

Nervous to be in the water with sharks? Check this out: Shark Awareness Day: How to Behave in the Water with Sharks.

When to go diving in the Southern region:

  • December to March, as the water is at its warmest and diving is much more comfortable.
  • Water temperatures vary from 16-20 °C (61-68 °F), so a 5mm wetsuit is recommended.

Southwest Region.

Slightly further north, the Southwest region of WA has places that should be on every diver’s list if they are going diving in Western Australia. Flying into Perth and hiring a car is the best and easiest way to explore this region.

2. Busselton Jetty.

Busselton Jetty is a much-loved dive site in the Southwest region. Situated about two and half hours’ drive south of Perth, this is the oldest and longest wooden jetty in all of Australia. Building started in 1865 and with sand drift and multiple further extensions, the jetty is now 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles) in length.

With a maximum depth of 9 meters (30 feet), this is an accessible dive site for any level of diver or even people wishing to try scuba diving for the very first time. But if you are more experienced, do not be put off by the shallow waters here. The jetty pylons support a fantastic array of marine species for divers and photographers alike.

Old wives, scorpionfishtriggerfish, blue-ringed octopus, giant cuttlefish, and crayfish can be spotted. There are also tunicates, anemones, sponges, and even some nudibranchs for keen-eyed macro lovers to find.

3. HMAS Swan.

HMAS Swan is another purposefully scuttled wreck in WA and it is also situated in Busselton. Lying in 30 meters (100 feet) of water, it is best suited to advanced divers, as penetration of the wreck makes it possible to see the remaining cargo, including ammunition.

Wrecks always attract huge amounts of marine life, and this is no different, with morwong, Samson fish, mulloway, and kingfish all finding shelter amongst the steel surroundings. Hammerhead sharks have been known to frequent the wreck as well, so look out for these unique-looking ocean predators.

4. Rottnest Island.

Rottnest Island is a famous place to go diving in Western Australia, not only for the cute quokka marsupials found on land there but also for the beautiful waters that surround the island. Shallow dives below 20 meters (66 feet) mean that this destination is accessible to all scuba divers.

Daily ferries or even short hopper flights from Perth mean getting to and from the island is incredibly easy. Crystal Palace dive site in the southeast of the island has access to a network of shallow swim-throughs loaded with crayfish, green turtles, and even the occasional sea lion. 

When to go diving in the Southwest region:

  • November to April, when water temperatures are between 18-22°C (64-72°F) and the visibility is at its best.
  • A 5mm wetsuit is advised for comfortable diving in the Southwest region.

Planning your next dive trip? Here are: The 9 Best Scuba Destinations for Year-Round Diving.

Central Region.

About 60 kilometers (37 miles) offshore from the town of Geraldton, lie the Houtman Abrolhos Islands. This world-class dive destination is a Mission Blue Hope Spot and is often described as the Galapagos Islands of the Indian Ocean.

5. Houtman Abrolhos Islands.

The Houtman Abrolhos Islands, or the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean, stretch for over 100 kilometers (62 miles) and host a unique mix of cool water species from the south and tropical species from the north.

These islands create a truly diverse environment, with a blend of rocky kelp reefs as well as corals, offering some of the most unique diving in Western Australia. Fly into Perth and drive 400+ kilometers (250+ miles) north (approximately four hours) or take a shorter domestic flight from Perth to Geraldton to access them.

The Batavia shipwreck at Morning Reef near Beacon Island is a favorite for divers here and the stunning array of life is a welcome distraction to the fate that befell the passengers and crew of the voyage.

Diving in 20 meters (66 feet) or shallower means that this area is accessible to all levels of diver. There are healthy coral gardens, turtles, sharks, dolphinswrassegrouper, endemic dhufish, manta rays, and even humpback whales present at certain times of the year. This is a true underwater paradise. 

When to go diving in the Central region:

  • The best time to visit the Abrolhos islands is December to April when water temperatures range from 22-27°C (72-81°F).
  • A 3mm or 5mm wetsuit is the best option for this variation in water temperature.

Are you thinking about learning to dive? Take a look at this: Learn to Scuba Dive with Confidence: Answers to 13 Scuba Diving FAQs.

Northwest Region.

The most famous and most visited place to go diving in Western Australia has to be the Northwest - with the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef, Coral and Shark Bay, and the Cape Range National Park

Situated between 1100-1250 kilometers (680-775 miles) north of Perth, most divers will fly into Exmouth and then explore the Northwest region from there. More adventurous people will no doubt enjoy the long road trip up the stunning Coral Coast Highway. 

Whichever way you travel in the Northwest region, shallow waters around 15 meters (45 feet) deep and teeming with life mean all divers can enjoy the rich diversity of life found there.

6. Ningaloo Reef.

If you only go diving in Western Australia in one place, make it Ningaloo Reef. This vast fringing reef is one of the longest near-shore reefs in the world and hosts an abundance of life, including tropical and temperate marine species and an estimated 300 to 500 whale sharks.

Stretching for more than 260 kilometers (161 miles) along Western Australia’s coast, Ningaloo Reef has over 200 known dive sites, including Exmouth Navy Pier, Asho’s Gap and the dive sites of Lighthouse Bay.

7. Exmouth Navy Pier.

Ningaloo’s most famous dive spot, the Exmouth Navy Pier, is a world-class dive site with flourishing marine life. Shovelnose sharks, trevally, snappers, huge Queensland groupers, green turtles, stingrayseagle raysmoray eels, cuttlefish, octopus, crayfish and even the most venomous fish in the world (the stonefish) are found here.

This fascinating dive site is at an active military site, so you need a permit to dive there. Permits are easily arranged through local dive centers. At 300 meters wide (984 feet) and 110 meters (360 feet) long, the pier has a lot of space to be explored.

8. Lighthouse Bay.

Lighthouse Bay has several excellent dive sites, with Helga’s Tunnels and Labyrinth offering a maze of underwater tunnels and caves as well as a green turtle cleaning station. Blizzard Ridge offers sleeping leopard sharks, schools of parrotfish, emperors and even sea snakes.

Manta rays often frequent the area and can be seen gracefully flying over the healthy reef below, where table corals, staghorns, and huge porites bommies dominate the landscape.

9. Coral Bay.

Asho’s Gap in Coral Bay is well known for the large coral bommies that serve as a shark cleaning station. Gray reef sharks visit to be cleaned by wrasse, who remove parasites, dead skin and remnants of the sharks’ meals from their mouths.

Whale sharks are consistent visitors to the Northwest region and are one of the main attractions of diving in Western Australia. The world’s largest fish is a truly remarkable sight in the warm blue waters of this area.

Humpback whales are also regularly seen in the area during their migration and the sight of these ocean giants breaching and raising their young is unforgettable.

When to go diving in the Northwest region:

  • February to August coincides with the megafauna season:
  • Whale sharks are present from mid-March to August.
  • Humpback whales are present from July to October.
  • Water temperatures are between 23-30 °C (74-86 °F), cooling down later in the year.
  • A 2- 3mm wetsuit will provide enough warmth and exposure protection to dive comfortably.

If you would love to experience the magic of diving in Western Australia, check out the SSI Dive Site Locator to help you plan your perfect trip.