The Best Scuba Dive Site in Australia that aren’t Overrun by Tourists
Don’t get us wrong Great Barrier Reef, we love you, we love you long time, but you tend to get a little overcrowded somethings, and we are the ‘off the beaten track’ kinda people, especially when it comes to scuba diving. No one wants a fin in the face while searching for nemo. So we sought out the most scuba obsessed gal we know, Sarah Richard of Girls that Scuba to show us some dive sites in Australia we need to check out, away from the tourists.
But first, remember:
Australia is vast, over 2 times the size of Europe. As such there is always a certain amount of planning involved in getting about. Most visitors arrive by air with the main airports being Sydney, Perth, Darwin, Brisbane, Melbourne and Cairns. These are well serviced from both Europe and the US although the routes can get busy so it is important to book in advance.
With Australia being so large, by far the most convenient way of travel within its interior is air travel. Australian domestic flights can be quite economical as there is fierce competition for passengers. The net result is excellent prices on most of the main routes. SkyScanner is a useful website to find the best prices for online flights.
An awesome dive for anyone wanting a close encounter with variety and great number of sharks. Consequently this site is being used to monitor shark behaviour as part of a university research project. North Horn has a natural amphitheatre on the edge of the main reef, with a wall that steps down from near the surface to over a thousand metres deep. There is an abundance of huge soft corals at 25 to 40 metres. There is a commemorative plaque located at 32 metres in honour of a well-loved local Marine enthusiast.
Wolf Rock, Rainbow Beach
Wolf Rock, north of Double Island Point and just off the coast of Rainbow Beach near Gympie, is a behemoth of granite. With five interconnecting pinnacles rising from 35 metres deep, all are of varying heights – with two breaking the water’s surface. Divers love to explore the peaks of the pinnacles, with one sitting at 11 metres deep, one at 16 metres, and another at 19 metres, while others enjoy exploring the sheer drops for close encounters with resident grey nurse sharks and spotted eagle rays. Black coral trees, spiky soft corals, hard corals, gorgonians and spiral sea whips decorate the granite. The gutters running along the shallow rocks are home to moray eels, nudibranchs, gobies, scorpionfish, sea stars, shrimps and coral crabs. Other common visitors include turtles, gropers, batfish, trevally and angelfish.
This chain of Reefs stretches for 55 miles from Lizard Island to Cooktown. You will see more of the Great Barrier Reef’s 1500 fish and 400 coral species than anywhere else. The channels between the Ribbon Reefs also attract very large populations of fish. During the months of June and July Dwarf Minke Whales are found on this section of the reef, and are known to linger in encounters with snorkelers that last for hours. Local dive operators do offer trips that aim to maximize these encounters, as well as dive some of the outstanding dive sites in the area.
Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
Whales, dolphins, dugongs, manta rays, huge cod, turtles and whale sharks are abundant at World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef, the largest fringing coral reef in Australia and the only large reef in the world found so close to a continental land mass, making it an easy snorkel from shore – perfect for anyone that has to tag along on a dive trip but doesn’t actually dive. From April to July each year huge but gentle whale sharks, between four and 12 metres long, begin to appear in large numbers and tour operators will take you out to swim and snorkel with these beautiful creatures.
Sarah Richard is a 26 year old professional world wanderer. 4 years ago she left the UK and everything that offered her security and routine in exchange for a constant life of excitement and adventure. And she is still living it now. Through out working as a Dive Master, freelance writer,running her blog (coffeewithasliceoflife.com) and working along the way she now leads a life as a full time digital nomad. So follow her in her travels, in which ever country in the world she choses, and learn how you can do it too.