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Scuba diving in Australia

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This page is an overview of scuba diving in Australia, primarily of dive destinations. Check individual destinations for operators and accommodation. A great external resource for comprehensive information on diving in Australia is (

scuba diving in australia Travel Guide :

Scuba diving in Australia

Learning to dive in Australia

The majority of dive shops in Australia have instructors who can certify you to dive through the PADI ( certification agency. A smaller number of shops certify through SSI (, and a very small number of shops certify through other agencies. The choice of agency matters less than the choice of shop: the most important thing is to feel comfortable with your instructor's teaching style and proposed program. The vast majority of instruction is in English. Japanese and German instruction is offered by some shops in Far North Queensland.

Note that if you intend to take any kind of certification course in Australia, you will need a medical examination to comply with Australian Standard 4005.1-2000 ( Ask your dive center for a dive medical form. This examination will usually need to be carried out by an Australian physician who is registered as being able to do this examination, and will cost AU$40 or so. Most dive shops will refund your course fees if the doctor performing the examination refuses to allow you to dive, but do ask.

Scuba diving in Australia

Teaching diving in Australia

It can be difficult for foreign travellers to find work as divemasters or instructors in Australia: Australia is pretty good at supplying its own instructors. The most likely way to get work is to get short-term work in Far North Queensland during the peak season (the Australian winter, roughly May to September) when demand is highest. You will need to have native or near-native command of English if you intend to instruct most travellers; command of some other languages, particularly German or Japanese, is an asset.

Scuba diving in Australia


The east coast of Queensland, particularly to the north, has Australia's busiest dive industry and most famous dive sites. Most of the diving is tropical reef diving. The bread and butter of many dive operations is teaching tourists to dive, but experienced divers will find some shops that cater to them with longer and more challenging dive trips.

Scuba diving in Australia

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef, a long tropical reef system off Far North Queensland, is Australia's biggest dive attraction. Most divers will dive with shops in the Cairns and Port DouglasPort Douglas region or from the Whitsunday Islands. The coast at Townsville is further away from the reef than the coast at Cairns, but some operators leave from Townsville, and Townsville is the obvious point of departure if you want to dive on the wreck of the Yongala. The reefs to the far north are generally visited by extended liveaboards rather than day trips. You can dive on the shallow Inner Reef or do shore dives from some of the islands in a day trip. Operators usually visit the Outer Reef on liveaboards, but some day trips are available. Week long liveaboards will take you to the ribbon reefs and the Coral Sea; huge tame potato cod and maori wrasse can be seen at nearby Cod Hole. Some liveaboard packages to the northern reefs include a flight to Lizard Island at the north of the reef system so that you don't spend so much of the trip getting to your destination.

Scuba diving in Australia

Sunshine Coast

The HMAS Brisbane was sunk off the Sunshine Coast in late July 2005 in order to create a diveable artificial reef in between 12-27 meters (40-89 feet) of water 1 ( Operators visit this site from Noosa and MooloolabaMooloolaba.

Scuba diving in Australia

New South Wales

The diving in New South Wales is somewhat overshadowed by Queensland to the north. However, there are several dive destinations along the coast that are more than worth a visit: many coastal areas have vibrant local dive communities, and some of the more northern towns do an extensive trade in teaching travellers to dive.

As you travel south in New South Wales you move into more temperate waters and will need to be prepared for cooler water temperatures. Water at and below Sydney's latitude ranges between 22? (71?) in summer to 13? (55?) in winter. Divers will typically wear at least 5mm wetsuits in summer and and add hoods and vests in winter, or will use semi-dry or drysuits.

Scuba diving in Australia

Coffs Harbour

Scuba diving in Australia

Port Stephens

Scuba diving in Australia


Sydneysiders are usually astonished to discover that there's Sydney diving: their beautiful harbour has heavy commercial use. But there are several sites within the harbour, primarily inside the north and south heads. Most operators leave from Manly or Balmoral. There's good shore diving from Bare Island off La Perouse and at the tidal Shiprock site at Port Hacking. The Magic Point site off Maroubra is a grey nurse shark sanctuary: during the say you can see a number of sharks sleeping in their cave. There are a number of wrecks off-shore that are regularly dived, but most are in 45 meters (150 feet) or more of water and require technical training for that depth. Introductory wreck diving is usually taught on the Valiant in 27 meters (88 feet) of water and the Coolooli, in 36-48 meters (118-157 feet) of water.

Visibility near Sydney is usually 5-15 metres. Soft coral lives even inside the harbour, and it's relatively common to see Port Jackson sharks.

While Sydney is not totally unused to diving tourists, it is primarily a local dive scene. Many smaller operators only have rubber dinghies and some do not provide much in the way of dive site briefings, although you might get paired with a patient experienced club member if you're new to diving. Some operators do not hire out mask, snorkel or fins. Ask the operator about the level of experience they cater to when booking.

Scuba diving in Australia

Jervis Bay

The Jervis Bay area has the best diving in sourthern New South Wales. It caters to diving travellers far more than the Sydney region and liveaboard trips are available in addition to boat dives.

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