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Scuba Diving in Western Australia | The 6 Best Dive Sites!
Western Australia is one of the most uniquely biodiverse environments on the planet, making it the perfect attraction for scuba divers and snorkelers alike.
With thousands of rare and beautiful species (including fish and sharks) and unique coral reefs all along the coastline, this underwater ecosystem is a haven for scuba divers.
Western Australia has an endless array of different dive sites spread along its more than 20 000 kilometres long total coastline mass.
This means it can be challenging for even the most experienced Australian divers to find the best dive spots beneath the region’s waves. But by doing my own research, I’ve managed to narrow it down to these top 6.
So, if you’re keen to escape the lockdowns as much as I am, browse your way through this guide where I share:
- The best times to go diving in Western Australia and
- The top 6 dive sites along its remarkable waterfront shores
Diving in Western Australia – An Overview
Western Australia’s weather is perfect for scuba diving all year round!
With water temperatures ranging between 21 to 26˚C even in winter, it’s easy to discover and explore colourful reefs no matter the season.
Here’s a breakdown of the best times to visit the dive sites in Western Australia.
December to March
If you’re keen to travel to WA during the Summer season, then Dec – March is your best bet as you’ll get the warmest air and water temperatures. It is also the best time to catch the turtle mating season!
During Summer, divers can spot hundreds of sea turtles around Western Australia’s shallower dive sites and lagoons. Diving with turtles is such a serene and peaceful experience. They just glide so graciously through the water it’s inspiring.
April to September
While the Winter months tend to be cooler, this is by far the best time to see some of the largest marine mammals in the world!
I’m talking whale sharks, southern right whales, and hammerhead sharks. 😍 It’s absolutely incredible to get up close and personal with these majestic creatures.
October to November
During these months, air and water temperatures start to rise following the close of Winter.
You’ll get to see thousands of Manta Rays descend on the coast to form mating pods, an unbelievable site and one of Western Australia’s most unmissable diving adventures.
This is honestly an activity that I CANNOT wait to experience.
I think I’ll personally try to time my trip in a way that I can see both – Mantra Rays and Whale Sharks.
Wouldn’t that just be incredible! 😃
The 6 Best Diving Sites in Western Australia
With dozens of dive sites for both beginners and seasoned deep-sea divers, Western Australia is a magnificent playground of unique and exhilarating dive sites.
Diving in Western Australia is an experience like no other, and should be added to your bucket list!
So, get ready to pack your tank and strap on your regulators, because here’s my list of the top 6 dive sites in Western Australia.
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6) Boyinaboat Reef, Hillarys
Located near the city of Perth, Boyinaboat Reef is a popular site amongst both experienced local divers and amateur enthusiasts.
Situated in a sanctuary zone about 75 meters out from Hillary’s main harbour’s central area, the reef has a depth of 6 to 10 meters. A great diving option for beginners!
Boyinaboat reef is well known for its:
- Unique shapes and carvings
- Small caves
- Unique fish species that dart in and out of the tall seagrass that surrounds the coral
The reef also provides a tremendous educational experience for scuba divers, with ten underwater plaques hidden throughout the area.
They share unique information about the dive site, its abundant marine life and underwater landscape.
5) The Abrolhos Islands
A chain of 210 Islands, the Abrolhos area sits off the coast of Western Australia near the town of Geraldton.
One of Australia’s most diverse marine habitats, the islands provide countless diving locations applicable for every level of diver experience.
The Leeuwin Current carries warm tropical water between the islands and supports a diverse mix of tropical and deep-water marine life. The Island reefs also sit directly in the path of larger marine mammals’ migration routes including:
- Manta rays
- Dolphins and
These stunning creatures can often be spotted in the Winter months.
While the Island reefs are vibrant and beautiful, many divers choose to come here to explore its historic wreck dive, the Batavia. This Dutch trading ship sunk onto Morning Reef in 1629.
At this dive site, divers can:
- Swim around the ship’s hull (which is still fully equipped with its original cannons and equipment)
- Admire the many colourful fish and coral species that have made the wreck their home
The wreck dive is no deeper than 6 meters down, making it a perfect site for divers wanting to get a taste of diving in Western Australia.
4) The Opera House, Rottnest Island
Located off the West End of Rottnest Island, the opera house dive site is more known by its alternate name, Shark Cave.
This dive site is renowned for:
- Grey nurse sharks
- Cave diving
- Bright coral reefs
- Divers range of small fish
At this dive site, large adult grey nurse sharks use the cave for shelter during the day before they head out to hunt at night. This provides a perfect photo opportunity for divers.
The sharks can be timid though, and tend to flee from fast movement. Therefore, it’s important to remain quiet, still and to not swim towards them.
Diving into the cave is only recommended for experienced open water divers. Although the entrance starts at 15 meters (which is relatively shallow), the cave goes all the way down to 26 meters (at the back end of the cave).
Around the cave, there is plenty of bright coral reefs and smaller fish species to enjoy.
3) HMAS Swan Wreck, Dunsborough
The HMAS Swan Wreck is one of the most approachable wreck dives in all of Australia, suitable for both beginners and experienced divers.
It was a former Navy destroyer ship that was intentionally sunk near Geographe Bay in 1997. For more than 20 years it has been resting on the ocean floor!
It has therefore become a colourful home to coral and schools of unique fish that can be found in every nook and cranny.
The wreck has been prepared for diving with numerous holes cut into the vessel’s side, giving divers access to the battleships many rooms.
While the bottom of the wreck is 30 meters deep, less experienced divers can explore the bridge which sits at 12 meters deep and the tower at 6 meters.
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2) Rowley Shoals Marine Park, Broome
The Rowley Shoals is a true watery wilderness and an area of three coral atolls (ring-shaped coral reefs).
The reefs at this dive site are a great dive for every level of scuba diver because the shallower lagoon pools provide the perfect area for a calm and relaxed dive.
Those seeking a more significant challenge should head for the Northern Wall, an 80-metre wall dive drop where Hammerheads can regularly be spotted.
The Rowley Shoals marine park is renowned for:
- Countless untouched coral gardens
- Amazing marine life
- Clear lagoons and
- Some of the world’s most spectacular coral reefs
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At this site, divers can explore the three atolls of:
- Clerke Reef
- Imperieuse Reef and
- Mermaid Reef, which form the bulk of the Marine Park.
When diving in Western Australia and at this dive site particularly, divers will encounter plenty of fish and an abundance of coral, giant clams and a grey reef sharks.
Divers that venture further to the edges may be lucky enough to spot passing:
- Humpback whales
- Dolphins and
Explore the fantastic “Rollercoaster” drift current for a unique diving adventure. The current propels divers through the Clerke Reef channel and provides a fast-paced dash through underwater life.
How cool is that! Talk about fun…
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1) Ningaloo Reef, Exmouth
One of Australia’s many listed World Heritage Sites, the Ningaloo Reef, stretches over 260 kilometres and is filled with some of the most beautiful and abundant marine life in the world.
The Ningaloo Reef is Australia’s second-largest reef and contains over 250 different coral species and thousands more fish and invertebrate life forms.
It also believed to have some of the best diving in Western Australia!
While the coral is undoubtedly breath-taking, many divers come here to swim with the whale shark.
These mighty plankton feeders congregate around the reef between March and June, providing a spectacular diving experience.
Other frequent visitors to the reef include:
- Manta Rays
- Dolphins and
- Humpback whales
They can often be seen swimming above the brightly coloured coral beds or around the reef’s deeper edges.
The Ningaloo Reef is the perfect place to go diving in Western Australia for divers of all experience levels because the main coral reef sites don’t exceed a dive depth of more than 14 meters.
The currents are also reasonably weak, so first-time divers can easily explore the coral kingdom on the reef tops.
For experienced divers looking to test the deeper waters, the edges and back of the reef can get as deep as 25 meters. It contains a range of fantastic wall dives in many areas.
If you’re as keen as I am to swim with Whale Sharks (in an ETHICAL way), then head on over to Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia.
So, there you have it!
Diving in Western Australia | The 6 Best Dive Sites for Scuba Divers
Western Australia is an idyllic oasis of beauty, both on land and below its shores. This makes it a scuba divers paradise.
With over 3700 islands off the coast, mangrove forests, wrecks and countless other underwater marvels, the state is a treasure trove waiting to be explored by eager divers.
Travellers looking to go scuba diving in Western Australia, will be impressed by the sublime diving that lies over this side of the country.
Personally, I had not realised that there was a lot of incredible diving opportunities outside of the Great barrier Reef. However, by doing this research, I have discovered that Western Australia has a lot to offer.
From swimming in Coral Bay, Exmouth and Ningaloo Reef, there are a ton of different snorkelling and diving tours and locations in Western Australia.
Here are some great activities you can check out on Get Your Guide: