Coral Diving in Australia

Australia is blessed with vast amounts and varieties of coral within its waters, thanks largely to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) - the world's largest coral reef system - flanking its north-east coastline, and the 160-mile-long Ningaloo Reef mimicking the contours of its north-west coast. Suffice to say, there’s no shortage of excellent coral diving in Australia; the question is, should you go east, go west, or take in a bit of both? Wherever you end up, you will be diving World Heritage-status dive sites with superb coral cover... Our team of dive travel specialists have peaked at the plethora of pristine polyps the length and breadth of Australia. From luxury liveaboards to exclusive islands and eco-friendly beachfront accommodation, we can help you choose the best locations from which to enjoy the diverse coral diving in Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981, is greater in size than the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Switzerland combined and is covered in coral. The vast reef stretches from Fraser Island in the south to Bramble Cay, just below Papua New Guinea's southern coast, in the north. The body of water covering the GBR is called the Coral Sea, and true to its name, it is home to some of the best coral diving in Australia.

Lizard Island, on the doorstep of some of the GBR's best-known dive sites, is a great vantage point from which to explore the tropical northern reefs. The Ribbon Reefs and the Cod Hole are short boat rides away, and in addition to the impressive coral cover, you can also expect to see a few reef sharks, turtles and, at the Cod Hole, humungous potato groupers (known locally as potato cod).

Lord Howe Island

UNESCO lists the Lord Howe Island Group, a collection of 28 islands, islets and rocks, as a World Heritage Site of global natural significance, and its topside topography is almost as impressive as it's coral-filled lagoon. The lagoon, sheltered on one side by a fringing reef and on the other by the towering peaks of Mount Lidgbird and Mount Gower, provides near-perfect coral nursery conditions.

Subtropical Lord Howe Island sits just below the Tropic of Capricorn and its reefs are bathed in warm water from the East Australian Current which flows down from the GBR. The remote island, pleasingly cut-off from the mainland's well-documented array of poisonous and venomous animals, is also the jumping off point for advanced divers to explore the nearby Ball's Pyramid dive site. The rock pyramid rises almost 2,000ft out from the Tasman Sea and is home to some of the best hard coral diving in Australia as well as the elusive the Ballina angelfish (Chaetodontoplus ballinae) and the eponymous Lord Howe Island butterflyfish (Amphichaetodon howensis).

Ningaloo Reef

Western Australia's Ningaloo Coast is also a listed World Heritage Site, and in addition to being home to some of the best coral diving in Australia, it also seasonally gives you the best chances of being in the water with the big, spotty fish. The Ningaloo Marine Park is visited each year by migratory whale sharks, whose first arrivals coincide with the reef's mass coral spawning event.

A chance to dive alongside the spotty behemoths, who have come to feast on coral eggs and sperm, is rewarding enough, but the coral spawning also attracts manta rays and, between June and October, humpback whales! If you are on the Ningaloo Reef at this time of year, when the full moon comes around, you may also be able to witness the corals spawning at night - a mesmerising sight that will give you unique insights into the ecosystem and highlight why Ningaloo is among the best locations to enjoy the amazing coral diving in Australia.

Read more
Show less


Related Collections

Start creating your tailored trip today

Emily C, Eleanor and Jacqui are our 'Coral Diving in Australia' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

Image of Jacqui Brooks
Call us on 1-800-652-1972