Deep Water Diving in Australia

Australia, known as the home of the world’s most famous reef, the Great Barrier Reef, has had little trouble attracting divers to its far-flung shores. While the vast continental island may possess a somewhat barren interior, its bountiful coastal regions are abuzz with life, both above and below the waves. For divers, Australia offers an eclectic array of sites to explore, along with luxurious liveaboards and resorts serving as launching points for a wide range of diving adventures. Shallow lagoons, protected from strong currents, cater to beginner divers and snorkellers. Meanwhile, experienced divers will find no shortage of deep-water diving in Australia. From Lord Howe Island off the coast of New South Wales to the remote Rowley Shoals in the far north, there are fantastic options for those eager to delve into Australia's exceptional deep water...

The Ribbon Reefs

The chain of long and narrow reefs that marks the outer edge of the northern region of Cairns is collectively known as the Ribbon Reefs. This area is one of the most famous sections of the Great Barrier Reef and is home to its most iconic dive sites, including the world-renowned Cod Hole at Ribbon Reef #10. The site gained fame through the legendary ocean explorers and underwater photographers Ron and Valerie Taylor and is named for the healthy and well-fed population of potato groupers, also known as potato cod, that eagerly greet divers.

Just a short boat ride from the luxurious shores of Lizard Island, the Ribbon Reefs boast some of the best deep-water diving in Australia, along with a diverse array of marine life. Macro lovers can marvel at the various pipefish, anemonefish, nudibranchs and flatworms that hide among the coral crevices. Trevally, mackerel and barracuda are consistently visible in the blue, and the chance of encountering manta rays, eagle rays and the cryptic wobbegong shark, which blends seamlessly into its reef surroundings, is always present.

Ball's Pyramid

The world's southernmost coral reef lies beneath the waters surrounding Lord Howe Island in New South Wales. Just a short distance away, in the Tasman Sea, a dramatic, triangular rock juts out from the waves, known as Ball's Pyramid. This uninhabited islet can be surrounded by rough seas, and its currents often require more experienced divers, rendering it one of the most thrilling locations for deep-water diving in Australia.

Beneath the surface, mesmerising schools of pelagic fish swirl over large fan corals. In addition to encountering sharks and rays, divers can seek out the elusive Ballina angelfish. This species is considered one of the rarest angelfish due to its penchant for much deeper reefs and seamounts and have only been photographed at Ball's Pyramid...

Rowley Shoals

At certain dives worldwide, venturing deeper not only reveals different marine life but also allows a quieter dive, away from the masses in shallower areas. At Rowley Shoals, however, this is never an issue, as these remote atoll-like reefs see only about 200 divers each year. To reach this remote and pristine paradise, far from the madding crowds, you can join a luxurious liveaboard departing from Broome and sail westward toward the Timor Sea.

The three islets - Mermaid Reef, Clerke Reef and Imperieuse Reef - that comprise Rowley Shoals rise up from the seabed, located approximately 400 metres below. Due to the large tidal ranges in the area, these reefs offer excellent drift dives in deep water. Diving in Australia doesn't get more remote than this, and as a result, you'll also be hard-pressed to find such astonishingly clear visibility, often reaching 50 to 60 metres. This crystal-clear water makes it easier to spot whitetip reef sharks, grey reef sharks and leopard sharks, and scanning the deep may also reveal a passing hammerhead...

If you're interested in experiencing the best deep water diving in Australia, our team of dedicated dive travel specialists are on hand to help craft your dream tailor-made Australia holiday itinerary. We have dived extensively throughout Australia and can help you be in the right place at the right time for the best underwater encounters...

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

Rachel Gaw
Call us on 1-800-652-1972