6 Thrilling underwater experiences in Australia
Australia is spoilt for choice when it comes to amazing landscapes and wildlife experiences. When you think of the underwater world, you mostly start planning for those snorkelling and diving experiences off the Great Barrier Reef.
It’s well-worth planning for that. But, if you are looking for a little more adventure, and the chance to get up close with some of our largest and most playful underwater animals, then you must include at least one of the following on your travels in Australia.
1. Swimming with the whale sharks, Ningaloo, WA
The gentle giants of the sea and the world’s biggest fish visit the shores of Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia each year from mid-March until mid-July. Operators in Exmouth and Coral Bay run whale shark adventures during this time.
Once spotted, slip into the water with your snorkel gear and swim alongside them. Although the tour focus is on whale sharks, an amazing variety of reef life such as manta rays, turtles, dolphins, whales and even dugongs may be sighted during the cruise.
2. Swimming with manta rays, WA and QLD
Manta rays, which can have a wing span of up to 7m, are spotted year-round in Coral Bay (WA), as well as in parts of the Great Barrier Reef, in particular, Lady Elliot Island. Be prepared to swim fast as you follow their graceful flaps along the ocean floor. It’s truly a magical experience, and great for the kids! In Coral Bay and Lady Elliot Island, you can also swim with turtles and snorkel over reefs.
3. Cage dive with Great White Sharks, South Australia
No swimming with this experience! You do get to go under water, in a cage, for 45 minutes for some face-to-face time with these fierce underwater beasts. Port Lincoln, in South Australia, is the only place in the country where you can hang out with Great White Sharks in the wild.
4. Swimming with sea lions, South Australia
Also, near Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia is the opportunity to swim with wild sea lions. Their natural friendly and curious nature mean they are happy to swim and play right up close to you. Also on this tour, you spend time swimming with wild dolphins.
5. Dive with Minke Whales, Queensland
Divers and snorkelers, during the months of June and July, may have the opportunity to interact with Dwarf Minke Whales in the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef. It is a unique and remarkable encounter.
Each year these graceful creatures migrate to the stretch of reefs south of Lizard Island, known as the Ribbon Reefs. The inquisitive nature of the Minke Whale brings them close to boats in the region to linger with divers and snorkelers, at times as close to up to a metre away.
6. Swimming with wild dolphins, NSW
Just a short 2.5 hour drive north of Sydney, in the beautiful Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park, you’ll find NSW’s only permitted wild dolphin swim. The dolphins come to you, and you can choose to either watch from on board the boat or dive on in and start swimming with them! It’s all very carefully monitored, and strict guidelines are in place so we don’t disturb their natural play.