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Scuba Diving Adventures Around Australia

Whether you’re a proud new owner of your Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) certification or a serious deep-sea diver, once you've discovered the depths of some of the most spectacular underwater scenes, there's no going back.

Luckily, you've got more than 25,000 kilometres of stunning, natural coastline to explore, with some of the most beautiful reefs in the world right on your doorstep. Australia's spectacular diving spots are absolutely unparalleled.

To help you get ready for your next diving adventure, we've handpicked some of the best in the diving industry for their tips on the best marine scenes. An underwater wonderland awaits.

1. Christmas Island, Western Australia

The experts from DivePlanIt have flagged their favourite diving spot as Christmas Island’s coral reefs, off the coast of Western Australia. A true hidden gem of the Indian Ocean, its waters are unspoiled by commercial runoff or pollution, meaning you'll have crystal-clear visibility no matter where you dive.

Try getting there around November or December for the annual red crab migration. Scores of whale sharks gather to feast on the abundant red crab larvae in the water, giving you plenty of chances to get up close with these graceful giants.

DivePlanIt was founded by divers, for divers, and offers expert recommendations and guidance with the goal to create as many advocates for the deep blue as possible. With their unique Scubafeed social media app, divers can also publish pictures and information about their dives, to share with like-minded, water-loving Australians.

2. Balls Pyramid, Lord Howe Island

Set against towering cliffs and lush green forests, the diving spots at Lord Howe Island know no comparison. The reefs here boast over 90 species of coral and more than 500 species of fish. And with 80+ diving locations available, you'll be spoilt for choice.

The staff at Pro Dive say there's just one spot you shouldn't miss, the seven-million years’ old Balls Pyramid. It's the only place where you can catch a glimpse of the extremely rare, deep-water Ballina Angelfish, usually only found at depths of 100 metres.

An official scuba diving company, Pro Dive have been developing dive sites and organising dive tours at Lord Howe Island for nearly 40 years.

And they're innovative: the team at Pro Dive have set new standards for diving by creating a custom-built vessel to cut travelling time to the island's premier diving spots, giving you much more time in the water.

3. Port Noarlunga, South Australia

Master Diver Mark Tozer from Dive for Cancer says that you can't go past diving at Port Noarlunga. With more than 200 species of underwater plant life and brightly-coloured fish, this South Australian gem should definitely be on your diving bucket list.

The reef here is also popular for its underwater trail, marked by 12 submerged glass plaques, each with fascinating descriptions of the wildlife and ecosystem around it.

Give a little something back the next time you dive with Dive for Cancer, a unique organisation founded by Mark Tozer after members of his family were diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Originating in Adelaide, Dive for Cancer encourages divers to use their passion to raise funds to support cancer research and organisations both in Australia and internationally.

4. Comet's Hole, Lord Howe Island 

Another submerged gem off the coast of Lord Howe Island is Comet's Hole, recommended by Pinetrees at Lord Howe Island.

With a maximum depth of eight metres, the stunning coral gardens and abundant fish life are easily accessible to divers of all levels of experience. Lord Howe’s isolation makes it a popular diving spot; with an unparalleled visibility you may be able to see as far as 50 metres, so don’t forget your underwater camera!

Long hours in the water can leave you tired. Recharge and rest during your visit with a stay at Pinetrees at Lord Howe Island. Not only do they offer extremely luxurious rooms and cottages on the Lord Howe Lagoon, they can also help connect you with scuba diving operators to get you to the best diving spots.

Book into one of their speciality Dive Weeks to experience a perfect combination of scuba, relaxation and fine hospitality.

5. Manta Arch, Coffs Harbour

Mike and Debbie from Jetty Dive centre recommend one of their personal favourite diving spots, Manta Arch in Coffs Harbour. During the winter, it's frequented by grey nurse sharks (also known as sand tiger sharks).

Don’t let the breed put you off, the grey nurse shark is in fact a gentle giant and experienced divers can actually get quite close. But if something a bit smaller suits you better, you’ll also be able to find ‘Nemo’ and ‘Dory’. The colourful clown and blue tang fish also call these waters home.

Located in Coffs Harbour, NSW, Jetty Dive Centre has been around since the 1970s It is an indispensable part of the local diving culture. Headed up by Mike and Debbie, who took over the reins in 1996, the team run tours of the marine park, supplies equipment and even offers training for all levels of scuba diving right up to instructor level.

6. Lady Elliot Island, Far North Queensland

John Gransbury, PADI Master Instructor and founder of Professional Dive Services, loves to head out to the warm waters off Lady Elliot Island to dive with the manta rays.

Witnessing these majestic creatures up close is an experience which will stay with you long after you’ve washed off the saltwater. With a wingspan of up to 5.5 metres, they glide through the pristine ocean waters silently and elegantly.

If you're after something exotic or unique on your next dive, pop in to visit John and the family at Professional Dive Services. Based in Brisbane, they offer tailored diving trips beyond the Eastern Seaboard of Australia with overseas adventures.

From shipwrecks to reefs, pelagic to macro, sharks to whale-chasing, they'll know of a fantastic diving spot that matches your preferences.

7. Ex-HMAS Brisbane Diving Site, Mooloolaba, Queensland

For swashbuckling divers in search of buried treasure, or historians passionate about relics, the team from Scuba World in Mooloolaba rave about the ex-HMAS Brisbane wreck. The ship was decommissioned and sunk off the coast of Queensland to create an artificial reef and dive site in 2005, and has been delighting visitors ever since.

Frequently mentioned as one of the top-five dive sites in all Australia, its popularity stems from its ease of access and the variety of colourful aquatic species that inhabit it. Divers here get to feast their eyes on gropers, sea turtles, and eagle rays.

If this sounds too good to miss, Scuba World offers regular, bi-weekly diving trips to the site, regardless of numbers or your level of experience. The spectacular site itself is only 20-minutes away from the coastal diving school by boat. Plan an early morning dive in August for maximum visibility.

8. Cabbage Tree Bay, Manly, NSW

One of Australia’s premier shore diving sites is very easy to access. Stretching over a massive 20 hectares, Cabbage Tree Bay, just off Shelly Beach, is home to 435 aquatic flora and fauna species.

From Port Jackson sharks in winter, to dusky whaler sharks and giant cuttlefish in the summer, you're guaranteed to see something spectacular, no matter the season. Eastern blue gropers, painted shrimp and squid are also common and create quite a stir with their kaleidoscope of colours and textures.

A divine diving experience doesn’t have to be a once in a lifetime experience. The folks at leading PADI Dive Centre Manly can hook you up with equipment, certification courses, or an organised trip. Adventurous divers can even head out with the professional crew at night to get a unique insight to what happens in the deep, dark blue.

9. Orpheus Island, Queensland

Orpheus Island is situated on the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef, just north of Townsville. It's a quiet, secluded place, covered by lush, green national park land, and flanked on all sides by a world heritage-listed marine park.

It makes for a great jumping off place to explore the less-crowded outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Lose yourself amid brightly-coloured coral and vivid reef fish, there are 1,100 species to try and identify all year around!

Orpheus Island Lodge offers an exclusive retreat and pristine diving conditions to its 28 lucky guests. The remote location on Orpheus Island coupled with luxurious amenities like a fine-dining restaurant and stunning pool amidst tropical gardens makes it a dream destination for a holiday set in paradise.

All guests can use the resort’s dinghies, paddle boards, catamarans, sea kayaks, snorkelling equipment and light fishing tackle.

10. Ningaloo, Western Australia

If whale shark chasing is your thing, then head on over to Ningaloo, off the west coast of Australia. Go during March to August for your best chance to encounter these glorious giants, which can grow up to 12 metres long and have a lifespan of around 70 years.

Though they might look fearsome, they only eat plankton, so you can quite comfortably and safely swim right up to them. It’s the ultimate underwater photo op!

For an off-the-beaten track experience, get in touch with Dive Ningaloo. Their 62-foot custom dive boat takes on a maximum of 10 divers at a time, for an enchanting diving experience that's not overcrowded with tourists.

They also head out to untouched reefs and remote islands, so if you're looking for an adventurous dive, they're definitely the experts to ask.

11. Neptune Islands, South Australia 

If you would like to experience the thrill of witnessing a Great White Shark from the safety of a reinforced metal cage, then make sure you stop by the Neptune Islands for a shark cage dive. The islands are frequented by the spectacular creatures of the deep. This is one trip that's not for the faint-hearted!

Step on board Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions’ vessel, ‘Princess II’, for the adventure of a lifetime. Rodney himself is a survivor of great white shark attack but instead of swearing off diving, he turned around and invented the shark cage so he could study them safely up close. Their all-inclusive packages include accommodation and meals on the boat.

From Nemo to whale sharks and everything else in between, Australia’s crystal clear waters boast some of the most diverse and outright stunning marine life in the world. Pack your snorkel and flippers and get set to discover a whole new watery world at these top dive spots.