21 June 2013
Dorothy had it right when she said: “There’s no place like home.” Australians with an interest in scuba diving may share this sentiment particularly strongly.
Australia is simply one of the most beautiful places in the world to take a dive or go snorkelling, with a plethora of breathtaking (literally breath-taking) scuba dive sites right here in New South Wales.
If you’ve ever considered scuba diving or even had the slightest inkling that you might enjoy the experience, then maybe it’s time you considered getting some friends together and giving it a go.
Many divers even feel that “once-in-a-lifetime”experience is simply too good to only have once. In Australia, you are just about guaranteed to enjoy an undeniably exquisite and unforgettable underwater adventure.
Here are some of the top dive sites around New South Wales.
These areas are near Canberra, where Indepth Scuba runs its weekend dive experiences, visiting all three spots and offering divers a chance to see seals, grey nurse sharks, whales, dolphins, manta rays, turtles, coral gardens, a bubble cave and pinnacles.
The time of year and season you decide to dive in these areas can have a huge impact on the kind of experience you will have.
Only a few months further down the track and the 26-degree water is known to bring out the most colourful of tropical fish as well as the potential for creatures not usually seen so far south, such as grey nurse sharks, turtles and sunfish.
Byron Bay is already a popular beach and swimming spot, but at nearby Julian Rocks Marine Reserve, just 2.5 kilometres away, you’ll find one of the most highly regarded dive and scuba sites.
Here you’ll find a collection of fascinating sea creatures, such as manta rays, turtles and leopard sharks.
Where else in the world do you find these kind of opportunities?
You can head out for a dive or a scuba as an experienced old-hand or a total newbie – you’ll be able to find all you need from the hire stores nearby.
Even the boat ride out to the spot is part of the adventure, as you will often come across dolphins on the way out.
Just south of central Wollongong, Bass Point is considered to be one of the most accessible dive locations throughout the New South Wales coast.
In particular, this area is known for its excellent opportunities for shore diving, where the reefs are simply slathered in marine invertebrates and other sea creatures, which gives it its nickname of the ‘Leisure Coast’.
Dive shops are located all around the area to ferry you to dive sites and organise scuba trips, snorkelling, and underwater photography.
This area is also famed for the chance to use an underwater scooter to cover four kilometres of seascape in one dive, where those who are up to it can visit Spider Rock to see three different types of water spider.
Somewhat further out from the coast (around 600 kilometres) Lord Howe Island is surrounded by the world’s most southerly coral reefs.
It plays host to over 60 dive sites that are considered to be nothing less than top-class.
A sea stack awaits 20 kilometres off shore to be explored where marlin are not uncommonly sighted. Volcanic drop-offs, caves and multi-coloured reefs house rare and endemic species of sea creature with intriguing names like ‘Spanish dancers’ and the double-headed wrasse.
This area truly is a divers paradise, and is rightly World Heritage listed for the geology and life on the island.