Some of the keenest divers in the world are found in Melbourne, diving each week in the cool waters of Port Phillip Bay, no matter what the water temperature. But with easy shore diving under piers, rocky reefs covered in sponges and a huge number of shipwrecks it is easy to see why. Some of Melbourne's best dive sites include Blairgowrie Pier, Portsea Pier, Flinders Pier, Lonsdale Wall, Pope's Eye, HMAS Canberra and a collection of World War I submarines.
It maybe located in the 'Roaring Forties' and experience cold weather patterns and blustering winds at times, but Tasmania also has some of finest temperate water diving in the world. Eaglehawk Neck is one of the best places to experience the best of Tassy diving, with the area having rocky reefs covered in sponges, a historic shipwreck, the SS Nord, the largest network of sea caves in Australia and also many unique marine animals, like weedy seadragons, longnose fur seals and draughtboard sharks. Some of its best dive sites include Cathedral Cave, Nobbies Wall, Sisters Rocks, Deep Glen Bay and Hippotyte Rocks.
Located on the Derwent River and surrounded by countless bays, Hobart has a great deal of places to dive. Boat diving is possible on rocky reefs, especially around Bruny Island, but shore diving is also popular. Some of the best dive sites off Hobart include Tinderbox, Ninepin Point, Kingston Beach, Betsey Reef and Yellow Bluff. A good variety of temperate species are found in the area, including skates, seahorses, weedy seadragons, nudibranchs and even rare handfish.
Australia's best freshwater dives and cave dives are found around Mount Gambier. Located close to the border between Victoria and South Australia, the limestone bedrock in this area is riddled with a network of caves, sinkholes and ponds. While cave and cavern diving qualifications are required to dive most of the sites, Ewens Ponds is open to everyone and Kilsby's Sinkhole is accessible if you have a qualified guide. While not much aquatic life is seen, apart from a few crayfish, fish and eels, the crystal clear water in these caves and ponds makes for an unforgettable experience.
The Yorke Peninsula is situated between the Spencer Gulf and the Gulf of St Vincent and is quite a barren strip of land. However, underwater it is a haven for some of the most unique marine life found in Southern Australia. This is an area where you will see leafy seadragons, frogfish, prowfish, cowfish, blue-ringed octopus, pyjama squid, sand octopus and a host of other endemic species. Some of the best dive sites on the Yorke Peninsula are its numerous jetties, at places like Edithburgh, Wool Bay, Port Giles, Steinhouse Bay and Androssan.
Divers head to the Eyre Peninsula to see two species - giant cuttlefish and great white sharks. The giant cuttlefish, the worlds largest cuttlefish that is endemic to Southern Australia, gather in their thousands each winter to breed on the rocky shoreline near Whyalla. Jumping in from the shore at Point Lowly gives divers access to one of the most stunning wildlife events in Australia. For those wanting to see great white sharks, from the safety of a shark cage, then head to Port Lincoln where several boats offer trips to the remote Neptune Islands, the one place in Australia you can observe these graceful and majestic sharks.
Other great dive destinations in the southern states not covered in this portfolio include Wilsons Promontory, Warrnambool and Portland off Victoria, Bicheno off Tasmania and Kangaroo Island, Victor Harbour and Adelaide off South Australia. If you want to learn more about the incredible dive sites around Australia grab a copy of my book - UNDERWATER AUSTRALIA.