Diving in northwest Australia

When the temperatures start dropping in Perth, it’s time to consider diving north, as the rainy season is over and the water is getting warmer.

North Coast

North West

It covers most of the north coast from Exmouth to Kununurra. This area is semi-tropical and can be affected from November to April (summer) with hurricanes that limit access and of course diving. The best diving spots like the Rowley shoals can only be accessed by cruise ships.

Exmouth - whale shark
Exmouth – whale shark

Coral Coast

It extends roughly from Exmouth (Ningaloo reef) to Jurien Bay. The water temperature ranges between 22°C and 29°C.

Hurricane season can make roads impassable, but if you can tolerate the heat and humidity, the waters will be calm (except for hurricanes) and it’s turtle season.

Pier - eel and stump fish
Pier – eel and stump fish

Ningaloo reefs

It extends from Coral Bay to Exmouth and covers the Moerons Islands. This area, far from being as crowded as the Great Barrier Reef, is more well preserved, and I find it even more beautiful.

fish tweezer
fish tweezer

You will find a variety of species including large pelagic fish such as manta rays, whales and whale sharks. Small special mention for ‘Navy Wharf’ diving in Exmouth which is exceptional diving, accessible only through an approved organization. This dive is budget friendly but exceptional with a wide variety of aquatic species ranging from the “big” (3 species of shark) to the small multi-colored slugs. There is also a large amount of inquisitive and not timid, and even affectionate Grouper.

bat fish
bat fish

Steep Point - Fish Soap
Steep Point – Fish Soap

Shark Bay

Not all sites are easily accessible as part of a day trip, only one operator goes to Steep Point for the day from Denham, for a wider exploration it will be necessary to reach through the structures that organize diving trips. You can always take a boat trip to see dugongs and turtles as well as partake in dolphin meals at Monkey Mia. Masks and a snorkel will allow you to enjoy the shallow water.

Steep Point - Galathée
Steep Point – Galathée

Abrolhus - pineapple fish
Abrolhus – pineapple fish

Geralton and Aberolhos Islands

Geraldton is one of the most important ports in Western Australia and you can find structures there that allow you to dive. The climate is Mediterranean and the sea floor begins to change, fewer tropical species, and on the other hand lobsters breed in the numerous cavities provided by limestone formations. The water temperature ranges between 21°C and 24°C. Visibility and current can affect the quality of your dive, be sure to prepare your dive well.

Abrolhos - Swarm of fish
Abrolhouse- coral acropora webold fish

On the islands of Abrolhos, more than a hundred, it will always be possible to find a protected site. Here too lobsters are found in large numbers, but not only, coral reefs are home to tropical species in large quantities. The history of these islands begins with a shipwreck, the Batavia ship of 1629, which ends with a bloodbath worth reading for a bit. Today these islands are home to a few fishermen but are really uninhabited.

Gurian Bay - rock lobster
Gurian Bay – rock lobster

Gurian Bay and Lehman

Located about 200 kilometers from Perth, lobsters are the main source of income there. The water temperature ranges between 18°C ​​and 24°C.

Jurien Bay offers a shallow-water bay and a reserve rich in small reef fish. For the adventurous, just outside the bay, you can find a larger fish hungry for all the nutrients the stream brings, and the caves and passages of the limestone formations.

Gurian Bay - Seal
Gurian Bay – Seal

A few kilometers from the coast, Buller and North Fisherman Islands as well as Essex Rocks are home to very famous seal colonies, a boat can take you there.

It will be difficult to find a diving operator, so it will be necessary to organize it from Perth or rent a boat.

Christmas Island - Leopard Blini
Christmas Island – Leopard Blini

Territorial Waters of Cocos (Keelings) and Christmas Island

Closer to Indonesia than Perth, these waters provide tropical diving. The water ranges from 26°C to 29°C.

The Cocos Islands are sandy, the water is clear and there are plenty of fish in the good season (November to June) just because it is a kitesurfing paradise.

Christmas Island - Moray Eel
Christmas Island – Spotted Eel

Christmas Island is a volcanic island as rich on land as it is underwater, many birds come to nest there, thousands of crabs invade the island in November, and the underwater reef is home to sharks and a large number of reef fish. Migration of whale sharks passes through this island. At the end of the year, you’ll be able to see thousands of red crabs on land performing their annual migration.

clown fish
clown fish

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