Dive sites on Western Australia’s Coral Coast are internationally recognised as some of the most ecologically diverse marine environments in the world.
Here are our top picks for your diving adventure in the Coral Coast:
The Ningaloo Marine Park runs from Carnarvon via Coral Bay to Exmouth and offers a wide variety of dive sites ranging from inshore coral dives perfect for beginners, right through to advanced open water dives on extraordinary reef complexes that are home to an incredible diversity of colourful marine life.
The best time for diving on the Ningaloo Reef is autumn and winter, which runs from March until September. It's during this time (mid-March through to mid-July) that the whale sharks visit these waters on their annual coastal voyage. From July to October, the Humpback whales grace the waters of Ningaloo Marine Park.
If you time your trip correctly, you can also witness the extraordinary phenomenon of coral spawning. The reef’s annual breeding ritual occurs during March, precisely seven days after the full moon at times of minimal tidal disturbance. For marine enthusiasts, it’s a truly amazing spectacle as the coral creates an iridescent blanket of light on the surface of the water.
Open water dive courses are available through local operators in Exmouth and Coral Bay, providing training, equipment and tours to the Ningaloo Reef where you can put your skills to the test. Operators cater for the travelling diver, with many providing multilingual services.
Other Exmouth dive sites
For further information, contact Exmouth Visitor Centre or Carnarvon Visitor Centre.
Just 9.8 nautical miles off the tip of the North West Cape near Exmouth, the tranquil tropical waters of the Muiron Islands are teeming with marine life and provide an unforgettable Ningaloo Reef diving experience. As well as offering a variety of dive sites, you’ll find soft and hard coral gardens just off the shoreline, at depths of 3 to 20 metres. Contact Exmouth Diving Centre to experience the Muiron Islands.
Blizzard Reef, the Labyrinth and Helga's Tunnels are excellent dive sites in the Lighthouse Bay area. Along with pristine coral formations and an array of beautiful tropical fish, you’ll encounter reef sharks and schools of pelagic fish. Depths at Blizzard and Labyrinth range from 12 to 18 metres, while Helga's has a maximum depth of 30 metres. Contact Exmouth Diving Centre to experience Lighthouse Bay.
Whilst on the beach you will be able to see the remains of SS Mildura which ran aground in 1907 following a cyclone.
Lighthouse Bay is on the edge of the Cape Range National Park and a short drive from Exmouth, 14 hours drive north of Perth.
This World Heritage Listed Area is home to dugongs, manta rays, whale sharks, Humpback whales, stromatolites and of course the dolphins at Monkey Mia. It also features the largest seagrass prairie in the world, while Dirk Hartog Island and Steep Point offer interesting coral diving with many caves. Ancient tectonic activity has created huge underwater caverns encrusted in stunning soft corals. Worth travelling to the edge of Australia for!
Shark Bay Dive and Marine Safaris are now offering scuba diving, snorkelling and scenic boat tours to Steep Point and Dirk Hartog Island. Full day tours visit areas populated by species including Queensland grouper, turtles, crayfish, cuttlefish, stingrays, mackerel, trevally, species of sharks!
Species that can be seen include grey nurse, tawny nurse, hammerheads, tiger sharks, sandbar whalers, dusky whalers, wobbegongs.
Contact the Shark Bay Discovery & Visitor Centre for tour operators and times. Tours cater to experienced divers looking to experience world class dive sites, or first timers wanting to obtain their SCUBA qualifications.
The Abrolhos Wallabi Islands were the scene of the infamous Batavia mutiny in 1629. You can dive the wreckage of the Dutch East Indies Trading Ship and view the outline of the hull, fully equipped with cannons and anchors. The Abrolhos Islands are 60kms off the west coast near Geraldton.
The coral formation, density and colours are amazing. The abundant sea life translates to the world’s freshest seafood with Crayfish, Dhufish and Baldchin groper, as well as pelagic species like Spanish Mackerel.
The Batavia shipwreck lies in four to six metres of clear Indian Ocean and is ranked the #1 dive spot in WA. Before heading to the Islands, make sure you pop into the Museum of Geraldton to hear the fascinating yet brutal Batavia story.
The confiscated Patagonian toothfish fishing vessel was scuttled three nautical miles from Geraldton shores in 2004, to serve as an artificial reef and dive attraction. Its hulls and holds now boast newly growing corals and a profusion of fish life. Permits are required.
Limestone reefs, caves and swim-throughs provide a haven for many temperate and tropical marine species. Lionfish, western blue devils, soft and hard corals, sponges, ascidians, nudibranch and rock lobster make the Jurien Bay Marine Park area surprisingly colourful.