Scuba diving in Western Australia
From Rowley Shoals to Mermaid Reef
Scuba diving in Western Australia will bring you away from the hustle and bustle of the Queensland Coast and will give you a chance to have some quality alone time with the reefs you dive. Though not as well known as the Great Barrier Reef, Western Australia is nothing short of a diver's haven and is quickly become a top scuba diving destination. Located on the beautiful western coast of Australia, with warm, clear, and brilliantly blue waters where the water and the sky seem to blend, the scuba diving here allows you to enjoy exhilarating megafauna and fun little reef fish all in the same reef.
Marine Life in Western Australia
Diving in Western Australia will allow you to explore a marine world equally as diverse and lively in its marine life all the while enjoying pristine reefs. Western Australia scuba diving is world renowned for the megafauna it hosts. The likes of whale sharks, humpback whales, and several species of sea turtles are only some of the friendly faces you'll find yourself diving with. Potato cod, maori wrasses, and giant clams are other frequent residents of these dive sites. And of course there will be no shortage of the colorful reef fish that the hard and soft corals teem with. Hanging out above the highly diverse array of corals composing the reefs here, schools of trevally, mackerel, and tuna are often seen on dives.
Best Dive Sites in Western Australia
Western Australia offers a vast array of dive sites, all of which are capable of amazing any diver. With some of the best reef and wreck diving in the country, and the world, (yes, the Great Barrier Reef included) and also boasting the largest fringing reef in the world, diving in Western Australia is the perfect dive destination for those who want all the marine action that Australia is famous for while forgoing the notorious crowds of the Great Barrier Reef. Spectacular diving can be made off islands or the coast. Some of the more famous islands for scuba diving include Albrohos Islands, Rottnest Island, and Shoalwater Islands. Western Australia has many marine parks to protect these pristine reefs, and with the Great Barrier Reef attracting most of the tourism attention, there is less foot traffic to affect the corals here.
Rowley Shoals is comprised of three coral atoll reefs, Rowley Shoals merges the best above water scenery with premier diving. With incredibly clear water and virtually untouched coral gardens thanks to the marine park and reserve, diving at any of Rowley Shoals dive sites is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. The three reefs of Rowley Shoals are named Mermaid, Clerke, and Impereiuse Reefs. These atolls sit at the edge of a continental shelf and are made up of incredibly pristine corals supporting an abundance of life - attracting both reef and pelagic life. Plenty of endemic animals have long ago taken up residence in these atoll reefs making for unique diving. Here you can see megafauna varying from whales to turtles to mantas thanks to its proximity to the pelagic zone.
Mermaid Reef within Rowley Shoals, the most remote of the three atoll reefs you'll find will be Mermaid Reef. Protected by a marine reserve, Mermaid Reef is bursting with marine life for scuba divers to appreciate and explore. This dive spot is a great place to hang with the likes of the large and loveable potato cod and a fun place to find your very own nemo. Many other colorful reef fish call all the nooks and crannies of the reef here home. Due to the remote nature of this reef and Rowley Shoals as a whole, you won't find yourself sharing the beauty with too many other divers.
Due to Clerke Reef's proximity to the closest city, Broome, it is the most frequently visited reef in Rowley Shoals. The reef is composed of harder corals in the shallows and with depth is home to many gorgonians and soft corals. Explore the shallows to search for the seemingly endless reef fish that call this home or dive any of the reef's outer edges for spectacular wall diving. Turtles, sharks, and schooling fish often stop at Clerke's to hangout and feed so keep an eye out for their company while scuba diving.
Best Time to Dive in Western Australia
The beauty of diving in Western Australia is that all year permits for great dive trips. With warm water and air temperatures year round, the diving is just as comfortable in the dead of winter as it is in the middle of summer. The season for diving in Western Australia if you hope to spot mantas, whale sharks, sharks, and whales are in the winter months from April to September.
Experience Level for Diving
Diving in Western Australia can vary greatly, from exposed wall dives to protected shallow sites. Some dive spots feature more protection than others depending on its position in the water. For beginners, the shallow dives and the dives in the protected lagoons of the atolls will allow divers to get a lay of the land and allow their guides to gauge the diving from there. Learning to scuba dive in Western Australia is a fun and memorable way to get your first diving experience and the reefs can accommodate for a variety of dive courses. For intermediate to advanced divers, all the sites in Western Australia have something to offer. From drift dives on walls to mellow shallow dives, all feature unique and brilliant life that will wow any diver - beginner and advanced alike.
How do I get to Western Australia?
To reach Western Australia, Perth is a major international travel hub and from there a plane to Broome will bring you close to many of the famed dive sites of the western coast. An Australian liveaboard is a great option for diving Western Australia as many of the best reefs are extremely remote. Broome is the most common site of departures and returns for liveaboards.