Underwater adventure: South-West diving and snorkelling
Published Wednesday, February 21, 2018 in Lifestyle & Inspiration
If you’ve ever wanted an adventure-filled holiday in the water, you don’t need to look further than Western Australia. With its vast 12,889km coastline, there are so many diving and snorkelling opportunities to be had. From shipwrecks to underwater caves filled with wildlife, it’s an adventure you’ll never forget.
Take your pick of these incredible spots
Fancy poking around a ghost ship? Discover hidden treasures at a world-class shipwreck – one of the largest accessible wrecks in the Southern Hemisphere. Just 2.4km out to sea from the Dunsborough coast, you will find the HMAS Swan, a destroyer that was retired after 26 years in the Australian Navy and sunk on purpose in 1997. At 113m long, 21m high and with good visibility, it’s suitable for all diving levels.
The crystal-clear, calm waters of Greens Pool are a snorkelling hotspot. It’s great for all members of the family because the ancient, weathered rocks shield it from the open Southern Ocean. Keep in mind that although Greens Pool is undoubtedly magical and calm most the time, this area does experience unexpected sea surges, so take care when in the area.
The rugged and wild Albany coast is an unbelievable treasure where you’re spoiled for choice. Following the successful sinking and subsequent tourist attraction of the HMAS Swan off Dunsborough, the HMAS Perth – a 133m guided missile destroyer – was scuttled in 2001. Its final resting place is 38m below the surface off Seal Island in King George Sound.
The HMAS Perth isn’t the only attraction for shipwreck hunters in the Great Southern region. Th heynes III is another. Albany was a former whaling station, and the Cheynes III was, sadly, a whale chaser. It was the first ship in the Southern Hemisphere to be deliberately sunk for recreational purposes.The caves and numerous other sites are also extraordinary to dive and snorkel, with Seal Cove a big hit thanks to the neighbourhood fur seals and sea lions. You’ll also get the chance to discover rock bommies, brittle stars, and southern black coral.
The historic 1.8km long Busselton Jetty has plenty of options including diving, snorkelling and an undersea SeaTREK “walk”. The jetty’s sheer length means it also acts as an artificial reef. Dozens of jetty pylons create an almost spooky environment for divers and snorkellers, but there’s plenty of life including resident fish, visiting dolphins and sometimes even sea lions.
YallingupWhile Yallingup is best known for being a world-class surfing break, the factors that make this happen also create a great snorkelling spot. Yallingup Reef is very close to the beach so it’s easy access. You’d be best off starting at the southern end of the beach at South Point and swimming from there. This sheltered, shallow reef extends out to sea for about 150m and features several lagoons, channels and plenty of fish species that make their home there.
There is also a snorkelling spot that has remained a local secret for quite some time: The Aquarium. Near Canal Rocks, this is a little nook with beautiful aquamarine water and colourful fish. It’s not located on maps, so make sure to ask locals when you’re nearby.
Dive lessons and charters
If you’re not an experienced diver, never fear. There are plenty of experienced organisations ready to help out. Cape Dive in Dunsborough leads both charters and diving lessons. The Dive Shed in Margaret River also offers dive tours and courses for all levels, plus snorkel tours. For those venturing further south-east, try Southcoast Diving Supplies in Albany.
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