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Scuba diving in northern Western Australia

When the temperatures start to drop in Perth, it’s time to consider dives further north, where the rainy season ends and the waters will be warmer.

North Coast

The North-west

it covers most of the north coast from Exmouth to Kununurra. This region is subtropical and can be affected from November to April (summer) by cyclones which limits access and of course diving. The best dive sites like the Rowley shoals are only accessible by cruise ships.

Exmouth - Whale shark
Exmouth – Whale shark

Coral coast

It extends approximately from Exmouth (Ningaloo reef) to Jurien bay. The water temperature varies between 22°C and 29°C.

The hurricane season can make the roads impassable but if you endure the heat and humidity the waters will be calm (excluding hurricanes) and it is turtle season.

Navy pier - Moray eel and trunk fish
Navy pier – Moray eel and trunk fish

Ningaloo reef

It stretches from Coral Bay to Exmouth and covers the Muirons Islands. This area, far from being as busy as the Great Barrier Reef, is more preserved, and I find it much more beautiful.

tweezer fish
tweezer fish

You will find a wide variety of species including large pelagics like manta rays, whales and whale sharks. A small special mention for diving on the “Navy pier” in Exmouth which is an extraordinary dive, only accessible with an accredited organization. This dive represents a certain budget but it is exceptional with a wide range of aquatic species ranging from the “big” (3 species of sharks) to tiny multicolored nudibranchs. There is also a large amount of curious and not shy, even affectionate groupers.


Steep point - Soap fish
Steep point – Soap fish

shark bay

All the sites are not easily accessible as part of a day trip, only one operator goes to Steep point for the day from Denham, for a broader exploration it will be necessary to access it through structures organizing diving cruises. You can always take a boat trip to see the dugongs and turtles as well as participate in the dolphin meals at Monkey Mia. Masks and snorkels will allow you to enjoy the shallow waters.

Steep point - Galathée
Steep point – Galathée

Abrolhos - Pineapple fish
Abrolhos – Pineapple fish

Geraldton and Abrolhos islands

Geraldton is one of the most important ports in Western Australia and you can find structures there allowing you to go diving. The climate is Mediterranean and the seabed begins to change, fewer tropical species, on the other hand the lobsters proliferate in the many cavities offered by the limestone formations. The water temperature varies between 21°C and 24°C. Visibility and current can impact the quality of the dives, take care to prepare your dives well.

Abrolhos - Shoal of fish
Abrolhos- Acropora corals and bold fish

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

Jurien bay - rock lobster
Jurien bay – rock lobster

Jurien bay and Leeman

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

Jurien bay offers a bay with shallow and protected waters rich in small reef fish. For the more adventurous, outside the bay, you can find bigger fish hungry for all the nutrients brought by the current, caves and passages in the limestone formations.

Jurien bay - Seal
Jurien bay – Seal

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

To dive it will be more difficult to find an operator, it will therefore be necessary to organize it from Perth or charter a boat.

Christmas Island - Leopard Blenny
Christmas Island – Leopard Blenny

Territorial waters of Cocos (Keelings) and Christmas Island

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

Cocos are islands of sand, the water is clear and there are many fish in the good season (November to June) only because otherwise it is a kitesurfing paradise.

Christmas Island - Moray eel
Christmas Island – Spotted moray eel

Christmas Island is a volcanic island as rich on land as it is underwater, many birds come to nest there, crabs by the thousands invade the island in November and underwater vertiginous drop-offs are home to sharks and a large number of reef fish. The migration of whale sharks pass through this island. At the end of the year you will be able to see, on land, thousands of red crabs performing their annual migration.

Clown fish
Clown fish

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