Tasmania's clear, clean waters offer some of the world’s best temperate diving.
Seals and dolphins flit about, weedy seadragons drift into view, and a marine world unfolds of sea caves, caverns, giant granite drop-offs and an intriguing collection of shipwrecks. Many of the state’s reefs can be dived from the shore. Visibility can reach beyond 30m and is best in winter – wear a 7mm wetsuit or a drysuit.
BEST SNORKELLING AND DIVING
Sometimes the spectacular is only just beneath the surface, and Tasmania offers a wealth of snorkelling possibilities. Local favourites include Ninepin Point Marine Reserve, where the dark waters result in deep-water species being found in shallow waters; the sandstone reefs in Tinderbox Bay; and the crystal-clear waters of the Maria Island Marine Reserve and around Freycinet Peninsula. Viewings come easily on a seal expedition along the coast of Turrakana / Tasman Peninsula, where Wild Ocean Tasmania runs half-day tours to an ocean platform – slip on a mask and snorkel, dip your face into the sea and spot playful seals.
The SS Nord sank in 1915 after striking a sunken pinnacle and lies 42m below the surface off Turrakana / Tasman Peninsula – the rudder of the 88m-long ship still moves. The Troy D, scuttled off Maria Island in 2007, offers plenty of underwater exploration and is noted for its cuttlefish. And an area around Betsey Island, near the mouth of the River Derwent, has been used as a ship graveyard since 1916, creating a fascinating dive site.
Beeline to Bicheno to find the heart of east-coast diving. Here, Governor's Island Marine Reserve has a range of dive sites, including the famed Magic Garden and Golden Bommies, covered in sea sponges and sea whips. Ile de Phoques, midway between Freycinet Peninsula and Maria Island, is the place to dive among fur seals and sea caves.
Turrakana / Tasman Peninsula
More famous as the site of Port Arthur, this peninsula has a range of underwater features. Cathedral Cave is Australia’s largest sea-cave system, while Sisters Rocks is one of Australia’s best wall dives, renowned for its stunning sponge garden.
Learn to dive
Take the step from snorkelling to diving with an open-water diver course in Tasmanian waters. Operators running learn-to-dive courses include Go Dive Tasmania, Tasmanian Divers and Eaglehawk Dive Centre.