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8 Great Places to Go Scuba Diving in Oceania

 

scuba-diving-oceania

 

The Pacific Ocean, the world's largest ocean, contains around 30,000 islands and is teeming with vibrant tropical marine life. It is the heart of Oceania and hosts some of the world's most sought-after dive destinations, with inviting blue waters and an array of spectacular dive experiences. Whether you are a seasoned diver, a novice, or a non-diver, Oceania is the place to go. Read on to discover 8 great places in Oceania to visit now.

 

1. Australia

scuba-diving-great-barrier-reef

Stretching for over 2300 km along the rainforest-draped Queensland coast, the Great Barrier Reef is undoubtedly the best-known highlight of diving in Australia. With thousands of reefs, day boat trips and liveaboards, plus bucket-list marine life experiences, Great Barrier Reef scuba diving attracts tourists from around the world every year.

With just a few days at sea, you can explore pinnacles swathed in vibrant soft corals, go shark diving and drift among enormous schools of pelagic fish. If you're keen to try scuba diving, it is one of the best – and most scenic- places in the world to get your scuba diving license .

For peaceful diving far from any crowds, take a trip to Western Australia and explore Ningaloo Reef. Lying just off the UNESCO-listed Ningaloo Coast, this beautiful reef system is pristine and equally as impressive as the Great Barrier Reef. As well as humpback whales, Ningaloo hosts hundreds of whale sharks from March each year, plus manta rays, sea turtles, and plenty of vibrant reef life.

Rowley Shoals is Australia's best-kept secret dive destination and lies 300 km off the northwest coast of Australia. Rising up from the depths, the shoals offer outstanding diving on the edge of a continental shelf. As well as being a haven for reef fish and sharks, the shoals host sailfish and humpback whales.

 

When to go:  Australia offers great diving all year. Visit Ningaloo in March for whale sharks, or the Great Barrier Reef during winter for the chance to swim with dwarf minke whales.


 

2. New Zealand

fiords new zealand

New Zealand is famous for its adventure activities and jaw-dropping landscapes that offer some of the best hiking and adrenaline thrills in the world. Head below water and you'll discover sun-dappled kelp forests, offshore islands teeming with subtropical life, and unique diving experiences throughout the North and South Islands.

The Poor Knights Islands were made famous by Jacques Cousteau, who rated these islands in Northland as one of the top 10 dives in the world. In summer, the islands are busy with huge stingrays, visiting orcas, and a staggering array of fish life.

Head south to Kaikoura to go snorkeling with wild New Zealand fur seals or go swimming with dolphins in the Marlborough Sounds or cyan waters of Akaroa. Dive with rare black corals in the dramatic Milford Sound or simply explore some of the dozens of marine reserves dotted along New Zealand's famously diverse coastline. Whatever your experience level and preference, diving in New Zealand delivers every time.

 

When to go: New Zealand offers great diving all year. Visit in summer for warmer waters.

 

3. Fiji

white-sand-beach-fiji

With its idyllic islands, endless sunshine, and calm seas, Fiji is a paradise destination ideal for diverse and non-divers alike. This laid-back dive destination is hard to beat.

Sitting in the South Pacific Ocean, Fiji is known as the soft coral capital of the world and has hundreds of islands surrounded by thriving coral reefs. There you will find rainbow-hued corals, plenty of colorful reef fish, critters galore, and reef sharks.

Barefoot Manta Island is a popular island to visit for manta ray encounters, whilst Gau Island's fringing and barrier reefs host incredible biodiversity. If you're an experienced diver, go deep and explore the Somosomo Strait. The vertical walls of this famous strait are washed by strong currents and are covered in white, purple, pink, orange, and brown soft corals.

 

When to go: You can go diving in Fiji year round. Visit from July to December for the best visibility.

 

4. The Federated States of Micronesia

whale shark

Micronesia is on the wish list for many divers and offers some of the most sought-after diving in the western Pacific Ocean. Consisting of over 600 islands, the Federated States of Micronesia offer a wealth of diving experiences.

There are endless shallow reefs for new divers to explore, plus thrilling caverns, countless walls, and drop-offs for more advanced divers. Yap is famed worldwide for its many manta rays, whilst Truk Lagoon has dozens of coral-covered wrecks from World War II. 

Kosrae is one of the most secluded islands and is worth the extra effort to get there. It has some of the most pristine diving in the world, with stingrays, mantas, dolphins, sharks, reef fish and densely-packed corals. 

 

When to go: December to April is peak manta season at Yap and it is also the best time to visit Truk Lagoon for dry, sunny days. Kosrae has calmer currents from June to October but you have a higher chance of seeing large marine life there from November to May.

 

5. The Marshall Islands

sea ‚Äč‚Äčturtle

As the 5th least visited country in the world, it's fair to say the Marshall Islands are relatively unknown and offer diving far from the noise of modern life.

These remote islands are one of only four atoll nations in the world and offer exciting deep tech-wreck diving and flourishing coral reefs bursting with life.

Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands was made famous by US atomic bomb tests in the 1940s and 1950s that created numerous shipwrecks there. One for experienced technical divers only, Bikini Atoll's wrecks are mostly beyond recreational dive limits and offer incredible tech-wreck diving.

As well as wrecks, these little-known islands also have thriving hard coral reefs without any dive crowds. It's the perfect place to explore pinnacles, drop-off, channels, and pretty coral gardens at your own pace and forget about the rest of the world.

 

When to go: May to October for warm waters.

 

6. Palau

fur seal

Made up of more than 250 forest-covered islands surrounded by diverse marine life, Palau is one of the top places in Oceania to explore by liveaboard. There are flourishing reefs with over 1300 fish species and 700 coral species, plus sea fans, sponges, critters, and prized mandarin fish to find. As well as small marine life, Palau's rich waters host both Hawkbill and green sea turtles and a variety of sharks. 

If you enjoy a range of dive styles, this is the destination for you. You can go diving at a natural corner bordering the deep ocean, explore sheer walls, and drift over plateaus covered in cabbage corals. 

The German Channel is one of the best places to dive with manta rays and sharks, whilst Jellyfish Lake offers the chance to swim among millions of harmless jellyfish. And if you still crave more dive time, Palau also has famous shipwrecks and cave dives.

 

When to go: December to March for flat seas and dry weather, or May, June and September for fewer tourists and lower prices.
 

7. The Solomon Islands

kaikoura-dolphin-swimming

If you're looking for some of the healthiest coral reefs in the world, make sure you go diving at the Solomon Islands. These remote islands are one of the last places in the world where you'll find untouched hard coral gardens.

As well as excellent reefs, the Solomon Islands have more than 200 ships and 690 aircraft at the aptly-named Iron Bottom Sound. All of which were sunk during the battle of Guadalcanal in the 1940s and offer diving among Japanese and American military relics. As well as challenging wrecks for experienced divers, there are easier wrecks for new divers to enjoy.

Make sure you leave time to visit the Florida Islands whilst you are exploring this peaceful destination. There you will find one of the Solomon Islands best-loved dive sites, the Twin Tunnels. Consisting of two vertical lava tubes, you can drop into the tunnels and descend to a deep reef wall, surrounded by vivid marine life all the way down.

 

When to go: The Solomon Islands offer great diving all year.

 

8. Vanuatu and New Caledonia

scuba-diving-vanuatu

New Caledonia and neighboring Vanuatu can easily be visited during one Oceania dive trip and are equally as rewarding. 

With more than 100 dive sites and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the New Caledonia Lagoon, there is enough to keep any diver busy at New Caledonia. There is an enormous array of dive opportunities there, including deep drop-offs, fast-paced drift dives, and easy-going reef dives. New Caledonia's extensive marine reserves ensure the local marine life is flourishing.

Visit nearby Vanuatu and you can go swimming with dugongs at Gaspard Bay, plus explore pristine reefs, WWI wrecks, and various underwater landscapes dotted with caves, caverns and overhangs. 

Whatever your dive style and experience level, there is plenty to choose from. Just make sure you leave time to dive Vanuatu's famous wreck, the SS President Coolidge, complete with chandeliers and a statue inside.

 

When to go: Diving is possible all year at both destinations.


 

Kathryn Curzon, a shark conservationist and dive travel writer for SSI (Scuba Schools International), wrote this article.


 

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Hi there! 

We are Jacob and Taylor. Travel is our passion and we love sharing our experiences here at The Travelling Souk. Our hope is that you would be inspired by this little blog to try something new, embrace an adventure, and live life to the fullest. 

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