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New South Wales has so much to offer with great dives at Byron Bay, pristine reefs at Lord Howe Island, beautiful caves, plenty of nurse sharks and playtime with fur seals.

Diving in New South Wales

Quick facts

With 1,243 miles (2,000km) of jagged coastline, New South Wales has plenty to offer the scuba diving aficionado. To the north, there is the ever popular Byron Bay and Cook Island Aquatic Reserve. In the Mid North Coast region, popular diving haunts include Coffs Harbour, Solitary Islands Marine Park and South West Rocks. Near Newcastle, there is diving at Port Stephens and the Great Lakes Marine Park. There is even diving just off Sydney and at the South Coast region, there is Bass Island, Jervis Bay and Batemans Bay. Lord Howe Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, also offers excellent scuba diving.

With the great variety of diving destinations, there will be something for new divers and experienced divers alike. During summer months, water temperature can be anywhere between 68-86˚F (20-30˚C). During winter, especially to the south, water temperature can dip below 50˚F (10˚C). It is possible to dive on a year-round basis and the diving is land-based with most dive sites located close to the coast.

Some spectacular dive sites that should be on your bucket list when heading to New South Wales include Julian Rocks Marine Reserve off Byron Bay, shore dives off Bass Island, Fish Rock Cave at South West Rocks, Batemans Bay, Jervis Bay or Seal Rocks for fur seals, and far out Lord Howe Island for healthy reef and large marine pelagic creatures.

When to go

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USD 2,385Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers

What to see

The convergence of cold and warm currents off the coast of New South Wales brings about healthy marine biodiversity. At most dive sites, grey nurse sharks are common and sometimes can be seen in great numbers. During summer months, leopard sharks are often seen lazing around. Besides that, expect to see blue gropers, cuttlefish and wobbegongs. A definite highlight would be to dive with fur seals which are generally playful and inquisitive.

Around dive sites with caves and caverns like Fish Rock Cave, expect to see large schools of rainbow runner, silver bream and squirrelfish. Critter hunters will not be left out as there are sea spiders, moray eels, lionfish and other interesting sights like pufferfish and scorpionfish. Seahorses and the strange weedy seadragon can also been seen off Sydney.


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Wedged in-between Queensland and Victoria, New South Wales is the most populous state in Australia with large cities like Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle. Lord Howe Island, some 435 miles (700km) away, is also part of New South Wales. New South Wales was discovered by Captain James Cook in the 18th century but has been inhabited by Aboriginal tribes for more than 60,000 years. The main tribes in New South Wales include the Wodi Wodi and the Bundjalung.

The Great Dividing Range passes through New South Wales and its highest peak is Mount Koscuiszko at 7,313ft (2,229m). This mountainous range brings about two types of climate to New South Wales. To the west of the range, the climate is like a desert with scorching summers and freezing winters but to the east of the range that faces the coast, it is temperate and rains throughout the year.

Tourism plays a big role in the economy of New South Wales and there are more than 700 different national parks and nature reserves to explore. Tourists are spoilt for choice here with snowcapped mountains, forests, beautiful coasts, wine valleys, Australian outback, and metropolitan Sydney.

Other attractions

Spend some time exploring Sydney or head out to the beautiful Blue Mountains. The more adventurous can try a trip to the outback or for a relaxing time, head to Hunter Valley for wine tasting. Besides that, relax on wonderful beaches, snorkel, join whale watching trips or ski during winter.

Getting there

Fly to Sydney Airport. Once in Sydney, there are connecting flights to areas like Byron Bay and also flights to Lord Howe Island. Alternatively, ground transport is easily available with bus and train networks and you could also rent a car.


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Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.

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