The Best Diving Spots in Perth, Australia

The warm waters of Rottnest Island attract a kaleidoscope of marine life
The warm waters of Rottnest Island attract a kaleidoscope of marine life | © Michael Willis / Alamy Stock Photo
James Taylor

With a long uninterrupted stretch of coastline, plenty of pristine islands, colourful coral reefs and ghostly shipwrecks, Perth is one of Australia’s premier diving destinations. Plunge into the colourful seascapes around Western Australia’s capital city with these incredible diving spots.

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Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island is by far the most popular and well-known dive location in Perth, located off the coast of the city. Ringed with sparkling coves, limestone caverns, shipwrecks and colourful reefs, there’s plenty to explore and multiple dive sites. Warmer water attracts a kaleidoscopic collection of tropical fish, and playful seals often visit the coves. For most divers, the Rottnest Shipwreck Trail is the biggest draw. There are thirteen shipwrecks found around the island and snagged by the coast and corals, the oldest of which dates back to 1842. Most dive operators in the city offer day tours to the island.

Crystal Palace

From the moment you arrive at the Crystal Palace dive site by boat, you’ll know that just one tank of air won’t be enough. Located off the small Dyer Island (south of Rottnest), the Crystal Palace dive boasts perhaps the most interesting underwater topography of all the sites around Perth. Since the site has an average depth of just eight metres (26ft), divers will immediately find themselves confronted with an incredible network of limestone caves brimming with endless species of tropical fish and coral. Expect to encounter boxfish, huge blue gropers and Samson fish as the sunlight filters down beautifully through openings from above.

Marmion Marine Park

The coastline north of Burns Beach is teeming with underwater life

Located 30 minutes’ drive from the Perth Central Business District, Marmion Marine Park is an easily accessible area with a wide variety of dives that showcase Western Australia’s diverse and colourful seascapes. The park stretches for 20 kilometres (12mi) along the Sunset Coast from Trigg Island Beach to Burns Beach. At any point along the coast, it’s as easy as wading into the ocean to discover diverse coral reefs, submerged ledges and hidden caves. The park’s designated dive trail is directly offshore from the Marmion Angling and Aquatic Club, spanning 400 metres (1,312ft) and taking divers on an underwater adventure through the diversity of the park’s marine landscapes.

Boy in a Boat Reef

Part of the Marmion Marine Park, the Boy in a Boat Reef is one of the most popular and beautiful dives in Perth. Accessed from the jetty behind the Aquarium of Western Australia, the compact limestone reef is filled with winding pathways through the coral, secretive swim-throughs and plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. For such a small area, there’s an incredible amount of colourful marine life on display, and the reef itself is one of the prettiest around. The dive is great for both beginners and more advanced divers.

Key Biscayne

For one of the more advanced dives in the area, the Key Biscayne wreck is a popular option. Located 120 kilometres (75mi) north of Perth and 30 minutes’ off the coast, the wreck is an offshore oil rig that sank in 1983. Bound for a new location off the coast of Perth’s southern suburbs, on the journey the tow lines snapped and couldn’t be reattached, causing the rig to slowly sink. At its deepest, the wreck is 40 metres (131ft) underwater, and divers will spot sea fans, colourful sponges and grey nurse sharks. Rumour has it that there’s a safe hidden somewhere in the area which is filled with money, diamonds and other treasure.

HMAS Swan

A couple of hours south of Perth is one of the largest dive wrecks in the Southern Hemisphere: the HMAS Swan. This sunken ship was formerly a destroyer escort for the Royal Australian Navy, intentionally scuttled in 1997 to be used as a dive wreck. After over two decades, plenty of sea creatures have claimed the wreckage as their own, including over 100 types of tropical fish, colourful sponges and even a small hammerhead shark who circles through the upper decks. Divers can enter openings carved in the hull and swim through various levels and compartments of the ship in one of Australia’s coolest underwater adventures.

Rockingham Wreck Trail

25 minutes south of Fremantle is the city of Rockingham, home to the Rockingham Wreck Trail. Made up of multiple sunken wrecks connected by ropes, it’s a dive that doesn’t require a lot of experience. Under the water are sunken boats, a few planes and some artificial tire reefs, all teeming with life. You’ll see seahorses, moon jellyfish and even a resident lionfish who has made his home in one of the planes. Many of Perth’s diving schools take their students to this spot, so it can get crowded at times.

Point Peron

There are caves to explore off Point Peron

Also located in Rockingham is the Point Peron peninsula, surrounded by an expansive open-water dive site. There’s a wide variety of seascapes to explore here, from easy snorkelling routes over coral reefs to deeper dives into vast limestone chambers and underneath ledges and arches. The main area of interest is the large reef 150 metres (500ft) offshore from Long Reach beach, where there are several larger caves to explore and common sightings of stingrays, seals and even dolphins. The area is massive, so multiple visits are needed to appreciate all of its beauty.

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