Swim alongside some of Australia's most magnificent marine life.
By Jessica Wilkinson
Australia has no shortage of awe-inspiring marine wildlife and remarkable ways to interact with them. Recently added to that list are several new swim-with-creatures experiences. These guided encounters spanning from Australia's west coast to the serene waters of South Australia allow you to swim with humpback whales, fluorescent cuttlefish and an array of sharks.
Swim with colourful giant cuttlefish in Sydney
Just once per year, these visually striking underwater creatures migrate and congregate for their breeding season and are well known for their ability to display arrays of luminescent patterns and colours. Damien McClellan from Eco Treasures in Sydney offers tours where you can see the cuttlefish just off shore and likens it an underwater Vivid. Giant cuttlefish are usually spotted between April and September at the Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve during their breeding season. While snorkelling here, you’ll also get to witness the Eastern blue groper, year round. Simply swim straight off Shelly Beach to catch sight of the endangered species and iconic fish of New South Wales.
Swim with colourful giant cuttlefish at Stony Point
Swim with the Giant Cuttlefish is a new tour in South Australia that takes you snorkelling with the amazing giant cuttlefish at Stony Point, located on the coastline of the Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park in Whyalla. Their two-day tour itinerary, which has departures available to book during the cuttlefish migration season in July, is packed with added benefits that include exclusive cuttlefish insights by a marine expert, sightseeing through the wilderness of the Southern Flinders Ranges and hiking along the rugged Alligator Gorge in the Mount Remarkable National Park. The tour includes return transport from Adelaide and all equipment.
Swim with humpback whales at Ningaloo
Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia is an existing hot spot for swimming with whale sharks, and operators have now extended their seasons (March - July in Exmouth and March to June in Coral Bay) to accommodate for the humpback migration (July to October annually). The tours will be full day tours and kept very small with a maximum of ten people, and your interactions with the whales will be on the whale's terms, keeping the experience safe. If the humpbacks behaviour and the weather allows, you'll be able to get in the water with them. There are numerous operators that run whale shark and humpback tours, including Kings Ningaloo Reef Tours, Ocean Eco Adventures and Coral Bay Ecotours.
Swim with sharks (no cages!) at Shark Bay
In this new experience, you can dive - without the cage - in Western Australia’s Shark Bay where some 29 species of shark lurk. The marine scientists who run Ocean Park have started offering shark dives and even PADI dive certificate training with tiger sharks, sandbar sharks (one of the biggest coastal sharks in the world) hammerheads, lemon sharks (stocky and powerful sharks and can grow to over three metres in length) and more in their shark lagoon. No previous experience is required for this shark dive experience, which lasts around 2 hours and includes all dive equipment, SCUBA diving training, and a shark awareness briefing. If you want to see these sharks in the wild then Shark Bay Dive & Marine Safaris run diving, snorkeling and scenic tours to Steep Point and Dirk Hartog Island.
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