Swim alongside some of Australia's most magnificent marine life.
By Jessica Wilkinson
Australia has no shortage of awe-inspiring marine wildlife, and fortunately there are equally as many remarkable ways to interact with them. Experiences span from Australia's west coast to the serene waters of South Australia, where guided encouncers allow you to swim with humpback whales, fluorescent cuttlefish and an array of sharks.
Swim with colourful giant cuttlefish in Sydney
Just once a year, these striking underwater creatures congregate for their breeding season, with their unique array of luminescent patterns and colours on display. Damien McClellan from Eco Treasures in Sydney offer tours where you can see the cuttlefish just off shore, likening it to an underwater Vivid show. 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, who inhabits these waters 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 itinerary has departures available to book during the cuttlefish migration season in July, and is packed with added extras 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.
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 - June in Coral Bay) to accommodate for the humpback migration (July - October annually). They offer full day tours and keep the groups very small with a maximum of ten guests, so all interactions with the whales are safe and intimate. If the humpbacks are behaving accordinly and the weather permits, 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 2 hour shark dive, 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.