Diving Melbourne

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Melbourne, Australia

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Country: Australia  Area: Victoria

Water Temp: 22 - 29°C (72 - 84°F)

Visibility: 5 - 20m (16 - 66 ft)

Depth Range: 5 - 40m (16 - 131 ft)

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When people think about diving in Australia, they think Northern Queensland or perhaps New South Whales. Not many people would expect Melbourne, (located in the state of Victoria), to have excellent diving.

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Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia, and is considered to be the cultural capital of the country. Australians and tourists from around the world are attracted to the city for the excellent shopping, incredible coffee, Victorian architecture, museums, and galleries.

 

Marine Conservation

The Sea Life Melbourne aquarium is dedicated to providing sustainable attraction to visitors, as well as demonstrating their commitment to keeping the ocean clean.

Melbourne Seaside, Credit

Melbourne Down Under is committed to drawing attention to the diversity and colour of Port Phillip Bay, by using world-class imagery, and releasing books, documentary DVD’s, and footage which will highlight the unique marine life found in Melbourne. A proportion of the revenue that is generated from product sales is then reinvested into the local communities to fund education projects and marine engagement experiences.

The Australian Marine Mammal Conservation Foundation works with communities throughout Australia and aims to support and work with Australia’s marine mammals researchers and scientists to advance the conservation, protection, and knowledge of the marine animals.

Squid, Credit

Climate

Melbourne is known for having “four seasons in one day”, and has very warm, hot summers, with mild autumns and springs and cool winters. The average temperature in summer is 25ºC (77ºF), and in winter the average is 14ºC (57ºF).

Rainfall is highest from May to October, and summer is from December to February. The coldest months are June to August, and it can get as cold as 7ºC (44ºF).

Divers generally prefer the summer months, as the water is warmer, although it’s possible to dive year round, and Melbourne has no off season.

In summer the water temperatures average from 28ºC (82ºF) to 32ºC (89ºF), and in winter divers can expect a slightly chillier 10ºC (50ºF) to 15ºC (59ºF).

 
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The Diving

This region is one of Australia's best kept secrets for diving, with temperate water, shipwrecks, drop offs, kelp forests, scallop beds, and drift dives. Melbourne is close to the famous Great Ocean Road, as well as Phillip Island, where visitors can see the nightly Penguin Parade.

Melbourne is also one of the few places in the world where divers can find the Weedy Sea dragons. They live in the kelp forests, and hide amongst the greenery, along with seahorses, octopus, huge rays, squid, and plenty of other varieties of marine life.

Divers, Melbourne, Credit

The region is also excellent for shore diving, and divers will also have the chance to swim with the many playful seals in the area. Here are some of the best dive sites in Melbourne:

Ex HMAS Canberra Warship

The Ex HMAS Canberra is the first artificial reef created specifically for diving in Victoria. The ship is lying in approximately 28m (91 ft) of water, although the top of the mast is lying just 5m (16ft) below the surface at low tide, which means it’s an excellent dive for both experienced divers and newbies.

Divers can access all of the decks, with the highlights including the captain’s cabin, junior mess mural, bridge, galley, and operations room.

Fish & Sponges, Credit

Victorias Ships Graveyard

The Ships’ Graveyard is located 7km’s (4.3miles) east of Torquay’s Fisherman’s Beach. There are 46 wrecks to choose from here, and divers can choose from barges, tugs, lighters, a coastal freighter, World War One submarines, a patrol boat, and a pale steamer. Some wrecks can be penetrated by more experienced divers, and the wrecks can also be dived at any time of the day since there is not much tidal current.

The Mall

The mall is located just inside Port Phillip Bay, and features an almost vertical drop which has plenty of ledges and overhangs, with a large array of fish including magpie morwongs, hula fish, leather jackets, blue devils, old wives, cuttlefish, and crayfish.

Blue-spotted goatfish, Credit

The Links

The Links is named for the huge anchor train which was lost from a Japanese freighter called the Ningan Maru. The anchor was dropped as the vessel suffered a steering failure, and was then unable to be recovered so was cut free. It now hangs over the wall, and drops from 18m (59 ft) to 60m (196 ft). Divers can expect to see a chain overgrown with gorgeous sponges, and plenty of interesting marine life.

18 Metre Reef

This site is located near Point Lonsdale, and offered hang-throughs to swim through, and ledges to explore. The area is abundant with both seals and blue devil fish.

Point Gellibrand

Point Gellibrand is a shore dive, and although the site is initially rocky and shallow, it slowly depends into a broad expanse of reef with good quality fish life, including huge colourful nudibranchs. It’s an excellent dive for macro photography.

Seadragon, Credit

Boarfish Reef Drift

This is a drift dive in Port Phillip Bay, with strong currents, and a large amount of boating traffic. Divers are given rope and all descend as a group which makes the diving easy with very little kicking and navigation.

The Grotto

This site is named after the large overhangs, and many small caves which are available for divers to explore. Expect to see many interesting rock formations as well as swim-throughs and overhangs, with mosaic sea stars, boarfish, crayfish, nudibranches, blue devil fish, leather jackets, yellow sea spiders, and occasionally Port Jackson Sharks. This is one of the most popular dive sites, and it’s a great option for new divers.

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How to Get there

Melbourne International Airport (also known as Tullamarine Airport) is located in the northwest of the city, and receives flights from around the world. The smaller Avalon Airport receives some domestic flights from the low-cost carrier Jetstar Airways.

Taxis from the airport to the CBD will take around 30 minutes and cost $55-$65. The sky's also runs a frequent shuttle bus service to Southern Cross Station, for $18 one way, and tickets can be repurchased online.

At Melbourne Airport, Credit

There are also a few public buses which are slower but cheaper than the shuttle, such as the 901 Frankston-Melbourne Airport bus.

All trains depart from the Southern Cross Station which is located at the Western end of the Melbourne CBD, and connects to suburban tram routes, bus services, and train lines.

The city itself is laid out in a grid system, making it easy to walk or bike around. The public transport is extensive and relatively easy to use with plenty of trams, trains and buses.                   

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Where to Eat & Drink

Melbourne has a huge cafe-culture, and is well-known throughout Australia for its excellent coffee. Take a walk through the alleyways in the central city, and stop at one of the many cafes which will serve coffee, cakes, snacks, and meals.

For American BBQ, be sure to check out Fancy Hanks which is near the Victoria Market. They have a huge range of slow cooked BBQ meats, with many different sides, sauces, and sandwiches.

Food! Credit

Speaking of the Victoria Market, it’s well worth heading there for a snack, and tourists will find options from around the world.

Those looking for a good breakfast should stop by Fair Foodstore, which has great coffee, and excellent poached eggs and other breakfast options for a reasonable price.

Oasis Bakery is known for excellent Turkish food, with delicious braised lamb ribs, and giant Turkish delights. This is a good place to get a cheap and filling meal.

For dessert check out Gelobar, which is famous for having the best Italian style ice cream.

Melbourne has a nightlife to suit everyone, with elegant cocktail bars, and rowdy bars galore. Be sure to check out Atrium Bar which is the place to go of champagne, or Bar Watermark which has a great view of Victoria Harbour.

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Other Activities

Melbourne is an excellent city for walking, so be sure to take a stroll through the city and visit Federation Square, go shopping on Collins Street, and bask in the sun at St. Kilda Beach.

Those with some time should take a trip down The Great Ocean Road, which is one of the best road trips in Australia, and the National Gallery of Victoria is a must visit for those who enjoy art.          

Amusement ride, Credit

Family Friendly

Melbourne has plenty of activities for the whole family, and most of the dive companies offer introductory dives and lessons for children, so this is one vacation where the kids can come too.

Melbourne Zoo has more than 320 species from around the world, and it’s an excellent day out, especially for those with young children. The Old Melbourne Gaol is a fun experience for older kids, and parents will also enjoy stepping back into time in a 19th century prison.

Mooncake Festival, Credit

Take a trip up the Eureka Skyjack to see the best view of Melbourne, which comes alive at night with a gorgeous array of lights.

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Tips

The Melbourne public transport system is ticketless, and visitors must have a MYKI card which stores money and must “tap on” and “tap off”. This can be confusing, and many tourists end up with fines as they are unsure how it works. Be sure to ask for help if you don’t quite understand how the system works, as the ticket inspectors are tough on both locals and visitors.

Melbourne, Credit

The temperature can rise quickly in Melbourne, so be sure to take plenty of water, hats, and sunblock, particularly if you’ll be outside all day. Heatstroke is common here.                 

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