Diving Adelaide

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Adelaide, Australia


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Country: Australia  Area: South Australia

Water Temp: 11 - 24°C (52 - 75°F)

Visibility: 1 - 26m (3 - 85 ft)

Depth Range: 6 - 40m (20 - 131 ft)

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Voted Australia’s “most liveable city”, Adelaide has a plethora of dive sites off the coast, and plenty of different dives to do, including artificial reefs, wreck diving, and shark diving.

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Adelaide is the capital of South Australia, and is known for its music scene. Some of Australia's top musicians are from the city, including Sia, Guy Sebastian, and Hilltop Hoods.

There are plenty of festivals throughout the year, but especially in March, which has been nicknamed 'Mad March', due to all of the events that are on. The city is home to the famous Adelaide Zoo, which is the only place in Australia to see giant pandas, and there are also plenty of interesting museums and national parks, along with a huge range of wineries around the city.

The diving known for numerous wrecks, highly biologically diverse reef life which much of it not found anywhere else.

Diving in Adelaide; Ex-HMAS Hobart, Credit

Marine Conservation

Areas within South Australia and the immediate onshore waters are protected, and are managed by the South Australian Government. There are currently 350 protected areas.

Many of these are national parks, some with restricted access, and some are sanctuary zones, where no fishing is allowed, but diving, swimming, and surfing are permitted.


Adelaide has a Mediterranean climate, and enjoys hot summers, and relatively mild winters, making it a great place to visit year round. The water will definitely be chilly in winter and divers tend to use a 5mm wetsuit. June is the wettest month of the year.

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The Diving

The water in South Australia is generally clean and uncrowded, with some of the most biologically diverse reefs in the world. Many people are unaware that the diving is so good near Adelaide, and skip it in favour of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland.

However, the reefs in South Australia are among the worlds most biologically diverse, and 80% of the marine life here are not found anywhere else on Earth. Expect to see Australian sea lions, Southern Right whales, bottlenose dolphins, great white sharks, weedy sea dragons, little penguins, and cuttlefish, along with plenty of different coloured coral and fish.

Divers can dive the waters all year round, and will enjoy warm water in summer, and extremely clear water in winter.

Adelaide is probably most well known for its wrecks, and they’re situated so that even novice divers can enjoy them. Many of these are also located just outside of Adelaide, which makes them perfect for day trips. Some of the more popular wrecks include the following:

Claris Wreck: The Claris is a 12 metre long fishing trawler, which is recommended for advanced divers since the currents are strong and it’s quite deep.

Seawolf Wreck: The M.V.Seawolf is 32metres long, and was sunk in 2002 to create an artificial reef. The wreck has plenty of holes for diving inside the ship, but some can only be dived by extremely experienced divers.

Stanvac Barges: These three barges are less than 100m (328 ft) apart, and were sank over 40 years ago. There is plenty of marine life here, but they are too dangerous to be penetrated.

Ulonga Wreck: Built in 1910, the A.V Ulonga sank in 1976, and it’s definitely an interesting dive, as divers will discover many different artefacts. This dive is 40m (131ft) so divers must be CDAA or Deep qualified, and carry at least one redundant air source per pair.

Ex-HMAS Hobart: Perhaps the most famous of the many wrecks near Adelaide, the ex-HMAS Hobart was a missile destroyer in the Royal Australian Navy, and was purposely sunk in 2002, creating an artificial reef named Fleurieu.

Most of the wreck is still intact, and while it lies in around 30m of water, the top level is visible at 8m, so even novice divers can explore. This is one of the best wrecks to dive, due to the large amount of the ship that is open to divers. Divers can explore the missile launchers, bridge area, mess decks, and engine rooms.

Diving the Hobart Wreck Credit

Along with the many wrecks, the waters near Adelaide are home to many different reefs, many of them just a short journey from the city here are just a few:

Milkies Reef: Milkies is great for those who haven’t gone diving for awhile, as the maximum depth is 17m. There is plenty of marine life here, including tons of spider crabs, just watch out for the tidal currents.

Leather Jacket Alley: This is an excellent dive for beginners, as the maximum depth is only 10m. This site features natural gutters, and a wide variety of fish and crabs.

Seacliff Reef: With a depth of 15m, this is an easy dive site, with a large fish population. Divers will need to access the sit by boat, but should be able to spot some blue devils.

Aldinga Dropoff: The Aldinga Drop-off is a marine reserve, which drops to 21m, and is home to many different fish and corals. There is a sandy bottom here, and the wall has cracks along it that are deep enough to fit in.

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How to Get there

Adelaide is located around 8-9 hours by car from Melbourne, but for those who don’t want to drive, Adelaide International Airport has flights arriving from New Zealand, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Denpasar, Singapore and Dubai, as well as domestic flights from around the country.

Trains are also popular, and the Great Southern Railway runs tourist train services. Often they will cost more than a flight, but the views are well worth it.

Once in Adelaide, the buses are quite comprehensive, and the Adelaide Metro bus system has a free city loop, as well as plenty of other buses that travel throughout the city. Trams are also a popular way to get around, and save drivers the hassle of finding parking in the city, and there are also four different metro train lines.

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Where to Eat & Drink

Gouger Street is an excellent place to wander and find a restaurant that suits, as it offers a large range of different restaurants, including Italian, Asian, French, and Argentinian.

Melbourne Street has an interesting mix of restaurants and cafes, and O’Connell Street is perfect for takeaways and pub food.

For the best falafel in Adelaide, head to Jerusalem Sheshkebab House, which has decorations that have been going strong for the last 30 years. This place is good for vegetarians and vegans as well.

Aroma Japanese Restaurant has all you can eat sushi at lunch, and Fasta Pasta is good for lunch as well.

For something a little nicer, and still reasonably priced, Chefs of Tandoori has excellent Indian food, and La Trattoria is great for Italian, and owned by an Italian family.

Windy Point Restaurant is perfect for those wanting dinner with a view, and has a gorgeous view of the city skyline. This restaurant has great service, a nice ambiance, and is open for dinner from 6pm.

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Other Activities

The Art Gallery of South Australia is good for a rainy day, with many different exhibitions throughout the year.

Both overseas visitors and locals will appreciate the South Australian Museum, which offers the chance to learn about Australia’s history and culture.

The Botanic Park is huge, with plenty of shady spots for picnics, and those who like to get outdoors will enjoy Waterfall Gully, which is a 1-1.5 hour hike through the Adelaide Hills bushland from Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty.

For an amazing night view of the city, head up Monteflore Hill in North Adelaide just before sunset. The Rundle Lantern light display is another great photo opportunity, and is located on the corner of Rundle and Putney Streets, from dusk to midnight every night.

Adelaide has a huge range of festivals, including the Tour Down Under, which starts on the 3rd Tuesday of January, and the Clipsal 500 in mid-March, which is a popular supercar racing event.

The famous Adelaide Fringe Festival runs from late February to Late March, and is the second largest festival of its type in the world. The whole city will come alive with street performers, theatre, dance, music, circus, art, and culture.

Family Friendly

The Cleland Wildlife Park is great for families, and good value for money. Visitors can get up close to Koalas and Kangaroos, as well as take a night walk and see the animals in a nocturnal environment.

The Adelaide Zoo is also popular, and guests can visit both Adelaide and Monarto Zoo, which each have different animals.

Many dive centres have Scuba for kids, and have introductory courses as well as the PADI Junior Open Water Diver course. Most of them teach kids from the age of 8, and there are also plenty of snorkelling opportunities for younger kids.

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Spend a few extra days in Adelaide to visit some of the famous wineries and enjoy the city ;)

Adelaide is a safe, welcoming city, and it only takes 20 minutes to get from the city to the beach or wineries.

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Rating 10/10

Great White Sharks

Adelaide23 May 2012 - 24 May 2012

Not quite Adelaide when looking at exact location. But took a half hour flight to Port Lincoln to stay at the Marina Hotel and Apartments. Not much round there but this is where you want to be as the boats and dive centres of Adventure Bay Charters and Calypso that run day trips to cage dive with Great White Sharks are based at this Marina. I personally went with Adventure Bay Charters who while doing the cage dive don't chum the waters but use as they say a more eco-friendly way of attracting the sharks. They use sound waves to attract the sharks by playing AC-DC underwater (It worked). In a way they are right with the more eco friendly as the sharks don't approach the cage as aggressive.

We had to keep the pressure on the company to take us though as the sea's out were pretty rough but they could understand that we were desperate to get out as we had travel arrangements that might not give us the chance to do it another day. We went and it was a pretty hairy boat ride out but well worth the rewards.

Seeing Great Whites in their natural environment was an experience that will live with me forever and I will repeat one day in Mexico and South Africa. I would recommend anybody to do this at least once in their life.

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Liam Parker

Great shots!


Vandra Allison

Wow! To be as close must be a great experience.


Sean Chinn

Yes Brian. I hope to do in South Africa one day as well and Guadeloupe. Thanks Liam. Yes it was Vandra, I remember the moment I was leaning my head against the bar of cage looked 1 way then the other and then back again and it appeared as if out of the blue straight in front of my face. such an epic experience.

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