Scuba diving in Tasmania | The best dive centers, liveaboards and dive sites

The Tasmanian Devil can only be found on Tasmania, Australia

The island state of Australia, Tasmania, is located south from Melbourne and surrounded by many smaller islands. Because it is surrounded by the Southern Ocean, the Pacific, and the Indian Ocean, its coastal areas and marine wildlife are truly a gem hidden.

Get ready to be enchanted by the humpback whales and to explore the stunning dive sites of Tasmania!

Recommendations | Tasmania cruises and diving

Diving is possible year-round in Tasmania. The weather conditions during the months November to March are the most comfortable (as this is the summer season). However, you can also dive during the winter season. The advantage for diving during the winter is that the visibility is better compared to the summer months.

Liveaboard Tasmania

The best way to discover waters and surrounding of Tasmania is by cruise/liveaboard. The Coral Discover offers various trips around Tasmania and also a one way trip from Sydney to Hobart (or Hobart – Sydney). The Coral Discover cruise Tasmania offers great facilities such as a sun deck, sea view cabins and internet. Note that this boat does not offer scuba diving activities.

Liveaboard and cruise ''The Coral Discover'' - explore the waters and surroundings of Tasmania, Australia
The Coral Discover cruise

Diving center Tasmania

For scuba diving in Tasmania, we recommend to book with Go Dive Tasmania. This is a 5-star PADI diving center and is located in Hobart, Tasmania. They offer boat dives and various PADI scuba diving courses. Besides, they are have great reviews from other divers.

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Go Dive Tasmania

N.A.
AUD 130 (2 dives)
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PADI
AUD 595
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Gear hire, air fill station, service & repair services, dive shop

Eagle Hawk Dive Centre

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AUD 220 (2 dives)
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PADI
AUD 660
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custom-built training pool, accommodation, gear hire

Tasmanian Divers Group

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PADI
AUD 595
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Gear hire, gear service and repair
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The best diving centers in Tasmania

Below, we have outlined the best diving centers of Tasmania.

Diving center 1: Go Dive Tasmania (Hobart)

Go Dive Tasmania is a 5 star PADI diving center and is located in Hobart, Tasmania. They also have a store where you can shop for all sorts of diving gear, suits, and accessories. Other facilities include an air fill station and a classroom for scuba diving courses. They also offer scuba gear rental services and equipment servicing services.

Besides their location in Hobart, they also offer a divers lodge which is located in Eaglehawk Neck, Tasman Peninsula. This divers lodge is equipped with 12 rooms, a lounge, and a kitchen.

Courses

Go Dive Tasmania offers a whole range of PADI scuba diving courses including the Open Water Course. No prior experience with scuba diving is required but you'll need adequate swimming skills and to be in good physical health. At the moment of writing, the PADI Open Water course is offered for AUD 595 (originally previously AUD 1.095).

Aside from the Open Water course, they also offer the PADI Advanced Course, Rescue dive, Deep dive, Divemaster, Freediver and specialty courses.

Tours / Prices

Go Dive Tasmania offers a 1 day trip for AUD 130. You can enjoy 2 boat dives out of the Eaglehawk Neck divers lodge, Tasman Peninsula including tanks and weights, refreshments between dives, and a free stay at their diver’s lodge. Dive guides are not included in the dive trips but can be organized for an additional fee.

Diving center 2: Eagle Hawk Dive Centre (Tasman Peninsula, Hobart region)

Eagle Hawk Dive Center is a 5 star PADI diving center and is located on the Tasman Peninsula, about 60 minutes driving from Hobart. They started the diving center in 1991.

Eagle Hawk Dive Centre offers scuba diving day trips, courses, gear rental and air refills. For those who would like to dive with Nitrox, they also offer Nitrox airfills. The day trips include two dives at 2 different dive sites. If the conditions are OK, you have the opportunity to dive at the SS Nord Wreck or the Cathedral Cave dive site.

Courses

If you would like to learn scuba diving, you can book the PADI Open Water course for AUD 660, including gear, 4 boat dives and accommodation. They also offer the PADI Advanced Open Water, Rescue and specialty courses. For the confined water training sessions of a scuba diving course, they use a custom built swimming pool.

Tours / Prices

The day trip includes 2 dives at 2 different dive sites. This trip costs AUD 120 per person, excluding gear. The trip including scuba gear costs AUD 220 per person. If desired, you can also hire a dive guide which is a great option of you would like to explore the dive site with a local expert or someone who will look look after you during the dive.

Diving center 3: Tasmanian Divers Group (Launceston and Kingston)

Tasmanian Divers Group is a PADI diving center and operates from two locations: Launceston which is located in Northern part of Tasmania and Kingston which is located a few kilometers south from Hobart.

Tasmanian Divers Group does not offer scuba diving day trips. For these activities, they redirect you to Eagle Hawk Dive Centre (diving center 2 as described above). If you are looking for a dive club, you can join the Tasmanian Divers Group member club.

However, they do offer scuba diving courses. For AUD 595, you can get your PADI Open Water license. They also offer various other courses such as the PADI Advanced Open Water PADI Specialty courses such as Enriched Air Nitrox and the PADI Divemaster course.

They also offer gear rental, air fills and service/repair services. For these kind of services, you can visit one of their stores in Launceston or Kingston.

Liveaboards and cruises in Tasmania

As mentioned before, the best way to discover the waters and the beautiful coastline is by a Tasmania cruise. Below, we have outlined our recommendation for a Tasmania cruise.

Liveaboard 1: the Coral Discoverer

Coral Discoverer was built in 2005 but was fully refurbished in 2016. This newly remodeled vessel is 62 meters long and is designed to be able to navigate with a dashing speed of 10-12 knots through narrow passages and shallow waters setting the benchmark in cruising Australia with a relative small ship. This is made possible by Coral Discoverer’s modern navigation technology that stabilizes comfortable open sea cruising.

This huge vessel is equipped with diverse expedition vessels such as two Zodiacs, four double kayaks, one single kayak, a boat with a glass-bottom and Xplorer tender using a water-activity platform for easier water entry. Aboard the Coral Discoverer, modern Australian ambiance will enhance your relaxation and stylish comfort at its finest. Contemporary furnishings, glamorous decks and the latest state of the art facilities blend perfectly with their wonderful cabins of five types.

The thirty-six spacious cabins sized 161 and 215 square feet are all air-conditioned, furnished with a modern flair, original artworks and have a private en suite bathroom. This Tasmanian cruise can house up to a maximum of 72 guests.

Route: Different routes are available such as the ‘’Yachtsman’s Cruise’’ (Sydney to Hobart – 7D/6N), ‘’Tasmania – Coastal Wilds of Tasmania’’ (Hobart to Hobart – 11D/10N) and the ‘’Coastal Treks of Tasmania’’ (Hobart to Hobart 11D/10N).

Prices and availability: The price of this liveaboard trip starts at AUD 593 / day (USD 432).

The Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom can be booked during a cruise with the Coral Discoverer cruise in Tasmania
The Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom, the Coral Discoverer

The best Tasmanian dive sites

Below, we have included our selection of the best dive sites of Tasmania.

Dive site 1: SS Nord Wreck Dive

The SS Nord is an interesting wreck which can be found near the coast of Tasman Island. Tasman Island a is small island which is located south-east from Hobart. The SS Nord wreck can only be reached by a boat.

This incredible shipwreck is still intact for the most parts such as the bow and stern. Interestingly, various artifacts such as Chinese crockery along with brass fittings are still visible in the wreck at present. However, removing them from the wreck is prohibited since it is declared protected.

The wreck is located at a depth of 20 – 45 meters. Visibility really depends on the weather conditions but generally varies between 15-30 meters. Note that strong current can be experienced. The SS Nord wreck dive site is more suitable for advanced divers (i.e. deep diving and/or wreck diving certifications).

Dive site 2: Mount Everest

Mount Everest, a towering deep-sea mound, is one striking dive site that you should not miss when diving in Tasmania. Located at the Governors Island Marine Reserve in Bicheno, Mount Everest has a depth that stretches from about 5 – 40 meters.

Depending on your dive plan, you can start by jumping of the boat and descend to your maximum depth. There is also a cavern located at a depth of around 20-25 meters.

From the sandy seafloor, trek up for a sensational dive to reach the apex of Mount Everest approximately 5 meters beneath the surface waters. Before reaching the underwater mountain peak, you will encounter the colorful Trap Reef where a community of fishes thrives, along with octopi, lobsters, and occasional sightings of whales.

Dive site 3: Giant Kelp Forest

Giant kelp is the tallest marine plant that can grow up to 30 meters and biologically provides marine habitats. Having a boat ride to Fortescue Bay in Tasman National Park, an ideal shore dive of the Giant Kelp Forest awaits deep under its waters. With an average depth of 8 – 18 meters, the giant kelp forest is an amazing experience for all levels of the diver to experience not to mention its awesome visibility and temperate water of 12 to 16 degrees celsius.

This one of a kind dive site offers sightings of draught board sharks that laze at the bottom of the giant kelp forest. Occasionally playing around the kelps are the endemic weedy sea-dragons, potbelly jellyfishes, golden weed fishes as well as wrasse. Approaching the rocks will let you sneak upon Abalone and Southern Rock Lobsters. If you happen to visit between January to March, giant Rays and Seals are also visible.

Dive site 4: Cathedral Cave

One magnificent Tasmanian diving spot where the natural underwater caves and caverns presence is located at Waterfall Bay. The largest and most popular of them all is the Cathedral Cave. It has a maximum depth of 21 meters with a massive entrance interconnected with other smaller caverns, narrow tunnels, and crossed passages to dive through which makes it a stand-alone epic dive site.

What makes the dark Cathedral Cave more impressive is the uncommon presence of brightly colored fish species that can be usually seen in deeper waters. To have a better view of these fishes, make sure you have your torch with you while you dive.

Dive site 5: Magic Garden

Another diver’s haven at the east coast of Tasmania is the world-famous Magic Garden. Located at Bicheno, Tasmania, this reef type dive site sits in the Governor's Island Marine Reserve which can be reached via boat. Magic Garden has an average depth of 6 - 38 meters and offers good visibility (10-30 meters). The temperature water can be considered chilly as the temperature is between 13 to 18 degrees Celsius.

The garden lays at the foundation of a series of vertical walls and incredible tunnels that are completely covered with magnificent colors of exquisite marine life. Included in these teeming underwater wildlife are dolphins, and seals that swim through the gigantic tunnels while not so distant are the whales that regularly sweep the waters in the area.

Dive spot 6: Paterson’s Arches

Paterson’s Arch dive site will leave every diver the greatest first impression because of its wicked canyons, exciting swim-throughs, and open-top cave walls. To dive this area, a diver must have good driving skills with reasonable buoyancy control making it inadvisable for inexperienced divers.

Paterson’s Arch is an excellent pick for seeing weedy sea dragons and various invertebrates.  It is also home to a range of different fish species, and other marine life. Not many world dive sites are as satisfying to explore as Paterson’s Arches canyons and open-topped caves. Paterson's Arches always leaves divers a lasting first impression a dive site could offer.

How to Get to Tasmania

As Australia's only island state, Tasmania can only be reached by domestic flights and ferries.

Option 1: A domestic flight to Tasmania

To reach Tasmania by airplane, you have three flight choices:

  1. Hobart - the capital and largest city in the state -  serves as the premier airport when flying to Tasmania. The Qantas, Virgin, and Jetstar airlines provide main flight routes coming from Melbourne and Sydney.
  2. Another route for flying to Tasmania is from Launceston Airport. Though it's far more low-key than Hobart and there are fewer flights, it is quite easy and comfortable especially if you opt to fly in and out of northern Tasmania.
  3. The final route you can take is to Devonport Airport. It is important to note that a maximum of two flights a day are aloud.  

We recommend to check the latest flight schedule and prices here.

Option 2: By ferry (Spirit of Tasmania)

When you decide to take the ferry to reach Tasmania, the most popular ferry to board is the iconic Spirit of Tasmania. Traveling almost every day from Melbourne to Tasmania and vice versa, with a travel time of around 11-12 hours. The ferry follows a standard overnight schedule but also offers its services during the day.

The main advantage of taking a ferry is that you can bring your car, caravan or motorhome with you. It is also possible to book cabins (shared cabins up to deluxe cabins are available). The latest timetables and prices can be checked here.

Accommodations in Tasmania

As most of the diving activities take place around Hobart, we have included two recommended Hobart accommodations below.

Accommodation 1: MACq Hotel (Hobart, $$$)

Resting in the heart of the historic Hobart waterfront, MACq 01 Hotel provides luxurious accommodation, equipped with a flat-screen TV, coffee machine, and free Wi-Fi. Other facilities of the hotel include free parking, a restaurant, a bar and a fitness center.

Connected throughout the halls, walls, and rooms of the hotel, are amazing stories and real pieces of Tasmanian historical characters including heroes, villains, explorers, inventors, convicts, and many more. It is only a 5-minute drive away from the famous city center Salamanca Square, and a perfect place to view the beautiful sights of the Derwent Estuary.

Hobart international airport is located just around the corner, about 15km.

Prices and availability: The standard room (the ‘’Hunter Street Room) starts at around AUD 300 per night.

Accommodation 2: Hadley's Orient Hotel (Hobart - $$)

Hadley's Orient Hotel is a heritage-listed hotel, located in Hobart CBD. It is the oldest continuously operating boutique hotel in Tasmania that features an atrium-style bar and restaurant. Other facilities include room service, Wi-Fi, parking and an excellent breakfast.

The classic fully air-conditioned guest rooms have been fully restored and offer a Queen bed, TV, tea/coffee, and a private bathroom with a bathtub. A 5-minute walk from the hotel will bring you to the Constitution Dock and the Salamanca Markets. Hobart airport is just around a corner and can be reached within 20 minutes.

Prices and availability: The standard room starts at around AUD 200 per night.

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