Scuba diving in Western Australia Perth | The best dive centers, liveaboards and dive sites

A scenic view of the James Price Point near Broome, Western Australia

Western Australia is the largest state in Australia that takes up almost a third of the country. Scuba Diving in Western Australia will allow you to explore a marine world equally as diverse and lively in its marine life, all the while enjoying pristine reefs. Endangered and rare creatures make their home, thriving in this under traveled part of the globe. Whale sharks, humpback whales, and several sea turtle species are only some of the friendly faces you'll find yourself diving with. Potato cod, Maori wrasses, and giant clams are other frequent residents of these dive sites.

If you are looking for more information on Ningaloo Reef, Exmouth and Coral Bay, this can be found here.

Recommendations | Western Australia diving

Western Australia has several climate types, so there's always somewhere sunny to explore, no matter what time of the year you visit. However, if you plan on diving, the best time to visit is from April to September, where you can spot manta rays, sharks, and whales. If you like to dive during the warmer summer months, we recommend to visit Western Australia during the months November to March.

Diving center Perth and Western Australia

If you are looking for a good diving center in Perth, we can recommend Dolphin Scuba Diving. This diving center is located in Perth and offers SDI (Scuba Diving International) scuba diving courses, Perth shore diving and boat diving. Following reviews, they offer excellent services at a reasonable price and are very helpful.

Western Australia cruises and liveaboards

There are a lot of Western Australia cruises/liveaboards available, although many of them are leaving from Broome or Exmouth. The availability of liveaboards leaving from Perth is therefore very limited.

For a Western Australia liveaboard, we recommend the Shore Thing. This vessel offers stunning cruises at the Ningaloo Reef (perfect option for diving!). For exploring the Kimberley coast (the northern part of Western Australia), we recommend the Reef Prince. This liveaboard offers great facilities and will visit beautiful parts of the Kimberley.

Read more about these liveaboards below.

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Scuba diving gear included
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Dolphin Scuba Diving

Free
AUD 80 (1 dive), AUD 95 (2 dives)
N.A.
Other
AUD 525
N.A.
Gear rental and servicing

Perth Scuba

AUD 85
Starts at AUD 85
N.A.
PADI
AUD 599
Yes. Lunch is provided on day trips
Gear rental and servicing, dive shop, technical diving

Perth Diving Academy

AUD 75
AUD 75
N.A.
Other
AUD 530
N.A.
Gear rental and servicing, dive shop
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The best diving centers Perth

As the Western Australia state covers many good diving centers and beautiful dive sites, we have focused on the best diving centers in Perth. Please find below our selection.

Diving center 1: Dolphin Scuba Diving

Located in Welshpool WA (Perth), Dolphin Scuba Diving is a small diving center and offering its services since 1991. They are one of the few shops in Perth with an onsite workshop. In addition, Dolphin Scuba Diving is open seven days a week.

Dolphin Scuba Diving offers both shore and boat diving trips. The great thing about the shore diving with Dolphin Scuba Diving is the fact that it is free! If you don’t have any scuba gear at your disposal, you can rent the gear with them. If you are alone, you can join one of the other divers and dive together. If you like to join the shore diving trips, just visit the Dolphin Scuba Diving shop in the morning at 8 am (check availability and times on the website).

Courses

Whether you want to learn how to dive or extend your diving skills, Dolphin Scuba Diving has the right course for you! They offer the PADI Open Water Course, a two-day program that is offered for  AUD 525. Besides the training materials, they also provide the use of all scuba equipment throughout the course, excluding masks, snorkel, boots & fins.

Dolphin Scuba Diving also offers other recreational diving courses such as the PADI Advanced Open Water course, specialty courses (e.g. wreck diving) and professional courses such as the PADI instructor course.

For tech diving lovers, they also offer TDI technical diving courses – including the trimix and sidemouth courses.

Diving prices

Dolphin Scuba Diving offers both shore and boat diving day trips. Locations include The Key Biscayne, Rottnest Island, Marmion Marine Park, HMAS Swan, and the Lena Wreck. Depending on the location, the price for a trip starts at AUD 80 (single dive) and AUD 95 (double dive).

Diving center 2: Perth Scuba

Perth Scuba is a PADI diving center (Career Development Centre) and is located in the southern part of Pert. Perth Scuba is quite a big dive shop and offers various facilities such as a 650 meters dive shop, classrooms, a presentation room (theater) and a lounge.

If you are looking to buy (or rent) scuba gear, you should definitely visit this place. In addition, they also offering various courses development programs (PADI and TDI). As they are a PADI Career Development Centre, you can also become a PADI instructor. Besides recreational diving courses, you can also specialize in technical diving (diving with mixed gases and/or go to deeper diving levels).

Perth Scuba also offers scuba diving to local Perth dive sites and other Western Australia dive sites (day trips).

This dive center also facilitates a dive club called "The Manta Club". If you are planned to dive more often in Perth, you can join this dive club and find a dive buddy (note that the membership is free).

Courses

Perth Scuba offers the PADI Open Water course for AUD 599 which is a reasonable price. The course includes practical training in the swimming pool, two shore dives and two boat dives at Rottnest Island.

Perth Scuba also offers other PADI dive courses such as PADI Advanced course, PADI Rescue Diver course, and professional courses such as the PADI Divemaster and the PADI Instructor course.

Diving prices

Perth Scuba offers various trips to Western Australia dive sites such as Rottnest Island, Busselton Jetty dive, Lena Wreck dive and the HMAS Swan Dunsbourough. Depending on the trip, the price starts at AUD 85. It is unknown whether scuba gear is included in the price.

Diving center 3: Perth Diving Academy Hillarys

Looking for a diving center in the north of Perth or a diving center which is not affiliated with the biggest associations such as PADI or SSI? Perth Diving Academy might be a good option for you!

Perth Diving Academy is a RAID (Rebreather Association of International Divers) diving center, located in Hillarys (north Perth) and offers scuba diving courses and diving trips to the Marmion Marine Park. They also have a diving shop where you can buy scuba gear. For the diving trips, they use their customized catamaran.

Courses

Perth Diving Academy offers various RAID diving courses. The Open Water course costs AUD 495 and takes approximately 3 days. Note that with this diving course, you can dive to 20 meters (instead of 18 meters with PADI). They also offer more advances courses such as the RAID Explorer 30 course.

Note: Note that RAID is a fast growing diving organization and is active in various countries. Although RAID is considered a smaller organization compared with PADI, you can learn how to dive and receive your diving certification. If you would like to get your PADI certification, we recommend to book a diving course at another diving center.

Diving prices

A single dive trip is AUD 70 per dive (excluding scuba gear).

Best Western Australia Liveaboards

Western Australia liveaboards are available and leaving mostly from Broome and Exmouth. Unfortunately, there are no liveaboards leaving from Perth as far as we know. Therefore, we have summarized the best three Western Australia liveaboards below.

Liveaboard 1: Reef Prince

The Reef Prince is a 38 meter long catamaran and can house up to 36 guests. The Reef Prince offers different kind of accommodations ranging from twin/singles cabins to double cabins and state class cabins. Each cabin has an en-suite bathroom, air conditioning, DVD & TV. Other facilities are a bar, sun deck, a library, observation deck and a lounge. Great facilities to relax between the activities!

The Reef Prince offers various trips such as the Darwin to Broome cruise (11 Day Kimberley Coastal Expedition), A Broome to Broome cruise (Best of the Kimberley), Exmouth to Exmouth cruise (the Montebello Islands cruise) and the Rowley Shoals cruise.

For diving, we recommend to book the Rowley Shoals cruise as this is one of the best diving destinations in this area.

Price: a cruise with the Reef Prince starts at AUD 533 a day. The latest prices and availability can be checked here.

Liveaboard 2: Shore Thing Catamaran

This liveaboard ensures that your experience at Ningaloo Reef will be legendary. The Shore Thing Catamaran offers great facilities and cozy accommodations for a maximum of 10 guests. The great thing about this catamaran is that you can reach the shallow dive sites of the Ningaloo Reef. As a result, you will dive on sites which are untouched and not reachable by the day tours.

Accommodation choices are offered to suit the guests’ budget. There are four cabins available; 2 staterooms with private en-suite facilities and 2 deluxe cabins with shared facilities. Moreover, it is also equipped with hammocks so you can relax and enjoy the stunning view of the Ningaloo Reef. Due to the size of the catamaran, the dive facilities (e.g. dive deck) are limited compared with other liveaboards.

Price: The price starts at AUD 500 per day. The latest prices and availability can be checked here.

Liveaboard 3: Odyssey

The Odyssey is a 24 meter catamaran and can house up to 20 guests. The Odyssey offers 6 deluxe double cabins and 4 twin cabins. The twin cabins are located at the lower deck and the deluxe cabins are located at the main deck. The cabins are equipped with storage spaces, air conditioning, fridge, hairdryer and power outlets. Note that there are no en-suite bathrooms in the rooms, meaning that the toilet and shower are located outside the cabins.

In addition, the Odyssey offers great facilities such as a dining area, library, observation deck, a dive deck and a photography station and a laundry service. The Odyssey also uses a 12 meter long expedition boat. This boat is great to reach the shallow spots for snorkeling, diving and other (land) activities.

The Odyssey offers stunning strips across the coast of Western Australia. Currently there are no trips offered from Darwin, but you can easily board the Odyssey cruise in Broome. One of the top itineraries are the 8 days / 7 nights Rowley Shoals (perfect for diving!) and the Ultimate Waterfall safari (Wyndham – Broome and return).

Price: a cruise with the Odyssey starts at AUD 444 a day. The latest prices and availability can be checked here.

The best dive sites in Western Australia

Below, we have outlined our top 5 dive sites for Western Australia. Note that Ningaloo Reef is not covered in this article as we have covered Ningaloo Reef in a separate guide. Ningaloo Reef should definitely be listed on your bucket list (this is our nr 1. dive destination for Western Australia!).

Dive site 1: Rottnest Island – Shark Cave

Rottnest Island is a small island which is located about 11 kilometers west from Perth. Rottnest Island is classified as a reserve and is home to a population of quokkas. Rottnest Island has a few nice dive sites, but we have outlined only Shark Cave below.

Located a few kilometers off the west end of Rottnest, Shark Cave is one of Rottnest Island's best dive sites. The depth of the cave starts at around 15-16 meters and goes down to 26 meters. You can find Grey Nurse Sharks in this cave because they are using this cave as a shelter during the day.

Don’t be afraid for these Grey Nurse Sharks as they are not considered dangerous to humans (they mostly eat fish and squid). If you are lucky, there is a possibility that there are multiple grey nurse sharks inside the cave (up to 10-15). However, note that this is pure nature and it’s not guaranteed that you can spot a Grey Nurse Shark. In addition, be calm during the dive and don’t kick hard with your fins, otherwise these sharks will get out the cave and move away.

Dive site 2: Busselton Jetty, Busselton

The Busselton Jetty, located in Busselton, Western Australia, is a 1.8 km long jetty. The jetty is one of the most popular tourist attractions in this region.

Although a lot of people assume that a jetty cannot be a stunning dive site, this jetty is home to more than 300 species of marine life. With an average depth of 9 meters, this dive site is perfect for all levels of divers.

You can easily access it from the Jetty structure itself – no boat needed. You can just walk out to the end of the Jetty, or catch the train, get geared up, and dive. The incredible coral growth and the fascinating, diverse marine life will make it a truly memorable dive.

The jetty pylons are covered in beautiful soft coral. In addition, you can also find cuttlefishes as well as rays, hundreds of puffer fishes, crocodile fish, and if you're lucky a port Jackson shark.

If you would like to dive the jetty, you can reach out to one of the local dive centers located in Busselton.

Dive site 3: Key Biscayne, Lancelin (wreck)

Lancelin is a small village, located north of Perth and can be reached by car in about 1 hour and 30 minutes. This dive site in Western Australia is a former oil rig that sank in 42 meters of water off the coast of Lancelin. The top side of the wreck is located around 25 meters and goes down to 42 meters. As this is a quite deep dive at a wreck, we highly recommend to dive only if you are an experienced diver with qualifications (e.g. deep dive and wreck dive).

In the recent years, the corals and sponges grow significantly which is a good indication (at other Australian dive destinations such as the Great Barrier Reef, the quality and quantity of coral and sponges is declining). The central part of the wreck is an upside-down pyramid with the crew quarters under the triangular main hull. The jack-up arms extend out away from the main body and support a vast population of western rock lobster. Large schools of pelagics such as trevally and samson fish can be seen circling around the wreck with grey nurse sharks., Snapper, Port Jackson sharks, and much other fish reside amongst the Key Biscayne wreck.

If you would like to dive the Key Biscayne Wreck in Lancelin, you can book this dive at one of the Perth diving centers.

Dive site 4: The Lena, Bunbury (wreck)

In the Bunbury region, which is about 2 hours driving south from Perth, a stunning wreck is located called the Lena wreck. The Lena wreck can be reached by boat and takes about 35 minutes from the Bunbury's Harbour.

The Lena wreck is located at a depth of around 20 meters. Due to its depth, this dive site can be visits by both beginners and more experienced divers. However, you should always dive with cautious at wreck sites and not exceed your diving limitations and qualifications. The wreck itself is about 55 meters long and is covered in soft coral. A great dive if you like underwater photography!

This beautiful wreck is home to more than 100 species of marine life including tuna, dhufish, turtles, skipjack, western blue devils, boar fish, wobbegong and port jackson sharks. If you are lucky, humpback whales are also sighted at this dive site.

Dive site 5: HMAS Perth, Albany (wreck)

Located near Seal Island in the King George Sound bay, the HMAS Perth wreck is one of the must dive sites in Western Australia. Seal Island is located about 8.5 kilometers from Albany, a city in the south of Western Australia.

The HMAS Perth wreck dive site is located at an average depth of about 26 meters and lies on a sandy bottom. Note that the maximum depth is 36 meters. The HMAS Perth is 133 meters long and is still in quite good condition. You can see the massive gun, the bridge and other equipment and machinery.

Around the wreck, you can find schools of yellowtails fishes. In some cases, (carpet) sharks can be around. Furthermore, you can also find boxfishes, bat fishes and nudibranchs. Don’t forget to look into the cracks and holes as normally these places are full of small marine life.

The visibility varies between 10 to 20 meters and depends of course on the weather conditions such as currents. The HMAS Perth is protected by a 250 meters fishing exclusion zone and can only be accessed with a permit. We recommend to check the permit requirement and how to obtain such permit with a local diving center or the Albany Visitors Centre.

In addition, we highly recommend to dive only at this wreck if you are an experienced diver with deep dive and wreck dive qualifications.

How to get to Western Australia and Perth

As mentioned before, Western Australia is one of the biggest states of Australia. Therefore, we have outlined the best and easiest way to travel to Western Australia, being the city Perth.

Option 1: By airplane to Perth Airport

The easiest way to get to Western Australia is by flying to Perth. Virgin, Jetstar and Tiger are one of the options available for domestic flights, but you can always check this website to check the best deals and flight availability. You can also book an international flight and fly to Perth. For example, there are direct/non-stop flight from London Heathrow airport to Perth with Qantas.

If you are coming from Sydney, travel time will take about five and a half hours. If you are flying from Melbourne, travel time takes about four hours and 15 minutes. When arrived at Perth airport, you can travel to other destinations within Western Australia.

Option 2: By train to Perth

If you are from Sydney and Adelaide, you can travel to Perth by train. However, travel time does take a little longer. The Indian Pacific departs Sydney every Wednesday and pulls out from Adelaide on Thursday before arriving in Perth on Saturday. It's a bit expensive than flying, but you'll experience a journey like no other.

Option 3: By bus to Broome

Another way to get to Western Australia is by bus. Greyhound buses offers various routes throughout Australia, including the route Darwin to Broome. At the moment of writing, Greyhound does not offer a route to Perth.

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