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Australia may just be the perfect continent for people that want to get away from the oppressive dynamics of the modern world. While it retains a rock-solid infrastructure that can provide anything you may ever require, it is also a landscape ripe for adventure, and this also goes for the waters that surround this captivating landmass. You can spend a lifetime circumventing the Land Down Under, just by following its coastline, and have a never-ending cavalcade of adventures. If the depths of the Pacific and the Indian Ocean call out for you, here’s why Australia is a diver’s paradise.
The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is a monument to natural splendor. This gargantuan 2,000 kilometers long formation which can be seen from outer space is dubbed the biggest life form on the planet, and it is comprised of piles upon piles of reefs that are comprised of the rice-sized coral polyps, which represent the building blocks of these underwater mountainous wonders.
The reef is home to over 1,600 species of fish and it is practically impossible to cover a fraction of it during a single dive. This is why you have to arm yourself as if you are going on an expedition if you plan to 'conquer' this coral behemoth. If you have not come well equipped for ambitious aquatic adventures, you should definitely look into the finest scuba diving gear you can get your hands on and make sure that all precautions are taken into consideration.
However, every second of the journey into the colorful depths of the Great Barrier Reef is well-worth the hassle since you will be treated with unforgettable sites that border on fantastical, from dugongs to box jellyfish (keep your distance from these) and endless types of mollusks, this one is the crown jewel of Australia’s diving sites, and it cannot quite be compared to anything else.
Most people will wax poetic about the irresistible charms of the seafloor beyond the eastern and the southern border of the Land Down Under, but what of the treasured wonders of the western coast? What’s hiding beyond the shores of cities like Perth and Broome and, more specifically, Carnarvon, Exmouth and Coral Bay? Just off the coast of what is known as the Gascoyne region of Western Australia hides the well-kept reef that is, quite deservedly, a UNESCO World Heritage Site held in high esteem among the seasoned snorkelers.
Ningaloo Reef may not be as impressively expansive as the Great Barrier Reef since it stretches for about 260 kilometers, but it is a condensed assembly of effervescent coral that is teeming with unique sea life such as sea turtles, manta rays, tropical fish, the great humpback whales, and, of course, whale sharks—the main attraction of the site.
Don’t worry, these are gentle and serene creatures of the deep, so if you can time your visit to the coast of Western Australia between the months of April and July, you are more likely to get a chance to swim alongside them. While we all arrange vacations at our own leisure, this is the only instance when you’d probably be well advised to time your visit right (especially if you are an avid diver).
The Ghosts of the Deep
What supposedly haunted houses are to the world of dry land, sunken ships are to the world of the deep. An underwater escapade to one of these husks is an experience that you will probably tell to your grandchildren. It contains all the effervescent quality of a jolty and elusive ghost story while it can also pack a punch of a half-forgotten dream, especially if you focus on the really weathered behemoths which have been dwelling in the world below the surface since (at the very least) World War II.
The Historic Shipwreck Act of 1976 has left Australian wrecks open for all kinds of exploration, so you won’t be breaking any laws should you decide to explore the interior of highlights such as SS Yongala and HMAS Swan. Just keep in mind that you should probably employ the services of a renowned local diving guide, don’t go in alone and get your tetanus shots. Also remember that many of these husks have become home to countless types of underwater fauna, some of which not particularly friendly.
It doesn’t matter which aquatic discipline you enjoy—whether it is scuba diving, snorkeling or boating, the shallows and coral reefs of Australia are an impeccable ground for adventuring. It marries jaw-dropping underwater topography with particularly vivid (and often endemic) biome that always seems to be busy and on the move. You will be mesmerized as you plunge into the depths and feel as if you have been transported to a whole new dimension of dreamlike fantasy.