Five of the best places to go scuba diving in Victoria
Grab your wetsuit and fins and scuba dive Victoria’s intriguing underwater world.
Victoria may not boast tropical coral reefs, Nemos aplenty or bathtub temperatures but its underwater cred is just as vibrant as many tropical diving hotspots.
Here are five of the best sites around the state to explore what lies beneath, from shallow, entry-level dives to advanced spots that require experience and perhaps specialist qualifications.
Slides: Aerial view of Blairgowrie; snorkelling Port Phillip.
Five of Victoria’s scuba-diving hotspots
1. Blairgowrie Pier
The Mornington Peninsula offers some of the best experiences for entry-level divers — and for those who want to hone their macro photography skills.
Blairgowrie Pier, at the Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron 100km from Melbourne offers easy shore or ladder entry to a treasure trove of marine life with protected condions and a maximum depth of about 6m. Here you can see lovely sponges encasing the pylons, leatherjackets, octopus, squid and various types of nudibranchs — soft, colourful sea slugs.
But the highlight here is the annual migration of thousands of giant spider crabs from May to June. As the water cools, the crabs congregate in a safety-in-numbers attempt to moult their hard shells (so they can grow bigger) without being eaten by predators. Seeing hundreds of shells stacked up to 1m high is creepy, but very cool!
If jetties are your jam, just down the road is Portsea Pier where you can poke around to find the beautiful yet elusive weedy sea dragon. (These gorgeous creatures also like to hang around under Flinders Pier on the other side of the Peninsula.)
As an added attraction you can pop out and have a post-dive pub lunch at Portsea Hotel overlooking the bay, or take a stroll along ‘Millionaire’s Walk’ to check out how some of the richest people in Australia live.
While you’re there, explore the beauty of the Mornington Peninsula hinterland staying at RACV Cape Schanck Resort. Members receive 25 per cent of accommodation.
2. The Arches Marine Sanctuary, Port Campbell
There’s a reason they call the stretch between Cape Otway and Port Fairy the Shipwreck Coast. Its changeable weather conditions and unrelenting pounding swell from the Southern Ocean have sunk an estimated 700 vessels. One of those is the 800m clipper the Loch Ard, which struck Mutton Bird Island and sank in 1878, near what is now called Loch Ard Gorge, named in honour of the two lone survivors of who swam ashore there. More than 140 years later, on a calm day you can dive the historic wreck within eyesight of the 12 Apostles just out of Port Campbell.
Nearby, the Arches Marine Sanctuary offers a wonderful labrynthian experience – weather permitting. The landscape above the water is renowned for sky-scraping limestone structures and underneath is just as impressive. At 19m to 25m divers can swim up, over, in and around the limestone canyons, swim-throughs and twisting archways that the park was named after. This protected 45 hectare marine park is subject to the thundering conditions and cold waters of the Southern Ocean, so should always be treated with respect and never dived in squally weather.