South Australia Diving
Experience the ultimate adrenalin diving adventure by cage diving at the surface and ocean floor with mature great white sharks in the Neptune islands of South Australia.
The state of South Australia and its scuba diving is very different from the well known Queensland State where the famous great barrier reef is located.
The water is cooler but has some fascinating marine life and wrecks on offer. Adelaide is the capital of this relatively uninhabited state. It is also the gateway to the reefs, wrecks and amazing cage dives that can be enjoyed here.
For Liveaboard cruises, we focus on the Neptune Islands that have a prolific population of Great White sharks. Here you can enjoy cruises of different lengths as both a non-diver or a certified diver. Diving is from inside the protection of the cages at the surface or ocean bottom.
The Neptune Islands also have colonies of New Zealand Fur Seals and the rare Australian Sea Lion. The presence of both these means an increased source of food for the Great White sharks especially when the breeding season ends and new pups are in the water.
Take a look at the Liveaboard Cruise options below.
South Australia Diving - 3 LIVEABOARDS
Calypso Liveaboard in Australia is the new vessel for Rodney Fox Expeditions replacing the Princess II for the shark expeditions at the Neptune Islands. At 25m she is one of the largest cage diving liveaboards and can accommodate 10 guests onboard in five climate controlled cabins. She has a submergible Shark Cage and surface cages to view Great Whites. Non-divers are welcome onboard and can view the impressive marine activity from the surface cages.Book Now
Coral Expeditions I
Coral Expeditions I liveaboard in Australia was renovated in 2016 to become a boutique vessel offering a high standard of service and comfort during the cruise. There are 23 cabins to accommodate up to 44 guests, meaning a more intimate cruise ship, and she is a stable catamaran design for those suffering motion sickness. There is sun deck with a bar area, an indoor saloon and dining area which can accommodate all guests in one seating. Scuba diving is offered on some itineraries.Book Now
Coral Discoverer liveaboard in Australia set a new standard for cruising ships in Australia and has great movability despite her large size. There are five different cabin types which her 72 guests can select from. The sun deck is the centre of the social activities on board; it has a covered deck with bar, sun loungers and outdoor exercise equipment. Her large tender, used for river excursions and land visits among others, can seat all guests comfortably. Scuba diving is offered on some itineraries.Book Now
Neptune Islands Diving South Australia
The Neptune Islands are located close to Spencer Gulf 40km off the coast of South Australia, named after the English explorer Matthew Flinders in 1802. They are two islands of granite and a multitude of bird life. They are also renowned for the great white shark population. Diving here it is pretty much guaranteed to see these amazing creatures with 92% of the cruises having sightings. But there are months of the year with greater interactions that others.
The Neptune Islands are a breeding ground for New Zealand Fur Seals and the rare Australian sea lion who are both natural sources of food for the great white sharks.
Diving here is limited to the cages both at the surface and underwater to maximise in-water time with these ancient predators.
Join a liveaboard cruise to this truly unique location to experience a once in a lifetime up close and personal experience with great white sharks in their own environment.
Dive sites of Neptune island
There are no dive sites as such on the liveaboard to the Neptune islands, but instead, cages are used to hold guests either at the surface or underwater in a location where the great white sharks are seen.
The surface cages can accommodate four divers at any one time; they are then lowered from the platform to just below the surface. Guests do not need to be certified divers, and the experience is suitable for anyone above eight years old.
To join the Ocean floor cages, guests need to have an open water or equivalent certification as depths can be up to 20m. Three guests at any time can enter the cage which is lowered to the seabed. Besides the great white sharks which are the obvious attraction, it is possible to see groupers, stingrays and reef fish.
The team onboard have many years of experience with the cages and Neptune Islands and have specially prepared bait to use which keep the sharks in the area of the cages.
The high season usually has great white sightings every day, but cruise lengths during the year vary to enhance the opportunities for every guest.
Southern Australia's Scuba diving highlights
Common Sightings – Great white Sharks, Seals, groupers, stingrays
Special Sightings – Cuttlefish, Leafy Weedy Seadragons
Topography - n/a
Visibility - 15-20m average
Certification recommendations - Open water diver to join the bottom cages, no certification required for the surface cages.
Onboard options - Research onboard to contribute to Great White Shark knowledge.
Best Time to Go
For the great white shark sightings usually the middle of the year has the highest number of sightings, so April to July.
September to January also produces many numbers of sharks with sighting increasing over recent years.
For the calmest sea and most sun, October to April are best, and Males are usually prevalent at this time. They are often more consistent and curious than the females so provide better photo opportunities, they can be 4 to 5m in length.
The warmest water is from January to May, but temperatures are pretty consistent at 15 to 20 C all year due to offshore currents.
The mature female sharks at up to 5m of length are the largest and are seen April to as late as September.
For the summer itineraries, September to May, it is possible to swim with sea lions at Hopkins Island and go ashore at Neptune Islands.
Mako sharks and Bronze whalers are also present in the summer months.
May is a good time for Mating cuttlefish, weedy seadragons and sea lions.
November to May is when the Fur Seal pups are born, but the May to October is when they venture away from the islands to hunt and therefore become prey for the Great white sharks.
Water Temperatures are cooler at 14 to 22 C, so a minimum of a 7mm full exposure suit is required with hoods, boots and gloves.
How To Get There
The liveaboard cruise to the Neptune Islands departs from Port Lincoln. This can be reached via a 45 min flight from Adelaide. There are some direct international flights into Adelaide, but you can also connect from most Australian cities via local flights.
During some months island visits are possible and snorkelling with seals.
Marine Park and Conservation in Southern Australia
In 1967 The Neptune Islands Conservation Park was created as one of the largest at the time to protect the New Zealand fur seal. There are also a small breeding colony of Australian Sea Lions located here.