The uninitiated will of course tell you that diving in Australia (and the Antipodes) begins and ends with the Great Barrier Reef. Those who have dived all over Australia will probably tell you differently. Some will even say that once you have dived Tasmania, you will never dive anywhere else in Australia – possibly the world - again.
Much as you will find on land, marine life in Tasmania is weird, wonderful and quite different from anything you will find on mainland Australia. Even the same species can seem as if they are from another planet. The experience itself is surreal; flying through giant kelp forests that are literally growing in front of your eyes; exploring magnificent cave systems; encountering Weedy Sea Dragons, Pot-bellied Seahorses, and the elusive, endemic Handfish. . If the cliffs in Tasmania are the highest and most dramatic in the Southern Hemisphere, you can imagine what the underwater systems here comprise , including wreck dives (the best known being the SS Nord also being on the Tasman Peninsula) along the east coast including on magical Flinders Island.
That’s even before you consider diving in the far South West, where the underwater wilderness is as pristine and remote as Gondwanaland was all those millions of years ago, where the tannin stains the water to such an extent so that species can be exist in just a few metres that would only be found elsewhere in the world at a depth that would defy almost all but the most skilled and intrepid diver.
The beauty about diving in Tasmania is that it isn’t difficult to do once you have made the effort to get to Tassie. The most well-known dive centre is located just over an hour south of Hobart at Eaglehawk Dive Centre on the Tasman Peninsula. There are several other excellent dive centres along the east coast including on magical Flinders Island.
Water visibility is best during Tasmania’s late Autumn/Winter – and May, potentially the best month to dive - is a wonderful time to visit Tasmania anyway, with a strong chance of sunny days, and virtually no tourists of note.
There is another reason to go diving in Tasmania now. Climate change and rising sea temperatures mean that the giant kelp forests, which are found nowhere else quite like this other than in Tasmania, in all likelihood, have just a few short years left – and therefore many of the species that you will find within them will all but disappear too.