Map of east coast dive sites

Dive sites on Tasmania’s east coast

“Every dive in Tasmania displays an exquisite combination of lyrical beauty and the wistfully bizarre.”

David Doubilet,
National Geographic Magazine

Diving and exploring Tasmania is a diver’s dream. The best diving in Tasmania is on the east coast where visibility ranges from 10 to 40 metres depending on the time of the year.

Apart from the unique marine life the Tasmanian coastline is littered with historic shipwreck sites that date back to as early as 1779. Some of the wrecks have not been fully explored.

There are hundreds of diving and snorkelling sites in Tasmania. They will satisfy divers at every level of ability. Here are a few examples on the Tasmanian east coast dive trail.

Map showing east coast of Tasmania
Fortescue Bay
Fortescue Bay in south-east Tasmania.
© T CHANGE
  1. Binalong Bay / Skeleton Bay

    Diving here is from 10 metres to 20 metres around white sand gutters with kelp-covered reefs. For an easy shore-based dive the Binalong Bay gulches are ideal. The gulch is a protected, rock-fringed sand gutter approximately 100 metres in length and four to five metres deep. A short swim through a thick kelp curtain takes the diver to a series of rocky bommies in 10 metres of water. Here, amongst the boulders, caves and swim-throughs, are crayfish, abalone, octopus and varied marine life.

    Skeleton Bay consists of several rocky reef bommies that support healthy fish and fixed marine life populations. There is a small population of weedy seadragons amongst the kelp on some of the bommies. Dolphins are regular visitors.
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  2. St Helens Rocks (Dough Boys)

    Three kilometres off St Helens Point, explore a wall that rises from a sandy bottom at 23 metres to a 10 metre reef with rocks breaking the surface. Swim-throughs and canyons hide sea-whips, bull kelp, crayfish, sea-spiders, dolphins and seals. Great for photography.
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  3. Merricks Reef

    Three kilometres offshore and rising from a base of 35 metres this is an adrenaline-packed dive for advanced divers only. It includes a north wall drop-off, with magnificent sponge gardens, caves and massive swim-throughs. The top of Merricks Reef rises to within five metres of the surface and plunges down to more than 40 metres around the edges. Among the canyons tuna, marlin and the occasional mako shark may be seen. Dolphins are regular visitors and migrating whales are known to cruise past.
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  4. Waubs Bay

    With six shore dives in the area, Waubs Bay is an easy diving option close to the centre of Bicheno. Cruise along the reef wall and you could see big-bellied seahorses and weedy seadragons; or explore a reef that rises close to the surface and is home to yellow zoanthids, boar fish, butterfly perch and nudibranchs.
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  5. Governor Island Marine Nature Reserve Rose Garden

    The Rose Garden is a mass of broken boulders covered with large sponges, seawhips, zoanthids and jewelled anemones. Dive another site called the Hairy Wall. This is a 35-metre drop-off dive with an array of seawhips, finger sponges and other invertebrates. Schools of butterfly perch inhabit the area. At the end of the Hairy Wall is a 15 metre long swim-through at the Castle. This usually has a large array of anemones inside. A picturesque dive and great for photography. Because this is a marine reserve and a 'no take' area, big crayfish can also be seen.
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  6. Isle de Phoque

    Isle de Phoque is an exposed rock between Maria and Schouten Islands, about 10 nautical miles east of Little Swanport. Considered one of Tasmania’s most exciting dives, Isle de Phoque is home to a large seal colony and is riddled with caves. Most of the caves are subject to surge and should only be attempted on calm days and with an experienced guide. The best caves are on the north-east corner with several running right through the island. The caves are covered with zoanthids and are usually occupied by schools of fish. Most of the caves start at 20 metres and several have light entering through the roof.

    Isle de Phoque is managed under the National Parks and Reserves Management Act. Contact the local Parks and Wildlife Service office to get the OK to dive.
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  7. Maria Island National Park

    A stunning place to visit, Maria Island is steeped in convict history and has wonderful walks. A ferry to Maria Island leaves from Triabunna. Marine life includes forests of string kelp, seagrass beds, sandstone reefs and large schools of fish. As an added attraction, the former coastal trader the “Troy D” was scuttled to become an artificial reef and dive site in 23 to 27 metres of water four kilometres south-west of the northern tip of Maria Island.
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  8. Waterfall Bay

    Considered one of the best boat-diving areas in Tasmania, Waterfall Bay has suitable sites for all levels of experience and for all weather. With large reefs and amazing cave life this is one of Tasmania’s most popular dive sites for open water certified divers.
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  9. Cathedral Cave

    Tasmania’s largest sea cave system, hosting an incredible array of temperate water invertebrates that can only be found at depth or in caves. A guided dive here offers spectacular diving for a range of abilities. There is a massive entrance to Cathedral Cave, whose base is at 21 metres. This extends to smaller caverns with hundreds of metres of narrow tunnels and cross passageways. The walls are covered with invertebrates typical of temperate waters. Cathedral Cave offers spectacular dive photography opportunities.
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  10. Fortescue Bay Kelp Forest

    The atmosphere created by a kelp forest is incredible. Few other dive experiences come close to diving in giant kelp forests and it is one that every diver who comes to Tasmania should try to do. The beautiful and thriving forest located in Fortescue Bay provides a brilliant shore dive. It is an easy 10 to 18 metre dive where lots of fish and sponges can be seen and perhaps weedy seadragons and seahorses. The bottom is mainly sandy although areas of forest are now moving on to the reef again. This has increased the diversity of sealife in the kelp forest. It includes seahorses, seadragons, cowfish, trumpeter, wrasse, short-finned pike, octopus, cuttlefish, shrimp, crayfish and abalone.
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  11. The Nord

    Tasmania’s most photographed shipwreck. The SS Nord was built in 1900 and measured 289 feet. She sank in November 1915. The wreck is situated near a reef in 40 metres of water, a few kilometres from Tasman Island, and is one of Tasmania’s few “intact” shipwrecks. Although the superstructure has collapsed the SS Nord still resembles a ship. The wreck has attracted a variety of fish, being surrounded by schools of trumpeter and covered in colourful marine growth. A number of artefacts can still be seen on the wreck including brass fittings and Chinese crockery.

    The wreck of the SS Nord is protected. Divers are welcome to explore provided no artefacts are collected and the site is not damaged or disturbed.
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