Salt waters of the Australian continent are considered one of the richest with wildlife. People travel here from all over the world to see a fraction of its 4,000 fish species, swim with dolphins and whales, and dive in its coral reefs. Wherever you decide to go, you will find interesting ecosystems and marvelous underwater worlds contrasting metropolitan areas, like Sydney and Melbourne.
Even better, you can spend time in protected areas, like the Great Barrier Reef, helping researchers revive and conserve species that are almost extinct and endangered. So, bring your wetsuits and curiosity since we are showing you the best places to visit to see Australian Marine Life and have a captivating adventure.
Great white sharks of the Neptune Islands
South Australia is home to one of the most feared marine animals — the great white shark. The fur seal colony living at the Eyre Peninsula of the Neptune Islands attracts large numbers of this apex predator to feed. If you want to see a white shark up close and personal, you can dive with them safely in an underwater cage, guaranteeing to give you an adrenaline rush.
Besides fur seals, sea lions also use the area as a breeding ground, as well as bird species, like white-bellied sea eagles, rock parrots, and ospreys. You can come here all year round, especially during the fine weather, rent a boat and go see the seal colonies. However, for shark diving, you will have to join a licensed tour whose priority is the safety and well-being of you and these animals.
Shipwreck marine life of Darwin Harbor
Australian Northern Territory is full of submerged ships from WWII that many underwater animals call home. The biodiversity of the area comes from more than 415 fish and 3000 invertebrate species that live among the mangroves. For this reason, Darwin Harbor is considered the center for fishing expeditions going after some of the most prominent fish here, like barracuda.
Yet, if you are more interested in sightseeing the marine life among shipwrecks, look for clusters of coral salmon and pearl perches. Reefs of the area are full of vase sponges, gorgon, and harp corals, as well as sea urchins and octopi. Dugongs, turtles, and dolphins are available for non-divers since you can spot them from the shore from time to time.
Orcas of Bremer Bay
Every summer, the Western Australian town of Bremer Bay is a stop for orcas to feed and spend time with other whale families. These sea creatures are among the friendliest ones in Australian marine life and like to come closer to greet the onlookers. Whale-watching Bremer Bay tours are in peak season from January to April and are perfect to observe and learn about these giant mammals, as well as sperm and pilot whales.
From July to October, visitors can spot Southern Ridge and Humpback whales who come here to calve away from predators. Furthermore, you will encounter other animals in these nutrient-filled waters — most notably sharks, dolphins, and giant squid. Seabirds, like albatross, will fly around your boat during the tour, but be careful since some will even be brave enough to steal food right from your hands.
Maori Wrasse of Hayman Islands
One of the most impressionable fish in the world, the Maori wrasse, is a friendly animal that will follow you around when you snorkel. A colorful body, thick lips, and distinctive forehead give this animal its signature look that many come to Hyman Islands only to see them. This is why Blue Pearl Bay is the best place to start exploring the marine life of the Hyman Islands, home to the famous wrasse Elvis and Priscilla.
January to March is the turtle season when younglings hatch and make their way to the sea, so you can be part of their journey and help them get there safely. Hermit crabs, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and sea stars are closer to the shore so you can see them while strolling the beach. If you’ve never seen giant clams, this is a perfect opportunity to marvel at their 400-pounds bodies attached to the reef for the rest of their lives.
Manta rays of the Coral Bay
For many, manta rays resemble the birds of the sea, elegantly gliding through Australian waters at Coral Bay. They don’t have teeth and sharp barbs so you can swim and dive safely all year round, or admire them from a boat if that’s more comfortable. Being at the beginning of Ningaloo Reef gives Coral Bay a unique position to introduce some of the majestic marine life of the area.
White sharks come here from March to June, while humpback whales visit from June to November for their seasonal migration. Dugongs and turtles are widely present during the year, while fishing trips will take you to catch tuna, marlin, and mahi-mahi. Nonetheless, Coral Bay has so-called sanctuary zones where you are not allowed to fish, but only admire the pristine marine life protected for research, tourism, and recreation purposes.
The bottom line
You won’t make mistakes wherever you choose to explore the underwater animals of the Land Down Under. These best places to visit to see Australian marine life will take you over bio-diversified regions, extraordinary species, and protected UNESCO World Heritage sites. Whether you go alone, with friends, or with kids, you will find a slew of adventures that will last for a lifetime.
Article by Nina Simons
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