There are some fantastic scuba diving destinations in the southern hemisphere, ranging from the pristine dive sites of the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific to the world famous Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
1. Galápagos Islands
With their healthy marine environment and a wide variety of endemic species, the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific offer an amazing diving destination. Forming a national park and a biological marine reserve, local diving tours are coordinated by knowledgeable guides who are licensed by the Galapagos National Park Service.
Attracting around two million visitors each year, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is one of the most famous scuba diving destinations in the world. The World Heritage-listed reef is considered one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, offering easy access; warm, clear waters; and vibrant marine life.
Madagascar’s reefs have suffered less damage from bleaching and pollution than many other Indian Ocean reefs, and are home to an abundance of marine life. Spots such as Nosy Be in the north and the offshore island of Tsarabanjina are very popular, but you can still seek out quieter, less well- known diving locations.
The northern part of the island of Borneo, in the Malaysian state of Sabah, has some excellent dive sites. Various locations offer the potential for very different diving experiences – from spotting turtles around Sipadan Island, hammerhead sharks around Layang Layang, and migrating whale sharks around Lankayan, to macro diving around Mabul or Kapalai.
The Pemba island group off the coast of Tanzania offers some of the most interesting diving in East Africa, with incredible underwater scenery, abundant marine life, and hard and soft coral gardens. Some of the vertical coral cliffs plummet to depths of more than 800 metres, and with excellent underwater visibility it can be an awesome experience to peer over the edge.
6. South Africa
South Africa’s east coast benefits from warm waters brought in by the Mozambique Current, and the dive sites around Sodwana Bay – the country’s “diving capital” – offer the most southerly hard coral reef systems in the world, with a diverse range of tropical fish and visits from the larger pelagic fish.
7. The Seychelles
The marine life around the Seychelles, especially the more remote coral islands, can be excellent, and there are sites suitable for both novices and experienced divers. Beautiful marine landscapes of coral outcrops and underwater caverns are joined by a rich marine life, including more than a thousand different species of fish.
Remember to take out scuba diving travel insurance or great value holiday insurance in Oz, which will cover you for diving and any other activities you plan to participate in during your trip.