I lowered myself with apprehension from the dive boat into the flimsy shark net. Dark shapes rapidly approached. Two bronze whaler sharks swam with fierce hunting intent, slipstreaming like torpedos through the water as they approached their bloody fish prey. I felt like I was sucking my scuba tank dry.
Around Australia there are many opportunities to swim with a variety of animals. Some are peaceful and some can be deadly.
1. Swim with Dolphins
Australian wild dolphin swim options are available in many places including the east south and west coasts of Australia. You can also interact with captive dolphins at places like Seaworld on the Gold Coast.
2. Dive with Sharks
Shark dives are very common in every scuba diving location around Australia. The type of dive depends on the varieties of sharks in the local area. Cruising with the Grey Nurse sharks through the sand gutters in Byron Bay is quite different to being on a Great White Shark Dive in South Australia in a solid cage, or seeing tropical sharks while watching from a flimsy enclosure near Cairns.
You can also dive with well fed sharks in the major aquariums around Australia.
3. Swim with Crocodiles
Are you ready for the Cage of Death? Located in Darwin, Australia, the Cage of Death provides a unique opportunity to swim with crocodiles in relative safety inside a thick perspex enclosure which is raised and lowered into several different crocodile enclosures.
Unfortunately every year tourists die as a result of crocodile attacks in the northern part of Australia. Make sure you only swim and get close to water areas which are known to be free of crocodiles.
4. Swim and Dive with Whale Sharks
Whale Sharks are gentle giants who do not eat humans. As a result you can dive and snorkel with wild whale sharks during April to July at Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia which can be accessed from the townships of Exmouth and Coral Bay.
5. Swim and Dive with Seals
Australian wild seal swim and dive options are available along the southern coast of Australia. Be aware that seals are typically food for Great White Sharks, so by diving with them you are potentially taking a higher risk.
6. Swim and Dive with Turtles
Seeing turtles is very common along the Great Barrier Reef, northern and western Australia. In my tropical diving experience you most often see them during night dives.
7. Swim and Dive with Manta Rays
Manta Rays have become much better known since Steve Irwin was killed by a bull ray, which is a very rare occurrence. There are many places where you might have a chance encounter with manta rays all around Australia.
8. Swim and Dive with Dugongs
Dugongs are very rare, and the place you are most likely to see one is in the area near Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. Sydney Aquarium – Dugong Exhibit is an excellent option to see the rare dugongs.
BONUS! Australian Creatures You Don’t Want to Swim With
If you are coming to Australia there are two other water borne creatures you don’t want to have an encounter with. During October to May every year in the northern end of Australia is the season for two types of dangerous jellyfish.
The box jellyfish is large and can be lethal to humans and is mostly encountered close to shore and sometimes near the surface in deeper water.
The tiny irukandji jellyfish can also be fatal and is also found both close to shore and in deeper water.
If travelling to northern Australia (Northern Territory and the northern sections of both Queensland and Western Australia) in October to May avoid swimming or wading in shallow water. Look at the Queensland Government Jellyfish Factsheet for further information on how to be safe.
Have you experienced any or all eight encounters on the list above? Share your experience in the comments below.
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