Diving in Tasmania - A well kept secret of Australia

The myth of the lost city of Atlantis could well have begun in the haunting underwater world off the coastline of Tasmania and its many sister islands.

With visibility up to 40 metres, the unspoiled, temperate waters teem with marine life; giant, ethereal kelp forests rise up to 30 metres to the surface and canyons beg for exploration.

Dolphins, whales, seals, sea horses and colourful Boxfish abound – but watch out, the sudden appearance of a thumping six kilogram southern rock lobster is a shock to the system.

Off the Tasman Peninsula, rough hewn by centuries of wave action, dive through 21 metres into the massive entrance of Cathedral Cave.

Diving through giant kelp fields in Tasmania
Rugged coast line of Tasman Peninsula

The awesome power of nature has created a random kaleidoscope of colour and shapes that defy gravity. Smaller caverns at the back of the cave lead deeper into narrow tunnels and cross passages. Tiny invertebrates cover the walls.

At Bicheno, on the east coast, odd-shaped openings are clustered around large granite boulders that lean haphazardly against other as though tossed by a giant hand.

Beyond about 25 metres, the underwater fantasy continues with the delicate lace of sponges in paintbox yellow, red, orange and blue.

Maritime history has left a trail of 480 shipwreck sites around Tasmania and the nearby Bass Strait islands, which include the Furneaux Group. Ancient mariners discovered at their peril that King Island was one of the trickiest to circumnavigate and 60 ships sank near the island – off the north west tip of Tasmania - in the decades after 1800.

Many sites are protected, including the steamship SS Nord, which went down near Tasman Island in 1915. The superstructure has collapsed but she still resembles a ship and it’s easy to spot brass fittings and Chinese crockery.


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