7 Unique Aquatic Experiences in Australia’s South West

7 Unique Aquatic Experiences in Australia’s South West

November 28, 2023
Want something more than surfing and swimming in Australia’s South West? Then try out these unique aquatic experiences that will thrill you and the whole family.

From exploring unchartered depths to witnessing the magnificence of marine animals up close, Australia’s South West has aquatic experiences that will thrill, delight, and amaze people of all ages.

With some of the best beaches in the world it’s easy to spend the day swimming, surfing, and whiling away the hours on soft sandy shores. But why not mix it up and brave the waters with a coasteering adventure? Or experience the wonder of an encounter with sea dragons or stingrays!

Tread the road less travelled when it comes to water fun on your next trip to Australia’s South West, with these seven quirky experiences.

1. Snorkel with sea dragons

Australia’s South West is renowned for whale spotting come the spring and summer months, but did you know it’s also home to some of the smallest and most magical creatures around! Often mistaken for kelp and seaweed, the Southern and Indian Oceans are the perfect breeding grounds for leafy, weedy, and ruby sea dragons. Spotting one can be tricky given their excellent camouflage, with the best places to glimpse these little friends being among the rocky reefs, gentle seaweed beds or within the lush seagrass meadows of the Ngari Capes Marine Park (from Busselton to Augusta), as well as in Albany and Bremer Bay in the Great Southern.

Sea dragons are a protected species in Western Australia, so while you can swim with them to your hearts content, please refrain from touching them. Be wary of their breeding season, which lasts from October to February as they might be carrying eggs during these times!

The Busselton Underwater Observatory

2. Dive to the aquatic depths of the Busselton Jetty

Grab your fins and sink into a sea of colour at the end of the famous 1.8km wood-piled Busselton Jetty. Dive or snorkel passes are just $4, allowing you to see the more than 300 marine species that call the area home. To add to the vibrant display, 13 Underwater Sculptures have been added to increase the sustainability and abundance of the artificial reef.

If you’d rather keep dry, you can head eight metres down into the Underwater Observatory, one of only six of its kind in the world. Explore the surrounding forest of corals, sponges, seagrass, fishes, and invertebrates. And don’t forget to catch a ride on the famous red train for the full experience!

Person swimming in the aquatic depths with dolphins
Swimming with dolphins in Bunbury Geographe

3. Get up close with dolphins in Bunbury

Swimming with dolphins is a bucket-list item for anyone, but it can be your reality at the Dolphin Discovery Centre. Experience the exhilaration of gliding alongside these gorgeous wild animals, as you plunge into the cool waters of Bunbury Geographe with an experienced guide. While interactions cannot be guaranteed, the friendly marine mammals are known for their playful demeanour, often frolicking around Koombana Bay and the Leschenault inlet.

Those not eager to make a splash can instead wait by the shorelines between 8am and 12pm daily, for the chance to glimpse the dolphins approaching the shallows to show off! Or head inside the Interpretive Centre, and plunge your hands into the touch pool to explore the unique textures of shark eggs, starfish, and other fauna from the South West.

Stingrays in Hamelin Bay

4. Visit the Hamelin Bay stingrays

White sands, blue waters, and fishy friends? Wonder abounds in Hamelin Bay, with the chance to spot wild stingrays just metres away from the shores. Below the breathtaking coastal cliffs, the turquoise waters teem with marine life, with the rays often hanging around and skimming over the feet of wading visitors. Keep in mind these are wild creatures, so please refraining from touching them and respect their space.

The postcard perfect lagoon is also a great spot for an afternoon picnic, or even a spot of fishing. In the springtime try spotting whales and wildflowers along the epic coastline.

5. Explore the Yallingup Lagoon

Crystal clear waters unlock an underwater dreamscape in Yallingup. Picture this: A sun-drenched day snorkelling through a kaleidoscope of bright corals, unique sponges, and vivid sea life, before kicking back for lunch on the beach!

Located in a protected bay, the lagoon is a marine reserve full of grassy seagardens that teem with whiting. No fishing is allowed, which means the wildlife is plentiful. With your mask and flippers on hand, you’ll be able to float the day away.

Diver in the South West

6. Dive some of the coast’s best wrecks

Interested in exploring the underwater worlds off Australia’s South West’s coast? Well, if you’re SCUBA certified, then these dives are out-of-this-world. First up there’s the Lena Wreck about 3km off Bunbury’s Back Beach. Sunk 18 metres deep, the boat’s engine room is on full display, with stingrays, wobbegong sharks, squid, cuttlefish, Gropers, Snapper, and Dhufish often spotted among the remains.

Further south, there is the decommissioned naval destroyer – the HMAS Swan – one of the largest accessible dive wrecks in the Southern Hemisphere. More than 100 metres long, this behemoth was scuttled off the coast of Dunsborough in 1997 and sits between 5 metres and 32 metres deep.

For those venturing into the Great Southern try your hand at the former HMAS Perth II, which was laid to rest off the Albany coast in 2001 in King George Sound. Discover the 133-metre-long artificial dive reef, and see firsthand the scars the ship received during the Vietnam War.

Coasteering with Margaret River Adventure Co.

7. Go coasteering in Margaret River

Want to explore the Margaret River Region’s beaches from a different angle? Then coasteering might be the experience for you! A mixture of rock-hopping, swell-surfing, and shore-scrambling, this unique opportunity, pioneered and delivered by the Margaret River Adventure Co. is a brilliant way to explore the gorgeous scenery of the region firsthand.

Grab a wetsuit, life jacket, and helmet, before scrambling over the rocks and into the ebb and flow of natural canals as you explore sea cliffs, caves, and ledges. Each team has an experienced guide with them, trained in surf rescue and ready to lead you on an exhilarating two-hour escapade.

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Welcome to Australia’s South West!

Here you can easily enjoy natural beaches beautiful vineyards, forests, caves and more, all in a single day. More than 23,000km make up the south west corner of Western Australia, with 1000 of those kilometres consisting of awe-inspiring coastline just waiting to be explored.


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