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The best diving sites in Melbourne

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It’s a tough question to answer, as the best places to dive change constantly, depending on conditions and expertise.   The best way to find out is to ask a local diver. Or you could read this article!

We’ve picked up the top 10 favorite dives from Port Phillip Bay for various diving abilities and interests, to help divers of every level identify the best diving site for them. We’ll start with an easy dive suitable for beginner divers, and work up to advanced dives.

The Portsea Hole

The Portsea Hole is a very popular site in Port Phillip Bay for its easily accessible wreck which can be found at 26m or about 80ft underwater. The wreck is a very popular dive site as it is so easily accessible, being near the shore. It can be dived from boats or from land, depending on where you are coming from.   

It’s completely surrounded by sand, so no large waves or currents can wash you off the rocks (be aware that there are still rocks – it’s a dive, not a walk!) making it a great place to take novice divers.

HMAS Canberra

At 22m, the wreck of the HMAS Canberra is at about 66ft underwater. This World War II shipwreck is one of Australia’s most popular dives and can be found close to shore in 20-30ft deep water.  It’s a bit deeper than the Portsea Hole, so it’s a good idea to practice your buoyancy skills here.

The HMAS Canberra is a great wreck for all levels as there are plenty of places where you can enter and exit the water from different areas of the hull.  Many people find that this site needs at least two dives to truly see all the wreckage.

This shallow and sheltered wreck is at a depth of 12m or about 40ft, which makes it an ideal location for most recreational divers. You can follow the hull up to the topmost deck from either side of the wreck.  At around 18-25m you can find many different species of fish including yellowtail, sea pike, and drummer fish.

HMAS Castlemaine

A popular site for snorkellers as well as scuba divers, the HMAS Castlemaine was dived by thousands of people last year.  It’s a protected dive site under Victorian law, so be aware that disturbing the wreck is against the law. Be sure to follow the rules so everyone can enjoy the beauty of the wreck.

This historic steamship was built in 1884 and weighs 621 tons, making it one of the largest protected shipwrecks in Victoria. It’s close to shore (only 400m from Point Lonsdale lifeboat station) and is easily accessible for all levels of divers. It’s fairly shallow at only 13m or about 43ft.  Although it is fairly small, the wreck is packed with detail, so it’s definitely worth more than one look!

Breamlea Pier

The Breamlea pier is a great place for divers of all levels, as it starts at 3m or 10ft right at the steps, and gets deeper over time. It’s close to the shore so you can dive it from land or by boat. This site is very sheltered, so there are no strong currents or waves here!

Located in shallow waters, this artificial reef was sunk in 2011 to encourage marine life – divers have seen Port Jackson sharks, stingrays, and a wide variety of fish since then. The wreck was sunk purposely as it had reached the end of its useful life as a fishing platform, so divers could count themselves lucky that they get to explore what is essentially a brand new shipwreck!

This wreck can be found at 18m or about 60ft. It’s fairly easy to find, as the entry point is only about 20m from the shore. It’s a great option for beginners or divers who prefer to stay close to land!

The SS Ironbark was built in 1872 and sank in Port Phillip Bay off Rye pier while loaded with limestone in 1912 after catching fire. The wreck sits at 19m or 62ft underwater and has plenty of life living on it.

You can find this wreck towards the back of Port Phillip Bay in about 30m deep water, so it’s perfect for more experienced divers. You should definitely go for another dive to see all the detail and do some exploring!

Found at a depth of around 20m or 66ft, this wreck might be small, but it’s definitely worth a visit. Although the SS Ironbark is more popular, this site has plenty of marine life including octopus and cuttlefish.

Conclusion:

Melbourne is a great place to go diving as you have access to a variety of shipwrecks and interesting underwater sites. Just remember to always follow all the rules and laws when scuba diving! If you’re new, make sure you try one of the shallower shipwrecks like HMAS Castlemaine or Breamlea pier. As your experience grows, go to deeper sites like SS Ironbark for a challenge.

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