Tasmania is home to nearly 5,000km of coastline and offers a wealth of temperate waters for scuba diving and snorkelling. The pristine condition of Tasmania's oceans provides a spectacular underwater experience. From the underwater cave system on the Tasman Peninsula to the elegant sea pens of Port Davey there are unique exploring possibilities around the state.
Guidelines for snorkelling and diving in reserves
Marine reserves are just like national parks; they are there for you to enjoy, but please leave them as you find them. Before you visit a marine reserve, take the time to review our guidelines.
Leave both living and dead material, animals and plants where they are. Dead shells often become a home for another creature.
Fishing and setting of nets and pots is not permitted in a marine reserve.
Try to avoid anchoring boats within the reserve. If you must anchor, do so on kelp-covered reef or, preferably sand. Avoid anchoring on sponge gardens or seagrass.
Take your rubbish home with you. Plastic, ropes and fishing tackle can injure and kill marine life. Dumping rubbish at sea is illegal.
Take care with liquid wastes such as detergents, fuel and oil, and sewage. These can be toxic to marine life.
Dive in groups of five or fewer people to minimise turbulence and accidental damage to marine invertebrates.
There are locations right around the state for all levels of snorkelers and scuba divers. Here are some of our favorites:
Freycinet National Park
Sleepy Bay is a great place for snorkelling and diving, while Honeymoon Bay is a good sheltered area suitable for beginners. Spectacular rockpools occur at both of these locations, as well as at Ranger Creek, and are well worth a look.
Governor Island Marine Reserve
The waters of Governor Island provide spectacular scenery of sheer rock walls, deep fissures and caves, and are home to an unusually diverse range of colourful and captivating marine communities. The rocky reef drops steeply into deep water in an area with strong ocean currents. This creates an environment of great scientific interest and provides some of the best scuba diving in Australian waters.
The best way to dive in the reserve is from a live boat as the depth and reef are not well-suited to anchoring. The currents in the area can be challenging and diving is recommended for experienced divers, or with an instructor.
Kent Group National Park and Marine Reserve
Diving around the Kent Group ranges from the sheltered bays of Deal Island's east coast to rocky shorelines and outcrops exposed to the prevailing westerly weather. Many dive sites are subject to strong tidal currents, particularly those in the channel that divides the main islands. Gorgonian sea fans a metre or more high are a feature of the deep reefs. Clouds of barber perch and sweep swim among the boulders.
The historic wrecks of the SS Bulli near Erith Island and the SS Karitane at the southern end of Deal Island are in shallow water and make interesting dives.
Maria Island National Park and Marine Reserve
One of the finest marine reserves in Tasmania can be found along the north-west coast of Maria Island. Snorkelers and divers can discover the underwater life around the sheltered waters of Darlington Bay and the Painted Cliffs. For divers with boats, the large underwater caverns and tunnels of Fossil Bay which extend up to 40m into the limestone cliffs are a must.
Ninepin Point Marine Reserve
Ninepin Point Marine Nature Reserve overlooks the D'Entrecasteaux Channel, Huon Island and the Huon River. The rocky point is a great place for discovering rockpool life, flotsam and jetsam and having a picnic.
The best way to see the marine life is by scuba diving, however a snorkel in the shallows during summer and autumn will reveal a diverse and beautiful flora.
Port Davey Marine Reserve
Diving in the Bathurst Channel is an opportunity experienced divers will relish. It is essential that Bathurst Channel divers are experienced with diving in dark, cold conditions and strong currents, and be able to achieve a high level of buoyancy control.
Bathurst Channel is one of Tasmania's most unusual, environmentally sensitive and difficult dive locations. Exquisite and colourful lace bryozoans, sea whips and sea pens are just some of the invertebrates living on the channel walls and sea floor. These species usually occur in deep ocean waters, inaccessible to divers. The relatively shallow, tannin-stained waters of Bathurst Channel mimic a deep dark ocean environment.
Your diving experience will be safer and better informed if you join a licensed commercial dive company. These companies know the best and safest places to dive, and will share their intimate knowledge of the fascinating marine life.
Strzelecki National Park
The beaches of Trousers Point offer both snorkelling and diving experiences in one of the most beautiful locations that Flinders Island has to offer. With clear waters and white sand, divers have the opportunity to search for leafy sea dragons against the backdrop of Mount Strzelecki.
For those interested in offshore diving, there are a number of wrecks located around the Furneaux Group, most notably the Sydney Cove, lost at Preservation Island in 1797.
The reserve contains near pristine habitats and is renowned as a world class diving destination due to its clear waters, spectacular sea cliffs and unique and diverse marine life. The area is highly productive with a diversity of habitats; encapsulating a wide range of reef types, sheltered sand habitats and seagrass beds.
Located just 30 minutes south of Hobart, Tinderbox Marine Nature Reserve is the perfect place for adults and children who are learning to snorkel or scuba dive.
With an abundance of marine life, divers frequently find themselves amongst bigbelly seahorses, rock lobsters and wrasse. A night dive along the edge of the reef is a good place to see volutes and gurnards. Close to the city, it is a perfect location for a short trip, with something for all members of the family.