Known for its unique picturesque landscape of where the city meets the beach, Gold Coast is like the Vegas of Australia. Tourists flock here both domestically and from overseas to get the best of both worlds. Visitors can immerse themselves in the buzzing nightlife, relax on the miles of stretching sands, and stay in the most luxurious high-rises.
Situated along Australia’s famous east coast, the Gold Coast region is known for its party vibe with much of the youth planning trips here for school holidays, or schoolies. It’s much more than just that though, with an abundance of entertainment such as waterparks and casinos. There are also miles of beautiful beaches lined by breathtaking skyscrapers in the city of Surfer’s Paradise.
Its prime east coast location lends Gold Coast to be a great spot for diving Australia’s great reefs! Scuba diving the Gold Coast promises pleasant water conditions with vibrant coral reefs and a diverse range of underwater life.
With miles upon miles of stretching beaches, Gold Coast has many jump-off points for exploring the east coast Australian reef system. This makes it easily accessible and convenient for diving. Here are some of our fave things about diving in the Gold Coast.
In contrast to the popularity of the bustling city due to its iconic landmarks and lifestyle, like Byron and Sydney, the Goldie isn’t all that known for its diving. Perhaps people are saving their Aussie diving experiences for the world-famous Great Barrier Reef.
This just works in our favor as we’re free to explore the unspoiled reefs and wrecks that lie not far from the Gold Coast shore.
Great for Beginners
Great news for beginner divers, Gold Coast has an abundance of beginner-friendly dive sites. With miles of stretching coastline and an array of sites not far from the shore, diving the Gold Coast is easily accessible for every diver.
The Gold Coast is a great place to have your first diving experience with many of its fascinating underwater environments accessible right on the edge of the city.
As well as its diversity in species of tropical fish and other marine life, the waters of the Gold Coast offer the opportunity to dive a range of different sites offering unique experiences and spectacles.
Whether you’re keen for a wall dive, a wreck diving junkie, or just love to explore mesmerizing reef systems, the Gold Coast has got you covered!
Gold Coast Scuba Certification
There’s no requirement to be certified in order to dive in the Gold Coast. Moreover, there are many tour operators that cater to those of all levels of ability, no problem for beginner divers. There are plenty of beginner-friendly and easily accessible dive sites to get your flippers wet for the first time.
What’s more, there are plenty of opportunities to get scuba certified while you’re in the Gold Coast! Check out our recommended Open Water diving course below for more information.
Having said that, it’s always recommended to get scuba certified to give yourself the best, most enjoyable diving experience possible. While you’ll have a great time scuba diving the Gold Coast as a first-time diver, there’s a lot you can miss out on without the extra confidence and diving experience, such as the more challenging walls and wrecks.
In addition, becoming scuba certified will help you feel more comfortable and confident underwater. This leads to maximum enjoyment and safety from your diving experience and something worth considering.
Gold Coast Scuba Diving Requirements
Australia has more strict diving regulations than many other places in the world. You’ll be required to complete a medical declaration before diving to state you haven’t flown within the last 24 hours and that you’re in good health to dive. As always, tour operators state that you must be in good physical condition and have some swimming ability. Children must be at least 10 years old to scuba dive with a tour operator.
With that said, it’s always highly recommended to have a dive buddy when you’re out scuba diving in the waters of the Australian east coast, as it is anywhere else. This is particularly the case if you’re out diving without a tour operator or guide. In this situation, it’s also good practice to make use of diver down flags.
Best Dive Sites in the Gold Coast
The Australian waters are where I fell in love with scuba diving, and these are spots that I’ve had the pleasure of exploring myself.
With multiple shipwrecks and reefs just within boating distance of the coast, you’ll find the ideal mix of marine life, corals, and diving infrastructure. The following are some of the best sites to explore.
On days when the visibility would be too low for other dive sites, I preferred heading to Cook Island Marine Park. Located off the coast of Fingal Heads, this large, rather exposed island is a marine reserve that acts as the home for a wide variety of aquatic life.
Interestingly, Cook Island is also known as Turtle Island, as it hosts a large turtle population. Apart from that, you’ll also be sure to spot other marine life such as Leopard Sharks, Manta Rays, and hard and soft Corals. In short, Cook Island has everything that a diving enthusiast can hope for.
If this sounds ideal to you, be sure to check out our recommended diving package experience below!
Scottish Prince Shipwreck
The Scottish Prince is more than just a shipwreck; it’s a piece of history that still harks back to the old days. This is one of my most favorite dive sites around Australia, and I never get tired of diving deep into this wreck and exploring it.
The underwater superstructure of the Scottish Prince can be found about 10m below the surface. It provides an artificial habitat for a multitude of marine life such as Pelagic, Reef Fish, and Wobbegong Sharks. You’ll also be able to see the three broken sections of the bow; but don’t go grabbing pieces, for you’ll land in legal trouble if you disturb the wreck.
If you’re heading to the Gold Coast and looking to get your first taste of scuba diving, this convenient shore dive is ideal for you, check out our recommended diving package below!
Wave Break Island
Located within the Gold Coast Seaway, Wave Break Island is a human-made structure that’s sheltered from shallow depths and ocean swells. This feature makes the site ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving, especially for beginners.
If you’re looking to interact with marine life, head over to the northern rock wall and feed the multitudes of small fish. The site is suitable for diving at high tide, though low tide dives are also possible. The diving depth extends to about 12m, with an average depth of 4m.
Check out our recommended experience below for more details.
Best Time to go Diving in the Gold Coast
The Gold Coast makes for great diving most of the year. With warm temperatures for almost all of the year, and unaffected by the northern state’s cyclone season, It’s hard to go wrong diving in the Gold Coast whatever the time of year.
It may be smart to avoid peak season too which runs from December-February, and instead visiting in the shoulder seasons when you’ll still get great weather and ideal conditions.
You’ll find beautiful water conditions with great visibility the majority of the time while diving in the Gold Coast. Expect water temperatures between 70-80°F year-round.
How Much Does Scuba Diving Cost in Gold Coast?
If you’re looking at booking a dive package experience through a tour company in the Gold Coast, you’ll find prices between $100-$200 AUD. The prices generally include gear rental and levys so there are no extra fees.
In addition, a PADI Open Water Certification will set you back around $500 AUD, if that’s what you’re looking for.
Scuba Diving Gear in the Gold Coast
There are plenty of dive shops located in the Gold Coast. This means gear rental is always an option.
It’s worth noting, you’re left with one less thing to think about when going with a diving package from a guided tour operator as all equipment and gear are included.
However, buying your own gear might be ideal for you if you’re a more keen and experienced diver!
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