Attention divers! If you’re interested in seeing the best of the best, be sure to add these 10 diving locations to your scuba diving bucket list. These spots have been rated as the top 10 in the world based on underwater beauty, visibility, marine life and overall experience.
Have an addition to this list of top 10 dive sites in the world? Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts!
Over 10,000 divers can’t be wrong about our first top 10 entry. Hailing from England originally but now located Down Under thanks to a tropical cyclone in 1911, the 100m SS Yongala wreck is one of the most well-known dive sites in Australia. Re-discovered in 1958, the steamer sunk near Townsville on what was her 99th voyage in Australian waters. Voted by many as the world’s greatest wreck site, visitors can expect to see an incredible variety of underwater life including sea snakes, barracudas, giant kingfish and turtles. Shark enthusiasts will be pleased to hear of the possibility of tiger shark and bull shark sightings, although these aggressive requiems are a rare find.
As you may have guessed by the name, Barracuda Point offers divers the chance to view thousands of barracudas in their natural habitat. The wall, situated on the north coast, offers displays of brilliant colour and fish in impressive numbers, including redtooth triggerfish and schooling bannerfish. With regular sightings of grey reef sharks, hammerheads and dogtooth tuna, it’s no wonder that this site is renowned as the best the Sipadan Islands have to offer.
3. North Horn
You’ll need to jump aboard a Liveaboard to visit this remote underwater amphitheatre, but North Horn promises not to disappoint. Located on the Osprey Reef of the Great Barrier Reef, North Horn is well-known for its wide array of shark sightings. Tiger sharks, hammerheads, grey and white-tip reef sharks and silvertips are often in abundance and enjoy the frequent shark feedings.
Richelieu Rock is well renowned for offering divers the chance to see the magnificent whale shark in action. Nearby the Surin Islands of Thailand, the site is superb for spotting both the big and small, with plenty opportunity for macro photography enthusiasts.
The USS Liberty Wreck tells a truly unbelievable story and offers divers some unique insights into history. Originally an armed cargo ship in World War II, the 130m vessel was struck by a torpedo and ended up beached near Tulamben. In 1963, the volcanic eruption of Mount Agung resulted in the vessel being pushed back into the water, which is where millions of divers flock today. The wreck offers impressive visibility with an average of more than 20m. These conditions are perfect for taking pictures, so a swim-through with your underwater camera is essential. In short, the USS Liberty Wreck is an absolute must for every diver.
6. Cod Hole
Located on the northern side of the Great Barrier Reef, Cod Hole is famed as the home to an abundance of potato cod. Weighing in between 6 and 30kgs, these friendly giants have been fed by divers for the past 20 years, making the site a guaranteed win for unique photo opportunities. Aside from the numerous potato groupers, Cod Hole also offers the chance to spot some whitetip reef sharks and Napoleon fish, otherwise known as humphead wrasse.
7. Navy Pier
Notably one of the best shore dives you’ll ever experience, Navy Pier is a unique site with an interesting assortment of underwater creatures. Located under a jetty in Exmouth, Western Australia, you’ll see a host of strange looking critters such as nudibranchs, frog fish and flat worms, so be sure to take your underwater camera along. What the site lacks in visibility it more than makes up for in fish life with barracuda schools, nurse sharks and the odd-looking Wobbegong shark all making regular appearances.
8. Crystal Bay
It is at Crystal Bay, deep in the waters of Bali that many experienced divers start their search for the elusive Mola Mola or Oceanic Sunfish. Although sightings of this distinctive fish are rare, it’s certainly worth trying your luck here. The Mola Mola is the heaviest bony fish known to man and these goliaths can sometimes weigh in at upwards of 1000kgs. Other areas to try spot these unusual fish are Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida.
9. Batu Bolong
Batu Bolong in the Komodo Islands is home to an extraordinary amount of marine life that is sure to impress. This world class dive site is in fact an enormous underwater rock where divers can spend many hours exploring the deep nooks, crannies and cracks. Regular sightings of whitetip reef sharks, turtles, dogtooth tuna and Napoleon fish are just some of the reasons that divers return year after year to dive at Batu Bolong, not to mention the equally impressive hard and soft coral, adding brilliant colours to the backdrop of an incredible site.
Although hard-pushed to name any particular site in the Similan Islands as ‘the best’, Elephant Head Rock should certainly be in the top contenders. With excellent visibility and incredible arches and swim-throughs, this cave diving spot is an adventure diver’s dream. Look out for leopard sharks and blacktips as well as barracudas and giant trevallies.