Top 10 Marine Encounters 'Down-Under' : Part 2

In our previous blog, we listed five thrilling marine encounters you can experience while holidaying in Australia. Here are five more: 

You'll be mesmerized by the intensity of the adventures and, unlike safaris where the action may be going on at a distance, here you’ll certainly be part of it.

1.  Cage-diving with great white sharks: Neptune Islands, South Australia

Apparently, being in the water while two 4.5-meter sharks buffet the metal cage in which you stand, can be the most adrenaline-flooded fifteen minutes of your life. You’ll emerge with nothing but admiration for this key-stone predator's power ... and returning divers to the Neptune Islands, are encouraged by the increasingly healthy population of great whites.

There are many great operators that run cage-diving expeditions from Port Lincoln, with 2-night trips from $1,395.

2.  Swimming with dwarf minke whales: Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

This expedition is only possible during a very narrow window in June and July each year. Only one operator, Eye to Eye Marine Encounters, operates 4-6 day expeditions that include swimming with dwarf minke whales.  During this trip, you’ll also have time to explore the northern Great Barrier Reef, Cooktown and Lizard Island, diving and snorkeling some of the least spoiled parts of the reef. 

However, the star attractions are obviously the inquisitive dwarf minke whales that tend to gather in groups of up to 15 around swimmers holding onto a "Minke Line" at the back of the boat. Interacting with these giant creatures up-close is a once-in-lifetime opportunity.

Eye to Eye Marine Encounters offers four dwarf minke whales trips in June/July that cost from $2,950.

3. Diving with manta rays: Stradbroke Island, Queensland

There is no more graceful sight than that of manta rays gliding through the ocean ... and diving off Stradbroke Island is like being in the midst of a manta ballet.  During their November to March migration, just a 10-minute boat ride from Straddie, is a 'manta ray cleaning station'. As the rays hover in clear 35' water, small fish rid them of parasites, and divers and snorkelers can get a great, close-up vision of the giants. Kneeling in the shadow of a manta and looking up at its 10' wingspan can certainly form an engrained memory.

Double dives start at $131 and snorkelling from $35.

[Read the Previous Blog : Top 10 Big Marine Creature Encounter Down-Under Part 1]

4. Diving with leafy sea-dragons: Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Appearing like something out of medieval legend, yet as tiny and fragile as tissue wafting in the swell, the leafy sea dragon is a touching sight.  An encounter with one, on Kangaroo Island, will remain etched in memory, in spite of the sea dragon’s leafy camouflage making it hard to find among the seaweed.

Single guided dives start from $140.

5. Swimming with blue-fin tuna: Port Lincoln, South Australia

Swimming with 60-odd tuna inside a 40' deep show pen anchored in Boston Bay has become one of South Australia's must-do experiences.  If it's not a big enough thrill to swim among juvenile bluefin tuna reaching speeds of 40 mph, for an even more heart pounding experience, apparently you can hand-feed them sardines ... trusting of course that the 30-kilo fish don't clatter into you.

This tuna encounter will cost you around $90 for adults and for $60 for kids.

Jonathan Campbell

Aussie Trip Advisor, 12H Nob Hill, Roseland NJ 07068

Aussie Trip Advisor hand-craft Australian itineraries on a fee-for-service basis