Leafy Sea Dragon at Rapid Bay Jetty

Best dive sites in South Australia

Enquire about pricing for a multiple day South Australian dive safari – from as little as $99 per diver per day!

When divers are planning their trip to Adelaide and South Australia and ask us about the best dive sites in the region, most already have an idea what animals are on their bucket list! The best and most interesting marine life in South Australia can only be found close to shore and as we are marine life lovers, we believe the top 10 dive sites in South Australia are all shore dives (and mainly jetty dives)!

Most sites (especially the jetties) are easy to navigate and can be explored guided or unguided. Of course a guide will be an asset for locating the more camouflaged and hard to find critters much easier.

We’re always happy to send you a quote for a custom multiple day South Australian dive safari, which can include transport and accommodation or just a couple of guided dives at one or multiple dive locations of your choice! Please email us for more details (and please don’t forget to mention whether you’ve got specific animals you would like to see on your bucket list, so we can send you some suggestions!).

Our Top 10 South Australian Dive Site List:

1. Edithburgh Jetty

Edithburgh actually has two jetties, but the main jetty in the middle of town is the number one dive spot in the state! It is an absolute haven for macro life (and heaven for macro photographers) and is home to the endemic pyjama squid, blue ring octopus, bobtail squid, sand octopus, multiple types of anglerfish, pipefish, shrimps, nudibranchs and if you’re very lucky, you can even find a leafy sea drargon here! The jetty is well known in the local diving community as it always delivers and many divers have had amazing unexpected encounters under there!

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2. Rapid Bay Jetty

The beautiful Rapid Bay Jetty is the well known home of South Australia’s marine emblem: the leafy sea dragon! Only an hour and a half drive from the city, you can dive this site with us as a day trip (it takes the full day) or you can rent some gear and explore the site yourself! We’re always happy to point out where the sea dragons were sighted last, so you can go for an exploratory dive yourself. The pylons are covered in soft corals with lots of nudibranchs, there a big schools of fish to be seen near the T-section and if you’re lucky you may get a visit of a big ray, a sea lion or even a dolphin!

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3. The Bluff

Victor Harbor has many dive sites, but the most famous and easy to dive one is The Bluff. You have to pick your day (northerlies or low winds and low swells are ideal) as it can get wild here sometimes, but on a good day, you can find more than 10 sea dragons in a day! You may get lucky and spot both types of dragons (the weedy and the leafy) here as that has happened quite a few times before! It is the easiest site to find a sea dragon, but it’s also quite exposed so it’s always best to check with the dive shop first to see whether it’s diveable if you’re planning to check it out by yourself!

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4. Second Valley

This is a very pretty site both on land as well as underwater! Second Valley is home to many blue devils and is also an excellent site to spot the elusive leafy sea dragon, sometimes within a few minutes of going under near the jetty! It’s not as easy to navigate as the other sites, but it’s well worth a look! There are channels in the sea grass here that the resident southern eagle rays love and the beautiful topography of the site will make you want to come back for more, as there are lots of little caves, swim throughs and overhangs to explore!

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5. Port Hughes Jetty

The jetty at Port Hughes is another favourite site amongst macro lovers. If Edithburgh is blown out by easterlies, Port Hughes usually has perfect conditions as it’s on the other side of the Yorke Peninsula. We’ve seen rare shrimps, lots of nudibranchs, anglerfish, blue ring octopus and many other macro critters here. The water is usually clear and it’s easy to navigate. It’s easy to spend too much time looking around to not make the end of the jetty, but it’s well worth diving the whole way. A good plan is to make your way to the end reasonably quickly and then slowly come back to the stairs!

6. Port Giles Jetty

Diving here is not so much about the life underneath the jetty, but rather about diving with ocean puppies (who live on the rocks right next to the jetty): the sea lions! The water near the rocks is very shallow and has some crystal clear white sand. The sea lions love to jump in (if they’re not already in the water) and come for a closer look. The jetty itself is quite pleasant diving as well. It gets a bit deeper towards the end of the jetty (15+ metres), which is unusual for most of the jetties in SA, so keep an eye on your air gauge if you go all the way to the end! *Please note this jetty is not always open to dive as it’s a working jetty!

7. Ewens Ponds & Kilsby’s Sinkhole

If you love crystal clear waters, these sites are for you! They’re a 500km drive from Adelaide, so always an overnight trip, but they’re worth the effort. The 14-16 degree waters (year round) are crystal clear and can have visibility up to 100m! The Ewens Ponds have some life in them (freshwater fish, eels and crays) and there is a freshwater turtle in Kilsby’s Sinkhole. Both sites are easy to navigate and the maximum depth of the ponds is just over 10m, where Kilsby’s Sinkhole is 30m deep (or you can go deeper if you’re cavern certified). Please note bookings are required for both sites.

8. Port Noarlunga Jetty & Reef

This is our favourite training site, as the inside of the reef is usually protected from big waves and there is some good life underneath the jetty and on the reef! If you jump in from the stairs right at the end of the jetty, you’ll see an explosion of fish life (where the jetty meets the reef). Have a look under the loose rocks here as well to find blue ring octopus and pygmy cuttlefish sometimes! The reef is home to seahorses, nudibranchs, pipefish, flatworms and other marine critters and towards the north there have been leafy sea dragons spotted (but it is quite a long swim to get there).

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9.  Whyalla Cuttlefish Migration (May-Aug)

Another dive site that’s a bit of drive from Adelaide is the Whyalla Cuttlefish Migration dive site. It’s more an area than a dive site really, as you can jump in at The Fenceline (the most popular cuttlefish spot), Black Point, Stony Point or anywhere along the shore line really to see the thousands of cuttlefish in their yearly mating ritual (between May and August). The waters are chilly (around 13 degrees usually), but it’s a spectacular sight and great photo opportunity as these giants don’t care about us humans as they’re just too busy impressing their mates!

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10. Star of Greece

If you thought The Bluff was weather dependent, then this site is even worse. Completely exposed you need to pick a good day to explore the historical shipwrecl of the Star of Greece in Port Willunga! The beach is stunning, so it’s never a wasted drive, but if you can get in and the visibility is good, this is a spectacular dive (it’s a 3 masted iron ship that has been down there for over 125 years!). There is quite a big reef next to it as well, but there isn’t much life on it. The site is in just a couple of metres of water and you can see one of the masts sticking out at low tide, so it’s easy to find around that time!

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Underwater Videographer Dustin Adamson’s Rolling in The Deep Series. He dived with us at Whyalla, The Bluff, Rapid Bay, Wool Bay and Edithburgh.
Leafy Sea Dragon Guided Dives
Leafy Sea Dragon Rapid Bay Dives
Leafy Sea Dragon Photography Tours
Leafy Sea Dragon at The Bluff Victor Harbor by Greg Lecoeur