Type of dive: Reef
Access: Shore or boat (30-90 minutes)
Minimum qualification: Open Water (Advanced recommended)
Depth: 3-40+ metres (10-130+’)
Visibility: 15-40 metres (50-130’)
Water temperature: 13°C (56°F) – 19°C (66°F)
Best time to visit: November – May
Snorkelling: Yes, hundreds of sites!
If ever the term ‘pristine’ could be used to describe a place, then it’s the word for Wilsons Promontory. It has around 130 kilometres (80 miles) of coastline and most of it is unexplored underwater!
The ‘Prom’, as it’s known to Victorians, is the southernmost tip of the Australian mainland consisting of secluded bays with pure white sandy beaches, inlets and offshore islands, all bathed in cool clear nutrient-rich southern ocean water.
Because of its tranquillity and uniqueness, it is the holiday destination of choice by many Melburnians. Some families have been going to the Prom for generations; enjoying its beaches, surf and bush walks.
Underwater the Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park is a divers’ paradise, offering a multitude of unspoilt dive sites particularly around the many offshore islands.
The Prom is mainly granite, its points and islands plunge deeply into the crystal clear water, meeting with pure, white sand on the bottom.
It is easy to get distracted underwater by the sheer awesomeness of the Prom’s spectacular submerged cliffs, swim throughs, boulders and caves, and miss the subtlety of Wilsons Promontory diving.
Below the kelp line, the submerged granite rock is covered in incredibly colourful invertebrate life. Delicate soft corals, yellow zoanthids, beautiful jewel anemones, sponges hosting brittle stars and a huge variety sea stars. The ledges protect huge bull crayfish (southern rock lobster).
Rare species such as red velvet fish, eastern blue groper and leafy sea dragons are all there to be discovered too.
In deeper water, the invertebrate-covered granite boulders are surrounded by huge schools of barber perch. Sea tulips and delicate sea whips wave in the current.
Divers may encounter the playful antics of the Kanowna Island Australian fur seals and there are a number of shipwrecks such as the Cheviot, Lady Mildred and the SS Gulf of Carpentaria.
The Prom water can get very deep and is subject to strong currents, so extreme care and proper planning is essential.
Although the unpredictable weather makes dive planning difficult the Prom is worth every effort.
Copyright C 2015 Steve Sinclair
Great Wilsons Prom dive sites:
Great Glennie Island, Kanowna Island Seals, Skull Rock, 40 Foot Rock and Refuge Cove.