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Scuba Diving in Lord Howe Island Hot

Dive area / region : Lord Howe Island - See the map Scuba Diving in Lord Howe Island
Best diving season : April  •  May  •  June  •  July  •  August  •  September  •  October
Recommended number of days to stay : More than 1 week...
Number of dive sites : More than 20 Dive Sites
Water temperature and wetsuit advice : 16-20C : 2 Piece Wetsuit
Average visibility : 26 - 30 meters
Average dives depth : 20 Meters
Type of currents : Medium level currents
Months when these currents are present : N/A
General surface conditions : Medium conditions
Wreck types : Recent world ships  •  Airplane
General rating
User rating
Dive experience
Marine life
Worth it
Type of marine life : Anemone  •  Barracuda  •  Corals  •  Cuttlefish  •  Dolphins  •  Grouper  •  Jacks  •  Lobster  •  Moray Eels  •  Nudibranch  •  Octopus  •  Plants  •  Rays  •  Reef Fish  •  Shark - Grey nurse  •  Shark - Reef shark  •  Shark - Whale shark  •  Shrimps  •  Softcoral  •  Sponge  •  Star fish  •  Tuna  •  Turtles
Presence of caves / caverns : Yes - Semiclosed


When the last rays of the sun stretch through the Kentia palms and the azure sweep of the ocean fades into the night sky, you’ll know you’ve come to the right place. Just 700km north-east of Sydney, off the New South Wales coastline in the South Pacific, World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island is a unique environment of forests and mountains fringed by the most southerly coral reef in the world. Aside from the resident marine animals, Lord Howe Island also happens to be home to several rare plant and land-based animal species, many of which live in the natural forests, which cover about two-thirds of the entire area.


The waters that surround this area are pure and pristine, making them the ideal dwelling place for about 500 fish species and about 90 varieties of corals. Most of the fish at Lord Howe are widely distributed in the Indian and West Pacific Ocean areas as well as the adjacent waters in eastern Australia. With approximately 75 per cent of tropical inshore species, and 15 per cent being temperate, the fish fauna is an amalgamation of tropical and temperate Australia. However this composition differs from one period to another as the periodic influx of cooler southern currents causes fluctuation in the water temperature; temperatures in the lower degrees limit the number of tropical species.


More than 50 sites – teeming with fish, colourful coral and green turtles – attract diving enthusiasts from around the world. Additionally, the corals therein hold the distinction of being the only coral reef situated in the extreme southern region of the world, in the process, creating an extended, but magnificent line of what appears like white bubbles backdropped against the vastness of southern Pacific Ocean.

No two sites are the same with an incredible range of topography and communities of living things.

Among the many diving sites in the island, the Balls Pyramid, the Admiralty Islets, and the Malabar Range are considered as the top favorites. A dive at Balls Pyramid is a must with only a handful of divers getting onto this site each year. The dives are in around 30 metres of some of the clearest blue water you could imagine. The fish life is prolific and LARGE. Perhaps the most amazing sight is when you surface just a few hundred metres from the Pyramid and can look almost straight up as this half kilometre high rock exits vertically from the ocean. A sight never forgotten. This is also the only place you can see the Ballina Angelfish in diveable depths. No diving trip would be complete without a dive at Ruperts Reef. A large bommie with a 4m deep crack running north-south. The crack is wide enough for a diver and provides excellent wall life with plenty of crannies for lobster, fish and other critters.


Lord Howe Island has a wide array of amazing underwater caves and trenches. While snorkelling and scuba diving reveal a colourful underwater world full of reef fish, corals, underwater caves and volcanic drop-offs. Most of the divable caves on the island are volcanic dykes that have weathered away leaving cave sized holes in the cliff face for divers to explore. The names of the caves are as evocative as the caves are exciting to dive. Sheer Black, Disco, The Dungeon and Malabar to name but a few. One of our favourites is Portholes cave. You enter a triple-garage sized cave at 20 metres and follow the cave 70 metres as it ascends a gentle slope. At the rear of the cave is a passage that curves around inside the cave wall. In a few places the wall has holes looking for all the world like portholes. These give fantastic views back into the main cave.


Lord Howe Island was discovered by ship. Located by Lieutenant Ball in 1788 whilst in command of the First Fleet tender HMS Supply, subsequent contact was necessitated by sea. Dangerous reefs and the ever-present hazards of ocean travel meant that a number of visiting ships became wrecked at the island or in surrounding waters. Vessel losses reduced with the development of air travel, first by flying boats then commercial jet aircraft.

Today the shipwrecks form part of the island's underwater cultural heritage. The sites retain detailed evidence of vessel construction, fit out, trade and cargo, and what life was like aboard ship, from the earliest days of the colony. They form a direct link to the earliest days of the island's history, settlement and development.



The Catalina wreck:

A Royal Australian Air Force Catalina was on a training mission when it developed a fuel leak and had to attempt an emergency landing into the lagoon after dark. The aircraft lost power and hit Malabar Ridge. Miraculously there were two survivors, but seven others died in the crash. There is still a lot of wreckage on the hillside, mainly sections of the wings and engine blocks.



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