Shark cage diving

Rising steeply from deep water in the mouth of Spencer Gulf, the remote, wind-swept Neptune Islands are the setting for one of the world’s greatest underwater experiences: cage diving with the white shark.

South Australia is one of the few places in the world - and the only place in Australia - where you can get up close and personal with white sharks. The sharks are protected in South Australia, and the crystal clear waters of the Neptune Islands Group (Ron and Valerie Taylor) Marine Park are one of the best spots to see them in their natural habitat.

White sharks, which can grow to 6m long, weigh more than 2,000kg and have a mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth up to 7.5cm long, are drawn to the waters of the Neptune Islands Group (Ron and Valerie Taylor) Marine Park by the large breeding colonies of protected long-nosed fur seals. The Neptune Islands host around half the Australian population and are the state’s most important nursery for long-nosed fur seal pups.

With its sheltered seagrasses, sandy seafloor and deep-water habitats, the marine park is a haven for a variety of other marine life, including other sharks like the mako, bronze whaler, blue and hammerhead.

Tours

Three tour operators offer you the chance to get in the water with white sharks (in a cage of course). All tour operators are advanced eco-certified and will provide you with a fascinating introduction to one of the ocean’s most misunderstood creatures.

Tours depart from Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula. Port Lincoln is about 30 minutes by air or seven hours by car from Adelaide. Tours range from one day trips to multi-day expeditions.

Sustainable shark tour policy

To ensure white shark tours are environmentally sustainable and socially responsible the South Australian White Shark Tour Licensing Policy has been developed. The policy (including Annexure A) sets out how the South Australian Government will work with licensed operators and other partners to ensure that tourism activities are safe, sustainable, continue to support conservation, and become a leading example of best practice in nature-based tourism. 

Research and monitoring

The South Australian Government together with tour operators and research partners have established the Neptune Islands as an international focal point for white shark research and have helped to raise awareness about white sharks and their conservation. The success and growth of white shark tourism illustrates the positive relationships that can be achieved between nature-based tourism and the environment.

The Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources monitors the effects of shark cage tourism on white sharks that assists in the sustainability of white shark tourism activities. As part of this work, an annual report is published to provide detailed information about the arrival and departure patterns of white sharks at the Neptune Islands Group (Ron and Valerie Taylor) Marine Park. You can read the reports below: