To get the most from your visit to South Australia’s marine parks, it’s sometimes best to discover the hidden secrets with the help of a local. This is especially the case if you’re only visiting for a short time, or don’t have access to a boat, diving gear or 4x4.
Whether you’re looking to dive ancient reefs, explore tidal creeks, spot dolphins, be awestruck by huge great white sharks or catch that elusive prize fish, there’s a range of professional tours available to suit you and your budget.
- Fishing charters - Charter operators carry out fishing tours throughout South Australia’s marine parks, with packages ranging from an afternoon to a full week or more at sea. From tuna fishing around Wedge Island (in the Gambier Islands Group Marine Park) to snapper fishing around Yorke Peninsula and the gulfs, South Australia’s marine parks have a fishing adventure that’s right for you.
- Shark cage diving - South Australia is the only place in Australia where you can get up close and personal with a great white shark in the Neptune Islands Group (Ron and Valerie Taylor) Marine Park. Visit the place where much of the footage for Stephen Spielberg’s Jaws was filmed and view these majestic predators in their own environment.
- Diving - South Australia’s marine parks are home to some of the country’s best diving locations and diving is allowed in all of the marine park sanctuary zones. From the vibrant reefs off Noarlunga or the wreck of the HMAS Hobart (in Encounter Marine Park) to remote but exciting Pearson and Top Gallant Isles (in Investigator Marine Park), there’s a destination and a dive tour to suit you.
- Whale watching - South Australia’s marine parks are a breeding ground for many species of protected whales. Whale watching cruises operate out of Fowlers Bay (part of Nuyts Archipelago Marine Park) and Victor Harbor (part of Encounter Marine Park) while viewing platforms on the cliffs of the Far West Coast Marine Park also provide excellent tourism experiences.
- Sight seeing tours - Almost all marine parks in South Australia offer sight seeing tours. Check local guides for details.
Three reasons why professional tours are a great way to experience our marine parks
- Tours are usually carried out by locals, who may be informed by generations of intimate knowledge of the local marine environment. Their business is your enjoyment, taking the guess work out of the visit.
- Tour operators, like charter fishing operators or dive tours, provide almost everything you need, so even if you don’t have a boat or diving gear, you can still enjoy intimate access to the best marine park spots. Plus they handle all the preparation and clean up, so all you have to do is enjoy.
- Local, professional knowledge means you know you can safely enjoy a new marine destination without having to worry about the location of that hidden sandbar or rocky outcrop.
Five ways to get the most out of your professional tour
- Pick a marine park and take your time to find a visitor experience that suits you. Are you travelling alone and looking for high-adrenalin adventure? If so, shark cage diving could be what you’re looking for. Are you bringing the whole family? There are guided tours to suit all needs and budgets, so do your homework and make the most of your time away.
- Take your snorkelling gear with you. Many beaches offer a safe snorkelling experience for swimmers of all ages and abilities. Check local guides.
- Book early. South Australia’s beachside towns burst into life from November to March for the peak tourist season and tours can book out. Some tour operators are bound by strict licensing to ensure minimal impact on the marine environment, so visitor numbers can be limited.
- If you’ve never been on a boat before, it might pay to start out small. Don’t book a two-day deep-sea fishing charter if you don’t know whether you suffer from sea sickness or not. Speak to your preferred tour operator; they’re professionals and can advise on what’s best for your needs.
- If you’re a diver but haven’t been diving for a few years, it might pay to take a refresher course. Diving is a safe, family-friendly sport, but it pays to be up to date with your training.