Lord Howe Island’s abundant marine life and crystal clear waters attract divers from around the world to explore some of the best dive sites on the planet.
The coral reefs at Lord Howe Island are the most southerly (31° 33’S) – and among the most spectacular – in the world. The island is located at the crossroads of five major ocean currents, including the warm East Australian Current which runs down the Great Barrier Reef and down into the Tasman Sea. The island’s unique marine ecosystem hosts a diverse mix of tropical, sub-tropical and temperate species which is found nowhere else on earth; there are over 90 species of coral and 500 species of fish inhabiting the reef. Lord Howe’s underwater topography of trenches, caves and volcanic drop-offs adds to the awe-inspiring diving experience at the island.
Lord Howe is one of just four island groups to be inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list for the global significance of its natural beauty and heritage. Surrounded by Marine Park and with fishing restrictions, the island’s reef and marine ecosystems are pristine and plentiful. Located so far off-shore and with no rivers draining to the ocean, the waters are some of the clearest on earth; visibility is usually around 30 metres (summer – outside of the lagoon 20-40m, summer – inside lagoon 10m, winter – outside of the lagoon 15-20m).
There are over 60 world-class dive sites, most located just a short boat ride (10-20 minutes) from shore.
The island’s most spectacular dive is Ball’s Pyramid – the world’s tallest sea stack, located 26km south of the island. Divers (Advanced certification required) can expect to see massive schools of Violet Sweep, Amberjack, Kingfish, Silver Drummer, Rainbow Runners, Trevally and occasionally Marlin, Dolphins and Wahoo. It’s also possible to see Ballina Angelfish – a deep water angel that is generally only found in water in excess of 100 metres, and Ball’s Pyramid is believed to be the only destination where you can see them on recreational scuba in 25 metres. Dives at Ball’s Pyramid average 25 metres in depth and range from drift dives to cave dives to simply following a coral wall.
At many of the dive sites around the Lord Howe Island, divers can see rare and endemic species including Spanish Dancers, Double Header Wrasse; McCullochs Anemone fish and Galapagos whalers – harmless sharks that grow to around two metres and are frequent visitors. It’s also easy to see a variety of species of turtle – even just snorkelling from shore in the Lagoon.
There are two dive operators on the island, both highly experienced family run businesses, who know the island’s best sites. Contact either of them directly for details of packages and costings – Lord Howe diving represents outstanding value for money!