Great White Shark cage diving in Australia is a quite unique experience. It is the closest you can possibly get to seeing these apex predators in their natural environment. And is also something that will allow you to fully appreciate what incredible creatures they are.
Australia is one of only three locations globally where cage diving with Great Whites is conducted on a regular basis. The other two are at Gansbaai, near Cape Town in South Africa. And the remote volcanic island of Guadalupe located about 240km off the west coast of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula.
In Australia, Great White Sharks are found from Central Queensland on the east coast. All the way round the bottom of the continent up to the northern parts of Western Australia. However it is the state of South Australia that is best known for them. Plus it is also the only location in the country where Great White shark cage diving is allowed.
Great White Shark Cage Diving – Port Lincoln
The town of Port Lincoln in the Spencer Gulf is the operating base for the cage diving operators. It is also the tuna fishing capital of Australia… And one of the wealthiest places in the country, as a drive around the Lincoln Cove Marina will show you!
Port Lincoln is a short 50 minute flight across the Spencer Gulf from Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. As you fly in you will see a number of rings floating in the sea.
These are the tuna pens where the juvenile tuna are kept. Caught in the Southern Ocean, using a special technique that was developed in Port Lincoln and is now generally adopted globally. The tuna are basically force fed to fatten them up so they can be harvested and then shipped to Japan.
It is the tuna pens and their rich harvest that make Port Lincoln possibly the wealthiest per capita town in all of Australia.
But that wealth is earned and if you want to understand how, check out the National Geographic documentary Tuna Cowboys that is now available on YouTube!
Once the tuna is harvested it is cleaned and tagged. Then it is either put into deep freeze, pending the arrival of the mother ship that transports it back to Japan. Or it is chilled and flown there (usually on the evening it has been harvested) where it’s freshness brings a significant premium.
Either way the tuna ends up at the massive Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo…
Great White Shark Cage Diving – Neptune Islands
In South Australia Great White shark cage diving is only permitted at the Neptune Islands. These are a group of 4 small Islands located some 60km south-east of Port Lincoln. Roughly about half-way to Kangaroo Island in the Great Australian Bight – the huge open bay that covers most of the southern coastline of the Australian continent.
Great Whites are found in significant numbers at the Neptune Islands because of the island’s colony of New Zealand Fur Seals.
The seal colony, said to be the largest in Australia, provides an abundant supply of exactly the sort of high-fat food the sharks prefer.
Large male Great White Sharks can be seen all-year round at the Neptune’s. But it is from April through to August when the seal pups, born around the start of the year, begin leaving the safety of land to feed for themselves, that the much larger female sharks are to be found there.