Best diving in the South Pacific

From Australia to French Polynesia, the Pacific islands are dream destinations for most divers. In the heart of the Pacific, islands such as New Caledonia or French Polynesia offer fascinating dives with sharks and manta rays. The Pacific Ocean is also home to several UNESCO Marine World Heritage sites such as the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo Reef in Australia, or the lagoons of New Caledonia. The destinations from the “Best diving in the South Pacific” list are also featured on my World Dive Map.

Special notes:

  • You can find my personal favourites with the ♥ symbol
  • Destinations promoting unethical activities such as feeding and baiting have been excluded from this list.

French Polynesia

Shark Diving Fakarava Tuamotu French Polynesia - Best diving South Pacific

Diving in French Polynesia is one of the best in Asia-Pacific with famous diving spots such as Rangiroa and Fakarava atolls in the Tuamotu Islands and famous dives such as Tiputa Pass and Tamakohua Pass. French Polynesia is a great destination for scuba divers who love shark diving. A little less known, you can also give a try at diving in Hiva Oa in the Marquesas Islands.

The marine life in French Polynesia is mostly about grey reef sharks, manta rays, hammerhead sharks, humpback whales and marbled groupers. It’s the right place to go for experienced divers mainly. Due to the water temperatures, regarding scuba gear, it is most common to scuba dive there in a 3 mm wetsuit. The best time of the year is often from March to June and September to November. The best dive sites can be reached by boat.

Best diving in French Polynesia:

New Caledonia

scuba diving in Hienghene New Caledonia - Best diving South Pacific

Diving in New Caledonia is one of the best in Asia-Pacific with famous diving spots such as Noumea and the Isle of Pines and famous dives such as the Boulari Pass in Noumea, the Eden Garden in the Isle of Pines and Cathedral in Hienghene. The lagoons of New Caledonia are a UNESCO world heritage natural site and the barrier reef is the second largest in the world. New Caledonia is a great destination for scuba divers who love shark diving and coral reefs. A little less known, you can also give a try at diving in Koumac and the Loyalty Islands including Lifou.

The marine life in New Caledonia is mostly about manta rays, grey reef sharks, leopard sharks, turtles and nudibranchs. It’s the right place to go for experienced divers mainly. Due to the water temperatures, regarding scuba gear, it is most common to scuba dive there in a 5 mm wetsuit. Being in the South Pacific, the best time of the year is often from October to May. The best dive sites can be reached by boat.

Best diving in New Caledonia

Vanuatu

SS President Coolidge Wreck diving Vanuatu - Best diving South Pacific

Diving in Vanuatu is one of the best in Asia-Pacific with famous diving spots such as Espiritu Santo Island and famous dives such as the SS President Coolidge shipwreck and Million Dollar Point from WWII. Luganville was an important American military base during the Battle of the Pacific. Vanuatu is a great destination for scuba divers who love wreck diving. A little less known, you can also give a try at diving in Efate Island where the Capital Port-Vila is.

It’s the right place to go for experienced divers mainly. Due to the water temperatures, regarding scuba gear, it is most common to scuba dive there in a 3 mm wetsuit. The best time of the year is often from April to November. The best dive sites can be reached from the shore.

Best diving in Vanuatu

  • SS Coolidge Shipwreck, Luganville, Espiritu Santo ♥
  • Million Dollar Point, Luganville, Espiritu Santo ♥

Hawaii

Night dive with manta rays Kona Hawaii

While it is debatable if Hawaii belongs to the South Pacific destinations, it is surely one of the best in the Americas with famous diving spots such as Maui and Kona on Big Island and famous dives such as the Molokini Crater and the manta night dive. Hawaii is a great destination for scuba divers who love shore diving and turtles. Less known for scuba diving, you can also give a try to Oahu or the lava tubes of Big Island.

The marine life in the Hawaiian Islands is mostly about turtles, manta rays, humpback whales, reef sharks and eagle rays. It’s the right place to go for both beginner and experienced divers. Due to the water temperatures, regarding scuba gear, it is most common to scuba dive there in a 5 mm wetsuit. The best time of the year is often from April to November. The best dive sites can be reached by boat.

Best diving in Hawaii, USA:

Top South Pacific diving destinations still on my bucket list

scuba diving Lifou New Caledonia
  • Australia
    • The Great Barrier Reef
    • Ningaloo Reef
    • Rapid Bay
  • New Zealand
    • Cavalli Islands
    • Poor Knights Islands

Are you looking for the best diving destinations all over the world? You should check these other articles:

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