It’s a little ironic that the most famous shark attack victim in history spent his life trying to educate folks about, and save, the very sharks that almost killed him.
Port Lincoln Shark Diving would not be what it is today without him – if all all. But the man we’re talking about knows great whites more intimately than pretty much anyone on the planet.
In 2019, if you Google ‘Port Lincoln Shark Diving’ you’ll definitely come across his name: Rodney Fox. And many shark cage diving enthusiasts do that for a simple reason. There are three hubs for great white shark diving: California, South Africa and – as you might have guessed, Southern Australia.
And just like shark diving in Cape Town and Guadalupe, Port Lincoln shark diving is a creature of its own – one with pros and cons – that put Southern Australia high on many a shark diver’s itinerary
Many Shark Diving Options…
Before we go further, a little clarity. When we talk about Port Lincoln shark diving, we mean with great whites.
Australia’s shark tourism scene is much like shark diving in Florida. They’re both rich in shark species, diving styles and skill required. Pretty much anyone can see sharks in Florida and it’s the same Down Under. While many species live here, two make up the shark diving scene in this beautiful country: whale shark diving on the west coast, and great white shark diving at – you guessed it – Port Lincoln, on the country’s south coast.
Hence, Port Lincoln shark diving means great white shark diving. And, well not to muddy the water further, but Port Lincoln is the town that operates the charters.
The actual dive site for Port Lincoln shark diving is the Neptune Islands – two small island groups about a 2 1/2 hour boat ride from Port Lincoln itself.
Port Lincoln Shark Diving: Pros and Cons
As one of the three centres of white shark diving on the planet, Port Lincoln brings its own advantages and drawbacks for anyone who want to see great whites at this (admittedly) remote location. The Pros and Cons of shark diving at Port Lincoln (and the Neptune Islands) include:
- Good Visibility
- Relatively Affordable
- Convenient Day Trip Format
- The Chance to Dive With Rodney Fox’s organization
- Customizable Charters
- Remote Location
- Just One Dive Per (Day) Tour
Shark diving charters at Port Lincoln are generally a mix of one day tours (similar to the Farrallon Islands model) and 2-8+ night charters. Whichever tour length you choose, you’ll most likely be picked up in Port Lincoln and efficiently whisked away to the Neptune Islands 3 hours later, where you’ll spot great whites from the boat and, optionally, from a surface cage.
It’s important to note you’ll likely get just one hour in the cage if it’s a day tour. You might get lucky and score several dives, however, if it’s a very good day or you get there early.
Cost: $295-$395 for Day Tours, $995+ for One Night+ Dive Tours in Australian dollars. Call each operator for specific details.
High Season: April to June and September to January
Low Season: March
Note there are exceptions to these details. Shark diving occurs year-round at Port Lincoln. While these are general guidelines, it’s just as possible to have an excellent March and a lousy November. Water visibility and sea roughness vary as well. In good months, some operators (like Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions) may offer dives lasting four to ten nights. That’s roughly as long as the typical Guadalupe shark dive itinerary.
The point being? ‘High Season’ and ‘Low Season’ are loosely defined. Contact each operator before you plan to go. They’re both great times to see great whites at the Neptune Islands, and you can likely cater your dive to suit your preferences.
Shark Diving Operators at Port Lincoln
Port Lincoln is an excellent place to see great white sharks. You’ve got several operators to choose from, each eager to put you in front of very large great whites according to your schedule and/or diving preferences. The shark cage diving operators at Port Lincoln include:
Calypso Star Charters – A well-oiled machine, Calypso Star Charters gets the nod for most interactive website. It’s won a variety of Australian Tourism Awards and gets plenty of love from Google – likely because of all those high reviews. They do shark cage diving and swimming with sea lion tours as well.
Gotta admit – that website is pretty awesome. And, another point, Calypso is the only one-day cage diving operation permitted to chum (attract sharks to the boat with bait) at the site.
Adventure Bay Charters – Wanna see great white sharks from an aqua-sub? Think about Adventure Bay Charters, which offers day, multi-day and shark-diving/sea lion combo tours. That’s pretty standard for a shark dive operator at Port Lincoln – what sets it apart is a submersible glass cage viewing area, which allows you to submerge and see the sharks without so much as a drop of water on your body.
Well OK, maybe a few drops, but you get the idea. It’s a dry, yet immersive shark viewing option. Adventure Bay also says it has the fastest boats to the Neptune Islands..
Rodney Fox Charters – I started this blog post with a reference to Rodney Fox, the Australian man who survived a great white shark attack in December of 1963 – one of the worst non-fatal shark attacks in recorded history – and went on to spend the rest of his life educating people about great white sharks and the need to protect them.
That’s even more remarkable when you consider the dominant mind-set of the time, that ‘only a dead shark is a good one’.
While Rob Stewart revealed the horrors of shark-finning, Rodney Fox was arguably the first prominent figure to change our perspectives of great white sharks and their role in the marine ecosystem. He’s 78 at the time of this writing, and while he’s no longer active with the day-to-day shark tours (that I’m aware of), the chance to be part of this man’s great legacy is, in my opinion, reason enough to book a flight to Australia, fly to Adelaide, commute to Port Lincoln and plop down $1000 Australian dollars for at least one night.
This is something I intend to do myself.
Before You Go…
A few final thoughts about Port Lincoln shark diving.
I mentioned earlier that Port Lincoln is a remote location. That’s an understatement. If you’re not familiar with Australia, it’s the south coast of this huge continent, and a good 600KM from Adelaide – the only major city on this otherwise undeveloped coast line.
‘Undeveloped’ is generally a good thing in this context, but the point is that it’s a hike to get here. There are 2 ways to Port Lincoln: by car (a 7 hour drive from Adelaide) or plane (roughly 35 minutes). There are no direct flights to Port Lincoln through Sydney or Melbourne.
Also, much like the operations in Cape Town, Port Lincoln shark diving is a business. An eco-minded one, but a business none-the-less.
Still, it’s worth the trip. This is the place to go cage diving with great whites in Australia, and one of only three spots on the planet where you can reliably see white sharks from a cage. Is it cheap? No. Convenient? Definitely not. But, if you’re a shark lover, or have a rather twisted bucket list, Port Lincoln shark diving is a must-do for folks who can’t live without the thrill of going eye to eye with a great white shark.