Let’s face it, everyone is fascinated with sharks! The world’s fascination and infatuation with sharks comes to a head this week with the Discovery Channel  networks airing #SharkWeek, which has become an annual media phenomenon for close to 30 years now. Whether it is the thrill or science, or just love of the ocean, we humans like to risk it all just to get up close and personal with the sharks of our oceans. And, whether sharks fill your nightmares or your dreams, we know you will read on, hangin on every word and staring hard at each picture! Here are 5 places in Australia where you can swim with sharks, relatively safely with the protection of a cage, or not :

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Surface Cage Diving Photo Credit: RodneyFox.com.au

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Shark Cage Diving Photo Credit: SouthAustralia.com

  1. Neptune Islands
  2. The Great Barrier Reef
  3. Ningaloo Reef
  4. South West Rocks
  5. Sydney (Yes, Sydney)

Read on in part one to find out the details about diving the Neptune Islands and the Great Barrier Reef. Part two will feature details on Ningaloo Reef, South West Rocks, and Sydney.

  1. Great White Sharks – Neptune Islands, South Australia

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Great White Shark Cage Diving Neptune Islands Photo Credit: Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions RodneyFox.com.au

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Cage Diving with White Sharks Neptune Islands Photo Credit: Calypso Star Charters SharkCageDiving.com.au

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Aqua Sub Cage Dive Alternative in Neptune Islands Photo Credit: Adventure Bay Charters AdventureBayCharters.com.au

The most famous place for Great White Shark diving in Australia is, without a doubt, Neptune Island, South Australia. Neptune Island is located just off Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula.The National Parks of South Australia recognize 3 charter companies that are known for hosting great white shark cage dives in the Neptune Islands: Adventure Bay Charters, Calypso Star Charters and Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions. All of them emphasize safety for the divers, crew, and the sharks too. Conservation is a running theme talking about on all shark charter expeditions. Rodney Fox was the first to invent the shark dive cage in the 1960’s. He was attacked by a shark in 1963 and has since dedicated his life to filming and studying them and is a leading shark conservationist. Read his fascinating story here. The Calypso Star Charters have a long history in Port Lincoln also. They focus on technology and comfort aboard their charters. Adventure Bay Charters were the first advanced eco-certified shark cage diving experience. They guarantee you will see sharks or you can go again! They are also the innovators of the aqua sub. Now, you can dive with sharks and not have to be in the cage, but still have the experience.

Getting to Port Lincoln, South Australia

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Close up map of the Neptune Islands Photo Credit: Google Maps

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Map of South Australia, Victoria and the great Australian Bight Photo Credit: Google Maps

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Port Lincoln Car Rental Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au

The Neptune Islands are just off the coast of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. The closest city is Port Lincoln. You will definitely want to hire a car to get around South Australia and the Eyre Peninsula so that you can go where you want on your own schedule. You can hire a car at the Port Lincoln Airport, which is located right on the Eyre Peninsula. If you are coming from elsewhere in South Australia, there are car rental location options in Adelaide  or you can hire a car in Port Augusta  to make it convenient for you to find the right vehicle for your South Australia travel needs. Follow the links provided and use the easy car rental quote form to find the best car rental rates in South Australia. Our friendly car rental agents are standing by to help you choose the right car for your holiday and always have safety and travel tips handy. If you are planning an extended holiday in South Australia, be sure to check out our post on the Bunda Cliffs  and Kangaroo Island, both nearby destinations for touring as well as Things to Do in Adelaide. We also wrote about Things to Do on the Eyre Peninsula  and the Top Dive Spots in Australia, which includes all diving, not just for sharks.

  1. The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

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Great Barrier Reef Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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Great Barrier Reef Photo Credit: DivingCairns.com.au

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Great Barrier Reef Photo Credit: DivingCairns.com.au

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Great Barrier Reef Sharks Photo Credit: DivetheReef.com

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Great Barrier Reef Sharks Photo Credit: DivetheReef.com

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Great Barrier Reef Sharks Photo Credit: DivetheReef.com

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Great Barrier Reef Sharks Photo Credit: DivetheReef.com

The Great Barrier Reef is quite different from diving the Neptune Islands. There is no cage diving allowed on the reef. You can snorkel in open waters and will see all types of marine life diving the Great Barrier Reef, and while a shark encounter is not guaranteed, it is very likely. You can up the odds by chartering a shark encounter expedition or even planning a live aboard Great Barrier Reef adventure. The most popular places on the Great Barrier Reef where you are most likely to find sharks in Osprey Reef, Holmes Reef, or Flinders Reef. There are many different species of shark that inhabit the Great Barrier Reef, most of which are pretty harmless to humans and pose no threat to divers. You might encounter the largest fish in the ocean, the whale shark or you can see other types of sharks that you might not even recognise as a shark. Smaller reef sharks like the Black Tip Reef Shark and the White Tip Reef Shark that range in size from one up to close to 2 metres are the most commonly seen on the reef. Divers on the reef also frequently can see Grey Reef Sharks, Oceanic Silvertips, and the Hammerheads. There are many different port cities along the Queensland coast where you can hire a charter to take you diving on Great Barrier Reef. Many of the shark expeditions are in the north near Cairns.The other popular port cities include Townsville, Port Douglas, Rockhampton, Mackay, and the Whitsunday Islands.

Getting Around Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef Port Cities

Even though you wouldn’t be driving out on the Great Barrier Reef, you will still want to hire a car or a vehicle to tour the sights in the port city of your choosing. We have featured some different Queensland car rental locations  below. Also look for links to other holiday adventures we have already written about for travel tips in each port city.

Hiring a Car in Cairns

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Cairns Car Rental Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au

There are two car hire locations in Cairns. If you fly into the Cairns Airport, you can rent a car there. Cairns City also has a car rental location. Even though you would not be driving to locations on the Great Barrier Reef, it is a great idea to have your own rental car and the freedom to get around Cairns and the things to see and do in and around the mainland. You will want to have a car to get around and see all of the different sights in the city and the rainforests and national parks that are nearby. Read more about things to do near Cairns. You should also explore the National Parks near Cairns: Wooroonooran National Park  and Barron Gorge National Park.

Hiring a Car Near the Whitsunday Islands

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Whitsunday Islands / Prosperine Car Hire Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au

When you plan to visit this area to see the Whitsunday Islands, you can hire a car to get around the areas up and down the coast and see the sights there.  The Whitsundays are located in between Bowen to the north and Mackay to the south; Brisbane is about 900 kilometres further south. You can rent a vehicle at the Whitsunday Coast Airport location. Depending on where you are, you can also hire a car in Mackay, or choose to rent a car at one of the many Brisbane car rental locations. Let our car rental agents know your travel plans and we will be sure to recommend the right vehicle for your land travels. Since there are different terrains, you might need different types of vehicles depending on where you plan to go. Here is some more details about vacationing in the Whitsunday Islands. If you are interested in learning about Mackay, read our blog post about the endless holiday options in Mackay. You can also read about travel tips in Brisbane.

Hiring a Car in Port Douglas

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Port Douglas Car Hire Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au

Hiring a car in Port Douglas  is a great idea because it means you will be able to tour around the city and surrounds in between tours and excursions to the Great Barrier Reef, Low Isles, and other nearby islands. When you hire a car in Port Douglas, ask your car rental agent for tips on your travel plans and itinerary. They can help you with maps and safety guidelines. While in Port Douglas, be sure to see the Daintree Rainforest, the Oldest Rainforest in the World.

Hiring a Car in Rockhampton

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Rockhampton Car Rental Locations Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au

There are two car hire locations in Rockhampton; you can hire a car in Rockhampton City  or visit the car rental location at the Rockhampton Airport. Also close by is the Yeppoon, where you can hire a car in the coastal city of Yeppoon. When you click through the links, you can enter your details to get a car rental quote for the best price on car rentals in Queensland. When you pick up your rental, consult with our rental agents for local tips, maps, and travel safety guidelines.

Hiring a Car in Townsville

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Townsville Car Hire Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au

Even though you would take a ferry over to Magnetic Island, you will still need a rental car to tour around Townsville, which is a great city in Queensland with plenty to see and do. There are two car hire locations in Townsville that you can choose from: the car rental location in Townsville city  or rent a car right from the Townsville Airport. Touring around Townsville in your own rental car is the best way to see all the sights on your own schedule. Be sure to tell your Budget rental agent your holiday plans so that they can inform you about any safety restrictions, as well as give you some insider holiday trips from a local. One of the highlights is definitely Magnetic Island and Things to do in the Port City of Townsville. Other adventures near Townsville can be found in Bowling Green Bay National Park, Girringun National Park, and Hinchinbrook Island National Park.

Here are some more highlights and holiday ideas if you are visiting the Great Barrier Reef:

Great Barrier Reef Excursions

Visiting the Great Barrier Reef with Kids

5 Port Cities on the Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef Island Getaways