We’ve all seen Jaws and we’ve all seen the so-awful-they’re-surprisingly-entertaining shark movies. Great whites have a (literal) killer reputation so if you’re and adrenaline seeker, there’s not much that will top having an encounter with a great white. Before you go and shake your head, thinking you can’t scuba dive or you’re afraid of water so this cannot the right adventure for you, I promise you it can still be; I am living proof as somebody terrified of water but in love with marine life.
We can do this quite safely now with shark cages but don’t worry, I can guarantee you the “safety” of the bars does not minimize the absolute awe and chill down your spine when a great white appears out of the blue (pun intended) and checks you out.
A famous spot to experience great white sharks is in Port Lincoln, either a short flight or a 7 hour drive west of Adelaide in South Australia.
Not far off the coast lies the Neptune Islands, a conservation park where great whites visit for the rich food source of fur seals. This is the only place in Australia you can see great whites in their natural habitat and because it is a protected space, there are only three operators licensed for shark cage dives:
Adventure Bay Charters
Calypso Star Charters
Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions
If you’re looking for amazing photo opportunities and/or a more sustainable way to experience this, I recommend going with Adventure Bay Charters.
When Should you go?
First of all, you want to make sure you come at the right time of year. The sharks do visit all year long, so there is the possibility of seeing them throughout the year but naturally, there are more reliable times you want to plan around if you can.
May to October
These are the months for peak season, because the pup seals are venturing into the water, giving the sharks a food source.
The general trend suggests you’ll see more huge females from May to July, but the higher number of shark sightings are from July to October.
Obviously, nature doesn’t work on our schedule and nothing is ever guaranteed just because a trend says so.
I did the shark cage in early April (I know!!) because that’s when I was passing through on a road trip. Essentially it was now or never. They had been recording shark sightings for the past week so I took a chance and still had plenty of shark sightings!
Why Choose Adventure Bay Charters?
All of these operators provide a full day of adventure, cater your meals and do their best to give you a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but why do I recommend Adventure Bay Charters (ABC)?
High sustainability and Environmental Credentials
This is the only operator out of the three that doesn’t bait the sharks. I know how tempting it is to want the chance of a better show, but I promise you the “show” is spectacular as it is and you can feel better knowing you’re not impacting the sharks’ natural habits.
The other operators are meant to be regulated in how much they can bait, but that sort of thing is hard to regulate…
If you want something truly unique, ABC is the only operator with an aqua sub! It’s essentially a little room that sits under water with glass walls so that you can watch for sharks like you would in the cage but while staying dry and breathing through your nose.
I jumped into the cage and managed to see the first shark sighting in the water with it, but unfortunately my anxiety wouldn’t subside so I was able to watch comfortably from the sub the rest of the day and I got amazing views. If you’re scared of water, this is the perfect option!
The sub is also great for photography. If you’re like me and you need photographic memories of everything, this is for you. I was able to get great shots with my Canon D6ii from inside as opposed to only getting GoPro footage from the water.
They do also hand out water proof cameras you can use and everyone has access to all the pictures for free afterwards so make use of it!
The other operators sell you photo packages and rent out cameras but this is included with ABC.
The final reason that swayed my decision to go with ABC was their guarantee. If you don’t see any sharks, you can do the tour again, free of charge. The other companies have similar incentives but at reduced rates rather than full coverage.
Scuba Dive Cage
If you have your dive certification, you can also get a better look at the sharks on the ocean floor with Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions.
Experience the Great Whites!
It’s amazing what we can do nowadays. You don’t have to be like a fish to experience great white shark cages.
This is only a guide based on my research and personal experience but you’ll have a great time with whichever operator you choose. The price tag might intimidate but it’s well worth it. You’ll probably also get to watch seals and dolphins on top of have a full day’s adventure of thrill, anticipation and Neptune Islands marine life.