Known as one of Australia’s, and arguably the world’s, best fresh water dive sites, Kilsby Sinkhole has long served as a bucket list destination for divers.
The site was one of the first sinkholes to be dived in the Mount Gambier region, with diving activity commencing in the late 1950’s.
Recognising the strong interest in the site, the Kilsby family has welcomed divers to their property through a variety of different access structures over the years. The family has a long standing relationship with the Cave Divers Association of Australia (CDAA) who have set a benchmark the safety and site management standards for the safe access to the site.
A new access structure
For many years, the Kilsby family has received a broader industry push (diving industry, tourism and education sectors) for reform to the way in which access to privately owned sites such as Kilsby Sinkhole are managed.
After great consideration and consultation, in 2015 the Kilsby family commenced a trial introduction of site access agreements which span a range of interest groups. This trial has provided access to a limited group of recreational diving entities, school groups and land-based tour operators.
Unlike the access which has been traditionally been extended to the CDAA, non-CDAA bookings require all divers to access the site under the supervision of an industry recognised guide (i.e. Divemaster/Instructor) who represents the interests of Kilsby Sinkhole Management and the entity holding an access agreement. The ongoing access to the site is directly aligned to the integrity of these guides, their commitment to follow the protocols of their represented agency and their diligence in following site access guidelines.
Diving and the ‘overhead’ environment
With the leadership of a guide, Open Water trained divers will have access to the areas of the site with direct vertical access to the surface (the non-overhead environment). Within this area, divers have the opportunity to experience the crystal-clear water of the sinkhole and the limitless visibility. At the depth of 18 meters, divers can clearly see clouds and birds and experience the breathtaking view of light as it creates shimmering beams through the water.
While only those with specialised training have the capacity to enter the overhead environment, this is a great opportunity to have a taste of diving in sinkholes within the renowned Mount Gambier region.
Want more information?
A list of diving entities who currently have approved access to Kilsby Sinkhole can be found here. Feel free to contact any of these operators to discuss how you can be a part of their next visit.
‘Without doubt one of my favorite dive sites. Stunningly clear. Unique experience when sun is shining and the light rays refract through the water like a laser light show. For those qualified with the appropriate technical diving qualifications there is also a diverse array of interesting topography and passages to be found in its depths too. One of Australia’s most spectacular fresh water diving sites’ Review and photo courtesy of Darrell Staight
‘We just can’t believe how ultraclear the water was and how big this sinkhole really is! The diving is absolutely stunning and an awesome experience that we can highly recommend!’ Team from Diving Adelaide