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Where to see bioluminescent water

Watch the water illuminate by nightfall in these destinations in Australia and around the world.

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Bioluminescence in Tasmania with Aurora Borelis.

You've seen the photos. These picture perfect shots of night swimming where your friends are bathing in what looks like an other-worldly neon glow. That's called bioluminescence, and now you can swim in it too.

Bioluminescence in its simplest form is when a living organism emits light. Think of a glowworm and you're there.

That means bioluminescence in the ocean isn't actually caused by the water alone. It's the result of tiny plankton (bioluminescent phytoplankton) in the ocean in droves producing little beams of light for themselves.

Interestingly, bioluminescence in the ocean was documented by Charles Darwin, who described it in his journal after seeing it while sailing on a ship during one of his expeditions. Darwin described it as a 'wonderful and most beautiful spectacle' as the ocean 'glowed with a pale light'.

Bioluminescent algae -- aka Noctiluca (or Sea Sparkle) -- is another related phenomenon.

Where can you find bioluminescent water in Australia?

There are four beaches, bays and bodies of water you can experience bioluminescence around the world:

  • Jervis Bay, New South Wales
  • Preservation Bay, Tasmania
  • Port Lincoln, South Australia

Where else can you find bioluminescent water?

  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • Mosquito Bay, Puerto Rico
  • Paquera Bay, Puerto Rico
  • Puerto Escondido, Mexico
  • Sam-Mun-Tsai Beach, Hong Kong
  • Mission Bay, San Diego
  • Toyama Bay, Japan
  • Krabi, Thailand
  • Cape Canaveral, USA
  • Merritt Island, Allenhurst, USA
  • Isla Baru, Colombia
  • Sihanoukville Bay, Cambodia
  • Railay Beach, Thailand
  • Bio Bay, Cayman Islands
  • Anderson Lagoon, Belize

Checkout the bioluminescence tours by destination

Bioluminescent tours in New Zealand

Bioluminescent tours in Thailand

Railay Stand Up Paddleboard Bioluminescent Night Tour
Railay Stand Up Paddleboard Bioluminescent Night Tour

TripAdvisor

Koh Rong Samloen snorkeling with bioluminescent plankton
Koh Rong Samloen snorkeling with bioluminescent plankton

Viator

Bioluminiescent tours in the Caribbean

Puerto Rico evening kayak tour in Fajardo, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico evening kayak tour in Fajardo, Puerto Rico

Viator

Caribbean bioluminescent glass bottom kayak tour from San Juan
Caribbean bioluminescent glass bottom kayak tour from San Juan

Viator

Half-day bioluminescent boat tour at  Seven Mile Beach, Caribbean
Half-day bioluminescent boat tour at Seven Mile Beach, Caribbean

Viator

Bioluminescent tours in Latin America

Bioluminescence tour and sunset river cruise, Hopkins, Belize
Bioluminescence tour and sunset river cruise, Hopkins, Belize

Viator

Bioluminescent tours in the USA

Cocoa Beach night bioluminescence kayak tour, Cape Canaveral
Cocoa Beach night bioluminescence kayak tour, Cape Canaveral

Viator

Bioluminescence night kayaking tour in Allenhurst, United States
Bioluminescence night kayaking tour in Allenhurst, United States

Viator

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