Australia’s underwater world is one of the most beautiful and ecologically diverse environments found throughout the world. From living coral reefs teeming with marine life to skeleton shipwrecks, wrecks, caves, and caverns, Australia has it all.
Due to the sheer size of Australia and amount of dive sites scattered around the Australian coastline, we thought it was best to divide these articles up into smaller areas, making it easier for you to decide where your next diving trip to Australia will be.
Australia is home to the Great Barrier Reef, located off the coast of Queensland in North East Australia and is the largest living thing on earth. It is so large that it can even be seen from outer space. This fascinating collection of reefs, hundreds of islands made of over 600 types of hard and soft corals, stretches for nearly 1,500 miles in length.
The Top 6 Dive Sites Queensland, Australia
The SS Yongala Wreck
The Wreck of the SS Yongala is on many (if not all) divers bucket-list. There is something extraordinarily eerie about this wreck and the hundreds of reef fish and large marine life that gather there.
The Yongala sank off the coast of Townsville in 1911, approximately 55 miles away from the shoreline. Sadly all 122 people on board perished in this tragedy, which remained undiscovered for more than 50 years after the fact.
The wreck is now a national heritage site and has also formed as an incredible artificial reef full of marine life that rivals almost any other wreck site found off the coast of Queensland.
You’ll find huge Groupers, Eagle Rays, Manta Rays, Bull Sharks, Barracuda, Turtles, large Pelagics and Olive Sea Snakes, all of which are friendly and seem to get on well with divers visiting the area.
If you’re planning on visiting this dive site, it is important to be aware that there are strong currents on the surface so some diving experience is required as well as good physical fitness.
Steve’s Bommie, Ribbon Reefs
Some of the best diving experiences in Australia are found on the Northern Ribbon Reefs of the Great Barrier Reef. This location is slightly off the beaten track and is free from the hustle and bustle of day-excursions. Steve’s Bommie dive site starts at 33m and finishes around 3m below sea level. This site is a paradise for macro photographers as well as spotting huge fish. The sheer variety of critters is just astonishing. You’ll find 5 different anemone fish including the super-cute Clownfish. You’ll also find Pipefish, Flatworms and beautifully colored Nudibranchs as well as a variety of hard and soft corals.
The larger fish you’ll find at this location includes; Barracudas, Reef Sharks, and schools of Big-Eyed Trevally. Between the months of June and July, you might be lucky enough to see pods of Minke Whales.
If you’re traveling to Queensland, this is not a dive site to be missed.
Osprey Reef is a volcanic atoll that lies just under the surface. It is located approximately 137 miles off the coast and can be easily accessible by the many liveaboards that frequent the area on over-night journeys from Cairns.
This location has some of the best diving on offer. You’ll see large schools of Pelagic fish and plenty of Sharks, not to mention over 40m of visibility.
The most common large fish you’ll find at this location is the fascinating giant Potato Cod, Dogtooth Tuna, and the elusive Hammerhead Shark.
Not only can you dive this site during the day, some liveaboards offer divers the opportunity to take part in a night dive. At night, you’ll see sleeping Parrotfish on the reef, covered in mucus that helps change their scent, keeping them safe from approaching predators.
Flinders Reef, Brisbane
Even though the Great Barrier Reef is heaving with epic dive sites, there are also other dives available on Queensland’s east coast, that are not part of the Barrier Reef. Located 3 miles north-west of Moreton Island, outside of Brisbane, you’ll fins Flinders Reef, which is known as a badly kept secret amongst divers who live in the area.
Flinders Reef is home to more species of coral and fish than any other single reef found throughout the Great Barrier Reef. This dive site should be on every divers list, visiting the area.
You’ll find Wobbegongs, Leopard Sharks, Mantas, Turtles and Whales at this location. If you’re visiting the western side of the reef, you may be lucky enough to see Whaler Sharks.
Cod Hole, Lizard Island
There are some dive sites that just pass you by, and there are some dive sites that make memories that last a lifetime. If you’re looking for an experience like none other, then Cod Hole is the dive site for you. There is nothing like staring down the enormous mouth of a 150kg Potato cod and this can happen every time you visit this location. Divemasters on your excursion will usually provide a variety of fresh fish for these large schools of Potato Fish as well as other opportunistic feeders to enjoy in front of your very eyes.
The fish at this location are used to being fed by dive boats and so provide amazing opportunities for photographers to get their once-in-a-lifetime shots.
Ex-HMAS Brisbane, Mooloolaba
The HMAS Brisbane is an ex-Navy Destroyer that was sunk in 2005 in order to create an artificial reef, 5.5 miles off the northwest of Mooloolaba, Queensland. The reason this dive site is so epic, is because of the recorded 1000-plus species that have made this wreck their home. You’ll find many species of hard and soft corals, sea stars, stunningly colored Nudibranchs, Flatworms, Sea Snakes, Octopus, Turtles, Sharks, Moray Eels, Grouper and so much more.
This dive site is perfect for open water divers looking to experience a wreck dive for the first time.
There are so many incredible dive sites found off the coast of Queensland, Australia so if you know of any that have not been mentioned on this list, tell us about them in the comments below.