Diving and Snorkelling

With 2,900 islands to explore, warm waters all-year-round and some of the world's best dive sites, from snorkelling right off the beach to jumping on a tour and head out to the wilds of the Great Barrier Reef.

Depending on the season, you can:
  • Glide with the Manta rays at Lady Elliot Island
  • Snorkel with Whales during their migration
  • Witness the rush of a live shark feed in Queensland's Wild North.
  • Stare in wonderment at the colourful coral of the Great Barrier Reef
  • Take a selfie with some reef fish for the ultimate profile picture
  • Swim alongside huge Turtles 

From casual snorkellers to experienced divers, everyone will discover their inner mermaid on Queensland's Great Barrier Reef.

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Places to Visit
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Blue Pearl Bay

Hayman Island, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Blue Pearl Bay is located on the north-western side of Hayman Island in the Whitsundays Group. Popular with tourists and locals for snorkelling, diving and sightseeing, Blue Pearl Bay is known for its coral and fish life including a resident Maori Wrasse. Day tours and overnight boats visit Blue Pearl Bay for snorkelling and or scuba diving. Visitors typically swim directly off their vessel, or tender into the southern beach and enter the water from the coral beach. Diving depth is from three to 18 metres. Diving visibility is typically from three to 15 metres. Best coral cover to be seen in shallow water off the southern beach. Scattered bommies with silty sand bottom at five to 18 metres, dropping off to coral rubble and silty sand below 18 metres. Best dive off southern beach, near Castle Rock. Shallow coral ledge (two to three metres) dropping off as descent wall to 10 to 15 metres. Wall has narrow canyons and caves making for great exploration. Strong corals near Castle Rock have some striking gorgonian fans at eight to 15 metres as well as whip corals. The shallow waters are predominately staghorn coral. Good protection from all winds except north-westerlies.

Wreck Diving at Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island, Townsville Area
Free Entry
Located within the waters of the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Magnetic Island has a wealth of interesting dive sites. Some of the best places to dive on the Island are found in Geoffrey, Alma, Arthur and Florence Bays and the reef in Nelly Bay. The Moltke wreck, a German barque in Geoffrey Bay is an excellent dive, especially at night, with a large variety of coral in a concentrated area and teeming with fish life. The wreck is marked by a post near the Arcadia wharf. The wreck of the Platypus an old dredge, is in Arthur Bay, on the left hand side out towards the point in a rocky cove and is encrusted with hard corals. Most ships were sunk as shelters to moorings, or jetties. But the Island's rocks have also claimed the schooner Lavina in Rocky Bay, and the ketch Lallah Rookh was wrecked on Bremner Point, in 1896. The Bee, a steam launch, was the first regular ferry service to the mainland, it came to grief on Knobby Point near Picnic Bay in 1901. The wrecks are relatively shallow, so are perfect for novices or for relaxed enjoyable diving.

The Pinnacles

Hook Island, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Arguably the best dive site in the Whitsundays, with hard corals comparing favourably to those seen on the outer Great Barrier Reef. The best dive is off the western beach, adjacent to the Woodpile and swim east at a depth of seven to 15 metres. Large coral bommies dominate the terrain, reaching nearly to the surface. Acropora corals are everywhere and huge porite corals in the shape of boulders and massive towers can also be seen. Manta rays are very common in the cooler months, May to September, as are big Maori Wrasse. This dive is not for the faint-hearted as black and white tip reef sharks are frequently seen! In the shallow water, particularly off the western beach, the coral cover is nearly solid, mostly staghorn, with only a few sandy patches. Excellent snorkelling just off the western beach too. Diving depth is three to 18 metres. Diving visibility is typically three to 15 metres.

Langford Island

Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Langford Island, near Hayman Island in the northern Whitsundays is a popular spot with sailors, divers and snorkellers. Many of the bareboats and crewed sailing boats will anchor near Langford Island. Langford Island is relatively small, but features a long sand spit that all but disappears at high tide. This is an excellent spot for a picnic, sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling. The best diving is found on the north-western end of the beach where scattered bommies offer an interesting maze to explore and there are a few shallow walls at the eastern end of the island. The majority of fish life is small, but abundant. Expect reasonable protection from all but the strongest wind conditions and moderate tidal currents at all but slack tides. Snorkellers will enjoy the ability to snorkel straight off the length of the beach, with the best areas to explore being closest to the island.

Fairey Reef

Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Situated on the Great Barrier Reef, Fairey Reef has a number of excellent dive sites popular with local dive operators. Sites such as Henry's Bommie, Little Fairey Inlet, The Shoals and Tina's Arm are all at Fairey Reef. Henry's Bommie: On the north-western flank of the reef, Henry's Bommie is considered a premier attraction reaching from a depth of 12 metres to near the surface. A narrow gap opens into a cave which is worth exploring but beware the small opening. Inside you may find a huge clam and a resident turtle that is often spotted at night. Circumnavigation of the bommie is the best way to see it all and there is good coral cover and clouds of small tropical fish. Visibility: 10 - 20 metres Diving depth: 5 - 15 metres. Little Fairey Inlet: On the central western side of the reef, this is a classic dive starting at a wall along the entrance to the inlet at a depth of 16 metres. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore and fish life is abundant with brightly coloured angelfish, cod, trout and sweetlip often seen. Visibility: 10 - 20 metres Diving depth: 10 - 18 metres.

Butterfly Bay - Hook Island

Hook Island, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
A popular bareboat anchorage, Butterfly Bay is situated on the northern side of Hook Island. There are limited public moorings and snorkelling can be enjoyed along the bay edge or just off the beach. Offering coral outcrops with shallow walls, the bay is populated by many small, colourful reef fish species. The best of the bommies is found in the centre of the bay, although it may be difficult to locate at high tide. Be wary of tidal currents when moving towards the centre of the bay, away from the edges. Visibility: 2 - 10 metres. Diving depth: 5 - 12 metres. Bottom: coral cover with large patches of coral rubble and silty sand.

Hardy Reef

Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Hardy Reef, on the Great Barrier Reef off Airlie Beach, is home to the Reefworld Pontoon. There is spectacular fish life with Trevally, Coral Trout, Snapper and a host of smaller marine life as well as Giant Maori Wrasse and a two metre long Giant Queensland Groper that usually congregate for a free feed. Snorkelling is excellent, as is diving off nearby drop-offs where you'll find turtles, reef sharks and barracuda amongst a myriad of other intriguing reef species.

Maureens Cove, Hook Island

Hook Island, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Situated on the northern side of Hook Island, Maureen's Cove is a popular anchorage with sailors and divers alike. There are two dive sites at Maureen's Cove. At the back of the cove, on the western side of the beach is a series of bommies starting at 12 - 15 metres and rising to within three metres of the surface, parallel to the shoreline. Gullies and shallow caves make for an interesting dive, as does the abundance of medium-sized fish life. Along the Eastern edge is another good dive site known locally as 'Boulders'. Plate corals and other acropora dominate the shallow ledge which drops off as a small wall to 10 - 12 metres. This is also the best spot for snorkelling. The best corals, including large gorgonian fans, are near the point but beware of strong currents. Visibility: 3 - 15 metres. Diving depth: 3 - 15 metres. Bottom: large coral bommies and sandy bottom at back of cove. Good shallow coral cover with coral rubble and silty sand on the eastern side of the cove. Camping is permitted on the beach at Maureen's Cove, National Park camping permits are required.

Green Island National Park

Green Island, Cairns Area
Free Entry
This small rainforest-clad coral cay is surrounded by coral reefs and is one of the Great Barrier Reef's most popular destinations. A true coral cay, it was formed over thousands of years by the build-up of sand and coral rubble deposited on the calm side of a platform reef. Tropical vine forest covers the island. Palm-fringed sandy beaches slope gently to the clear, blue-green waters of the surrounding reef, which is within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Stroll around the island's boardwalks to explore the rainforest and birdlife and find out about the island's history. Walk around the island's beaches to view seabirds and enjoy views over the reef. Relax on the beach and listen to the birds in the forest behind you. Take a break from the beach and picnic on tables placed in the cool shade of the forest. Swim or snorkel or paddle a kayak in the clear reef waters. Go for a ride in a glass-bottomed boat or join a guided nature walk. Visit Marineland Melanesia Crocodile Habitat.

Ex-HMAS Brisbane Conservation Park

Mudjimba, Sunshine Coast Area
Dive the Brisbane and experience this historical treasure and budding environmental wonder. The ex-HMAS Brisbane Conservation Park is an artificial reef and dive site off the Sunshine Coast, and is set to become one of Australia's premier dive attractions. This is the only former Navy dive wreck in Australia offering divers the unique opportunity to explore both the forward engine room and the boiler room. A former missile destroyer, the HMAS Brisbane, was scuttled 2.8 nautical miles east of Mudjimba Island on 31 July 2005 to begin its new life as the 'anchor' attraction for dive tourism in Southern Queensland. Divers can explore the 133 metre former warship and view different areas of the ship. Access holes allow passage into the ship's interior, where divers can swim through living and sleeping quarters used by the crew during the ship’s service from 1967 to 2001.
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