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SS Yongala Dive Site

Townsville, Townsville Area

Bursting with colour and home to the most spectacular marine life you will ever encounter, diving the SS Yongala is simply breathtaking and ranked as one best dive experiences in the world.

The SS Yongala is a 110 metres long and 28 metres deep shipwreck that sank off the coast of Ayr during a tropical cyclone in 1911. Today it is a well renowned wreck dive in the Great Barrier Reef and home to a captivating array of large fish and enormous structures of coral. Much of the ship is still intact making for a stunning sight and a remarkable experience.

As this is the only reef formation in the area, it attracts a much higher amount of marine life than most other dive sites. You will be overwhelmed by the diversity and size of the species and are likely to see eagle rays, turtles, giant Queensland gropers, schooling barracuda, sea snakes and much more. You might even be lucky enough to come across the majestic Humpback Whales during their migration season.

Regular dive trips operate to the SS Yongala site. Divers are required to have open water certification and a minimum number of logged dives.

Cape Bowling Green
Townsville, Townsville Area
Queensland
Australia

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Whitehaven Beach

Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Whitehaven Beach is a pristine, award winning beach on Whitsunday Island, the largest of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays. Whitehaven Beach stretches over seven kilometres and boasts brilliant white silica sand that is among the purest in the world. Sink your feet into the sand and wade into the warm waves that gently lap the shore and you'll soon realise why people come here from all over the world. At the northern end of Whitehaven Beach is Hill Inlet, a stunning inlet where the tide shifts the sand and water to create a beautiful fusion of colours. Many people claim Hill Inlet and Whitehaven Beach are the most beautiful places they've ever seen. The lookout at Tongue Point is the best spot from which to view the swirling sands of Hill Inlet, so if you don't mind a short bushwalk, book your Whitehaven tour with an operator that visits the lookout. Whitehaven Beach can be experienced in several ways. If you're interested in a day trip there are ferries, yachts, power boats and luxury cruising yachts that depart from Airlie Beach. A variety of sailing companies also offer multi-day charters that include a memorable visit to Whitehaven Beach.

Heart Reef

Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Heart Reef, in the Great Barrier Reef of the Whitsundays, is a stunning composition of coral that has naturally formed into the shape of a heart. Located in Hardy Reef, Heart Reef is best experienced from the air by helicopter or seaplane, as visitors are unable to snorkel or dive there due it's protected status. Many tour companies will combine a scenic flight over Heart Reef with other breathtaking spots in the Whitsundays, including Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet. A certain highlight of any visit to the Whitsundays. Heart Reef was discovered in 1975 by one of Air Whitsunday's pilots and is now an internationally-recognised attraction of the Whitsundays and features on many postcards and brochures promoting the Whitsunday region and the Great Barrier Reef. Many an amateur photographer has been amazed by the fact that their own photos look just like the brochures! Heart Reef has been the site of many proposals and declarations of love over the years. If planning on making the ultimate romantic gesture, let your pilot know your plans and they'll be able to help you with some extra flight time over the famous icon.

Pinnacles, The

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.

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.

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.

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.

Ngaro Cultural Site

Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
The Ngaro people have walked this land for over 9,000 years. Protected from the elements in a once-hidden cave, Ngaro artwork adorns the fragile rock surface. The track begins deep inside Nara Inlet on Hook Island — an excellent overnight anchorage. Short and initially steep, the stepped track leads up the side of the inlet to a viewing platform at the cave’s entrance. Allow at least an hour to immerse yourself in the Ngaro cultural stories of the site.

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.

Great Barrier Reef - Whitsundays

Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Said to be the world's largest living structure and the only one visible from outer space, the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef is often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world. The Great Barrier Reef stretches over 2,000 kilometres and is home to tens of thousands of species of brilliantly coloured fish, coral and other marine life including whales, dolphins and turtles. If diving is your passion, then this is your paradise. The Great Barrier Reef is a divers Mecca, and the Whitsundays has companies catering for every skill level from student to novice to dive master. If snorkelling is more your style, then the warm shallow waters of the Great Barrier Reef in the Whitsundays provide some of the most colourful fish and coral formations anywhere in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. There are ample opportunities for beginner divers, inexperienced and experienced divers to experience the wonders of the underwater world in the Whitsundays. The Whitsundays is recognised as having some of the best fishing in Queensland. Charter vessels operating out of Shute Harbour, Airlie Beach and the resort islands offer a variety of trips to the rich waters of the outer Great Barrier Reef.

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.
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