Townsville North Queensland Great Barrier Reef

Townsville North Queensland has been keeping a few cards close to its chest, known only by the savvy locals who have been savouring the lack of crowds, 320 days of sunshine, and pristine conditions found in the central Great Barrier Reef.

From private helicopter rides to twilight ‘Sip and Sail’ cruises, to the self-guided snorkel trails off Magnetic Island, there are plenty of ways to explore the Great Barrier Reef when you base yourself in Townsville. Affectionately known as ‘the island’ to locals, Magnetic Island is the laidback home of around 2500 happy residents and an epically diverse natural landscape. But to truly appreciate her in all her forms, you’ve got to go beyond the bitumen and explore via land, sea and sky.

If eat, sleep, dive, repeat sounds like your kinda jam, you’ll be itching to book yourself on this camp and dive safari to Pelorus Island. (Never heard it? She’s one Townsville’s best-kept-secrets!).

If you’re keener than a parrotfish on coral to discover the underwater world, then getting your scuba certification at one of these locales should be top of the #lifegoals list. 



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Wheeler Reef Dive Site

Townsville, Townsville Area
Free Entry
Wheeler Reef, on the Great Barrier Reef, is an easy boat trip from Townsville in North Queensland. The site offers some of the most pretty reefs for exploring by snorkelers as well as divers of all experience levels.

Lady Bowen Dive Site

Mission Beach, Cassowary Coast Area
Free Entry
The Lady Bowen was a 66 metre long schooner, which hit reef almost 48 kilometres from where she eventually sank, and now sits in the ocean as a reef herself, off the coast of Mission Beach. At over 100 years old and resting under 34 metres of water, the Lady Bowen dive site is now home to amazing coral formations and a plethora of colourful and friendly marine life.

SS Yongala Dive Site

Townsville, Townsville Area
Free Entry
Situated near Cape Bowling Green off the coast between Townsville and Ayr, the SS Yongala is possibly the best wreck dive in the world. The ship, at 110 metres long, is one of the largest, most intact historic shipwrecks, as well as one of the most intriguing maritime mysteries - after sinking in 1911, the SS Yongala lay undiscovered for more than half a century.

Eddy Reef Dive Site

Mission Beach, Cassowary Coast Area
Free Entry
Eddy Reef is located off Mission Beach and is accessible on day boats. Divers exploring this reef will find a maze of coral ridges in depths from 10 to 20 metres that are covered in some of the most beautiful corals – wide gorgonians, lovely pink whip corals and delicate soft corals.

Keeper Reef Dive Site

Townsville, Townsville Area
Free Entry
Located off Townsville, Keeper Reef offers a wonderful dive for those that love to explore healthy coral gardens. It is easy to get lost at this dive site as the coral gardens are divided by ridges and bommies, creating a coral maze.
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What it is like to dive the SS Yongala Wreck