Far North Queensland Historic Shipwreck Dive Trail

Multiple Locations

Since the eighteenth century, it is believed that over 1100 ships were wrecked along the Queensland coastline. Today you can dive some of these underwater museums and find out more about the lives of past generations of Queenslanders and others who visited these shores.

These sites can be accessed by those with their own vessel or by making use of one of the many commercial dive operators based in Townsville or Cairns. The first wreck on this trail is Queensland's most popular historic shipwreck - the Yongala. From the Yongala you have the option of continuing east to the Gothenburg or north-west to the Lady Bowen.

Dive guides are available for these three shipwrecks and can be downloaded from the Queensland Government website (see link under "Contacts"). These dive guides have been developed to educate divers about the history, locations, conditions, visibility, biology and responsibilities as divers on historic shipwreck sites.

Visitors are encouraged to enjoy Queensland's historic maritime heritage but are reminded that it is illegal to interfere with these fragile sites as all historic shipwrecks and their associated relics more than 75 years old are protected by law.

Journey Details

Duration
N/A
Distance
260 Kilometres

Activities

  • Scuba-Diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming

Full Itinerary

Townsville is the embarkation point for the trail. Visit the Maritime Museum of Townsville and see the display on the Yongala.

In your own vessel or with a commercial operator proceed to the wreck of the Yongala.

The Yongala is located in the central section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, approximately 12 nautical miles east of Cape Bowling Green and approximately 46 nautical miles east-south-east of Townsville.

The site is fully exposed to all weather conditions and can be affected by strong currents of up to two knots throughout the year. It is recommended that the wreck be dived at the turn of the tide and in good sea conditions. The Yongala is suitable for advanced and experienced divers only.

The Yongala is in a protected zone and requires a free permit from the Queensland Government to dive. The protected zone helps to protect the shipwreck, and its associated relics, from interference and damage. Apply for a permit online (see link under "Contacts"). Please allow 10 working days for your permit to be processed.

As the Yongala is the final resting place for an estimated 122 people, please be respectful when diving.

LINESTRING (147.4121046 -19.3183118, 146.4496422 -18.0787949)
Route Details
Mode of Travel Boat, Sailing Vessel

From the Yongala you have the option of continuing your diving experience (either by your own vessel or a commercial operator) by visiting the Gothenburg shipwreck, approximately 25 nautical miles away.

The wreck lies on the western edge of Old Reef, approximately 27 nautical miles east of Cape Upstart in the Great Barrier Reef. The site can be affected by currents of up to one knot and should only be dived in good sea conditions. The Gothenburg is suitable for advanced and experienced divers.

The Gothenburg is in a protected zone and requires a free permit from the Queensland Government to dive. The protected zone helps to protect the shipwreck, and its associated relics, from interference and damage. Apply for a permit online (see link under "Contacts").

It is important to remember that the Gothenburg is the final resting place for 106 people. Please be respectful when diving.

Route Details
Mode of Travel Boat, Sailing Vessel
Route Type One Way

From the Yongala you also have the option of continuing your diving experience (either by your own vessel or a commercial operator) by visiting the Lady Bowen, approximately 115 nautical-miles away.

The Lady Bowen is located approximately two nautical-miles off Kennedy Shoal near Cardwell. The site can be affected by currents, a bottom surge in heavy seas and an average of two-metre swells. The Lady Bowen should only be dived in good sea conditions with minimum current and is only suitable for advanced and experienced divers certified for diving below 30-metres.

The Lady Bowen is not located within a protected zone so a permit isn't required to access the site, however interfering with or damaging the shipwreck is still prohibited. This includes divers holding on to fragile structures, uncovering parts of the wreck by digging or 'hand fanning', taking anything from a shipwreck site, anchoring on the shipwreck, and/or attaching lines directly to the shipwreck. Avoid damaging the Lady Bowen by anchoring away from the wreck and positioning the anchored vessel over the wreck. Use a shot line to mark the site if necessary.

Return to Townsville or disembark at Cairns - a great base for exploring tropical north Queensland.

Route Details
Mode of Travel Boat, Sailing Vessel
Route Type One Way

Find What's Nearby

Displaying 1-10 of 17
Sort by:
Show:

The Seaway Dive Site

Southport, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
The Seaway is the most popular shore diving site in Queensland, and is found at the mouth of the Nerang River at Southport. There are several different areas that can be dived at The Seaway, with the Short Pipe and Sand Pipe area the most popular, and the easiest to access.

Pine Ridge Conservation Park

Runaway Bay, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
Discover one of the last remaining wallum banksia stands on the Gold Coast in this small park featuring banskia woodland, heath and paperbark swamp forests. While dune vegetation on the Gold Coast has all but disappeared due to urban development, the remaining patch of wallum heath protected in this small park is culturally important to the Kombumerri-Ngarangwal people.

Southport

Southport, Gold Coast Area
If you squint into the sunshine and cast your mind back a little over a century, you can almost picture the Southport of old, one of the Gold Coast's earliest and most fashionable seaside destinations.

Coomera

Coomera, Gold Coast Area
Local Aborigines named this suburb after a fern but these days it could easy be named after fun for you have now entered theme park heaven for which the Gold Coast is renowned. All the big names in entertainment are here including Dreamworld and WhiteWater World, Wet'n'Wild, Warner Bros.

Hope Island

Hope Island, Gold Coast Area
You would expect anticipation to be fairly high when travelling to a place called Hope Island and this destination doesn't disappoint. But rather than being named after the positive emotion, it actually borrowed its name from a colonial aristocrat Captain Louis Hope who was granted land at the mouth of the Coomera River in recognition of his sugar industry contributions.

Jacobs Well

Jacobs Well, Gold Coast Area
Named for its natural freshwater waterhole, thirsty travellers have been visiting Jacobs Well since the mid 1800s. Situated near the mouth of the Pimpama River on the edge of a pristine waterway peppered with uninhabited islands, Jacobs Well is a haven for fishermen and boat enthusiasts alike.

Gold Coast Oceanway

Main Beach, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
Even die-hard Gold Coast fans may not realise this but there is an official section of the coast known as the Gold Coast Oceanway, a 36-kilometre network of pathways which connects The Spit at the north to Point Danger in the south.

Oxenford

Oxenford, Gold Coast Area
It's difficult to believe but this rather unassuming suburb, which lies just off the Pacific Highway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, is home to some of the best movie-making facilities in Australia.

Talinga Retreat

South Stradbroke, Gold Coast Area
Welcome to Talinga Retreat at An Island Hideaway, the Gold Coast's best kept secret. Located at the beautiful National Park bushland of South Stradbroke Island. Host your next event with a difference at their piece of paradise.

Biggera Waters

Biggera Waters, Gold Coast Area
Beautiful Biggera Creek lent this suburb its name which is famous for its heritage-listed "land's end" site, but there is nothing final about a visit here. Those searching for a sedate spot in the northern part of the coast will adore a trip here, opposite the bustling Broadwater and the sizzling Gold Coast Spit and across from Wavebreak Island.
No Results Message
Displaying 1-10 of 17
Sort by:
Show:

Explore the Region

Note: Information on listed products and services are provided by the operator and were correct at the time of publishing. Rates are indicative based on the minimum and maximum available prices of products and services. Please visit the operator’s website for further information. All prices quoted are in Australian dollars (AUD).