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

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