The most popular dive site in Hervey Bay is the Roy Rufus Artificial Reef. Located off the eastern side of Big Woody Island, this large artificial reef was started in 1968 and covers a wide area in depths to 18 metres.
Scattered across the site are car bodies, tyres, concrete pipes, two barges and four ships. The barges and ships offer the most rewarding diving, and fortunately three of them (Otter, Pelican and Lass O’Gowrie) are positioned closed together and can be explored on the one dive. Limited penetration is available, but with the wrecks covered in corals and a great variety of marine life to be seen on and around the ships, you don’t need to venture into darken rooms.
Exploring the artificial reef divers will encounter wobbegongs, stingrays, turtles, gropers, sea snakes and a great range of reef fish and invertebrates. Stonefish and scorpionfish are common, so watch where you place your hands. Like all dive sites in Hervey Bay the Roy Rufus Artificial Reef is affected by tidal currents, so can only be dived on the high tide, and the bay doesn’t have good visibility, averaging 5 metres, and rarely more than 10 metres.