About Diving in Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef
With warm, clear waters, teeming with marine life, spectacular shipwrecks and the world’s largest coral reef, Queensland is a scuba divers paradise.
The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef stretches through Queensland’s waters for more than 2,500 kilometres, covering around 345,000 square kilometres. The world’s largest World Heritage site is made up of more than 2,900 individual reefs, and 70 coral cays scattered along the edge of the continental shelf.
Diving into the Great Barrier Reef will introduce you to an underwater world filled with thousands of brightly coloured species of marine life. Some 1,500 types of fish, 4,000 types of molluscs, 350 types of echinoderms and 350 types of coral, attract divers from around the world each year.
Explore vast underwater gardens and forests, as graceful turtles and manta rays soar overhead. Come face to face with gentle giant potato cods, which are larger than life and experience the most stunning wall diving.
The cooler subtropical waters of Southern Queensland offer a myriad of different experiences to those of the tropical waters in the north. World-class wreck dives, reefs and vast rock walls boast abundant marine life, with turtles, rays, wobbegongs, nudibranchs and large schools offish populating the various dive sites along the South Queensland coast.
Hundreds of shipwrecks are dotted along Queensland’s coast, more than any other state in Australia. Covered with coral and teeming with marine life, they’re a scuba divers theme park. Among world-class shipwreck dive sites in Queensland you’ll find the SS Yongala, near Townsville, the RMS Quetta, off Mt. Adolphus Island, just northeast of Cape York and the Ex HMAS Brisbane located off the Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane.
The adventure of a night dive reveals the stars of the reef-colourful new corals and radiant glowing fish. As the full moon sets in October/November, witness the technicolour snowstorm of coral polyp spawning – an unforgettable experience.
Of course, you don’t have to be a diver to witness the beauty of Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef! Numerous day tours and Liveaboards cater for the non-diver, offering options including snorkelling, underwater viewing platforms and glass bottom boats.
From June to September, the Minke and Humpback whales migrate up and down the Queensland coast.
Marine Park and world heritage area
Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef is the world’s most extensive coral reef system, which together with sea grass, mangrove, and soft bottom and island habitats; enable the park to showcase the richest collection of faunal diversity in the world.
In recognition of its environmental significance, the Great Barrier Reef was established as a marine park by the Australian Government in 1975. In 1981 it was granted World Heritage status and is now the largest protected World Heritage Area and marine park on Earth.
Eye on the Reef
Eye on the Reef is a powerful monitoring program that enables anyone who visits the Great Barrier Reef to contribute to its long-term protection. The Eye on the Reef program brings together five assessment and monitoring programs that collect valuable information about reef health, marine animals and incidents.
The Crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) is a coral eating starfish native to coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region. They are named after the dense spines radiating from their arms and they belong to the same group as all starfish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and brittlestars.
Save Our Sea Turtles
The Sea Turtles are brought into the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre from the Great Barrier Reef and Cape York Peninsula. The most common turtles we see through the rehab centre are the Green turtle and Hawksbill turtle, these turtles can stay in the centre anywhere between 6 to 24 months until they are healthy enough to be released.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s (GBRMPA) Reef Guardian program recognises the good environmental work undertaken by communities and industries to protect the Great Barrier Reef.
The program demonstrates a hands-on, community-based approach can make a real difference to the health and resilience of the Reef.