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.
Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef is the world’s most extensive coral reef system, which together with seagrass, mangrove, and soft bottom and island habitats; enable the park to showcase the richest collection of faunal diversity in the world.
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 Cod and Queensland Groupers, which are larger than life and experience the most stunning wall diving.
South Queensland offers some spectacular diving that provides excellent alternatives to the Great Barrier Reef. The cooler subtropical waters 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, manta rays, wobbegong sharks and grey nurse sharks, nudibranchs and large schools of fish populating the various dive sites along the Southern 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 can be one of the most exhilarating experience you will ever have. On some occasions, large fish like Trevally and small reef sharks will accompany divers, using the divers torch light to help them hunt unsuspecting fish. Corals take on new forms and colours at night so a familiar dive site will look completely different on a night dive. The darkness brings out nocturnal hunters like crabs, lobster and octopus which is always a spectacular sight.
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. Whilst you may have a lucky encounter with both these whales, some of our members offer special ‘Swim with Minke Whale’ experiences. These curious whales seek out the company of boats and come extremely close to people in the water. These experiences are open to both snorkellers and divers, although most of the human and whale interactions happen while snorkelling connected to a tie line running from the steer of the vessel.
Each year sometime around late October or November a synchronised coral spawning takes place on the Great Barrier Reef. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting during this time, it is quite a spectacular event that attracts scuba divers and snorkelers from across the globe. As coral spawning is linked to the moon and water temperatures, it’s hard to predict exactly when this mass reproduction will happen. Coral spawning on the Great Barrier Reef involves colonies and species of coral polyps simultaneously releasing tiny egg and sperm bundles from their gut cavity into the water. 2018s coral spawn started around 27th November and lasted for four days.