Where to go? This is the million dollar question. There are too many fantastic diving spots in Queensland. The areas can be divided into many ways. From a travel perspective, it makes sense to separate them based on the cities that form the gateway to those dive spots. Visiting i.e. the Great Barrier Reef is not a simple task: its highlights can be as much as 2,000 kilometers apart. Although far from perfect, we have split the region into the following areas:
- Northeast Coast: The Northern Bar (Port Douglas, Cairns, Townsville)
- Central eastcoast (north): Airlie Beach area & Whitsunday Islands
- Central eastcoast (south): Bundaberg area & Fraser Island
- Southeast Coast: Brisbane region (Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast)
The diving mecca Cairns and the nearby Port Douglas will take you to both the famous Northern Region of the Great Barrier Reef and the isolated reefs of the immense Coral Sea. Highlights include the world renowned Cod Hole, the ten spectacular Ribbon Reefs (both on the Great Barrier) and the action-packed Osprey Reef (in the Coral Sea).
Central east coast
Northern end: around 1,500km south of Cairns, Bundaberg and the surrounding towns are your perfect base for the Southern Region of the Great Barrier Reef, including the stunning Lady Elliot Island and Heron Island, as well as for the spectacular Fraser Island and the opposite Fraser Coast.
Southern end: Situated roughly in the middle between Cairns and Bundaberg are the 74 paradise-like islands that make up the Whitsundays. These can be explored from nearby towns Airlie Beach and Jubilee Pocket. The islands have surrounding fringing reefs but can also be used as a gateway to the central reefs of the Great Barrier. Australia’s greatest shipwreck, the SS Yongala, is situated just a couple of hours north.
Lastly, the Sunshine Coast, just above Brisbane also offers some great diving opportunities. Near Moreton Island you will find the beautiful Flinders Reef: the reef with the highest number of coral species in Queensland and a must-see.