There are three broadly defined regions of the Great Barrier Reef to dive. These are:
Ribbon Reefs: The Shallow reefs of this region are easily accessed. This would be one of the most popular & convenient diving locations ex. Cairns. A large number of liveaboard dive vessels offer 4 to 7 night trips to this region.There are a total of 10 reefs that form a chain from Cairns to Cook Town. Dive sites consist of shallow reef systems varying in depths from 9 to 30m. These sites are suitable for novice to experienced divers.
Northern Coral Sea: The Coral Sea is a collection of stunning walls, glorious reefs and atolls covering over 100,000 sq km. The reefs are a series of mountain tops that rise from the ocean bed more than 1 km below. Divers who endure the lengthy sea crossing (Can be quite rough) to the coral sea will encounter spectacular diving amongst incredibly dramatic reefs dominated by gigantic sponges and large coral formations.The marine life and coral formations of the Coral Sea are similar to those of the Great Barrier Reef, but it is the size of the reef animals that consistently impress visiting divers.
Osprey reef in the CoralSea is one of the most spectacular dive sites in the world. Offering a diverserange of shark life all year round and pristine soft coral unlike anything youhave ever seen
Southern Great Barrier Reef: Gladstone, Bundaberg:Heron
Island and Lady Elliot Island are located within this region. Heron Island lies on the Tropic of Capricorn 72km’s North East off the coast of Gladstone, Queensland. Heron Island is a true coral cay right on the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef. Here you can swim straight off the beach to an endless garden of coral where the waters are literally teeming with beautifully colored fish and marine life.
Lady Elliot Island lies 80 kilometers north east of Bundaberg, and is easily accessible daily flights that land at the island’s own airstrip. Formed over 3000 years this beautiful coral cay is
home to 57 species of birds, nesting sea turtles and a stunning
underwater world of coral formations and diverse marine life.
Notable dive hot spots include:
Feed the Giant Potato Cod and view a huge variety of marine life.
Large potato cod (6-30kg) are friendly, since they have been fed for the past 20 years. Over the years their health has decreased, with crankers and skin diseases becoming evident.
Their decrease in health is due to the poor food types they are fed combined with handling by divers.
Fish feeds are still being done but let the Divemaster handle them.
Other marine life includes average coral cover, anemones, whitetip reef sharks, giant clams, schools of pyramid butterflyfish, Solomon's sweetlip, cleaning stations and feather stars.
Townsville - Yongala Wreck
The Yongala lies inside the Great Barrier Reef approximately 90km’s southeast of Townsville, 10km’s off the coast of Cape Bowling Green. The S.S. Yongala sank during a cyclone in 1911 with the loss of more than 120 souls. It was not until 1958 that the wreck was discovered. As its location is remote, it has remained mostly untouched. The wreck begins 14m below the surface and extends to 28m. As it is the only structure in the region, the marine life gathers at the wreck providing for an unforgettable diving experience.