When people say they want to dive Australia, what they usually mean is that they want to scuba dive in glorious Queensland on the Great Barrier Reef.
And it's not surprising, since Queensland's Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest and healthiest coral reef system. In fact, it's the only living structure on earth that can be seen from outer space.
Made up of nearly 2900 individual reefs, 600 continental islands and 300 coral cays, it's the world's largest single structure made of living organisms.
Every day divers from around the world flock to Queensland to visit this stunning reef, either on liveaboards or day trips from one of the local dive resorts.
Divers revere the reef for its biodiversity and the local aboriginal people hold it as a sacred component of their spirituality. It is a truly magical place and best of all, it is the cherry on the top of diving in Queensland.
Head further afield across Queensland - which takes up almost a quarter of Australia - to the Sunshine Coast in the south, where you'll find purpose-sunk wrecks, sandstone formations covered with corals, ledges, caverns and pinnacles to explore.
Above water, Queensland offers kangaroo-filled bush, lush green tropical rainforest, stunning white sand beaches, urban experiences and just about everything in between. It's a truly stunning piece of topography.
But back to diving: you will not be disappointed if you choose to dive in Queensland on the Great Barrier Reef and beyond. It offers world-class underwater experiences.
Agincourt Reef - located approximately 72 km from Port Douglas, these reefs are considered among some of the world's best dive and snorkel destinations. Due to its proximity to the Continental Shelf, the reefs have excellent visibility, and a great diversity of hard coral species as well as a large variety of marine life. Divers can experience dirft and wall dives, bommie and pinnacle, coral gardens and swim-throughs. From June to September minke whales are often spotted in this area!
Ribbon Reefs, Northern Great Barrier Reef – This area is known for a variety of pristine dive experiences. In late June and July, you have the chance to see dwarf Minke whales. At Cod Hole, you’ll see how the site got its name as giant potato cod surround you. Pixie Pinnacle is a wonderful example of a coral bommie that rises from a depth of 40 metres/130 feet. Also, Challenger Bay is a hotspot for cuttlefish encounters.
Osprey Reef – Only accessible via liveaboards departing from Cairns or Port Douglas, this exposed coral mesa sits in the middle of the Coral Sea far from anything. North Horn is perhaps its most famous dive site for its shark feed. Around the Bend displays colorful soft coral and offers the chance to see manta rays as they pass through this site.
SS Yongala – The Great Barrier Reef’s signature wreck is the SS Yongala, a 109-metre/357-foot luxury passenger ship that went down during a 1911 cyclone. On this wreck everything is supersized – sea snakes the size of your bicep and sea turtles so big they look prehistoric. Every single space on the wreck is covered in colorful life. It’s worth several dives to try and see it all.
The Whitsundays – Comprising 74 idyllic islands, the Whitsundays are perfect for divers looking to complement their diving with multiple activities, such as sailing, island exploring or just lying on top rated beaches. While scuba diving, expect colorful shallow coral gardens and a variety of marine life like passing green sea turtles, patrolling white tip reef sharks and striking Napoleon wrasse.
Heron Island – On the Great Barrier Reef’s southern reaches, this famed resort island is accessible via ferry or helicopter. Scuba dive on a bommie that serves as a manta ray cleaning station and also watch for crowds of jacks, barracuda, eels, sharks, eagle rays and very curious sea snakes. Other dive sites feature sea turtles and nudibranchs.
HMAS Brisbane – Off Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is the great wreck dive of the former HMAS Brisbane, a 133-metre/433-foot guided missile destroyer. This purpose-sunk artificial reef went down in 2005 and sits upright in 15-18 metres/50-60 feet of water. There’s a lot of ship to see and a lot of marine life that now call HMAS Brisbane home.
Everything from dwarf minke whales, sea turtles, manta rays, sharks, carpet sharks, sea snakes and cuttlefish.
And don't forget bumphead parrotfish, leopard moray eels, potato cod and macro life.
After all, the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland is the world's largest reef system so you can truly expect to see a bit of just about everything.
For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.
Surrounded by gorgeous coastland and featuring the world's largest barrier reef system, Queensland is a diver's mecca, but it also offers stunning above-water adventures waiting to be unlocked.
When you're not diving, you'll be spoilt for choice for other attractions across Queensland.
Visit the tropical rainforests of Daintree, Cape Tribulation or Mossman Gorge and marvel at the waterfalls of the Atherton Tablelands.
Stop by one of the many zoos or parks to learn about saltwater crocodiles, koala, wallabies, cassowaries and other indigenous creatures.
And why not raft the Barron River or head deep into the outback for Aboriginal rock art and kangaroos?
Adventure is the name of the game in Queensland.