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Great Barrier Reef Diving – Our Favourite Spots

The Great Barrier Reef is a hidden world of beauty and mystery. Stretching from Bundaberg past Cape York on the tip of Queensland’s coastline, the GBR is over 2,300 kilometres long and just under 350 000 square kilometres.

Over 360 species of hard coral, 2000 fish species, over 175 bird species, and the world’s largest dugong population reside in the famous reef.
With so many wonders to explore it can almost be overwhelming, so here are our recommended scuba dive spots on the Great Barrier Reef.
 
Heron Island (via Gladstone)
Places to Stay: Heron Island Resort or Gladstone Accommodation.

With over 20 dive sites that are easily accessible from the island, Heron Island is a favourite among divers. Heron Bommie is the island’s most popular feature, you’ll find manta and eagle rays, reef sharks, and Fatty, the resident cod.
Coral Gardens promises an array of underwater flora, while 3 rocks is a great drift dive and North Bommie is a major cleaning station giving you plenty of opportunities to find manta rays and turtles.
Heron Island | Great Barrier Reef Diving - Our Favourite SpotsHeron Island

 
Osprey Reef (via Cairns or Port Douglas – Liveaboard Boat Trip).
Places to Stay: Due to the isolation of Osprey Reef, it is only accessible via an overnight boat stay. However before or after your trip to the reef we recommend Port Douglas or Cairns accommodation.

Osprey Reef is a famous dive site located in the far north of the Great Barrier Reef. Part of its fame lies in its history as a feeding site for reef sharks for over 15 years. The area is a natural amphitheatre allowing divers to find silvertip, whitetip, and grey reef sharks in their natural habitat.
Due to the remote location, you will need to organise a liveaboard (over night stay) expedition.
 
Agincourt Reef (via Port Douglas)

Places to Stay: Port Douglas is the perfect place to base yourself. You can also stay in Palm Cove or Cairns if you have got your own wheels or don’t mind a transfer.

This reef is a bit different to the others on our list as it’s made up of several smaller ribbon reefs. It’s positioning along Australia’s Continental shelf parallel to the Coral Sea trench gives divers high underwater visibility and a plethora of marine life.

There are 16 dive sites at Agincourt Reef including Nursery Bommie, Fish Bowl, Point Break, Blue Wonder’s wall dive, The Channels for caves and more.

Situated only 65 kilometres from Port Douglas, this spectacular spot is makes it easy to enjoy the reef and an amazing holiday destination! Read more about Port Douglas in our blog Your Guide to Port Douglas.
Agincourt Reef | Photography by Vince Sofia via Tourism and Events Queensland | Great Barrier Reef Diving - Our Favourite SpotsAgincourt Reef | Photography by Vince Sofia via Tourism and Events Queensland

 
Ribbon Reef (Liveaboards from Cairns or Via Lizard Island)

Places to Stay: You can enjoy this reef by staying at Lizard Island Resort. Alternatively you can base yourself in Cairns and organise a liveaboard excursion).

Ribbon Reef is comprised of 10 individual reefs and some amazing dive sites including Challenger Bay, Lighthouse Bommie, and Steve’s Bommie. You’ll want to visit Cod Hole while you’re in the area as this world famous dive site is home to a family of potato cods aka gropers.
Lizard Island | Great Barrier Reef Diving - Our Favourite SpotsLizard Island

Ribbon Reef | Great Barrier Reef Diving - Our Favourite SpotsRibbon Reef


Hardy Reef (via Airlie Beach or Whitsunday Islands)

Hardy Reef is famous as the most popular and accessible dive site on the Whitsundays. There is a pontoon located at the reef making is easier but also a busier site than others on this list. You’ll enjoy encountering reef sharks, batfish, angelfish, turtles, barracuda, gropers, coral trout and more!
Fun Fact: Have you ever heard of the famous heart shaped reef? You’ll find it here at Hardy Reef!
Hardy Reef | Photography by Jason Hill via TEQ | Great Barrier Reef Diving - Our Favourite SpotsHardy Reef | Photography by Jason Hill via TEQ

 
SS Yongala Wreck (Via Townsville or Magnetic Island)

Australia’s largest and most intact historic shipwreck makes for an intriguing scuba dive site. Starting at 15 meters depth and reaching down up to 29 meters the marine life you can expect here includes giant gropers, marble and eagle rays, barracuda, trevally, sea snakes and turtles. You can reach this destination by basing your stay at Magnetic Island or Townsville.
 


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