In this page you will find more detailed information about scuba diving in Townsville.
Table of contents
Best Dive Review
Townsville is famous not only for its local dive sites but also because it’s the closest city to the mighty famous Yongala Wreck. This dive site is ranked not only among the top 10 dive sites in the World and considered by some as the best spot in all of Australia, but also could well be one of the best wreck dives in the whole World!
However this wreck is reserved for experienced divers only as the conditions can be very rough with fierce current!
The shipwreck is located 89 km East of Townsville and it takes 3 hours to get there. An overnight trip is also possible as well as short liveaboards. However, sea conditions can be rough in the area and it is possible that once you arrive on the spot, bad conditions may forbid any scuba diving.
The S.S Yongala can also be accessed via Ayr (1 hr drive south of Townsville) and it is only a 30 min boat ride rather than 3 hours to the wreck as from Townsville. The shorter trip means that it can be accessed quicker and is less likely to cancel due to weather conditions. This is also a day trip.
Watch this fantastic video to see what is lurking under the water in Townsville!
Great Barrier Reef tour
From Townsville, it is also possible to go scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef and many dive centers offer Reef tours with all-inclusive packages.
It is important to note though that Townsville is actually further away from the Great Barrier Reef than for example Cairns or Port Douglas. One of the best reefs around Townsville is called the Wheeler Reef. This dive site features superb canyons and small caves with a teeming marine life. Moreover this spot is suitable for all levels of divers and is a great snorkelling spot too.
It is also possible to dive around the nearby Magnetic Island. Diving there is good but the visibility is usually limited and you can expect from 5 m to 15 m depending on the weather. Many people also come to Magnetic Island to get their Padi Open Water certification.
If possible, try to dive in Townsville in winter during the Whale Season! If you are lucky you may even spot them while diving in the deep blue!
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/loloieg/3492514163/
How to dive Townsville?
Scuba diving in Townsville is famous for the Yongala Wreck but there are plenty of other dive sites worth exploring in the nearby Great Barrier Reef on a day trip or on a short liveaboard. The best spots near Townsville are:
- SS Yongala
- Kelso Reef
- Keeper Reef
- Wheeler Reef
- Flinders Reef
- Davies Reef
- China Wall
If you want to dive the more remote areas of the Great Barrier Reef, you will have to take a Liveaboard cruise for at least 3 or 4 days and up to 2 weeks if you want to explore the Coral Sea in the magnificent Osprey Reef!
Where to stay?
I usually use this website to book in advance my hotels in Townsville as they usually have the lowest rates I find. I like it because it's free to cancel and change the dates.
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Best time to dive in Townsville
The sun is shining about 320 days a year in Townsville! The climate is tropical but drier than for example in Cairns. The weather is mostly warm with blue skies and low humidity. It is possible to dive all year round around Townsville.
- Wet season runs from November to April with short but heavy thunderstorms. Rainy days are rare.
- Dry season is from May to October
- Tropical Cyclones are possible from November to May.
- December is the hottest month with air temperature ranging from 24°C to 32°C.
- July is the coolest month with temperatures between 14°C and 25°C.
The best diving time runs during Summer from November to February.
- If you want to have the chance to see Whales, the best season is during the Winter months!
Scuba Diving conditions
If you dive around Magnetic Island and on the Great Barrier Reef, conditions are generally pretty good. The water temperature ranges from between 22°C (July) and 28°C (December and January).
Visibility is not as good around Magnetic Island (about 10 m) but on the Reef it can be up to 60 meters!
From April to July, there is a lot of wind and the sea can become rough! The best conditions are from August to December.
The Yongala Wreck is located in Open Water, and the current depends a lot on the tide. It can sometimes be fierce and can sometimes make the wreck impossible and too dangerous to dive. The depth of the wreck ranges from 15m to 33m and the spot is reserved to experienced divers.
The S.S Yongala can be also accessed via Ayr (1 hr drive south of Townsville) and it is only a 30 min boat ride rather than 3 hour to the wreck as is from Townsville. The shorter trip means that it can be accessed quicker and is less likely to cancel due to weather conditions. This is also a day trip.
Snorkelling in Townsville
Many dive shops in Townsville offer barrier reef snorkelling trips on a day tour. Snorkelling is excellent on the famous Wheeler Reef and on the Davies Reef with great marine life and coral.
Snorkelling is also possible on Magnetic Island but the visibility can be quite low depending on the tide.
- Salt water crocodiles live around Townsville beaches, so always swim in dedicated areas which are protected by lifeguards.
- During Summer time is the box jellyfish season, so be careful as above. A box jellyfish sting can be fatal!
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jwbenwell/2966855060/
Diving SafetyIf you are planning an upcoming dive trip or travelling to Townsville, it is a really good idea to invest in travel insurance, because you never know what could happen and when you might need it (because accidents do happen!). I recommend this travel insurance as they offer worldwide coverage as they offer worldwide coverage and cover scuba diving up to 50 metres deep, as well as snorkelling and many more water activities.
Now that you know all about the underwater world, you might want to start planning your scuba holiday! Check out our Townsville Travel Review for information about how to get there, activities and excursions, where to stay, and more.
Diving Reviews for this region
Excellent Diving and liveaboard destination. Amazing spot for Big fishes, Sharks, superb coral and underwater photography. Most popular place in the World to learn scuba diving in Cairns. One of the best dive sites in the World with the Yongala Wreck!