The Sunshine State is basically a snorkeller’s and/or divers paradise. I mean, The Great Barrier Reef, duh. So how do you decide which spots to prioritise, particularly if you’ve only got a weekend to soak it all in? Well, you come back for several weekends obviously. But also be sure to put spots on your list for the best diving in Queensland.

5 Best Spots For Diving In Queensland

1. Lady Elliot Island, Bundaberg

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Around the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Bundaberg, is Lady Elliot Island. The biggest pull here is its year-round visibility and its large resident manta ray population. But you know, there’s also 1200 different fish species to entertain you. You can actually fly into the island from several main airports around the state.

2. Cod Hole, Lizard Island

As the name suggests, this is a dive spot where you can get up close and personal with some very large, friendly potato codfish. In case that’s not enough, this world-famous dive site on the northern tip of the very famous Ribbon Reefs is also home to grey reef sharks, schooling sweetlips and a whole bunch of other tropical reef fish.

3. Steve’s Bommie, Ribbon Reefs

The ten long, narrow strings of reef known as The Ribbon Reefs, are incredibly popular amongst divers and the part known as Steve’s Bommie is particularly loved. Probably because the marine life is so vibrant and abundant here, with everything from anemone-fish, pipefish, flatworms and all kinds of corals, to bigger creatures like barracudas, reef sharks, and big-eye trevally call it home. You’ll need more than one day to see it all, so join a tour that’ll show you around the area for a few days.

Side note, for newbies to the diving scene, a bommie is submerged offshore reef. Trust me that’ll be important to know for this article.

4. Heron Island, Gladstone

If you’re not keen on going too far out into the open ocean to find your sea creatures, you’ll love being able to just walk right from the beach and into the action on the island resort of Heron Island. To get there, most people will need to catch a boat out of Gladstone, about 5 hours north of the Sunshine Coast.

Once you’re there, you’ll find blacktip reef sharks, manta rays, turtles, clownfish, dories, and all those colourful reef guys. French explorer, Jacques Costeau, ranked the island’s main dive spot, Heron Bommie, in his top 10 best dives around the world.

5. Osprey Reef, Coral Sea

It’s not for the inexperienced, but if you’re after a remote, underwater paradise, Osprey Reef is where it’s at. This underwater atoll is about 110km from the northern Great Barrier Reef, with a lot of tour operators leaving from Cairns and Lizard Island.

Thanks to great visibility and steep drop-offs – even a natural theatre at the North Horn dive site – you’re likely to get some pretty amazing sights of larger marine life, like hammerhead sharks and dogtooth tuna, depending on the season of course.

Image: iStock Images / [Tammy616]