Dive into one of the world’s great natural wonders and discover a region full of earthly delights in Queensland. Here is a list of 10 perfect reasons to plan a scuba diving vacation in Australia’s Sunshine State. No. 1? The Great Barrier Reef, of course!
1. WORLD’S NATURAL WONDER: THE GREAT BARRIER REEF The world’s longest reef — 1,400 miles, visible from space — stretches the length of Queensland and is one of the planet’s best places to dive.
2. RIGHT ON THE REEF AT HERON ISLAND The only dive resort in Queensland right on the reef puts you face to face with stunning marine life, with access to more than 20 dive sites within minutes.
3. DIVE IN AND SWIM WITH THE SHARKS AT OSPREY REEF Taka Dive Adventure’s 100-foot live-aboard gets you scuba diving with 10 to 70 Coral Sea sharks at once, with multiple species present year-round. (taka.com.au)
4. INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO MINKE WHALES Dive with curious and approachable whales in the Ribbon Reefs of Queensland May to August.
5. FINDING FAMOUS CLOWNFISH The little guys in Queensland’s “Great 8” — whales, turtles, sharks, mantas, cod and grouper, giant clams, Maori wrasse and clownfish — are always a crowd pleaser for scuba divers.
6. SUBMERGE INTO THE SS YONGALA SHIPWRECK This gorgeous coral-encrusted 360-footer — lost in 1911 with all hands — is Australia’s best wreck dive, off Townsville in waters from 50 to 110 feet.
7. SAMPLE SOME OF WINE COUNTRY Queensland has too many wineries to list, in regions from Southern Downs to Toowoomba to South Burnett. Think California, but wilder.
8. MAKE A NIGHT OF THE RAINFOREST Glow-worms come alive after sunset — plus luminous fungi and fireflies in summer — at lush Springbrook National Park, part of the Gondwana Rainforests Australia World Heritage Area around the Queensland border.
9. SEE IT ALL WITH A BIRD’S-EYE VIEW The Mike Ball Fly Dive experience lets divers start their live-aboard holiday with an amazing low-level flight — just 600 feet over waters you’ll soon be diving — a unique introduction to the Great Barrier Reef. (mikeball.com)
10. SINK IN AND SOAK UP AT WHITEHAVEN BEACH On Whitsunday Island, the largest of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays off the central coast of Queensland, you’ll find more than four miles of brilliant white sand that’s among the purest in the world.