Predators’ Playground, Holmes Reef:
This shark dive is often helped along by dive operators adding chum to the water. White-tip and grey reef sharks are the regular diners.
Dwarf Minke Whale Dives:
In late June and early July, dwarf minke whales show up on the northern Great Barrier Reef and actually seem to seek out live-aboards and divers. Lucky us.
Osprey Reef, Coral Sea:
This lagoon features spectacular soft corals, green and loggerhead turtles, manta and eagle rays, barracuda, and tuna. Its proximity to open water means divers may also see whale sharks, beaked whales, sperm whales, bottlenose dolphins, and marlin.
This towering coral head extends from 36 metres/120 feet to the surface. Spiral around the pinnacle to admire the corals and invertebrates, and look for potato cods, stonefish, rays, lionfish, moray eels, and white-tip reef sharks.
The famous giant potato cod, which congregate here, gave the site its name. Also look for leopard moray eels and Maori wrasse.
Barracuda Pass, Opal Reef:
Noted for its giant clams, this site also features titan triggerfish, black-tip reef sharks, and of course barracuda.
Named for the resident sea snakes, this site consists of eight coral bommies marching across a sandy bottom. Look for leather and palm corals, sea fans, sponges, clams, sea stars, nudibranchs, sea cucumbers, trevally, mackerel, batfish, parrotfish, stingrays, barracuda, and hawksbill turtles.
Probably the best dive in the world. The 109 metre/350 foot Yongala, which sits off Townsville, is the only game in town for marine life, and everything on this wreck is supersized.
Off Gladstone, this island sits at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. With more than 20 dive sites, it’s a haven for savvy divers. The manta cleaning station is world-renowned, and dozens of species of nudibranch writhe on these reefs.
Massive sea fans predominate this region of the Coral Sea.