Explore beyond the Queensland surf to discover one of the world’s top scuba-diving destinations. The Great Barrier Reef – the world’s largest and healthiest coral reef system – is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a marine wilderness that has evolved in isolation for over fifty million years. It is also the only living structure on earth that can be seen from outer space. This stunning marine spectacle hosts over 2,500 individual reefs, 300 coral cays, 600 continental islands and 400 species of soft and hard coral with over 1,500 species of fish. Revered for its biodiversity, this vibrant underwater world is home to many endemic species and is suitable for diving all year round. A diver’s dream, it stretches 2,000 kilometres from Lizard Island in the north, with its stunning coral gardens, to Great Palm Island in the south. This rich marine haven boasts famous dive sites, such as Ribbons Reefs, in the northern Great Barrier Reef with colourful, pristine coral and dwarf Minke Whales (during the months of June and July), plus Cod Hole, where you can swim amongst giant Potato Cod fish and stunning Pixie Pinnacle. At Challenger Bay, divers can encounter giant coral bommies and cuttlefish, plus take part in night dives. Alternatively, southern Queensland is home to a purpose-sunk dive wreck, the SS Yongala - this signature wreck has large sea snakes and sea turtles, plus the area boasts spectacular ledges and caverns to explore.
For those looking for a little adventure beyond the tropical north, Sunshine Coast or idyllic Whitsundays, Western Australia is home to the fringing Ningaloo Reef, with its magnificent mantas and shark whales. Alternatively, the far flung Lord Howe Island supports the southernmost coral reef on the planet - a real hidden gem. From specialist PADI Digital Underwater Photography and Wreck Diver courses, to liveaboard dive boats, there is a wealth of dive-related activities available. Beyond Australia’s shores, the South Pacific offers world-class dive sites within French Polynesia. Tahiti and Bora Bora, in particular, provide a thrilling diversity of lagoons, ocean drop-offs and passes. Blessed with colourful reef fish, eagle rays and schools of barracuda, there is plenty to challenge even the most experienced of divers. For those wishing to experience cooler waters, New Zealand’s Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve, off the Bay of Islands, is a dive spot not to be missed.