This phenomenal dive is one no open-water scuba diver should miss! The SS Yongala wreck is situated in the UNESCO-listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Legally protected under Australia’s Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976, the site is designed to conserve wreck relics and artifacts.
Check in at Breakwater Marina, just off the Strand in Townsville, or board your boat at Nelly Bay Ferry Terminal on Magnetic Island for an early morning departure. Start with morning tea as you greet your small group of open-water divers, and receive tips from professional crew members about protecting the marine environment at the shipwreck site, located approximately 48 nautical miles (89 km) southeast of Townsville.
The upper sections of the 361-foot-long (110 meters) ship, which sank during a cyclone, begin 49 feet (15 meters) below the water’s surface. The ship extends to the depth of the sandy sea floor, approximately 100 feet (30 meters) down.
The SS Yongala carried 49 passengers and a 73-person crew. On its way from Melbourne to Cairns, it lost all 122 people on board. The wreck was first found in 1958, and due to its remote location and protected landmark status, it has remained mostly untouched.
When you reach the established artificial reef, keep an eye out for a diverse range of marine life attracted to this complex habitat. You’re likely to spot turtles, sea snakes, giant trevally, Queensland gropers, eagle rays, manta rays, sharks, thousands of tropical fish. In the cooler months, you might get the awesome sight of humpback whales and whale sharks.
Ice water, tea, coffee and cordials are available throughout the day. Enjoy afternoon tea and a tropical buffet style lunch before you’re returned to Townsville or Magnetic Island.
Please note: A minimum of six logged dives are required prior to diving this site. Unless you have 15 logged open-water dives, it is required that you pay the fee for a certified dive guide, but anyone can add on a guide to enhance this underwater adventure.