Yongala, Townsville, Australia
What to see: Wreck of the SS Yongala passenger ship, guitar shark (shovelnose ray), eagle rays, marble rays, potato cod, queensland grouper, banded and olive green sea snakes, schools of barracuda, schools of sweetlips, sea turtles (green, loggerhead and hawksbill), napoleon wrasse, mantas and small stuff if there would be time to look at them. Occasional humpback whales in winter (Jun-Aug). Find a more detailed report about the diving in Yongala here.
Level: Advanced divers, the wreck lies at 30 m with the uppermost deck at 15 m. Open water divers can do a “deep adventure”. Nitrox definitely makes sense here.
How to get there: Either from Townsville (2.5 hour boat ride to the wreck) or Alva Beach by Ayr (20 min boat ride to the wreck). Alva Beach is 2 1/4 hours north of Airlie Beach and 1.5 hours south of Townsville. There is also a liveaboard run by Mike Ball
Water temperature: 21-25°C
Visitbility: 10-25 m
Season: All year round, slightly better visibility in winter
Price: AUD 220 – 250 for two dives
My trip: We stayed at the camp ground in Alva Beach and did dive with the only operation there – Yongala Dive, make sure to have some “spare days” as when the weather is bad the boats cannot go to the wreck; I heard from many people that they missed the Yongala dive because of the weather. Book in advance! You don’t want to miss this dive 😉 Alva Beach is a small village without shops and not many restaurants. Buy your food in the stores at the main road. Alternatively you can stay, eat and drink at Yongala Dive.