The best scuba diving sites in the Whitsundays
The Whitsundays, famous for its close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, has some excellent dive sites surrounding the islands that can be visited when sailing a bareboat. Many of them are only 2-3 hours cruising time from Airlie Beach, and in quite close proximity to each other, so it’s easy to visit more than one in a single day.
Whether you are an experienced diver or looking for a first time intro dive, the Whitsundays can offer you a few options. If you already have your dive ticket, you can hire a full set of dive gear from Aqua Dive at Coral Sea Marina on check-in. If you would prefer to have a guided dive, you need to bring your dive medical clearance paperwork, and you can arrange a rendezvous dive with Aqua5.
Whitsunday Escape provides snorkelling equipment (snorkel, mask & fins) free of charge, and you will be able to personally select your own sizes. Children’s sizes are also readily available.
Around the northern islands, Hook Island and Hayman Islands, there are ample fringing reef sites perfect for the new or experienced scuba diver. The best time to go diving is in light winds and on a rising tide as the clearer oceanic water floods south. Some of the notable dive sites in the Whitsundays are:
The Woodpile, north Hook Island
Known as the best wall dive in the Whitsundays, the Woodpile is a rockwall drop off, with scattered deep coral and a sandy bottom, ranging from 5-30 metres in depth. Best visited when there is little wind and current.
The Pinnacles, North Hook Island
Considered one of the best cuba dive sites in the Whitsundays due to its comparative likeness to the outer Great Barrier Reef. Large coral bommies, huge boulder-shaped porite corals and massive towers can be seen from 3-18 metres. Manta rays are common in the winter months. Best visited when there is little wind and current.
Blue Pearl Bay, West Hayman Island
A long stretch of beautiful coastline to explore. On the left you have a maze-like structure of corals leading towards Castle Rock. On the right lush coral gardens as you wend your way towards Dolphin Point. Best in calm south easterly winds.
Mackerel Bay and Saba Bay, East Hook Island
When the wind is from the north Mackerel Bay and Saba Bay are relatively shallow diving with small canyons, ledges and swim throughs.
HOT TIP FROM AQUA DIVE: Mackerel Bay North is home to a little spot Aqua Dive’s owner, Sharpie, has coined ‘The City Streets’ for its abundance of fish action.
Cateran Bay, North Border Island
Dive straight from the moorings good in light wind conditions.
Dumbell Island, near Border Island
Great in settled conditions.
White Bay, South Haselwood Island, near Whitehaven Beach
Pristine reef, relatively shallow, only possible in light north winds, plenty of fish life.