Best Whitsunday Islands Dive Sites Review

Alan from Whitsunday Dive Centre, Great Barrier Reef Diving Expert

This is a review of Whitsundays Australia scuba diving sites based on our 33 years of practical diving and dive boat operations in the Whitsunday islands. Tidal movement has the greatest effect on underwater visibility in the Whitsundays. Try to plan your dive so that tidal flow is least.

If you can, try to plan your dive trip around neap tides i.e. when the difference between high and low tide is the smallest. Most Whitsundays scuba diving sites are boat dives but there are a few places in the Whitsunday Islands where you can enter the water from the beach. This is a summary of the most popular Whitsunday Islands dive sites. Each site contains a link to maps and aerial photographs. You might want to see some information about Getting to Airlie Beach or Airlie Beach liveaboard dive trips.

* Latitudes and longitudes given are not accurate enough for coastal navigation

1. Whitsundays Dive Site Blue Pearl Bay - 20 03.9 S 148 52.8 E

Western side of Hayman Island. About 19 metres max depth.

Top dive site and good snorkelling. Manta rays and giant maori wrasse often seen here. Visibility is affected by northerly winds. Features small valleys, drop -off, gullies, tunnels and overhang. Great display of gorgonia, fans and staghorn corals with some plates. Coral trout under plates, slatey bream and red emperor.

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2.Whitsunday Dive Site Dolphin Point -20.036 S148.88 E

Northern tip of Hayman Island.

Calm weather dive only. 18 metres max depth. Huge boulders on the sloping seabed make this an interesting dive. Large coral bommies (20ft to 50ft). White tip reef sharks and hammerheads often seen here. Pelagics such as tuna, mackeral and barracuda are often seen here.

3.Whitsunday Dive Site Bird Island - 20 05.3 S 148 52.3 E

Western side of Langford Reef.

Very exposed and not often diveable. Good dive in calm conditions. Features gullies, swim throughs caves and overhangs. Beware of cone shells here and on Langford Reef.

Difficult anchorage. Best to drift dive with zodiac standing by. Large variety of sea life.

4.Whitsunday Dive Site Eagle Hawk Reef -20.17 S 148.96 E

Safe, shallow dive to 10 metres. A finger of reef extends in north westerly direction form the southern corner of Stonehaven anchorage. A great single vessel anchorage exists between Eaglehawk and the southern shore and snorkelling and scuba diving are good if conditions are right. Fine sediment is in abundance here and the dive can be quite murky if the current is running. However, visibility can be over 60ft in calm conditions. Features soft corals, nudibranchts and sea anenomes.

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5.Whitsunday Dive Site Alcyonaria Point - 20 04.1 S 148 56.2 E

Northern end of Hook Island. Named after the coral species found here.

Large coral bommies with lots of territorial sea creatures. Bommies rise up from about 13 metres but the tops are well clear of the surface making the site unsuitable for snorkellers. Gullies and ledges in deeper water. Some plate coral. Trout country. Another top dive and usually good unless in a northerly.

Closer to shore the reef is quite shallow and very pretty. Snorkelling is good from here towards the point.

6.Whitsunday Dive Site Maureen's Cove - 20 04.1 S 148 56.2 E

Northern end of Hook Island.

Large coral bommies with lots of territorial sea creatures. Bommies rise up from about 13 metres but the tops are well clear of the surface making the site unsuitable for snorkellers. Gullies and ledges in deeper water. Some plate coral. Trout country. Another top dive and usually good unless in a northerly.

Closer to shore the reef is quite shallow and very pretty. Snorkelling is good from here towards the point.

7.Whitsunday Dive Site Manta Ray Bay -20.064 S 148.947 E

Northern end of Hook Island.

Often billed as the Whitsunday Islands top dive site but probably because of accessibility and the fact that large vessels can anchor close in to shore out of the south easterly wind. It is a good dive though and one of the best dive sites. Since marine Park regulations were enforced here several years ago, coral trout, batfish and parrot fish, to name a few, are everywhere to be seen. Also there are caves valleys and swim throughs that make this an interesting dive. There is a small coral beach here so you can dive off the beach if you prefer.

whitsundays coral reef

8.Whitsunday Dive Site The Pinnacles - 20.061 S 148.966 E

North East tip of Hook Island.

Good diving and snorkelling. Best in a light south easterly. Fairly exposed anchorage. Not good in northerly winds. Fabulous coral on big bommies that rise from 65ft to within 5 or 6 feet of the surface. Big manta rays and maori wrasse seen frequently with white and black tip reef sharks. Great dive but not for the faint hearted.

9.Whitsunday Dive Site The Woodpile - 20.061 S 148.959 E

Northeast tip of Hook Island.

Adjacent to The Pinnacles and a similar dive. So named because of pillars of basalt that have been overturned to look like a pile of massive logs when seen from seaward. Features bommies, gullies, ledges, swim throughs, marine park, black tip reef sharks, maori wrasse

10.Whitsunday Dive Site Mackeral Bay - 20.093 S 148.951 E

Eastern coast of Hook Island.

Difficult to get Mackerel Bay in the right weather conditions because it is exposed to the South Easterly wind but a good dive if conditions are right. I dived the southern side near a huge wind blown overhang and found a spectacular cave with big coral trout and slatey bream hovering in the upper reaches. Current can be quite strong here so drift diving is probably the best option. Some big wrasse often seen here. Really needs to be a light northerly on neap tides.

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