The Sunshine Coast really does have it all - with pristine beaches and warm sub-tropical waters - temperatures ranging from a minimum of 18 degrees Celsius in winter to a maximum of 27 degrees Celsius in the summer make this whole area a diver's paradise.
Diving on the Sunshine Coast is really too easy - not only do the coral reefs rival the marine diversity of the Great Barrier Reef, you only need to spend twenty minutes on a boat to get out to the action. One can understand why this area is so popular with divers who have the opportunity to explore reef, islands and a world famous wreck.
One of Australia's top ten scuba diving locations, you'll find Wolf Rock north of Double Island Point, just off the coast of Rainbow Beach near Gympie. This dive site is granite with five interconnecting pinnacles that rise from thirty-five metres depth, are all varying heights with two actually breaking the waters surface. A superb spot for divers, who enjoy exploring the peaks of the pinnacles - one at eleven metres depth; another at sixteen metres and one at nineteen metres. The sheer drops allow divers really close encounters with the critically endangered resident grey nurse sharks that grow to about three metres long and are totally harmless. The granite is adorned with black coral trees, spiky soft corals, hard corals, gorgonians (a colonial coral) and spiral sea whips.
It's An Incredible Experience To Swim With Manta Rays - Image: Pixabay - Public Domain
Moray eels, nudibranch, gobies, scorpionfish, sea stars, shrimps and coral crabs all live in the gutters running along the shallow rocks. Common visitors to this site are turtles, manta rays, Queensland gropers, coral trout, batfish, trevally and angelfish.
Nudibranch - Image By Parent Géry - Own work, cropped, Public Domain
This dive site is found on the Inner Gneerings, which is a shallow reef system commencing three kilometres out from Mooloolaba. These Coral Gardens are like a minuscule section of the Great Barrier Reef, and luckily for us, is on the Sunshine Coast. Offering numerous diverse and amazing dive spots which include Hanging Rock, the Pinnacles, Wobby Rock and the aptly named Fairyland. Stunning hard and soft corals are a big feature on this reef in depths from ten to fifteen metres, with the site topography influenced by a series of gutters. As all the gutters tend to look really similar, it's all too easy for divers to find themselves off-course as they're so engrossed with the fish and invertebrate species surrounding them.
Isn't The Fairy Basslet A Pretty Fish? - Image by Door Brian Gratwicke - Gramma loreto, Fairy Basslet, CC BY 2.0
This dive site is a divers paradise with a variety of marine life including rays, loggerhead and green turtles, moray eels, wobbegongs and leopard sharks. Look out for the sapphire damsels and fairy basslets that dart in and out of cover.
Difficulty: Ranges to suit Beginners, Open Water and Advanced Divers
Magic Mountain Dive Site
Northern Pacific Seastar - Image by Par Pas d'auteur lisible par la machine identifié. Lycoo supposé (étant donné la revendication de droit d'auteur). — Aucune source lisible par la machine fournie. « Travail personnel » supposé (étant donné la revendication de droit d'auteur)., Domaine public,https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=950209
This is a dive for more experienced divers located on the Outer Gneerings Reef off Mooloolaba's coast. Magic Mountain's depth and the complex structures formed by rocky outcrops which extend from the sandy ocean floor to form countless gullies, ravines, bommies, swim-throughs and pinnacles is the reason it's a dive site only for the experienced. Magic Mountain is home to morwong, wrasse, leatherjackets, batfish, bullseyes, butterfly and angelfish. Divers will also find urchins, nudibranch, anemones, feather and brittle stars, crabs, crayfish, wobbegongs and the occasional groper on this rugged structure.
Difficulty: Advanced Open Water Divers
HMAS Brisbane Dive Site
Clown Fish - Image: pixabay public domain
This dive site is the number one dive site on the Sunshine Coast and the largest diveable wreck in Queensland. Located 2.8 nautical miles due east of Mudjimba Island on the Sunshine Coast, HMAS Brisbane is a retired Royal Australian Navy guided missile destroyer. This ship was scuttled (deliberately sunk by allowing water to flow into the hull) in July 2005 - the 133 metre wreck is sitting upright on her keel, lodged in sand twenty-seven metres below sea level. The main decks sit at a depth of fifteen metres with the ship's funnel three metres below the surface. Open water divers can explore the top structure and enjoy the huge array of marine life, while qualified divers can enter many compartments further down, including the kitchen, engine room and boiler room. This dive site is part of the HMAS Brisbane Conservation Park and is managed by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and teems with more than a recorded two hundred species of fish. Large schools of pelagic fish and rays swarm around the twin chimney stacks. Clown fish, colourful wrasse, octopi, lion fish, turtles, gropers are all in abundance.
Difficulty: Open Water Divers
Jew Shoal Dive Site
Get Up Close and Personal - Image: Pixabay - CCO Public Domain
Jew Shoal is one of Noosa's best attractions in the stunning Laguna Bay. It is a large reef system comprised of ridges, canyons, bommies and an imposing solitary eleven metre pinnacle. The Caves dive site has rugged rocky outcrops and swimthroughs, with gutters covered in colourful hard and soft corals. Look out for Reef fish including angelfish, butterflyfish, surgeonfish, globefish, rabbitfish, soapfish, morwong, sweetlip and bream as you explore the caves. The coral gardens on this dive site are home to a variety of invertebrates - sea stars, feather stars, shrimp, hermit crabs, urchins, brittle stars, cowries and more than one hundred varieties of nudibranchs. Seasonal manta rays and grey nurse sharks also occasionally visit.
Difficulty: Beginner and Open Water Divers
Mudjimba (Old Woman) Island Dive Site
Mudjimba (Old Woman) Dive Site - Image: Elaine de Wet
The Mudjimba (Old Woman) Island dive site can be found a short twenty minute boat ride from Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast. This is an incredible shallow water dive site for both snorkelers and divers with coral gardens at just two metres deep for brilliant dives. A mass load of fields of hard and soft coral cover the gardens, with plenty of gullies, ledges, bommies and small drop-offs when you venture further out. A spectacular variety of nudibranch species and invertebrates provide ideal photo opportunities for macro photographers, with butterflyfish, lion fish, moray eels, wrasse, angelfish, morwong, surgeonfish, damsels, pufferfish and gobies easily accessible on every dive.
Emperor Angelfish - Image by Albert kok - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Difficulty: Beginner and Open Water Divers and Snorkelers
Contact Sunreef Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast for your dive of a lifetime on the Sunshine Coast.
Don't just dip your toes in…. submerge yourself and get up close and personal with a whole other world.