Yongala Wreck & Coral Sea Expedition

No departures scheduled.

This expedition combines adventure diving: SS Yongala Wreck; dramatic vertical walls of Holmes and Flinders Reef. Limited two week season with departures from Cairns and Townsville: this expedition is booked as 7 night trips. Dive back in time and into history.

Yongala Wreck & Coral Sea Expeditions featuring:

  • Australia’s largest, most intact historic shipwreck,
  • Yongala sank in 1911 resting 14-28m below the surface,
  • Amazing night dives with huge bull rays,
  • Giant Queensland Groupers and sea snakes,
  • Holmes Reef’s dramatic vertical walls rising up from 1500m (4920ft),
  • Explore the many tunnels & caverns dotted around the shallow sheltered lagoons,
  • Dive sites such as Abyss and the Cathedral, circumnavigate Nonki Bommie,
  • Scan Flinders Reef spectacular walls that drop 300m (1000ft) with visibility averaging 40m+ (120ft),
  • Descend to gorgonian fans up to 5m wide (the Gigantus Gorgonus) and huge soft coral trees,
  • Superior vessel stability in adverse weather conditions,


Yongala minimum experience: 6 ocean dives.
Anyone without: 5 ocean dives in last 12 mths; an Advanced certification or 15 ocean dives must complete a wreck orientation.

Guided Dives:
3 dive staff will be conducting guided dives. Divers without adequate skills may miss some dives.

If weather is not suitable for wreck, expedition will divert to reef.

The wreck of the 111metre SS Yongala must be dived to be believed.
In its 103 years of immersion the wreck has attracted a myriad of hard and soft corals of truly amazing colors while super size marine life have made the wreck their home. She  rests in 30 metres of water on her starboard side; the uppermost deck is at 15 metres. Diver size grouper are found under the bow and stern while turtles, bull rays, sea snakes, sharks and wrasse relentlessly roam the wreck. The non-stop action provided by this spectacular concentration of marine life is truly astonishing.

A majestic ship it once was… since  the 2011 cyclone Yasi  the Yongala feels like you’re diving an amazing ship wreck instead just the world’s best marine aquarium. 70% intact, the Yongala now has exposed some bare metal on the hull  and new holes have opened giving  new points of view of what a majestic ship it once was.

Lets go diving… descending through oversize giant trevally  and batfish marvel at the Yongala shrouded in a myriad of marine life. At 15 metres you are level with the uppermost deck.  The port hull is richly adorned with multicoloured soft coral trees, whips and sponges, gently moving with the current. Enveloped in baitfish, slowly fining above this colourful parade you see all manner of fish moving amongst this colourful haven. You sense they are oblivious to your approach and realize this is something very special. This tranquility may be broken by predatory giant trevally torpedoing through the baitfish.

Descending… across the sloping deck you see companionways and compartments crowded with fish. Purple-banded angelfish blend with purple soft corals; hundreds of yellow perch hover in the current while super size coral trout observe you glide by. Turtles and venomous sea snakes foraging for food are common sightings on the wreck

Under the bow… throngs of mangrove jack and sweetlip mingle with large estuarine cod.  Moving along the sand towards the stern you are likely to see 2-metre long bull rays shadowed by schools of cobia. Large inquisitive napoleon wrasse swim by while, large chinamen and scribbled puffers peer out from under the hull. From the deck broken spars lean onto the sand, each with it’s own squadron of fish tightly bunched close by. Many species of brightly coloured nudibranch can be found.  Some of the most highly prized Yongala sightings include the family of shy 500-pound gropers, 2-metre shovelnose rays and large bull sharks. A school of sweetlip hovers above artifacts under the stern while photographers will be more attracted to the photogenic rudderless rudder section.

It never sleeps…
Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the huge bull rays hanging motionless in the current during the night dive. Nitrox is recommended to maximize your diving enjoyment and safety.


7 Night: Cairns to Townsville, Dives/30

 Embark Thursday 6pm at Trinity Wharf, Cairns. Steam overnight to Holmes Reef (Friday). Then onto Flinders Reef (Saturday/Sunday/Monday). Overnight to SS Yongala (Tuesday/Wednesday). Arrive Breakwater Marina, Townsville (Thursday). Disembark 8.00am.


7 Night: Townsville to Cairns, Dives/30

Embark Thursday 6pm at Breakwater Marina, Townsville. Steam overnight to Yongala (Friday /Saturday). Then onto Flinders Reef (Sunday/Monday/Tuesday). Overnight to Holmes Reef (Wednesday). Arrive Trinity Wharf, Cairns (Thursday). Disembark 8.00am.


Holmes Reef

A twin reef system about 240km east of Cairns, Holmes Reef offers adventurous divers a range of caves, swim-throughs and deep fissures to explore. Go deep to explore the dozens of caves festooned with soft corals, or stay higher up to play with the fish. Sites we will visit: Nonki Bommie, Amazing and South Holmes.

Nonki Bommie - Holmes Reef - Coral Sea

Soft corals and sea fan enthusiasts will get their fill on this dive. A big bommie coming up to the surface from 35 meters with a big crack in the middle. The canyon created by the crack in the middle is full of giant yellow and orange sea fans. In the distance sharks circle the bommie to complete the recipe for an amazing dive.

Amazing - Holmes Reef - Coral Sea

Pristine white sand slopes up from the depths until cut off by tall bommies that lead to the shallow reef wall. Grey whalers and silver tips are frequent visitors.The reef wall is larded with tunnels that lead to different parts of the reef and undiscovered ‘cul de sacs’. The tunnels are big enough to fit a small car and you can discover these beautifully arched passageways quite comfortably.

Flinders Reef/Flinders Cay

Scan spectacular walls that drop 300m (1000ft) with visibility averaging 40m+ (120ft). Descend to gorgonian fans up to 5m wide (the Gigantus Gorgonus) and huge soft coral trees. Mingle with patrolling sharks, tuna and barracuda.

Yongala Wreck

This world class shipwreck is the one of the key subjects in Sir David Attenborough’s forthcoming documentary on the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef. Recognised as one of world’s best historic wreck dive sites, this 111m wreck lies on its starboard side in 30m of water. Sunk in a cyclone on 23 March 1911, she is now home to a spectacular concentration of marine life.

Dive Site Guarantee!

Spoilsport’s outstanding stability minimizes disruption to your itinerary and your scuba diving experience.  If weather forces an itinerary change we divert to the best, ‘safe, accessible sites’ to ensure you get the best scuba diving available. 9% of Coral Sea itineraries are diverted to the Great Barrier Reef.

All itinerary details are subject to change, specific marine life cannot be guaranteed.


7 Night Trip: Cairns to Townsville | Townsville to Cairns

Reef Tax $18
Fuel Levy $0
Yongala Environment Charge $13.55/day

Openwater Referral (PADI)$245
Openwater Referral (non-PADI)$350
PADI Scuba Diver Upgrade$350
PADI Open Water Diver (3 Night Expeditions only)$395
PADI Advanced Diver$215
PADI Nitrox$325 or $200 Referral (incl 3 days free fills). NB referral is from shop (not elearning).
PADI Discover Scuba (Resort)1 free per day (conditions apply). Not available during Minke Season.
PADI Underwater Photography$250
PADI Underwater Naturalist$220
SDI Easy Nitrox$275 (incl 3 days free fills)
SDI Solo Diver$220
Photo Services
Camera Rentals & Extras
Canon G16$60/day
USB Stick - 16GB$15
Holiday Video & Photos
Standard Holiday Trip - DVD$80
Purchase of Second DVD$40
Personalized Holiday Trip - DVD$250 (Max 4 people)
Personal Holiday Photographs$100
Photo CD$50
Purchase of second photo CD$25
Hire Gear
Reg, Ocy, Gauges$15/day
Snorkel Gear$5/day
Safety Sausage (SMB)$10/trip
Cyalume Light Stick$2/each
Nautilus Lifeline GPSNo charge
All of the above$44/day
2L (13 cu.ft) Pony Bottle + Reg$15/day
15L (120 cu.ft) Steel Bottle$25/day
Nitrox Fills$75 for the 3 or 4 night/ $150 for a week
Extra Charges
Reef Tax$6.50/day
Sole OccupancyBerth cost + 70%
Fuel Levy - Standard Expeditions$0 (subject to change)
Fuel Levy - 7 Night Northern Reef Exploratories$44/pp (subject to change)
Yongala Environment Charge$13.55/day
Personal Dive Guides$250/day (+ berth cost for guide) or $50/dive.
Nitrox FillsSee below
Hire GearSee below
CoursesSee below
Photo ServicesSee below
Special Catering Admin Fee$30/trip
Bar and Ship Shop PurchasesVariable
Hire Gear - Sizes
BCDAqualung Wave x5 sizes.
FinsTechnisub Stratos (full foot) x6 sizes. We recommend wearing sturdy or neoprene socks with full foot fins.
Wetsuits5mm full length steamer. 6 male and 6 female sizes. Includes 3mm hood.
Non-diver10% (not applicable on Minke Whale expeditions)
Non-diving child (8-15 years)25%
Global Shark Diving5% (must quote card number)
Airline Staff5%
Dive Industry Staff$200.00
Agents / Media / ResearchersVariable discounts offered
Discounts are only accepted at time of booking and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Proof of employment is required.

Fitting extra small and extra large people can be difficult. Please bring your own equipment if concerned about fit. View Sizes chart



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