SS Yongala Expeditions - the Best: Mega Marine Fauna; Night Dive & Wreck on the Great Barrier Reef!

No departures scheduled.

An Everest of adventure diving. Limited season with departures from Cairns and Townsville: this expedition can be booked as 2, 3 or 4 night trips. Dive back in time and into history.

Great Barrier Reef Wreck Diving Expeditions featuring:

  • Focus on diving the world famous Yongala incl a night dive,
  • Each expedition will spend 2 days at Yongala,
  • Australia’s largest, most intact historic shipwreck,
  • Giant Queensland Groupers and sea snakes,
  • Yongala sank in 1911 resting 14-28m below the surface,
  • Explore the Lady Bowen Wreck*,
  • Dive the SS Gothenburg Wreck*,
  • Day and night dives at Wheeler Reef*,
  • Amazing marine biodiversity,
  • Superior vessel stability in adverse weather conditions.
    *Pending which expedition you book: not available on all trips, for more information see below.

Yongala minimum experience: 6 ocean dives.
Divers without: 5 ocean dives in last 12 months; an Advanced certification or 15 ocean dives must complete a wreck orientation.
Guided Dives:
3 dive staff will be conducting guided dives.
If weather is not suitable for wreck, expedition will  divert to reef.

The wreck of the 115metre 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.


Yongala Wreck: 2 Nights/ 8 Dives

Embark: Frid, 6pm, Townsville.
Day 2: Yongala, 4 dives plus night dive.
Day 3: Yongala, 3 dives. Last dive noon.
Disembark, Sun. 4.30pm, Townsville.


Yongala Wreck

After putting the Yongala on the international dive map, Mike Ball Dive Expeditions are heading back for a limited two week run! Recognised as one of world’s best historic wreck dive sites, this 109m wreck lies on its starboard side in 30m of water. Sank in a cyclone on 23 March 1911 now home to a spectacular concentration of marine life.

Yongala & Gothenburg Wrecks: 4 Nights/ 14 Dives

Embark: Sun, 8pm, Townsville.
Day 2: Yongala, 4 dives plus night dive.
Day 3: Gothenburg, 4 dives plus night dive.
Day 4: Yongala, 4 dives. Last dive 5pm.
Disembark, Thu. 8.00am, Townsville.


SS Gothenburg

Visit the site of one of Australia’s worst maritime disasters. In 1875, this 60m steamship encountered a severe storm and ran aground at Old Reef, 130km southeast of Townsville. The wreck lies in 9 – 16m of water and an extensive coral garden has flourished around the ship’s remains with pelagic fish and sharks a common sighting.

Yongala Wreck & Wheeler Reef: 3 Nights/ 13 Dives

Embark: Thu, 6pm, Townsville.
Day 2: Wheeler, 4 dives plus night dive.
Day 3: Yongala, 4 dives plus night dive.
Day 4: Yongala, 3 dives. Last dive noon.
Disembark, Sun. 4.30pm, Townsville.


Wheeler Reef

A popular dive site located about 100km from Townsville. With an average visibility of 30m plus and dive site depths ranging from 2m to 30m, perfect dive profiles and long bottom times are easily achievable. Wheeler is rated as one of the best night dives on the reef, so enjoy!

Yongala & Lady Bowen Wrecks plus Reef: 4 Nights/ 14 Dives

Embark: Sun, 8pm, Townsville.
Day 2: Yongala, 4 dives plus night dive.
Day 3: Yongala, 4 dives plus night dive.
Day 4: Lady Bowen wreck, 2 dives
Day 4: Reefs enroute to Cairns, 2 dives. Last dive 5pm.
Disembark, Thu. 8.00am, Cairns.


Lady Bowen

The Lady Bowen sank on the Great Barrier Reef, just off Dunk Island (Mission Beach) on 19 August 1894. The 70m four-masted schooner lay undiscovered in 34m of water for around 100 years. In that time, the Lady Bowen became a real part of the Great Barrier Reef, growing a range of hard and soft corals and becoming home to a diversity of marine life. This little visited wreck dive site is a gem.

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.

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

Photo Credits: Aaron Smith, Alison Smith, Brandon Cole, Mike Ball.

Sorry no dive site map yet.

2 Night Trip: Townsville to Townsville: 1 - 3 May 2015 *

Reef Tax $18
Fuel Levy $0

3 Night Trip: Townsville to Townsville: 7 – 10 May 2015 *

Reef Tax $18
Fuel Levy $0

4 Night Trips: Townsville: 3 - 7 May 2015 | 4 Night Trip: Townsville to Townsville: 10 - 14 May 2015 *

Reef Tax $18
Fuel Levy $0

PADI Advanced Diver$280
PADI Deep Diver$310
PADI Nitrox$310
PADI Discover Scuba (Resort)$50 per dive (conditions apply). Not available during Minke Season.
PADI Underwater Photography$260
PADI Underwater Naturalist - No pre-bookings, subject to availability onboard.$220
PADI Self-Reliant Diver - No pre-bookings, subject to availability onboard.$310
Photo Services
Camera Rentals & Extras
Canon GX7 MK2 / Olympus TG5$40/day
USB Stick - 8GB$12
Personalized Photos$100
Personalized Video $250 (Max 4 people)
Private Shark Shooter Dive (Coral Sea only)$75pp
Hire Gear
Reg, Ocy, Gauges$15/day
Snorkel Gear$5/day
Safety Sausage (SMB)No charge
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$25/day
Extra Charges
EMC (Environmental Management Charge) $8.00/day (max 3 days)
Yongala Mooring $13.55/day
Sole Occupancy Berth cost + 80%
Fuel Levy - Standard Expeditions$0 (subject to change)
Private Shark Shoot (Coral Sea expeditions only)$75pp
Personal Dive Guides$350/day (not available during Minke Season)
Nitrox Fills$25/day
Bar and Ship Shop PurchasesVariable
Hire GearVariable; see below table
CoursesVariable; see below table
Photo ServicesVariable; see below table
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% (10% during Minke Whale season)
Global Shark Diving5% (must quote card number)
Airline Staff5%
First Responders5%
Serving Military (Australia Only)20%
Dive Industry Staff (Australia Only)$200.00
Agents / Media / ResearchersOn Application
Discounts applicable to cruise fares only, 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


Mega Marine Life Wreck diving
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