What To Expect On A Townsville Liveaboard
Townsville liveaboards are centrally located on the Great Barrier Reef, allowing dive trips to visit areas further South than those departing form Cairns. It's a city located around 350 kilometres south of Cairns and it may surprise some reading this to find out that Townsville is Australia's largest urban area north of the likes of Noosa, Mooloolaba and Maroochydore in the Sunshine Coast, but due to the sheer size of Queensland is still classed as being part of the north east of the state. It's situated next to the central section of the Great Barrier Reef, and so liveaboards in Townsville concentrate on this area of the GBR, which is less well known and therefore features some fabulous scuba diving sites not found elsewhere - particularly the world famous wreck of the S.S. Yongala.
Liveaboard Diving from Townsville
There are a couple of local sites close to Townsville with great diving, such as Wheeler's Reef and Lodestone Reef, but really the main attraction, and what most serious divers are here for, is the S.S. Yongala Wreck. This is truly a rockstar of dive sites, and is regularly cited as one of the best places for diving on the planet. It's located some way off the coast of Townsville, and so in order to get the most out of this world renowned site, it's best to visit here on board a liveaboard dive cruise - this way it's possible to spread your diving out over a few days, so that each section can be explored thoroughly. At certain times of the year Spoilsport liveaboard offer special exploratory cruises to this part of the coast.
The ship sank in 1911, but has remained in very good condition, partly because of the care and protection given to it by the Queensland Government. It sits on a depth of 28 metres and the shallowest point is around 14 metres below the surface. The diversity and range of marine life that has made this 109 metre length piece of history their home is incredible, and diving only once or twice here would not do it justice! Liveaboard diving will mean you can descend at quieter times, and also commonly will involve a night dive, allowing divers to witness how the ships's residents come to life in a completely different way than during daylight hours.
There's endless amounts of tropical fish that weave in and out of the structure, joined by Trevally and Batfish, swimming amongst the full array of hard and soft coral. Divers commonly view turtles, sea snakes, as well as some huge animals such as Bull Rays, Bull Sharks and Gropers - it's important to ensure you have your camera poised at all times! A dive cruise here will mean that you are able to experience one of the true greats of the scuba diving world.
Getting to Townsville
Townsville is situated between Cairns (350 kilometres to the north), and Brisbane which is 1300 kilometres south. If you are perhaps driving or travelling along the East Coast of Queensland/Australia, then it's certainly possible to stop here in order to board a liveaboard boat. If not, then the best way to reach Townsville is by air. The airport is close to the city, and is well served domestically with daily flights arriving regularly from cities such as Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns, Darwin and the Gold Coast. If you are coming from overseas, the only current international place that flies direct to Townsville is Bali, so if you are travelling from elsewhere you'll need to catch a connecting flight from within Australia.
Most of the time, Australian liveaboard diving operators offer a complimentary service that will pick you up, and drop you off, to and from your accommodation, before and after your diving cruise.