What To Expect On A S.S Yongala Wreck Liveaboard
Only a select few liveaboard itineraries visit the SS Yongala Wreck off Australia's Queensland coast. Constantly featured in articles and opinions discussing the best dives in the World, this truly stunning wreck is an absolute rockstar when it comes to dive sites. Situated in the central section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park off the coast of Townsville in Queensland, the ship sank in 1911 and is in great condition for it's age. This is partly due to the ship being managed and also protected by the Historic Shipwrecks Act, which prevents anyone swimming inside the wreck. This of course means divers cannot penetrate the structure, but has ensured it has remained as untouched as possible which has resulted in a quite incredible range of marine life making this remarkable piece of history their home.
The best way to experience this famous site is on a liveaboard trip that can visit the wreck at quieter times, allowing you to dive the wreck in relative peace and over a number of different dives. If you are in Australia for a diving holiday, you really cannot afford to overlook this underwater marvel - you certainly will not be disappointed!
What You Can See
The S.S. Yongala is a totally unique place, where modern history combines with the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. The ship lies on around a depth of 28 metres, rising to approximately 14 metres below the surface. It's a huge 109 metres long, which means that it has been inhabited by an unrivalled range of marine life. The structure is covered in all manner of hard and soft coral, including sponges and trees, giving a dazzling display of colour as they sparkle with the light hitting them from every angle.
There are more fish species that I can name here, and many more than you'll be able to photograph! Divers are consistently wowed by the seemingly endless numbers of small fish, of all different sizes and colours, which are joined by larger Batfish and Giant Trevally, playfully chasing each other as you descend. Constant visitors are elegant Turtles and graceful Sea Snakes, together with pouting Sweetlips, all jostling for space amongst the backdrop of this majestic ship.
It's likely that a liveaboard diving trip to the Yongala will result in sitings of the large stuff aswell, as commonly you'll see huge Bull Rays, 200 kilogram Gropers and the infamous Australian Bull Shark.
Another advantage of coming here on a liveaboard boat is that because the diving is spread over a couple of days to ensure maximum bottom time, a night dive may well be available as an option. This gives the keen diver an opportunity to see the wreck from a completely different perspective, when many residents inactive during the day come to life, and is a spectacle that few people have the pleasure of witnessing.
Getting to the S.S. Yongala
Currently we only have 1 operator that conducts trips to the S.S. Yongala. It is an exploratory trip and dates vary throughout the year. Please check with us for details on this trips availability.
The nearest port to the S.S. Yongala is the Queensland town, Townsville, which is the most common point of departure for Australian liveaboard diving trips to the wreck. It is possible to get to Townsville via car or bus, but it is a daunting 350 kilometres from Cairns, and an unrealistic 1300 kilometres from Brisbane, the closest large hubs.
A far better option is to fly into Townsville which is easy and convenient as it has an airport located near town, served by daily domestic flights from Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin and the Gold Coast. Although technically classed as an international airport the only place it serves is Bali, and so while it's possible to fly directly from there, it's much more likely you'll be getting here from within Australia.