Liveaboard Diving in SS Yongala

What To Expect On A S.S Yongala Wreck Liveaboard

Only a 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 for 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 its age. This is partly due to the ship being managed and protected by the Historic Shipwrecks Act, preventing anyone from swimming inside the wreck. This means divers cannot penetrate the structure. Still, it has remained as untouched as possible, which has resulted in quite an 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 into the wreck in relative peace and over several different dives. If you are in Australia for a diving holiday, you cannot 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 around 28 meters, rising to approximately 14 meters below the surface. It's a huge 109 meters long, meaning an unrivaled range of marine life has inhabited it. The structure is covered in all manner of hard and soft coral, including sponges and trees, giving a dazzling display of color as they sparkle with the light hitting them from every angle.

Divers are consistently wowed by the seemingly endless numbers of small fish of all different sizes and colors, 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.

A liveaboard diving trip to the Yongala will likely result in sightings of the large stuff, as you'll commonly see huge Bull Rays, 200-kilogram Gropers, and the infamous Australian Bull Shark.

Another advantage of coming here on a liveaboard boat is that a night dive may be an option because the diving is spread over a couple of days to ensure maximum bottom time. 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 trip's availability.

The nearest port to the S.S. Yongala is the Queensland town Townsville, 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 kilometers from Cairns and an unrealistic 1300 kilometers from Brisbane, the closest large hub.

A far better option is to fly into Townsville, which is easy and convenient as it has an airport near town, served by daily domestic flights from Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin, and the Gold Coast. Although technically classed as an international airport, Bali is the only place it serves. So, while flying directly from there is possible, you'll likely be getting here from within Australia.

SS Yongala Diving Reviews

  • 8.6 Fabulous
  • 2 Verified Reviews
  • 8.4 Very good
  • Australia Australia

The Yongala is a magnificent dive and loaded with schools of large fish and wild life.

Diving SS Yongala in April on the Spoilsport

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Robert K
  • South Africa South Africa

Hard diving, currents and dirty water - but copious fish life

Diving SS Yongala in April on the Spoilsport