Dive Sites

Where we off too?

Come and explore the variety of reefs and shipwrecks that the Gold Coast has to offer with us.

OZDIVE offer daily dive trips on our purpose-built dive vessel, Cygnet 1, to all the best offshore dive sites that the Gold Coast has to offer.

The Gold Coast is situated on the cusp of the tropical waters that house the Great Barrier Reef and the more temperate waters of the mid-New South Wales coast. Here, you can find rocky reefs that support a unique combination of fauna and flora marking the transition between these two distinct environments.

The rocky reefs of the Gold Coast provide habitat for many different kinds of plants and animals, from the very small—such as single-celled algae—to larger animals, such as sharks, rays and dolphins. Some of these include:

Encrusting organisms

Mobile animals

(Credit: This information was produced and extracted from the joint partnership between Gold Coast City Council and Griffith Centre for Coastal Management’s CoastEd program.)

There is also a considerable amount of Queensland’s history that can be found in the tangled wreckage and decaying timber and iron that lies beneath our Gold Coast waters with the Scottish Prince Wreck, the wreck of the Aquarian and the wreck of the Dragon II – just to name a few.

With the Gold Coast offering divers so much diversity – from shipwrecks, natural reefs, artificial reefs and the world’s first floating reef (scheduled to launch in June 2021) – there really is so much to explore!

The Scottish Prince was built in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1878 at Alexander Hall & Sons Shipyard. The Scottish Prince was one of the many ships that helped to build our young country, bringing supplies, building materials, immigrants, and whisky to our shores for seven years until its demise.

On the 3rd February 1887, under the command of Captain William of Australia on the final stages of a voyage from Glasgow to Brisbane.

At 11:40pm the master left the deck, leaving the second mate in charge—who had never sailed these waters before. Shortly after midnight the vessel ran aground off Main Beach.

Several unsuccessful attempts were made by the steamers Tweed, Otter and Gunga to tow the Scottish Prince off the bar. Within a few days, as south-easterly weather conditions deteriorated, the vessel keeled over and was abandoned.

Over the following weeks the decks opened up allowing cases of cargo including sewing machines, drapery, whisky and beer to be washed ashore.

The wreck was discovered on 1 October 1955 and can be found approximately 800m from shore, near the Southport Spit . In 1956, over 140 dives were made to identify the vessel as that of the Scottish Prince. She was an iron ship of 894 tons with a length of 210 ft.

The Site

In its current form, only the hull remains with the bow of the iron hull is pointing towards the shore and broken into three main sections. The bow and stern are both reasonably intact; however, the side plates and decks have collapsed. The Scottish Prince’s underwater superstructure is a habitat which provides food and shelter for a variety of marine life including sponges, corals, pelagic and reef fish, rays, octopus and wobbegong sharks. Unusual tropical fish such as the leafy scorpionfish have also been found among the broken decking.

(Credit: This information was extracted from the Dive Guide, published by Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.)

Suitable for all experience levels due to its depth variation and is perfect for those starting their offshore dive adventures.

Palm beach reef is located just off the coastline, adjacent to Palm beach on the southern end of the Gold coast. The newer man-made section is a mere 270 metres east of the beach however there is also a considerable amount of natural reef. The depths vary from 25 metres, with pinnacles rising up to just 5 metres below the surface. It is deemed as the largest coral reef system on the Gold Coast and is only accessible by boat, which takes approximately 30 minutes to get there.

Rocky outcrops and several large bommies are covered in a wide variety of soft corals and sponges, inhabited by an abundance of sea life – larger creatures such as stingrays, wobbegongs and spotted eagle rays are often seen, with leopard sharks common in summer. Smaller critters darting throughout the coral include:

  • Small-mouth scad
  • Yellow boxfish
  • Eye-stripe trigger fish
  • Green moon wrasse
  • Crimson-banded wrasse
  • Barrier Reef anemone fish
  • Spotted troby
  • Pearly wrasse
  • Leaf scorpion fish
  • Dusky wrasse
  • Moon wrasse
  • Whitelined Eviota
  • Indian scad
  • Mouth mackerel
  • Australian pineapple fish

(Credit: This information was produced and extracted from the joint partnership between Gold Coast City Council and Griffith Centre for Coastal Management’s CoastEd program.)

For over 20 years Gold Coast locals have dived this reef which is situated approximately one nautical mile off the Gold Coast Seaway Entrance and a very short trip from our marina berth at Mariners Cove, making it the perfect deep dive.

Named due to its depth (approx. 25m) OZDIVE take both students and recreational divers to 80 Foot reef to experience the depth and diversity this reef has to offer with sandy patches surrounded by boulders and boomies.

The seabed floor is mostly coffee rock covered by current-swept sand and provides the perfect opportunity to spot:

  • Nudibranchs
  • Wobbegong Sharks
  • Octopus
  • Bait Fish
  • Feather Statrs
  • Anemone Fish
  • Soft Coral

Due to its location, this dive site can have many types of visitors, both big and small. The seasonal migration pattern of humpback whales along the east coast of Australia (during the months of May to November) provides a highlight for divers and dolphins are also frequently seen on our dive tours.

Another large dive site, popular with locals is Mermaid Reef, which is just located off the coastline (adjacent to Mermaid Beach). Taking

approximately 30 minutes, this dive site is weather dependant and large swells can mean we cannot access the site.

This dive site has a depth range of 18m to 21m and has a substantial amount of natural reef, as well as pinnacles which rise up to be only a few meters below the surface.

Similar to 80 Foot reef in terms of geology, the seabed floor is mostly coffee rock covered by current-swept sand and features an abundance of marine life similar to 8o Foot including (to name some) octopus, bait fish, mackerel, soft corals, slugs, sea star, pineapple fish and toadfish

Located at the southern end of the Gold Coast and protected by three sides of land, this dive site is approximately 100 metres in length and consists of scattered rocky outcrops that are covered in kelp fronds – making it the perfect home for soft corals, anemones and a profusion of fish species.

This marine ecosystem plays host to many of our smaller species like octopus, cuttlefish, nudibranchs and flatworms. Much can be found hidden between its rock formations and it is not uncommon to find morays hiding. Porcupine fish and wobbegongs are common, and many large species visit this rocky reef including stingrays, eagle rays, wobbegongs and blind sharks.

Heading north once we leave the Gold Coast Seaway entrance and within the Moreton Bay Marine Park boundaries, the wreck of the Aquarian lays amongst the shifting sands and currents of Moreton Bay. A fishing trawler which sank on the 1st May, 1986, sadly losing its skipper, this a great dive for all levels and with several open bulk heads, there is plenty of places for fish and marine wild life to hide, including woebegone and blind sharks. Whilst some of the wreck has disappeared such as the wheelhouse, the stern is fully exposed and bow sits in the sand. Extending 15 meters in length and 5 meters in width, it is the perfect dive for those that love Guitar Sharks, with the wreck regularly surrounded by them.

Commonly referred to by locals as the Sea Dragon, this fishing trawler was only two years old when it sank in 1983. North of Jumping Pin and a short distance off South Stradbroke Island, this 19.5-meter-long and seven-meter-wide shipping vessel lies slightly to her port side at a depth of 24 meters.

Observe a vast array of marine life from the small to the large including schools of bait fish, schools of pelagic fish, rays, and shovel nose sharks. Like with all dive sites situated on the east coast of Australia, migration patterns provide a possible viewing of humpback whales and dolphins.

The Gold Coast Seaway is a gem and is home to over 400 hundred species – it is often referred to as “Marine Super Highway” by Marine Biologists and is considered the best dive site of any Australian city. This dive site is more about sand and man-made structures with hundreds of marine life surrounding them.

With depths ranging from 5 meters close to the shoreline, as you head out towards the sea, the centre depth can get to 20 meters – although most of the time we average 12m-15m. This dive site caters for both beginners to advanced and you will be amazed by the variety and amount of fish life found at this site – schools of trevally, mulloway, gropers, moray eels, turtles, stingrays, wobbegongs, stonefish, scorpionfish, and a host of tropical fish species.

Divers love the unusual species that can be seen, including sea horses, cuttlefish, pineapplefish, nudibranchs, dragonets, anglerfish, velvetfish, and pipefish.

This visibility can vary from 3m to 15m and we tend to avoid this dive site when strong northern winds are present.

We dive the four main areas of the site, which are:

South Wall Dive Area

This area is the most popular dive location which encompasses the Short Pipe, Sand Pipe, and Eagle Ray Cleaning Station. The Maximum depth across the seaway at the Sand Pipe is 15m and due to current, we tend to dive this area at the top of the tide. Fish species include colourful Butterflyfish, Wrasses, Surgeonfish, Bream, Tarwhine, Whiting, Flathead, Mangrove Jack, Trevallies, Mulloway, Ghost pipefish, Seahorses, Waspfish, Anglerfish, Scorpionfish, Lionfish, Giant Queensland Groper, schools of Bigeye and Giant Trevally, Eagle Rays, Bull Rays and Guitarfish. This dive site is also great for drift dives.

South-West Wall

Great for diving with less current and perfect for our newer divers. Home to many little critters and crawlers, you will find high-crown Seahorse, the Stick and Tiger Pipefishes, the Ornate and Robust Ghost pipefishes, the Dwarf and Zebra Lionfishes to name just some of the many intriguing creatures. During night dives, we often see Tiger Prawns creeping around the seagrass bed which lays only meters from the shoreline and its not uncommon to see squid

A small seagrass bed is located only metres from the shore. On night dives during the appropriate season, Tiger Prawns can be seen creeping around the seagrass and during the day squid can been seen perched over their egg clutches.

South-East Wall Dive Area

A great dive site for larger species such as turtles, big pelagic fish and rays, this dive site is only for advanced divers due to tides and prevailing current and we access this site from our dive vessel. With calm currents this site is a hive of activity on the walls towards the entrance and this site generally has the best visibility in the seaway. Expect to see masses of surgeonfish and other schooling fish with the larger rocks in the area providing ideal habitat for resting turtles and Wobbegongs.

North East Wall Dive Area

This dive site on the northern side of the tip reaches approximately 10m in depth but as you progress south drops to 20m in depth. Schools of pelagic fish, cleaning stations host huge Bull Rays and Eagle Rays and wobbegong and whaler sharks can be seen. Also sited here are Pickhandle Barracuda, Mangrove Jack and Mulloway. However, our favourite species encountered here is the seasonally large Queensland Groups – one (in particular) who is affectionately known as ‘BFG’.

Wave Break Island

The beaches and rock walls of Wave Break Island create the perfect and protected environment for us to conduct many of our PADI training dives and Open Water courses. This area can only be accessed by boat which anchors close to the beach, allowing an easy beach start and gently drops to 10 meters in depth.

Wave Break Island was created in 1985 as part of the Gold Coast Seaway construction and was included in this project to protect the western foreshore of the Broadwater. It is only accessible by boat, provides an easy beach start and has a shallow depth of 10m, making it the ideal location for our PADI courses, including our Open Water course. The rock wall is home to many small fish and it is not uncommon to spot dolphins in the area. Like all the other Gold Coast Seaway sites (hyperlink back to Gold Coast Seaway dive site information) it is best to dive during high tide and up to 2 hours after high tide.

Cook Island Aquatic Reserve is located approximately 600 metres offshore from Fingal Head and approximately four kilometres south-east of the Tweed river mouth in northern NSW. It is short boat trip from the Gold Coast, is an accessible and attractive dive site for all experience levels. Hard and soft corals cover the bottom in some areas, with boulders forming walls and caves descending to the sandy sea floor in others.

This marine reserve is approximately 80 hectares of marine estate and is famous with locals for its permanent colony of green and loggerhead turtles. Divers can expect to find a colourful mix of reef and pelagic fish including pufferfish, groupers, and clownfish, as well as other marine life including nudibranchs, stingrays, eels, octopus, wobbegongs, and leopard sharks during the summer months.

Several threatened or protected species can also be found in this marine reserve, including the grey nurse shark, the giant Queensland grouper, black rockcod and goldspotted rockcod.

Depending on weather, we attempt to dive this site at least once a month.

Located off the Tweed Coast, this is for advanced divers only and has a reputation for being a great dive for those wanting to explore its healthy local population of wobbegongs, as well as Grey Nurse Sharks during winter, and Leopold sharks during summer. Other shark species can drop in from time to time, including bull sharks, bronze whalers and even the occasional hammerhead.

The depth of the reef varies with the top sitting at approximately 10 metres deep and dropping to a depth of 30 metres – with the drop-off covered in numerous hard and soft corals. Reef fish are scattered across the shallower parts, with pelagic fish, sharks, turtles, stingrays, bull rays, eagle rays and the occasional manta ray circling the reef.