Cairns Dive Sites Map

In this hand-built Cairns Dive Sites Map, we have tried to detail every reef site open to recreational scuba diving and snorkeling from accredited authorized marine tourism operators departing from both Cairns & Port Douglas Australia.

To use this map click the title of each reef name to see finer details like dive site names and what you can expect to see diving and snorkeling at each site. Furthermore, you can then click the name of the dive company that visits that dive site.

This interactive map was designed to help you make an informed decision about which dive site you would like to visit, what marine life and landscapes you can expect to see, and which dive company has a reef permit to take you there.

For detailed latitude and longitude coordinates of each dive site, we recommend you take a look at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Map: Location of public moorings and reef protection areas.

We welcome your feedback and suggestions for our map. For tips and trip recommendations please call our dive crazy reservation team on:
PHONE: +61 7 4041 1638 or Email: reservations@cairnsdiveadventures.com

Cairns Dive Sites Map

Flynn Reef

Flynn Reef would have to be one of the most famous reef sites in Cairns located near the continental shelf of Australia. Scuba divers can enjoy spectacular gentle sloping coral gardens and 18-meter deep wall dives. A large array of marine species are found here like sea turtles, moray eels, cuttlefish, white tip and blacktip reef sharks, giant Maori wrasse, giant trevally, anemonefish (Nemo), and bright colorful moon wrasse. Great for certified divers and photographers. Find out more about Flynn Reef.

Dive Boats:

Silverswift Dive & Snorkel: The only dive boat in Cairns to visit three outer reef sites in one day. All dives are guided by professional dive instructors.

Pro-Dive Cairns: Excellent 3-Day/2-Night liveaboard, offers unguided diving great for experienced certified divers.

Passions of Paradise: A beautiful modern twin-hull sailing catamaran offering fantastic customer service.

Milln Reef

Milln Reef has wonderful shallow coral gardens sitting at about 4 meters underwater. Three large deep bommies are also found here offering a chance to dive down to around 22 meters. Large schools of sweetlips are often found here. Find out more about Milln Reef.

Dive Boats:

Silverswift Dive & Snorkel: The only dive boat in Cairns to visit three outer reef sites in one day. All dives are guided by professional dive instructors.

Pro-Dive Cairns: Excellent 3-Day/2-Night liveaboard, offers unguided diving great for experienced certified divers.

Passions of Paradise: A beautiful modern twin-hull sailing catamaran offering fantastic customer service.

Pellowe Reef

Pellowe Reef is a relatively untouched part of the Great Barrier Reef, due to its close proximity to the continental shelf of Australia. Divers can expect fantastic visibility here with wonderful coverage of soft and hard corals. Find out more about Pellowe Reef.

Dive Boats:

Silverswift Dive & Snorkel: The only dive boat in Cairns to visit three outer reef sites in one day. All dives are guided by professional dive instructors.

Pro-Dive Cairns: Excellent 3-Day/2-Night liveaboard, offers unguided diving great for experienced certified divers.

Passions of Paradise: A beautiful modern twin-hull sailing catamaran offering fantastic customer service.

Moore Reef

Moore Reef is a large horseshoe-shaped reef. In fact, it is so large three pontoon companies operate here. Famous for large deep outer reef walls, beautiful coral coverage of soft and hard corals, large schools of jacks, and some very friendly Maori wrasse. Perfect for families with children or people who do not swim. Find out more about Moore Reef.

Dive Boats:

Sunlover Cruises: The newest pontoon on the Great Barrier Reef. With beautifully colored soft and hard coral gardens families can enjoy semi-submarines, glass-bottom boats, underwater observatories, and wonderful snorkeling.

Great Adventures: With the largest semi-submarine on the Great Barrier Reef this day tour also offers passengers the chance to visit Green Island in the morning before visiting the outer reef pontoon in the afternoon!

Reef Magic Cruises: Famous for the super large Maori wrasse that is very friendly to people.

Thetford Reef

Thetford Reef a stunning reef located a little closer to Cairns. Both certified divers and snorkelers can expect to find large giant clams usually two or three together hiding amongst the corals. The most common marine animals found here are beautiful coral trout, stingrays, moray eels, and sea turtles. Find out more about Thetford Reef.

Dive Boats:

Silverswift Dive & Snorkel: The only dive boat in Cairns to visit three outer reef sites in one day. All dives are guided by professional dive instructors.

Pro-Dive Cairns: Excellent 3-Day/2-Night liveaboard, offers unguided diving great for experienced certified divers.

Passions of Paradise: A beautiful modern twin-hull sailing catamaran offering fantastic customer service.

Upolu Reef

Upolu Reef is a stunning little reef located very close to Cairns. The highlight of visiting this reef is the shorter travel times from Cairns. Beautiful clear water and lovely marine life with beautiful soft and hard corals. 

Reef Day Tripper: A very small twin-hull sailing yacht perfect for small groups and a no-crowd experience.

Ocean Freedom: Family-operated day boat that offers 2 divers to 1 instructor for introductory diving! Very good service.

Hastings Reef

Hastings Reef is famous for the dive site named coral gardens, magnificent coral growth from both soft and hard corals. All the usual reef fish live here and in bright sunlight, this is a very special place to snorkel and dive. A large school of humphead parrotfish congregates here in the very early mornings and often sea turtles can be found browsing at this reef. Find out more about Hastings Reef.

Reef Encounter: Overnight liveaboard dive boat perfect for experienced scuba divers. Spend 2, 3, or 4 days diving in this area.

Reef Experience: Excellent day boat for those wanting to try a first-time introductory scuba dive and snorkel.

Passions of Paradise: A beautiful modern twin-hull sailing catamaran offering fantastic customer service.

Aqua Quest: A fast modern dive boat, allows unguided dives and up to three certified dives

Evolution Dive & Snorkel: A beautiful large modern superyacht, very popular for young people.

Saxon Reef

Saxon Reef is very close to both Norman reef and Hastings reef, you can find beautiful shallow coral gardens with lots of bright colorful corals. Many dive moorings have great access in all types of weather. Highlights diving here are cuttlefish, blue Moorish idols, schools of queenfish, harlequin tusk fish, a large array of reef fish, and the most famous anemonefish (Nemo). Find out more about Saxon Reef.

Dive Boats:

Reef Encounter: Overnight liveaboard dive boat perfect for experienced scuba divers. Spend 2, 3, or 4 days diving in this area.

Reef Experience: Excellent day boat for those wanting to try a first-time introductory scuba dive and snorkel.

Passions of Paradise: A beautiful modern twin-hull sailing catamaran offering fantastic customer service.

Aqua Quest: A fast modern dive boat, allows unguided dives and up to three certified dives

 

Norman Reef

Norman reef offers fantastic diving from Cairns. In fact, you can stay overnight on a 3-Day/2-Night liveaboard.  Norman reef offers beautiful shallow coral gardens with some untouched deep wall dives on the eastern side of the reef.  You can expect to find giant clams, nudibranchs, moon wrasse, giant mauri wrasse, humphead parrotfish, and on the odd occasion manta rays. Find out more about Norman Reef.

Dive Boats:

Reef Encounter: Overnight liveaboard dive boat perfect for experienced scuba divers. Spend 2, 3, or 4 days diving in this area.

Reef Experience: Excellent day boat for those wanting to try a first-time introductory scuba dive and snorkel.

Great Adventures Pontoon: Perfect day tour for families with children or people who do not swim. 

Mackay Reef

Mackay Reef is a beautiful shallow reef perfect for snorkeling. Often Epoullete Sharks can be seen here hiding amongst the corals. This reef can only be accessed by a wonderful reef tour operator called Ocean Rafting. They only depart from Cape Tribulation Beach.

Dive Boats:

Ocean Rafting Cape Tribulation

Agincourt Ribbon Reefs

The Agincourt Ribbon Reefs are regarded as some of the very best protected reefs systems on the Great Barrier Reef. Located at the edge of the continental shelf of Australia. Diving & snorkeling at these reefs offer magnificent shallow coral gardens with hundreds of species of soft and hard corals, many species of reef fish, and marine animals with crystal clear water. Find out more about Agincourt Reef.

Dive Boats:

Quicksilver Cruises: Outer Reef Pontoon Great for Families.

Silversonic Dive & Snorkel: Excellent for scuba divers & active people. Divers can expect to dive on beautiful deep walls with shoals of fish like barracuda, jacks, giant trevally. Bright colorful gregorian sea fans, bright colorful soft and hard corals with deep bommies, and drift diving.

St Chrispins Reef

St. Crispin Reef is a beautiful half-moon-shaped reef. Divers can expect to dive on beautiful deep walls with many different species of soft and hard corals. 

Dive Boats:

Calypso Snorkel & Dive Port Douglas is a great dive boat for both snorkeling and scuba diving.

Opal Reef

Opal Reef is located a little further south of St Crispin reefs with large shallow coral gardens, a very healthy reef system with large plate corals, giant clams, sea turtles, and many soft and hard corals species.

Dive Boats:

Wavelength Reef Cruises Port Douglas is a wonderful family-run boat for snorkeling.

Cairns Dive Sites Map - Site Briefings!

Flynn reef is located 56.7klm East of the city of Cairns. Generally, it takes 1 hour and 18 minutes to travel here. This reef site is known for its beautiful shallow coral gardens sitting at an average depth of 5 meters underwater. This makes it perfect for snorkeling the shallow waters. The reef also lends itself to scuba diving as the outer edges of the reef drop away to an average depth of 20 meters. Divers can enter the water from the back of the boat and gently drift down to the deeper walls of the reefs. This allows a nice deep dive at the start of the dive before heading up into the shallow coral gardens to finish the dive. This is also where you will complete your 5 meters 3-minute safety stop.

There are 9 dives sites:

  1. Ski Slope
  2. The Flats
  3. Boulders
  4. Coral Gardens
  5. Tennis Courts
  6. Gordons Mooring
  7. Tracy's Bommie
  8. Little Tracy's
  9. Point Break

Technical Aspects of Flynn Reef

  • Dive Skill Rating: Novice - Intermediate
  • General Conditions: Mild Currents
  • Underwater Visibility: 15 to 20 meters
  • Average Depth: 5 meters to 25 meters

Locations: 16°44.012S 146°16.187E

Please see the map of Flynn reef Cairns below:

Milln reef is located 54.96klm East of the city of Cairns. Generally, it takes 1 hour and 16 minutes to travel here. This reef site is known by local Cairns divers as a beautiful diving reef. Why? Milln Reef is home to some very famous dives sites particularly the Whale Bommie and Petaj Bommie. It is here you can often find large schools of bright colorful fish called sweetlips hanging around on top of the bommies. Dive sites round the bend and wild side are also a crowd favorite due to their untouched nature. Not many boats dive these sites due to consistent South Easterly weather conditions. But when the weather is fine Milln reef offers beautiful diving with both soft and hard corals.

There are 11 dives sites:

  1. Lost Table Tops
  2. Wild Side
  3. Round the Bend
  4. Fish Town
  5. Pools
  6. Petaj Bommie
  7. Whale Bommie
  8. Three Sisters
  9. The Whale
  10. TheEdge
  11. The Drop

Technical Aspects of Milln Reef

  • Dive Skill Rating: Novice - Intermediate
  • General Conditions: Medium to Mild Currents
  • Underwater Visibility: 15 to 21 meters
  • Average Depth: 5 meters to 26 meters

Locations: 16°47.361S 146°16.362E

Please see the map of Milln reef below:

Pellowe Reef is located 61.49klm East/South East of the city of Cairns. Generally, it takes 1 hour and 22 minutes to travel here. This reef site is a bit smaller than Milln reef and Flynn reef, it is located a little further south and is located a little closer to the continental shelf of Australia.

One of the dive sites has been named Cucumber Alley due to the vast amount of sea cucumbers that can be found here. Sea cucumbers belong in the Echinoderm family, which includes starfish and sea urchins.

The other dive site Darth Vader is named due to long deep valleys and caverns that cover up the light creating a dark gloomy atmosphere! Don't worry beautiful diving is waiting for you at Pellowe Reef.

Due to the size of Pellowe reef, it can only be accessed in extremely good weather conditions. Being a smaller reef the dive sites are a lot more exposed to windy weather conditions compared to Flynn and Milln reefs, this makes it a lot more difficult to Moore safely. But if conditions become favorable diving at Pellowe reef offers scenic underwater landscapes.

There are 2 dives sites:

  1. Cucumber Alley
  2. Darth Vader

Technical Aspects of Pellowe Reef

  • Dive Skill Rating: Novice - Intermediate
  • General Conditions: Moderate Currents
  • Underwater Visibility: 15 to 28 meters
  • Average Depth: 5 meters to 30 meters

Locations: 16°52.160S 146°12.353E

Please see the map of Pellowe reef below:

Moore Reef is located 46.78klm East of the city of Cairns. Generally, it takes 1 hour and 14 minutes to travel here. This reef site is massive, it is in the shape of a giant horseshoe. It is so large that 3 outer reef pontoon companies are parked on this reef. Don't worry the reef is so big you cannot see the pontoons. A large deep wall can be found on the Eastern side of this reef making it perfect for Semi-submarines to explore. The Western side of the reef is also well protected this is why the pontoons are located at this reef. Divers, snorkelers, and families with small children will love Moore Reef. The pontoons offer an easy way to explore the reef in the protected waters close to the pontoon.

There are 16 moorings, two pontoons, and two helicopter pontoons permitted on Moore Reef:

  1. Wild Side
  2. 5 ways
  3. West Timor
  4. East Timor
  5. Labyrinth
  6. Dogs Paw
  7. Gorgonian Passage
  8. Pressure Point
  9. Semi-sub mooring
  10. Heli-shuttle mooring
  11. Swift mooring
  12. Manta Ray Bay
  13. Heli-tender
  14. Semi-sub
  15. Viper
  16. Western

Technical Aspects of Moore Reef:

  • Dive Skill Rating: Novice - Intermediate
  • General Conditions: Mild to Moderate Currents
  • Underwater Visibility: 12 to 18 meters
  • Average Depth: 5 meters to 28 meters

Locations: 16°52.160S 146°12.353E

Please see the map of Moore reef below:

Thetford Reef is located 45.36klm East/South East of the city of Cairns. Generally, it takes 1 hour and 22 minutes to travel here. This reef site has 11 x dives sites with both Cathedral and TUSA Canyons being some of the most famous. Rosco's is also famous for its large array of staghorn corals that extend from about 12 meters thru to 5 meters under the surface. Many different species of marine fish live here like glassfish, fusiliers, tusk fish, moon wrasse, giant mauri wrasse, harlequin tusk fish, seahorses, cuttle fish, nudibranchs, and moray eels. Often moray eels can be seen hunting for prey on night dives. Whalesharks and dwarf Minke whales have been seen passing near to this reef although not common divers have seen large grey reef sharks hunting on the outer edge walls.

There are 11 dives sites:

  1. The Wall
  2. Three Sixty
  3. Blue Lagoon
  4. Cathedral
  5. Stepping Stones
  6. Tusa Canyons
  7. Dog's Bommie
  8. Horseshoe
  9. Canyons
  10. Rosco's
  11. Nolan's Site

Technical Aspects of Thetford Reef

  • Dive Skill Rating: Novice - Intermediate
  • General Conditions: Moderate Currents
  • Underwater Visibility: 15 to 28 meters
  • Average Depth: 5 meters to 30 meters

Locations: 16°48.472S 146°11.757E

Please see the map of Thetford reef below:

Upolu Reef is located 31.46klm East of the city of Cairns. Generally, it takes 1 hour and 14 minutes to travel here. This reef is a small protected lagoon-shaped reef with shallow coral gardens. Upolu Reef is classed as an inshore reef making for a quick travel crossing from Cairns. Divers and snorkelers will find scattered bommies extending from around 12 meters thru to the surface and with shallow sloping walls, this is a great place for first-time introductory diving (No experience necessary). Calm clear shallow water makes visiting Upolu reef a relaxing day for passengers. A wide variety of marine animals will be found here such as giant clams, sea cucumbers, nudibranchs, cleaner wrasse, yellowtails, giant trevally, and large green mauri wrasse. Often hawksbill turtles can be found chewing on the red seagrass found growing between the hard and soft corals of the reef.

There are 6 x dives sites:

  1. Jaws
  2. Coral Gardens
  3. Ecstacea
  4. Reef Daytripper
  5. Wonderwall/Deepwater
  6. The Cay

Technical Aspects of Upolu Reef:

  • Dive Skill Rating: Novice / Fist time divers
  • General Conditions: Mild Currents
  • Underwater Visibility: 12 to 18 meters
  • Average Depth: 5 meters to 16 meters

Locations: 16°40.768S 145°56.274E

Please see the map of Upolu reef below:

Norman Reef is located 57.92klm East/North East of the city of Cairns. Generally, it takes 1 hour and 22 minutes to travel here. This reef site has 15 x dives sites with most located on the Western side of the reef.

Norman reef is a reasonably large reef, it offers shallow water snorkeling on top at a depth of 5 meters. Scuba divers will also enjoy Norman reef due to the gently sloping walls running North to South on the Eastern side of the reef.

Drifting along the deeper walls you can find giant clams, seagrass, anemonefish, coral trout, trumpet fish, humphead wrasse, cuttlefish, moray eels, glass shrimp, and sea turtles. On extremely low tides the top of the reef comes out of the water for the chance to spot epaulette reef sharks.

There are 15 dives sites:

  1. Bob's Bommie
  2. Playground/ Coral Gardens
  3. Flat-Top bommie
  4. Reef Pioneer
  5. Reef Safari
  6. Northerly Mooring
  7. Caves
  8. Troppos
  9. Turtle Bay
  10. Shark Mountain
  11. Wild Side West
  12. Wild Side East
  13. Coral Harbour
  14. Alans Wall
  15. Big Wall

Technical Aspects of Norman Reef:

  • Dive Skill Rating: Novice - Intermediate
  • General Conditions: Moderate Currents
  • Underwater Visibility: 15 to 28 meters
  • Average Depth: 5 meters to 30 meters

Locations: 16°25.749S 145°59.893E

Please see the map of Norman reef below:

Saxon Reef is located 54.41klm East of the city of Cairns. Generally, it takes 1 hour and 14 minutes to travel here. This reef is large enough to allow up to three boats at a time to Moore.

Saxon Reef is a popular transit reef between Norman and Saxon reef. Liveaboard dive boats will stop here allowing scuba divers to try night diving. A large array of reef sharks can be seen night diving at Saxon reef, you can expect to see whitetip, blacktip, and grey whaler reef sharks. Also, a common sight is Moray Eels free swimming in search of food.

Red bass and Giant Trevally will also follow divers very closely on the night dives trying to snatch quick meals from unsuspecting reef fish that show up in the diver's flashlights.

During the day large shallow coral gardens are exposed with shallow bath tub-type corridors on top of the reef. With bright sunlight, many soft and hard corals thrive here and can be viewed as both snorkeling and diving.

There are 6 x dives sites:

  1. Magic Wall
  2. Coral Gardens
  3. Twin Peaks
  4. Saxon Reef
  5. Turtle Bommie
  6. Clipper

Technical Aspects of Saxon Reef:

  • Dive Skill Rating: Novice to Advanced
  • General Conditions: Mild Currents
  • Underwater Visibility: 12 to 18 meters
  • Average Depth: 5 meters to 22 meters

Locations: 16°27'54.0"S 145°46'47.9"E

Please see the map of Saxon reef below:

Hastings Reef is located 50.20klm East/North East of the city of Cairns. Generally, it takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to travel here. This reef site has 9 x dives sites with most located on the Western side of the reef.

One of the main highlights of Hastings reef is a dive site named Fish Bowl. Sitting around 5 meters under the surface of the water Fish Bowl is home to a large array of healthy strong coral growth. Soft and hard corals are found tightly packed together creating a safe haven fother hundreds of smaller reef fish that live there.

Turtles are often sighted at Hastings reef along with a large school of humphead parrotfish usually only found schooling together at the early hours of the morning before the sun comes up.

There are 9 dives sites:

  1. Fish Bowl
  2. Northside
  3. Angel Bommie
  4. Blue Lagoon
  5. 1770
  6. Stepping Stones
  7. Split Bommie
  8. Pirate Cove
  9. Golf Clubs

Technical Aspects of Hastings Reef:

  • Dive Skill Rating: Novice - Intermediate
  • General Conditions: Moderate Currents
  • Underwater Visibility: 15 to 28 meters
  • Average Depth: 5 meters to 30 meters

Locations: 16°31'07.0"S 146°00'56.0"E

Please see the map of Hastings reef below:

Opal Reef is located 50.01klm East of the city of Port Douglas. Generally, it takes 1 hour and 14 minutes to travel here. Opal Reef is roughly 9 square km in size and is located very close to the continental shelf of Australia. Consider that the Great Barrier Reef has over 3000 reefs and the entire marine park covers 344,400 square km. Opal Reef could be classed as a stunning gem! It is home to large plate corals, clear blue waters with wonderful soft & hard coral coverage. A large array of marine animals live here like giant clams, octopuses, sea turtles, moray eels, anemonefish, many species of wrasse and sometimes manta rays visit the area.

There are 15 x dives sites:

  1. The Wedge
  2. One Fin
  3. Bashful Bommie
  4. Blue Buoy
  5. Long Bommie
  6. Bashful Bommie
  7. Rayban
  8. Beautiful Mooring
  9. Blue Lagoon
  10. Seagull
  11. Sandbox
  12. Wiki Wiki Wild West
  13. Acropolis
  14. Opal Reef
  15. Research

Technical Aspects of Opal Reef:

  • Dive Skill Rating: Novice to Advanced
  • General Conditions: Mild Currents
  • Underwater Visibility: 12 to 18 meters
  • Average Depth: 5 meters to 22 meters

Locations: 16°13'30.8"S 145°53'40.8"E

Please see the map of Opal reef below:

Agincourt Reef is located 62.26 klm East/North East of the city of Port Douglas. Generally, it takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to travel here. These reef sites have over 30 x dives sites with most located on the Western sides of the reef.

One of the main highlights of diving on the Agincourt Ribbon Reefs is the water clarity. As the reefs are located on the edge of the continental shelf of Australia, water quality is spectacular. This creates and pristine environment for marine life, soft and hard corals colonies. Some of the highlights of diving here are deep 26-meter bommies and coral walls which are home to hundreds of species of fish, turtles, corals, pelagic species nudibranchs, sharks, and much more.

There are 30 dives sites:

  1. Advance Bommie
  2. Castle Rock
  3. Triggerfish
  4. Helm's Deep
  5. The Gardens
  6. Barracuda Bommie
  7. Point Break
  8. Nursery South
  9. Nursery North
  10. Blue Lagoon
  11. North Bay
  12. Blue Wonder
  13. Stonehenge
  14. The Gap
  15. Wreck Bay
  16. Stonehenge
  17. Two Rocks
  18. Botanic Gardens
  19. 3 Sisters
  20. The Chapel
  21. Gary's Gut
  22. The Point
  23. Harry's Bommie
  24. The Paddocks
  25. The Maze/West End
  26. Horseshoe
  27. Turtle Bay
  28. Beginners
  29. Pavona Point
  30. Sub near reef

Technical Aspects of Agincourt Reef:

  • Dive Skill Rating: Novice - Intermediate
  • General Conditions: Moderate Currents
  • Underwater Visibility: 15 to 28 meters
  • Average Depth: 5 meters to 30 meters

Locations: 16°02'31.5"S 145°50'00.1"E

Please see the map of Agincourt reef below:

Mackay Reef is located 18.94 klm East of Cape Tribulation Beach. Generally, it takes 35 minutes to travel here.

Mackay Reef is a bright healthy coral covered reef system, home to many species of giant clams, sea cucumbers, spaghetti coral, brain corals, wrasse, cleaner fish, turtles, octopus and epaulette sharks.

The reef can only be accessed by fast rubber ribbed boat that departs from Cape Tribulation. Tours run here as a half-day service and only offer snorkeling.

There are 5 x dives sites:

  1. Angels
  2. Turtles
  3. The Wall
  4. Angles North
  5. Mackay Reef

Technical Aspects of Mackay Reef:

  • Dive Skill Rating: Novice to Advanced
  • General Conditions: Mild Currents
  • Underwater Visibility: 12 to 18 meters
  • Average Depth: 5 meters to 22 meters

Locations: 16°03'00.5"S 145°38'42.8"E

Please see the map of Mackay reef below: