Dive the most amazing reefs in the Cairns area
Coral Sea Dreaming has access to over 25 moorings on 9 different reef systems including some of the most famous dive sites around Cairns.
Three Sisters, The Whale, 5 Ways, Michaelmas Cay are just some of the many sites we visit.
We choose the most comfortable reef locations based on current weather conditions, so reef locations vary from trip to trip.
In strong winds, the boat usually travels north, visiting a selection of reefs which may include Hastings, Michaelmas and Breaking patches. In lighter winds, we visit the southern reefs - Milln, Flynn or Thetford.
Our locations include shallower and deeper areas and are suitable for both divers of various skill levels and snorkelers.
Visiting only the mid- and outer- reef systems means we experience up to 40m visibility at times!
Of course, visibility varies throughout the year and different sites, but is generally very good at all locations we visit.
The Reef is home to a diverse range of coral and fish species. You can expect to see everything from the miniature nudibranchs and reef fish to sea turtles, reef sharks, pelagic fish and even the occasional Manta ray!
Don't forget to keep an eye out for playful dolphins and breaching whales on the way to the reef as well!
|Dive sites||Three Sisters, The Whale, The Edge, Hoffs Drop|
|Depth||up to 36m|
Some of the best dive sites Cairns has to offer.
Milln has exceptional visibility and will impress even the most experienced divers.
Expect to be awe-struck by the cyclone of schooling Rock Cod, Red Bass and Chevron Barracuda; as well as the many smaller fish like the colourful Antheas, Clown fish, Royal Blue Tangs and many others.
The dive sites also come alive at night with reef sharks, Lion fish and many others.
|Dive sites||Little Tracy, Point Break|
|Depth||up to 28m|
Flynn is one of Cairns' outermost reefs. Expect excellent visibility, eels, colourful reef fish, large pelagic species, Titan triggerfish, sharks and rays.
Flynn is famous for excellent wall dives, sloping coral gardens and sandy lagoon holes with coral bommies hosting anemone and clown fish.
Huge plate corals the size of dining tables are home to thousands of blue-green chromas and residential Morray eels.
|Dive sites||Split bommie, Middle Hastings|
|Depth||up to 20m|
Hastings reef is an outer reef north-east from Cairns.
It offers very protected snorkeling and diving in stronger winds.
Expect to see clown fish and schooling pelagics. Friendly black and white tip reef sharks, and in the shallows, schools of black and white striped sargeant major fish and rainbow-coloured parrot fish.
Hastings provides is a varied reef suitable for all levels of experience. The shallow coral reefs sit at only 1m deep and are perfect for snorkeling, while gorgeous walls go down to 18m and provide for amazing diving.
|Dive sites||Coral bay, Wild dreams|
|Depth||up to 14m|
|Visibility||10 to 15m|
Michaelmas Cay - or Mickey, as locals call it - is a sandy cay (small island) and is protected as a sensitive location, being recognized as one of the most significant sea bird breeding sites on the Great Barrier Reef.
The cay provides a fantastic opportunity to experience the huge diversity of sea bird populations on the reef: at least 23 species of sea birds have been observed on the cay, with up to 20,000 individuals at times.
Coral Sea Dreaming is fortunate to hold the only commercial permit to stay overnight at this location. This allows guests to watch the sea birds as they fly in to roost at sunset after a long day of hunting at sea, and as they go out to hunt again at sunrise.
Below the surface, the area is equally stunning with protected diving and gorgeous shallow snorkeling areas. You can expect to see Green turtles, Giant clams, Upside-down jelly fish, Razor fish and many others.
|Dive sites||Extacy, Blue Oceanz, Dreamtime|
|Depth||up to 8m|
Upolu is the closest mid-reef to Cairns. On low tide, you can see the baby sand cay which presents some great photo opportunities.
Upolu cay provides lagoon snorkelling around shallow protected coral reefs with smaller, independent bommies.
This is a great location to try introductory diving in a very safe environment but for the more advanced divers there is also a neat wall dive full of cryptic critters to explore.
Be sure to keep an eye out for Blue Spotted Lagoon Rays hiding in the sand!
|Dive sites||5 ways, West Timor, East Timor, Wild side, Devils|
|Depth||up to 20m|
Moore Reef is home to some of the well-known dive sites such as 5 Ways, Wild Side, East Timor and West Timor. It is a large U-shaped mid reef which offers good protection in winds from different directions.
It boasts a diverse range of coral species such as Mushroom, Brain, Finger, Staghorn and Honeycomb coral.
Probably the most famous dive site here is 5 ways which offers an exciting adventure through a series of swim-throughs, with some amazing sights and lights shards cascading through the water column.
|Dive sites||Lagoon 360, East meets west|
|Depth||up to 18m|
|Visibility||10 to 20m|
Thetford reef – a coral bommie wonderland. It offers protected lagoon snorkelling and diving with a myriad of coral bommies to explore.
You will find smaller reef species such as Bright yellow butterfly fish, Black and white striped humbug damsel fish, Electric blue damsel fish, elusive Pygmy seahorses and more.
It is a good overnight location providing a calm anchorage and shallow night diving – ideal for first-time night intro divers.
|Dive sites||Long bommie, Paradise reef|
|Depth||up to 25m|
|Visibility||10 to 20m|
Breaking patches is considered a mid-reef but offers great visibility year-round. It’s popular for sites such as Long bommie and Paradise reef.
You can expect to encounter reef sharks, pelagics, anemones with Clown fish, Sweet lip and unusual nudibranchs not often seen elsewhere, as well as the unique Stonefish. If you’re lucky, you might see the occasional Leopard shark or Manta ray.
Breaking patches is an elongated reef, broken into large towering structures that feature various swim-throughs filled with Gorgonian fans, Glass fish and Pavona coral the size of a small house with corallite structures that grow very fast – about 3mm a year.
|Dive sites||Shark mountain, Alan's wall|
|Depth||up to 28m|
Norman reef is a little further away but is well worth the journey. It is an outer reef famous for sites like Shark mountain and Alan’s wall.
You can expect to see sharks, sharks and more sharks at Shark mountain, along with always posing Maori wrasse and many pelagic species like Trevally and Barracuda.
Norman is a small reef surrounded by deeper waters up to 57m and acts as a magnet to pelagic species which can be found hunting along the drop-off walls. Keep an eye out to the blue for a thrilling encounter with a shark!