SS Yongala

Fantastic wreck of a passenger ship in front of Townsville and Ayr

Die Backbordgangway, September 2006Die Backbordgangway, September 2006Heute auf dem Speiseplan: eine leckere Mahlzeit aus Weichkorallen, September 2006Schweben über der Yongala, September 2006Wrackimpressionen, September 2006Wohl die berühmtesten Toiletten der südlichen Hemisphere, September 2006
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19° 18' 12.60" S, 147° 37' 13.20" E
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Data & Description


advanced diver

Type of vessel:

Port of registry:

124 (crew members and passengers)


109 meters


March 23rd 1911

Reason sunk:

11 miles east of Cape Bowling Green

Minimum depth:
16 meters

Maximum depth:
~30 meters

Local dive center:
Yongala Dive

Route planner:
Google Maps


Das Wetter für


Book recommendations:

S.S. YONGALA; Dive into the Pasta

Lonely Planet: Diving & Snorkeling Great Barrier Reefa

Micronesian Reef Fishes: A Guide to the Coral Reef Fishes of the Tropical Central and Western Pacifica

Lonely Planet Coastal Queensland & the Great Barrier Reef (Travel Guide)a

Moon: Sydney & the Great Barrier Reefa

Description dive spot:
The SS Yongala was on a journey from Melbourne to Cairns and ran into a cyclone on March 11th 1911 and sank. All 124 people on board were killed. Since children were not listed in the passenger lists at that time, the actual number of victims was probably higher. Everywhere it is mentioned that among the victims was also a racehorse called Moonshine, so this should not go unmentioned here as well. The sister ship SS Cooma survived the cyclone at Cape Bowling Green nearby. In Cairns, the SS Yongala should be overhauled, also a radio should be installed. Such a radio would probably have prevented the disaster.
During the Second World War, the SS Yongala was discovered, but not identified and noted as an unknown wreck. It was rediscovered in 1958 and identified in 1961.
Today the disaster of that time gives us one of the best, if not the best, dive spot in Australia. Otherwise, the Yongala is always listed in the top 10 dive sites in the southern hemisphere. The Yongala is located on the starboard side (60-70 degrees), begins at 16 meters depth down to about 30 meters. The current is usually noticeable and should be considered in the dive planning. Due to the depth and current, the wreck is certainly not for beginners without accompaniment, the dive centers on site often want to see at least one Advanced certification. The exposed location far away from natural reefs has created an artificial reef around the wreckage. Wreck and nature fans get their money's worth here. Fish fish fish, at the beginning of the dive from the wreck is nothing to see! ;-)
Worth seeing are the superstructures, even if many things are almost unrecognizable overgrown by corals. Soft corals are the majority here. A special highlight are the toilets and at the front of the bow on the port side the big letters of the name "YONGALA". It has not been allowed to dive in for several years because of the damage caused by careless divers and rising air bubbles. At the bow just drop down to the bottom of the sea and see through under the hull. Breathtaking, here you can enjoy the purest fish soup.
In addition to large turtles and a lot of swarming fish we have seen, we saw among other things humphead wrasses, mackerels and sea snakes. Sharks were not there, but they have been seen many times.
A boat trip to Yongala is not cheap, you need to plan with about 200 AU$. Highly recommended is a trip from Ayr, because the ride from there only about an hour, or, when the Captain is in a good mood, significantly shorter. The only dive center in Ayr, "Yongala Dive" is also very small and offers more than the mass processing in Townsville. From Townsville it takes about 3 hours to Yongala and is usually driven in large mass transporter boats. Overnight trips, starting in the evening in Townsville, with the possibility of 4 dives the next day, are certainly also recommended.

Contributed by:
Martin Sebald

Last content update:



¹ Dive site rating: The rating is a five star rating ("poor" to "outstanding") and based on the dive site itself and on the comparison of all dive sites in the area. It also reflects the personal opinion and preference of the contributor.
² Dive site difficulty: The difficulty rating is a five star rating ("beginner" to "technical diver") and based on the personal opinion of the contributor and maybe also on the experience the contributor had when diving this site. We take absolutly no responsibility for diving accidents or anything else. Please always be a safe diver and dive your level of experience and please also be aware of local laws and regulations there might be.
a Amazon affiliate link: If you order we get a very little commision. Important: The price on Amazon does not change for you! It is just a bonus which we receive for the recommendation.

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