The Sunshine Coast

One hour north of Brisbane and 4-5 hours south of the southern tip of The Great Barrier Reef, you will find the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia. For the diver and beachcomber, the coast has much to offer.

To the North, Double Island Point (just south of Fraser Island) has a large rock platform with lots of interesting areas to explore at low tide. For the divers, Wolf Rock is a peak coming up from 40m to 25m. Heading south from Double Island Point along miles of (drivable) open beach you come to Noosa (Australia's Riviera). The Noosa National Park has several rocky headlands. The Fairy Pools in the park have live coral. Diving is available in Noosa. Jew Shoals & Sunshine Reef are local dive sites. Just south of Noosa is Coolum with it's good offshore reef.

Point Arkwright is a rocky headland with several platforms and pools well worth inspecting. Mudjimba Island is a good shallow dive site, surrounded by sand with rock & coral reef.

Further south again, Mooloolaba offers the Inner & Outer Gneering reefs. Many of the species included in our survey were sighted in this area.

Point Cartwright, at the mouth of the Mooloolah River (opposite Mooloolaba), is a rock platform well worth a visit. Nudis, cowries & allied cowries are regularly found here. For the more intrepid, diving is possible off the front of this headland.

Southwards from here, the rock platforms show signs of degradation. Moffat Headland, Caloundra & Kings Headland are now in poor condition. Diving off Caloundra is shallow, surgy & mostly dirty. Limited shallow diving is possible in Pumicestone Passage.

The jewel in the crown is Flinders Reef. Lying several klms north of Moreton Island, it has been described as the best diving south of the Great Barrier Reef. Flinders is a coral reef covering 10 hectacres.

I would recommend contacting Greg Riddell at Sunreef Diving Services (07 5444 5656) for more information on local dive sites. John Wright's, Diving Queensland and Tom Byron's, Scuba Divers Guide-Australia's Southern Great Barrier Reef are both good reference books for diving the Queensland coast. Come & explore one of our many rocky headlands, snorkel the safe beaches or take a dive with Greg.

Wayne Ellis


Authorship details
Ellis, W., 1999 (December 10) The Sunshine Coast. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from