Freediving The Whitsundays - The 4 Best Spots
Freediving The Whitsundays – Our Top 4 Freediving Spots!

Welcome to the go to guide for the best kept secrets in the Whitsundays for Freediving depth and marine life. In this article you’ll find exactly what you need to know to maximise your time here in Airlie Beach! We have picked the best 4 spots in the Whitsundays based on our local knowledge that will leave you with amazing experiences, photos and memories to take back home with you!

First up… Where are the Whitsundays and what is Airlie beach?

Let’s go back in time. It’s 1st of June, in the year 1770 and English captain James Cook enters a group of 74 islands on the east coast of Australia on his ship HMV Endeavour. He sails through on the 7th Sunday after easter which is known as ‘Whitsun’ and therefore names these islands “The Whitsundays”. 

Surrounding the Whitsunday islands are ‘fringing’ reefs, which are coral reefs that grow from the land. Approximately 400 species of corals are found around the islands and exploring these reefs is one of the most popular visitor activities. Fringing reefs often contain a surprising diversity of corals, especially soft corals which survive better than hard corals in water with a high sediment load. The Whitsunday islands is also part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park which means that all the marine life you see on the outer reef (over 3,000 different species), you are likely to see around these islands.

When visiting the Whitsundays, you will likely fly into Proserpine and stay in Airlie Beach, which is the town located on the mainland and where all the nightlife, tourism and locals live. 

So where are the best places to experience Freediving the Whitsundays?!

Butterfly Bay

Located at the top of Hook island, lies a beautiful protected bay full of beautiful coral reefs suitable for any experience. Full of abundant soft corals and beautiful reef structures, it’s sure to impress. With an average depth on most reefs of around 7m and a max of 15m it’s perfect for any freediver to explore.

It gets its name as the bay is somewhat shaped like a butterfly, but coincidentally it is also home to colonies of Butterflies throughout the year.  What we love about Butterfly bay is the amount of protection it offers against wind conditions and swells with the winds usually blowing in a SE direction. It’s also a super bonus that Butterfly bay has multiple moorings that boats can use which back straight onto the reefs.

Look out for Manta rays in Winter and turtles all year round! 

Black Island – Southern side

Black Island has to be one of our favourites and is often overlooked by many of the tourists. This Freediving site boasts  the most pristine hard and soft corals in The Whitsundays but isn’t for the faint hearted. You’ll often find a ripping current along the reef wall which makes it a super fun dive for experienced free divers, it can be a little scary for some newbies. It also holds a depth of 20m and shallows to 5m which is super friendly for all levels if that current is not too strong! We often see sharks, rays and heaps of turtles! 

Manta Ray Bay Freediving Whitsundays

Manta Ray Bay

If you’re looking for the ultimate place for fish life, then Manta ray bay is for you. Jump in this clear blue water and you’ll be surrounded by yellowtail fusiliers, giant trevally and Whitsunday favourite local “George”, who is a huge Maori wrasse! In the winter look out for Manta rays, they have been seen there over this time.

You can also spot a Manta ray structure under water that sits at about 5m, which ads a little fun to your diving. The reason this place is alive with fish life is because a lot of the tourism companies go there and feed the fish, so if you are looking for somewhere a little quiet, it might be best that you avoid this place!

Mackerel Bay

Wind blowing northerly? Well there’s no better spot than Mackerel bay. With a depth range of 5-15m, it’s perfect for everyone. However what we seriously love about Mackerel bay is it is filled with amazing swim throughs. Its almost cave-like system from the coral structures gives Mackerel bay its uniqueness and is one the most fun sites for Freediving you can find in the Whitsundays. If spearfishing in the Whitsundays is your thing, Mackerel bay is also a top favourite amongst local spearos! 

There we have it, our top spots for Freediving The Whitsundays. Did we miss one of your favourites? If you know of any spots we missed or should have been added in, feel free to let us know and we can add them to this list!


Want to take a guided tour to experience Freediving the Whitsundays? Our experienced instructors will show you around the islands and choose the best freediving spots for the days conditions. Visit our Whitsudays Day Trips here

Freediving Instructor Trainer Matt

Matt Turnbull

Freediving Instructor

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