Scuba Diving Stradbroke Island: Manta Rays, Grey Nurse Sharks, And More!

North Stradbroke Island is a little paradise just outside Brisbane. The island has a lot to offer (wildlife, landscapes…) and I regularly go there for a lovely break from the city. I love scuba diving Stradbroke Island. When the water gets warmer, the Manta Ray season is on and we sometimes go there just for diving. I often read that the Manta Ray Bommie is amongst the ten best dive spots in Australia. And when it gets cooler, it’s the season for the amazing Grey Nurse Sharks.

Not a diver? Check these six reasons why I always go to Stradbroke Island. I’m sure you’ll love it!

Scuba Diving Stradbroke Island - beautiful manta ray

How to go scuba diving on Stradbroke Island

There are two ways of organising a diving trip to Stradbroke Island:

– From the mainland

You can hop on a boat from Brisbane and make a return day-trip from the mainland during the day. It’s a long day out though. Plus, you will have to cross the bar between Moreton Island and Stradbroke Island, which can sometimes be uncomfortable. GoDive often offers the opportunity to go scuba diving Stradbroke Island.

– From Stradbroke Island

It only takes a dozen minutes by boat to reach Manta Bommie from the Manta Lodge dive shop. It can be a great treat in this area where the sea is not always calm. If you’re a confident scuba diver with your equipment, you can also charter a boat with Point Lookout Scuba.

Are you covered for scuba diving by your travel insurance? I recommend double-checking to avoid bad surprises if an incident happens. If you don’t have travel insurance, you may be interested in reading more about DAN and WorldNomads*.

Scuba diving Stradbroke Island to see Manta Rays

Some people we met on board were bringing a dream to life by diving (or free diving) with these majestic creatures! How lucky are we to have them so close to Brisbane?!

The Manta Rays visit Stradbroke Island’s coast during summer. They usually arrive just after the beautiful Leopard Sharks.

Stradbroke - Manta ray
Stradbroke - Manta Ray

One site is particularly reputed to dive with Manta Rays on Stradbroke Island. Manta Bommie is a cleaning station, and we could watch multiple manta rays at each dive. It is a unique experience to interact with these giants of the sea. Although they are very impressive, they are known to be friendly and harmless. They come very close to the divers and stay in the area, allowing a lasting unusual encounter. Incredible.

I got PADI certified just a month before my first trip to Manta Bommie. It was amongst my first dives, and my first time with Manta Rays. An unforgettable time. They are incredibly elegant. We also got to see a turtle and other fish during the dive, but I have to admit our eyes were all stuck on the mantas…

It was not an easy dive for a beginner because of the current and the surge, but nothing too hard though and an excellent experience in the end. As we sometimes needed to grab rocks to go forward or stay at a place, I highly recommend wearing diving gloves*. The maximum depth at Manta Bommie is around 16 metres, so Open Water divers are allowed to access it.

I went back as a more competent diver. There was current again but it felt like an easy dive. It’s comfortable when you don’t have to worry about your maximum depth. We could watch beautiful Manta Rays dancing together, sometimes in sync with a turtle. But another highlight was to spot a Mantis Shrimp, one of the most fascinating creatures down there. We spent so much time with Manta Rays on our first dive that we were happy to look for octopus, lobsters, coral shrimps and nudibranchs.

Scuba Diving Stradbroke Island - Manta Ray with scuba diver
Scuba Diving Stradbroke Island - Manta with scuba diver
Scuba Diving Stradbroke Island - Mantas

Scuba diving stradbroke island mantis shrimp
Scuba diving stradbroke island nudibranch

And if you happen to be there out of the manta season, or if the conditions are not good enough to go to Manta Bommie, it’s still worth to plan a dive to one of the other great scuba diving sites at Stradbroke Island.

Scuba diving Stradbroke Island to see Grey Nurse Sharks

Scuba diving in Brisbane is at its best during winter as the weather is often perfect to go on a boat trip. And the cold water attracts the endangered Grey Nurse Sharks. Stradbroke Island is a very reputed site in Queensland to spot Grey Nurse Sharks (as well as Wolf Rock and Cherubs Cave). Plus, you get to see and hear the humpback whales nearby!

Shark Alley at Flat Rock is the most famous site to go scuba diving near Stradbroke Island and spot Grey Nurse Sharks. It’s more suitable for Advanced Open Water divers as the site is around 25-metre deep.

Other things to see when scuba diving Stradbroke Island

The Nursery and Turtle Cave at Flat Rock are two other great sites where we’ve often spotted turtles and many other exciting marine life.

One of our other favourites is Shag Rock. It’s shallower than the others (around 12 metres) and there’s a lot to see. In one trip there, we spotted a school of eagle rays, a curious guitar shark, a beautiful leopard shark, a shy catshark, many incredible octopuses and cute clownfish, colourful shrimps, fish and slugs… just to name a few! Have a look at the gallery at the end of the post.

Have you dived with Manta Rays or is it on your bucket list? Share your experience in the comments below!

Planning a trip to Stradbroke Island?

I usually camp when we spend the weekend on Straddie. It’s fun and cheap.

If you don’t like camping, I recommend staying near Point Lookout. There are many accommodation options available. I once rented an apartment for three couples at Whale Watch Resort* and we had a lovely stay.

For budget accommodation, check out Manta Lodge*. It’s super close to the beach and they also host the dive shop.

View hotels*

Where is Stradbroke Island?

Stradbroke Island is only 30km away from Brisbane, in Queensland. It is easy to reach by boarding a ferry from Cleveland, with a car or as a pedestrian. Buses on the island align their timetable with the ferry arrivals and departures.




Stradbroke Island diving manta rays


*These are affiliate links: I will receive a commission if you make a booking or purchase a product using this link but this does not affect the price you pay. This will help me maintain this website. 




2 thoughts on “Scuba Diving Stradbroke Island: Manta Rays, Grey Nurse Sharks, And More!

    1. Carolyn, I hope you’ll get a chance to swim with the mantas. It’s so amazing… When you plan your diving trip to Australia, you may want to consider Lady Elliot Island. A bit pricey but an amazing experience. I’ve written about it on the blog if you want to learn more!

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