North Stradbroke Island Dive Sites – Shag Rock
Scuba diving and snorkelling on North Stradbroke Island can be described as magnificent! The island boosts a variety of dive sites around Point Lookout and Shag Rock is known as a dive site that can be dived even in extreme weather conditions due to its protected position on the north-western side of the island. If ocean conditions are calm, other dive sites such as Flat Rock or Manta Bommie are often chosen over Shag Rock, a choice that is not really based on valid facts.
Shag Rock consists of a large rock formation, partially exposed above the surface. There are 2 swim throughs that allow crossing from the eastern side to the western side of Shag Rock. Another large section of Shag Rock is situated to the west of the exposed rock and is fully submerged hence the nick name Sunken Reef.
The marine life at Shag Rock is diversified and includes soft and hard coral, many different species of tropical fish, turtles, wobbegong sharks, frog fish, nudibranchs, eels and the random Manta Ray can be seen during the summer months.
Diving Conditions & Difficulty
The depth at Shag Rock ranges from 6m to about 18m. The dive can be classified as easy, suitable for all experience levels. Due to the exposed rock, the western or eastern side is always reasonably protected from ocean swells depending on the direction of the swell. There can be some current at times.
Shag Rock provides several diving options and sites. See our dive site map below for details.
Our favourite Dive Plan
The swell direction and height often dictates which side of Shag Rock can be dived. On calm days, all areas of Shag Rock are able to be explored. We personally love the swim through as it connects the eastern and the western side.
Ideally, we anchor on the western side and start the dive towards the eastern side via the cave-like swim through. The swim through can have some surge. It is important to assess the conditions carefully prior to penetrating. The good news is that the swim through can be left out in order to get to the eastern side in case any diver feels uncomfortable or if conditions are unfavourable. Once arrived on the eastern side, return to the western side via the so called fake swim through which runs in parallel to the actual swim through. The fake swim through is a deep trench with high, vertical walls.
Should conditions not allow diving on both sides of Shag Rock then sunken reef on the western side is our second favourite option for a great dive.
How to get there
Shag Rock is less than 5min boat ride away from North Stradbroke Island’s home beach. It can also be accessed via boats from Brisbane which will take approximately 1.5h.
Who to dive with?
The prime diving operator on North Stradbroke Island is Manta Lodge and Scuba Centre, a PADI and SSI dive centre and the island’s only YHA backpacker. Their boats launch just off the beach. Access to the island is easy via Water Taxis ex Cleveland and coutesy island bus transfer by Manta Lodge.
Another option to dive North Stradbroke Island is ex Brisbane (Manly) with Brisbane Scuba.
Gold Coast Dive Adventures and The Scuba Coach run frequent social day dive trips to North Stradbroke Island, using the boats of Manta Lodge. Check out our Dive Club page for upcoming dates.