Osprey Reef Diving: Explore Wall Heaven in Pristine Waters

  • Osprey Reef location 13.9167° S latitude, 146.6333° E longitude
  • Access: Liveaboard Boat
  • Depth Range: 2-2000 metres
  • Visibility: 30-60 metres
  • Size: approximately 195 square kilometres,  25 kilometres long, and 12 kilometres wide.

About Osprey Reef

Osprey Reef


Osprey Reef is a submerged atoll in the Coral Sea, approximately 220 kilometres (137 miles) east of Cairns, Australia.  It is part of the Coral Sea Marine Park and a popular recreational and research dive site due to its diverse marine life and unique under water topography.

The atoll covers an area of approximately 40 square kilometres (15.4 square miles) and has a maximum depth of over 2,000 metres (6,600 feet).  The Reef is home to various marine species, including Reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, manta rays, and different colourful tropical fish.

In addition to being a popular destination for recreational diving, Osprey Reef also serves as a hub for scientific research. Researchers study coral health, fish populations, and oceanography in this unique marine environment.

The Australian government protects the area, and visitors to the reef must comply with strict regulations to minimise their impact on the delicate marine ecosystem.

Located 100 km north east of Lizard Island and 346 km from Cairns, it takes an oval shape.

An excellent, world famous dive site with a kaleidoscope of soft coral trees.

This Reef is 2,000 metres high and has an under water mountain with 30-60 metres of visibility.

Osprey Reef is the best for advanced scuba divers.  This reef site has many dive sites and is a scuba diver’s delight.

This reef site is famously referred to as ‘Wall Heaven.

The outer perimeter drops vertically to 2000 metres, with visibility sometimes exceeding one hundred metres.

Osprey Reef Map

Scuba Diving 

Scuba diving at Osprey Reef is a unique and exciting experience due to the area’s diverse marine life and underwater topography.  The reef is known for its clear water.  The visibility often exceeds 30 metres(100 feet).  This reef has strong currents that bring nutrient-rich water to the area, attracting large schools of fish and sharks.

The diving at Osprey Reef is part of a liveaboard diving trip.  Divers spend several days on a boat diving at different sites around the reef.  Two dive operators offer trips to Osprey Reef, and most depart from Cairns, Australia.

Divers can expect to see various marine life, including hammerhead sharks, reef sharks, manta rays, turtles, and various colourful tropical fish.  The underwater topography is also unique, with deep walls, canyons, and pinnacles to explore.

Diving at Osprey Reef requires advanced certification and experience due to the strong currents and deep dives common in the area.

Divers should also prepare for cooler water temperatures than in other parts of the Great Barrier Reef, owing to the greater water depth.  It is important to follow all safety protocols and regulations set by the dive operator and the Australian government to ensure a safe and responsible dive experience.

Marine Life

Osprey Reef has an abundance of marine life.  Tuna, mackerel, crabs, octopus, morays, and sharks are a submerged playground where the Reef’s most unique marine life is in full play.

This Reef site also has tuna, giant barracuda, tiger sharks and schools of hammerhead sharks.

Potato cod, morays, octopus, shrimp, and crabs are also in this Great Barrier Reef site.

Dive Sites

North Horn is the most famous of the Reef sites along this Reef.  Other locations include Fairy Grotto, Admiralty, Nautilus, False Entrance and Rapid Horn.

The liveaboard vessels Spoilsport and Spirit of Freedom visit this site.

FAQ’s Osprey Reef

Q. Where is Osprey Reef located?

A. Osprey Reef is situated in the Coral Sea, approximately 100 kilometres north east of Lizard Island and 346 kilometres from Cairns, Queensland, Australia.

Q. Why is Osprey Reef a popular diving destination?

A. It is famous for its incredible underwater biodiversity, including large fish populations, colourful coral formations, and unique dive sites like ‘Wall Heaven.’

Q. How do I get to Osprey Reef?

A.  Via liveaboard dive boats or expedition cruises departing from Cairns. The journey typically takes around 24 hours, but the breath taking under water experiences make it well worth the trip.

Q. When is the best time to visit Osprey Reef?

A. The best time for diving is during the dry season, from May to November. During these months, you can expect calmer seas and excellent visibility.

Q. What marine life can I encounter at Osprey Reef?

A. This Reef is home to many marine species, including sharks (hammerheads, grey reef, and silvertips), dolphins, schools of pelagic fish, vibrant corals, and even the occasional manta ray or humpback whale.

Q. Are there liveaboard trips to Osprey Reef?

A. Yes, there are liveaboard dive trips specifically designed to explore Osprey Reef. These trips typically range from 3 to 7 days, allowing divers to immerse themselves in this remarkable under water world fully.

Q. Is Osprey Reef suitable for beginners or only experienced divers?

A. Osprey Reef offers a range of dive sites suitable for divers of various experience levels. However, due to its exposed location, some sites may have strong currents, making them more suitable for advanced divers.

Q. What is the diving season at Osprey Reef?

A. Diving at Osprey Reef is possible year-round. While the dry season is preferred for calmer seas, divers can explore the reef during the wet season, although weather conditions may be less predictable.

Q. Can I snorkel at Osprey Reef?

A. Snorkelling is possible at Osprey Reef, especially in calm and sheltered areas. However, remember that the real magic is best experienced through scuba diving.

Q. Is there any accommodation on Osprey Reef itself?

A. Osprey Reef is a remote, uninhabited coral atoll, so there are no accommodations on the reef itself. Visitors typically stay on liveaboard dive vessels, which provide all the amenities for a comfortable trip.

We hope these FAQs help you plan your Osprey Reef adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a nature enthusiast, you promise a fantastic experience in one of the world’s most beautiful under water environments.

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