Middle Island is a national park, with camping allowed.
There are two main dive and snorkel sites around the island:
- Olive Point to the north
- the Underwater Observatory to the south.
Tubastrea, Middle Island Underwater Observatory. © Ray Berkelmans, AIMS.
Depth 6 metres
Olive Point is a sharp point of basalt rock favoured by yachts—it provides safe anchorage close to fantastic coral, out of the wind on one side or the other.
Scuba divers can meander along the reef edge on a sandy bottom closest to the island, making their way north to the tip, and then along the other side. The rocks break up towards the end, providing lots of places to explore.
Near the island and in the centre of the reef, the coral is mainly Acropora, with some huge plates. In the deeper water at the point, there are more large polyp species, such as boulder corals.
Favites flexuosa, Olive Point, Middle Island. © Ray Berkelmans.
Acropora, Olive Point, Middle Island, 2009. © Ray Berkelmans, AIMS.
Middle Point Underwater Observatory
Depth 4 metres
Middle Island Underwater Observatory is an iconic place in Queensland, loved by everyone, not just divers and snorkellers.
From the concrete underwater viewing chamber, you can ascend the two spiral staircases to the observation tower and operations room above.
Built for coral viewing, over the years the site has become a fish habitat as well as a safe and intriguing place to dive or snorkel.
On the southern side, the sunken wreck of a Taiwanese fishing boat and one of the old walkways provide ideal conditions for colonies of Pocillopora damicornis to attach and grow without competition.
This structure sits on the sandy bottom at the base of the reef slope. Divers can explore the corals and filter feeders attached to the structure, hang out with the fish, or meander along the reef slope. Snorkellers can explore the recovering reef flat for juvenile corals.
Middle Island Underwater Observatory. Ray Berkelmans, © AIMS.
Lobophyllia columnar, Middle Island Underwater Observatory, 2009. © Ray Berkelmans, AIMS.