Australia // Coastal Queensland //

Ayr and the Yongala

AYR is a compact farming town fast becoming another popular stop on the farm work trail. The highway – which runs through town as Queen Street – is where you’ll find the bus stop and all essential services, as well as two workers’ hostels that can find you employment picking and packing capsicums, amongst other things.

Ayr’s other attraction is easy access to the wreck of the Yongala, a 109m-long passenger ship that sank with all hands during a cyclone in 1911. It now lies intact and encrusted in coral in 18–30m of water, and is home to turtles, rays, moray eels and huge schools of barracuda, mackerel and trevally, making for a staggeringly good wreck dive. Be aware that the wreck is in an exposed location, and it’s not much fun diving here if the weather is rough; this is also a demanding site – deep, with strong currents and startlingly big fish – and it’s best not to go unless you’ve logged twenty dives or more.