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Breaking Patches

Parrotfish swimming through coral reefs and colourful fish

Situated about 42km North-East of Cairns, Breaking Patches is a stunning, shallow, abundant snorkel and dive spot in the Great Barrier Reef. Lying west of Michaelmas Reef, this wonderful marine jungle takes about an hour and a half to reach by boat from the Marlin Marina. Protected under the Cairns Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, there are plenty of sandy patches at the bottom of this lagoon home to reef sharks and lagoon rays. Breaking Patches is home to an array of vivid, colourful marinelife and soft corals, so grab your mask, snorkel and GoPro before you dive into the underwater haven in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef!

Breaking Patches Corals 

Home to hundreds of coral species, soft and hard, gliding over the reefs of Breaking Patches is like swimming through a kaleidoscope! With shallow waters and protected surroundings, this calm bay is the ideal spot for many vibrant corals, particularly soft corals. Keep your eyes out for large Sea Fans bound to impress, grand Black Coral Trees, textured Spaghetti Corals, shaggy Leather Mushroom Corals and soft-looking Elephant Ear Corals! 

Yellow Leather Mushroom soft coral with a shaggy texture

Breaking Patches Marinelife

Due to the protection of the lagoon and flourishing corals, many colourful marine animals frequent and live in the Breaking Patches Reef. Break the surface and watch majestic fish, turtles, rays, sharks and more swim right before your eyes in the Great Barrier Reef! 

Blue Spotted Ray 

Often spotted hanging out on the sandy floor of Breaking Patches, there are many magnificent Blue Spotted Rays in this spot! With bright blue dots all over their body and brilliant yellow patches around their eyes, these guys are worth the dive down.

Blue Spotted Ray closeup with yellow eye patches

Sea Turtles

Locals of the Great Barrier Reef, Breaking Patches is often frequented by friendly Sea Turtles. These majestic slow movers are super relaxed around people, so swim alongside a beautiful Sea Turtle and allow their shell and movements to simply astound you! 

Snorkeler swimming alongside a sea turtle

Reef sharks

Reef Sharks, both white and black-tipped, also love to hang out on the sandy floor of this lagoon. Small and peaceful, Reef Sharks are an exciting sight to see on your snorkel or dive! Their distinctive spots and black or white tips make for an incredible sight! 

Black Tip Reef Sharks swimming together


With an unforgettable shape and bright yellow and black stripes, Butterflyfishes are an incredible sight common to Breaking Patches. Usually found darting around or nibbling on coral, these wonderful creatures are pretty small, so dive down to get the best chance of a sighting! 

Butterflyfish with yellow and black stripes


A quintessential creature of the Great Barrier Reef, Parrotfish are bound to take your breath away! A silvery incandescent sheen glimmers between their bright blue, green, turquoise, purple and orange colours creating a ubiquitous illusion when they swim amongst the brilliant blue waters of Breaking Patches.

Parrotfish blue colours eating a purple coral


With their majestic shapes and striped patterns, Angelfish are a treat to see while your swimming through Breaking Patches. With over 80 species, Angelfish have been sighted in an array of colours, patterns and sizes, but their elongated dorsal and anal fins are a common thread amongst all of the vivid Angelfish species.

Breaking Patches Anenomes 

With an array of anemones calling Breaking Patches home, you’re bound to see a couple on your underwater adventures! These tentacley invertebrates (not plants!) are home to clownfish, so keep your eyes peeled for your own finding Nemo!

Orange and white striped clownfish in pink anenome

Head on out to the Cairns Great Barrier Reef to snorkel or dive the wonderful Breaking Patches today! Get in touch with our friendly travel experts to book your vessel out to the Reef.

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