Thursday, September 7, 2023

Scuba Diving in Brisbane: Take the plunge

Scuba divers are slipping into their wetsuits and taking the plunge into the waters of Moreton Bay for a great Brisbane diving adventure while everyone on dry land is searching for their jumpers.

Water temperatures in the Bay range from 20-27°C during the year so diving is definitely a year round option for enthusiasts and when the offerings include exciting wreck dives, awesome coral outcrops and stunning sea life, it's a sport well worth considering for everyone from newcomers to the experienced.

One of the better-known dive sites in the Brisbane area is the collection of 15 vessels at the Tangalooma Wrecks on the western, or landward, side of Moreton Island where dives range in depth from 2-10m with an average of around 8m.

The wrecks were placed to form a break wall for small boats mooring off the island and now attract an amazing amount of marine life, including wobbegongs, trevally, kingfish, yellowtail and lots of tropical fish. They also make an excellent drift dive because of the strong currents in the area.

The Curtin Artificial Reef is located further north along Moreton off the settlement of Cowan Cowan and is a popular destination for divers with intermediate qualifications. The Underwater Research Group of Queensland have been sinking large vessels, cars, tires and pontoons at this site since 1968, the largest being the 50m long Bremer. Most of the wrecks can be safely entered and explored, and like Tangalooma Wrecks, the reef is filled with marine life - tropical fish, gropers, trevally, wWobbegongs, rays and other schooling fish. Dive depths range from 12-30m.

The Manta Ray Bommie off the southern end of North Stradbroke Island is a fantastic reef dive. The rocky area offers dives from 5-15m deep, and, as the name suggests, is a popular spot for groups of manta rays. Other regulars are leopard sharks, shovelnose rays, wobbegong sharks, stingrays, eagle rays, pelagic fish and turtles.

One of Brisbane's better, but lesser known dive sites is Cherub's Cave, near Henderson's Rock off Moreton Island. It gets its name from a small concrete cherub that once marked the main entrance to a hidden, circular cave which measures 2x15m and has six exits. This deep dive, from 20-30m, is into an area surrounded by rocky gullies, smaller caves, overhangs, and lots of sea life including a large resident Queensland groper.

There are also deep ledges, overhangs and caves, hidden and partly obscured by thick kelp. Ornate crayfish are prolific in this area and grey nurse sharks occasionally school up in the main gutter to the north of the shallow rock in winter. Gummy, leopard and wobbegong sharks often join them.

Flinder's Reef is Brisbane's only true coral reef and is a fully protected marine sanctuary. Situated 5km northwest of Moreton Island, the site offers dive walls, gutters, caves and pinnacles and at least 112 coral species including staghorn, brain, plate and other hard and soft corals, gorgonians, sponges and sea whips. This is along with 175 species of reef fish, invertebrates, turtles, stingrays, wobbegong sharks and the occasional manta ray.

Flat Rock, off the north eastern tip of Stradbroke Island, is one of the most exciting dive sites off Brisbane. The rocky island is surrounded by beautiful coral reefs and is a great spot to see turtles, leopard sharks, eagle rays, reef fish, pelagic fish and even the odd manta ray. It is most famous for its grey nurse shark population that gather at a site called "Shark Alley" each winter. Dives are generally from 5-35m and visibility can be up to 20m.

Brisbane's world-class dive sites are just a sampling of the dives available in Queensland and are matched by world-class diver training ranging from Open Water Certification through to specialty dive courses and professional qualifications. More than 30,000 people learn to dive in Queensland each year and certifications achieved are through internationally recognised diver training organisations.

For more information on diving in Brisbane and Queensland visit

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