HMAS Brisbane Marine Park
The marine park is a Restricted Access Area. To enter the park and dive the ex-HMAS Brisbane. Visitors must book a dive tour with a licensed dive tour operator - Blue Water.
Visitors must be certified divers. A range of dives is available, suitable for open water level certificate divers to advanced wreck divers.
Check weather forecasts before your dive trip. Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.
HMAS Brisbane Marine Park Features
A unique conservation marine park has been created around the ex-HMAS Brisbane, a former warship that is now under 28 metres of water off the Sunshine Coast.
The decommissioned HMAS Brisbane warship was sunk, using explosive charges, on 31 July 2005. Just 2 minutes and 10 seconds is all it took for the ship to sink to its final resting place. This growing artificial reef and world-class dive site is fast becoming one of Australia's premier wreck dive destinations.
Status as a conservation park ensures that this site is used and managed to maintain the cultural, historic and aesthetic values of the ship as well as the ship's "dignity". Parts of the ship, including the bridge, missile launcher and propeller, were removed by the Navy to be used in interpretive displays at facilities including the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. The removal of other items has been minimised to ensure the ship's integrity and value as an appealing dive site is maintained.
The ex-HMAS Brisbane has a number of cultural, historic and ecological values. It has special cultural and historic significance through a rich history of service to Australia in the Vietnam and the Gulf wars. It is an artificial reef that offers excellent habitats for marine life and ideal conditions for divers to explore the ocean and its abundant marine life.
The Sunshine Coast offers a wide range of accommodation from camping to cabins, motels, self-contained units and houses.
Dive MHAS Brisbane
The ex-HMAS Brisbane artificial reef provides excellent SCUBA diving opportunities. Divers with varying levels of experience and certification — from open water level certificates to advanced wreck divers — will be able to enjoy this site.
The vessel has been kept in original condition, where possible, to make it visually appealing and interesting for divers to explore. Access holes allow passage into the forward engine room, boiler room, gun mount and the ship's interior, where divers can view living and sleeping quarters used by the crew during the ship's service. The smoke stack starts at just three metres below the surface and the ship itself is eight stories high and seven cricket pitches long.
Access inside the Brisbane is optimal, with all internal areas offering three points of natural light, with wide, open entry and exit swim-throughs. It is the only purpose-designed dive wreck in Australia where you can actually dive inside the engine and boiler rooms.
Certified divers can book a dive tour through permitted dive tour operators on the Sunshine Coast, or book private or club dives through Maroochy Tourism. See the tourism information links below for contact details.
HMAS Brisbane guided tours
Blue Water Dive are licensed to offer a variety of dives around the Brisbane. If you are a certified diver, contact the operators to find out what dive experiences they have on offer.
The ex-HMAS Brisbane Conservation Park offers excellent opportunities for viewing marine life. The ship is now covered with hard and soft corals, creating an underwater haven to explore. Depending on your luck, you will more than likely see many types of fish (including bat fish, mackerel, coral trout and small groper), crayfish, sea urchins, anemones, starfish, sea whips, gorgonians, turtles, stingrays, nudibranchs (including spanish dancers), cowries and bottom-dwelling sharks such as wobbegongs.
Activities not allowed at the dive site
General boating and fishing on and around the reef is prohibited due to the serious risks posed to divers by these activities. Fishing is not permitted anywhere within the conservation park ($300 on-the-spot fines apply). These fines also apply to vessels without a permit in the park. Boats must stand off at least 400m from the wreck in any direction to ensure they are clear of the zone.
The Sunshine Coast has a wealth of attractions, including golden beaches, rivers and beautiful rainforests. Walking tracks at Noosa National Park, Mount Coolum National Park and Great Sandy National Park offer many opportunities to explore the natural coastal environment. Coastal camping areas are provided in Bribie Island Recreation Area and Great Sandy National Park.
Water temperatures on the Sunshine Coast vary from 18 degrees Celsius in winter to 26 degrees Celsius in summer, so most divers wear two-piece 5mm wetsuits when diving. Diving gear can be booked through permitted dive tour operators (see tourism information links below).
The ex-HMAS Brisbane Conservation Park is open for diving seven days a week, for both day and night dives.
Climate and weather
Diving on the ex-HMAS Brisbane is great all year round, with visibility varying from 10–15 metres in summer and 15–25 metres in winter. Local weather and sea conditions are likely to provide about 200 dive days per year.
South-east Queensland is blessed with a temperate climate. Local water temperatures rarely drop below 19 degrees Celsius and vary from 18 degrees Celsius in winter to 27 degrees Celsius in summer.
Fuel and supplies
Fuel and supplies are available at Maroochydore and other Sunshine Coast towns.
Wreck diving is challenging and adventurous for recreational divers, but also carries with it potential risks. These risks posed to divers include entrapment, getting lost, injury from sharp protrusions, and decompression sickness (bends).
All divers must have a recognised SCUBA diving qualification. The site is not suitable for inexperienced divers without a guide and intending divers should satisfy themselves that they have an appropriate level of training, certification and experience to undertake the planned dive. Where any doubt exists, dive with a licensed dive tour operator.
It is recommended that divers have completed a minimum of 10 open water dives before diving this site, and only divers with suitable equipment, training and experience should attempt to enter the wreck.
All diving on the Sunshine Coast is done in open sea conditions. For your safety and comfort, ensure you only venture out for diving trips in good boating weather.
The number of permits offered is limited and the maximum number of divers allowed is also limited for safety reasons.
Due to the serious risks posed to divers by hooks and entanglement in discarded fishing line, general boating and fishing on and around the reef is prohibited. To keep outside the conservation park and avoid receiving a $300 fine, it is essential that boats stand off approximately 400m from the site of the Brisbane.
Looking after the HMAS Brisbane marine park
Diver numbers are capped in order to maintain the quality of the dive experience and to minimise the impacts on the natural and cultural values of the reef, as well as for safety. The following conditions apply:
Divers must not deface, damage, interfere or remove any material from the ex-HMAS Brisbane.
Fishing by any means is prohibited.
Divers must not interfere with or collect marine life or any other naturally occurring material in the Park.
Marine park management
The reef is managed as the ex-HMAS Brisbane Conservation Park under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. QPWS is responsible for encouraging the development of new reef communities, providing access to the site and regulating dive tour operators, dive clubs and recreational divers. It has the authority to restrict or prohibit activities that could compromise safety, amenity or protection of the site, such as fishing and anchoring.
Conservation park status provides for a range of recreational, commercial and scientific research opportunities and the ability to regulate activities for ecologically sustainable use of, and access to, the dive tourism infrastructure, by current and future generations.
Commercial activity agreements under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 have been negotiated between QPWS and dive tour operators for the provision of commercial and recreational dive tour services at the site. Dive tour operators that hold this agreement are required to manage the site in a manner that is consistent with the proposed management intent and use of the conservation park.
Day-to-day management of the artificial reef includes: managing visitors, administering dive tour activity, surveillance and compliance, communication and community engagement, risk assessment and mitigation, environmental assessment and monitoring, and installing and maintaining moorings and navigational aids.
QPWS aims to minimise risks to divers by managing conflicting activities, requiring operators to practise safe diving procedures, removing hazardous material and protrusions and minimising risk of entrapment.
QPWS Rangers undertake regular daytime and night-time patrols of the site.