Situated just 5 miles offshore and a 10-15 minute boat ride from the tourist destination of Mooloolaba in Queensland, sits the ex-HMAS Brisbane shipwreck sitting upright in 28m of water. On a clear day, the wrecks stack can be viewed from the surface stretching all the way up to 5m, where monster Snapper school around the moorings waiting for divers to descend from the boats up above. The moorings here allow divers to descend slowly with a reference line to hold onto down to the wreck structure positioning you perfectly onto the ships mag deck at around 15m. The sheer size of the 133m HMAS Brisbane is mind blowing and you can’t help but wonder what it would be like sitting on the deck of this missile launcher whilst ploughing 35 knots through the open ocean. It is such a privilege for divers to be able to explore such a wonderful piece of history, but as the title says, this dive is so much more than a wreck dive.
As you would expect being just south of the Queenslands famous Great Barrier Reef, this dive site hosts an array of stunning hard and soft corals. Brightly coloured pink, red, orange, purple and yellow Dendronephthya soft corals stretch out catching the abundant food passing by in the ocean currents and surge that flush this wreck with life. As you descend along a carefully positioned mooring line your eyes will not know where to look. Schooling pelagics hover looking for a opportunity to feed on the reef fish using the wreck for protection from such predators whilst batfish school patrol looking to feed on the plankton upwellings created by the wreck. All this is your only just descending down the line! Once you reach the meg deck which is great place to start the dive you can head north-east towards the bow or south-west towards the stern. Sunreef Dive in Mooloolaba offer double dives at the wreck allowing one dive at the bow and one at the stern or an orientation on the outside and a penetration dive.
Wherever you end up on the HMAS Brisbane, you will be followed andgreeted by the abundant fish life and every dive will offer different interactions with pelagic marine life passing through such as eagle rays, grey nurse sharks, giant Queensland groupers and during the summer months occasional manta rays and leopard sharks. During the winter humpback whale migration you may be lucky enough to see them on your way out to the wreck but you will almost definitely hear singing throughout your dive which is sometimes so loud enough that the sound reverberates through your chest. An incredible experience! Sunreef Dive also offer the opportunity to safely swim with humpback whales in Mooloolaba on their annual migration between July and October where snorkelers are able to get up close and personal with this incredibly interactive marine mammals in a once in a lifetime experience.
Whilst making your way around the inside of HMAS Brisbane, you will find yourself surrounded by schooling reef fish. Shoals of dusky sweepers are everywhere throughout the wreck and swoop past your mask as you making your way from room to room. Soft corals inhabit the inside sections of the wreck as well as outside and throughout your dive you will constantly find yourself trying to look past the fish to see the wreck itself which is not a bad problem to have on a dive. Although the bridge and propellers were removed before scuttling, you will find lots of other point of interests inside including the engine room and control room as well as huge open mess areas.
In my opinion, the HMAS Brisbane is Australia’s Best Wreck Dive and a must do dive even without all of the additional coral cover and marine life, but with so much else to see, it is truely one of the best dives in Australia. Book your HMAS Brisbane dive experience with Sunreef Dive, Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia