The ex-HMAS Brisbane Conservation Park is now the Sunshine Coast’s most well-known dive site. Exploring the shipwreck is a ‘must do’ on the Sunshine Coast.
Scuba World guarantees trip departures 5 days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday) if the weather allows and it’s just a phenomenal dive, the ship now has worldwide acclaim and divers from all over the world travel to the Sunshine Coast to dive the wreck.
It’s surpassed all expectations as far as setting up an artificial reef, the marine life that’s been attracted there is just astounding, and there are over 300 species of fish life on the wreck now and many other marine animals that come to visit from time to time.
Diving on the HMAS is just awe-inspiring and when people descend on the wreck, they are first of all just blown away by the sheer size – seeing a ship that size underwater is something to behold – and then to see the coral growth on the wreck and the marine life is just totally mind-blowing,
The HMAS Brisbane was a 133 metre, Charles F Adams Class DDG, guided-missile destroyer of approx 5000 tons. The HMAS Brisbane served Australia faithfully for 34 years until she was decommissioned in 2001 – she served in both the Vietnam and Gulf wars and assisted on many humanitarian missions such as in Darwin in 1974 after cyclone Tracey.
Its New Life In January 2003, the Queensland Government agreed to accept the decommissioned HMAS Brisbane from the Commonwealth Government for sinking off the Sunshine Coast as an artificial reef and dive site.
The Scuttling After extensive and careful preparation, the ship was towed for its last journey to the Sunshine Coast. With the expertise of a crew who had extensive experience in scuttling ships for artificial reefs, explosives were carefully positioned in specially made wooden frames hard against the inside skin of the ship, below the waterline. On 31 July 2005 at a site 2.9 nautical miles east of Mudjumba Island off the Sunshine Coast these explosives were detonated and in two minutes and ten seconds, the former HMAS Brisbane was on the bottom in 28 metres of water.
The wreck now serves as a world-class artificial reef and diving site – she has attracted divers from all over the world. Divers from open water level, to divemaster, instructors, dive shop owners and ex-servicemen who served on the HMAS Brisbane all sing the praises of this great wreck dive. Sitting bolt upright the HMAS Brisbane has 15 metres of water over her forward decks and 18 metres over her stern. Consistently good water clarity and minimal swell make for great diving.
Its sheer size makes it an awesome sight. Water temperatures range from 17C in winter to a summer high of 27C. Visibility averages around 15 metres but up to 20 metres or more is not uncommon.
Environmental studies commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency and conducted by scientists from the University of the Sunshine Coast and Queensland Museum confirms the diversity of marine life that has made the Brisbane home.
A resident school of predatory yellow tailed kingfish now ‘buzz’ the schools of baitfish that surround the HMAS Brisbane. Local inhabitants include a large bull and eagle rays, angler fish, lionfish, blennies, nudibranchs, sea hares, squid and a school of juvenile red emperor and snapper. Other visitors include a shovelled nose rays, greasy cod and eagle rays. An octopus has made a home in a pyrotechnic tube on the deck. Up to ten huge Queensland Grouper have been seen at one time off the bow of the ship – and a turtle has taken up residency on the aft funnel and eagle rays cruise between the two funnels. There’s also a huge amount of soft corals to be seen and hard corals are established.