We all know that Queensland’s waters are an adventurer’s paradise, from our beautiful Great Barrier Reef to the stunning turquoise waters of Moreton Island, but did you know that there are over 1000 ships wrecked along our coastline?
Amongst the most visited sites such as the Ex-HMAS Brisbane, the Tangalooma Wrecks, SS Yongala and the St Paul there are some other great wrecks, waiting for you to discover their mysteries.
Lets go below the surface, step back in time and explore some of the best shipwrecks in this world, right here in Queensland.
Queensland’s newest wreck dive site is the SS Tobruk. This stately ship was decommissioned in 2015 after 34 years of service and was sunk in 2018 to create a world class dive site in the Great Sandy Marine Park, between Hervey Bay and Bundaberg.
Ideal for open water, beginner and more advanced divers the shallow end of this wreck is in just 10.9 metres below the surface, while more advanced divers can explore the rest of the wreck (she’s 127 metres in length), which lies up to 30 metres below. If you’re feeling adventurous, certified divers can swim inside the wreck itself for up to 100 metres. Outside the ship, there is plenty of marine life that now call Tobruk home and you could even see a migrating humpback whale.
The dive site is protected by Fraser Island and a permit is required to dive the site.
Head on up to beautiful Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays and you’ll be treated to the Lady Bowen Dive site. This elegant old 66 metre schooner was built in Glasgow in 1864 and arrived in Australia 4 months later, but unfortunately met her fate when she crashed into Kennedy Shoal near Dunk Island in 1894.
Today, Lady Bowen sits off the coast of Mission Beach and is a reef herself, home to beautiful coral formations and colourful marine life. Inside her hull you will find giant groupers, sea snakes, sharks, rays, lionfish and turtles. The depth and size of this shipwreck make it perfect for intermediate to advanced divers.
If you’re an experienced diver you will want to venture to the wreck of the Lewellyn, east of Mackay on the Great Barrier Reef, halfway between St Bees Island and Baily Islet, for this 35-metre dive.
Last seen leaving Rockhampton in 1919, this coastal steamer mysteriously disappeared, and the wrecked was only discovered in 1997. The ship is now a historical treasure for divers to explore, but you do require a permit to dive this site due to its historical significance.
Located off the coast of Bundaberg, the MV Karma hasn’t been around long – the 42 metre gravel barge sunk in 2003 – but she’s quickly become one of the best wreck dives in Queensland.
The barge itself makes for a unique dive experience. Explore the huge hold, a massive crane boom, the two-level bridge structure, cabins and the engine room, and prepare to be blown away by the variety of marine life. Thousands of fish, sea snakes, turtles, wobbegongs, octopus and more call the ship home.
Sitting upright in 26 metres of water, the MV Karma is an accessible dive for open water and advanced divers.
For divers looking for a more intact site to explore, head to Lady Elliot Island in the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Just offshore here, you can dive the wreck of the Severance, a fully intact two-masted sailing boat which sunk in 1998. So new is this wreck, remnants of the sails can still be seen.
The Severance is the only wreck you can dive on the fringing reef of Lady Elliot Island, and you’re likely to encounter plenty of sea life, including many species of fish, stingrays and reef sharks – even a moray eel has been spotted here.
Once you’ve fallen in love with this unique dive spot, why not learn more about helping the reef and preserving this natural marvel? Lady Elliot Island is a world leading ecotourism destination. The island offsets 100% of its carbon emissions from flights to and from the island.
The RMS Quetta is one of Queensland’s best shipwreck dives, but one of the least visited.
Considered one of Australia’s greatest marine tragedies, 133 people died when the RMS Quetta sank in 1899 after striking a coral mount near the Adolphus Channel in the Torres Strait Islands.
The RMS Quetta rests on its port side in only 18 metres of water and is a sensational dive, with plenty of cabins and nooks to explore. Lush corals decorate the wreck and provide a home for invertebrate species and reef fish. The best feature about the RMS Quetta is the staggering amount of fish that populate it. Cruise through huge schools of Sweetlip, Barracuda and snappers. Other species seen include stingrays, eagle rays, turtles, and large gropers.
Queensland’s Shipwreck Map