Diving Moreton Island’s Tangalooma Wrecks

Located on Moreton Island’s west side is the marine sanctuary of the Tangalooma Wrecks. The vessels were deliberately sunk to create a safe anchorage spot for recreational boat owners and a unique wreck dive and snorkel site. A total of 15 vessels were sunk – five in 1963; five in the 1970’s; and a further five in the 1980’s.

The wrecks are broken down to the names UKI, Bream, Seal, Dolphin, Morwong, Kookaburra, Bermagui, Maryborough (built in 1885), Iceberg, Echeneis, Remora, Platypus II, Pelican, Groper and Stingaree. They sit protruding from the water and down to a depth of 12 metres, making them a prime site for snorkelling and diving.

While the wrecks are close to the beach and within swimming distance to snorkel, it is important to remember that a strong current sweeps between the wrecks and the beach when the tide is running, so don’t try and swim against it. The Tangalooma wrecks are an unpatrolled beach meaning there are no lifesavers on duty and snorkellers need to be aware of the large number of inexperienced boats and jet skis passing through between the wrecks and the beachfront.

The wrecks provide shelter in the shallow water for an amazing array of marine life, including wobbegong sharks, trevally, kingfish, yellowtail and lots of tropical fish. Additionally, there is plenty of coral that has formed around the wrecks which are rich in colours and life. Each wreck tells a different story, with the hulls of each waiting to be explored from the surface and deeper with a dive.  

Diving beneath the surface

Wreck dives can be exciting as you explore the mystery of rusting bones of old ship hulls. The good thing about Tangalooma Wrecks is the proximity to shore and shallow depths, allowing for incredible visibility nearly all the time. The safe haven the wrecks create also means you can expect to see a variety of sea creatures. Splashes of darting colour liven up the shallow, sun-flecked water as colourful tropical fish and other inhabitants of the wrecks go about their day. They appear accustomed to human presence and do not shy away from snorkelers or divers.

With a depth of 12 metres at the deepest, these wrecks are well suited for amateur divers, while experienced divers can enjoy the various swim-throughs and exploring deeper under the hulls. The wrecks offer every diving environment in the one dive, including reef, wreck, drift and naturalist. The dive is best completed in a drift so that in a 40-minute dive you see all the wrecks along the wall.

Other ways to explore the wrecks

Tangalooma Wrecks aerial view. Image – @bigdogcampers

If you are not a diver, then don’t despair as you can still enjoy these magnificent wrecks. Snorkelling in the Tangalooma Wrecks is possible from a boat or even a short swim from the shore. Tangalooma Island Resort offers guided snorkelling tours with equipment hire, offering a safer snorkelling experience with a professional who can even point out highlights on the wrecks.

Want to try diving or learn to dive? They also offer an introductory discover dive or learn to dive course. Or if you are a bit rusty and it has been a while since you dived, there are refresher dive courses available.

Strong swimmers need not worry if snorkelling isn’t your thing. Jump on a Sea Scooter tour to zoom around the wrecks and see the depths you may not have been able to by regular snorkelling. This experience is a perfect way to have a unique journey through an underwater world.

Last of all, if you don’t even want to get wet, then you can admire the wrecks from the shore as they are easily visible above the surface, or take it to the next level and jump in a helicopter for a scenic flight over the wrecks. The aerial view is just spectacular.

Diving the Tangaloom wrecks. Image: Kate Webster

For more visit tangalooma.com/moreton-island/tangalooma-wrecks

Kate Webster is a world traveller, ocean lover and conservation warrior who is determined to make every moment count for not only herself, but the world around her. An editor and travel journalist, Kate travels the globe in search of vivid imagery and compelling stories that capture the essence of the people and places she visits. She is a passionate conservation advocate, sustainable traveller and always travels with reason and cause.

kate@capturedtravel.com