Just when you thought scuba diving in Queensland couldn’t get any better, the ginormous ex-HMAS Tobruk has been scuttled a short distance away from Hervey Bay and Bundaberg.
The enchanting shipwreck is now a must-do activity for those with an appetite for adventure and has the potential to become one of Australia’s finest dive experiences.
If you want to explore the inner sections of a mammoth former Royal Australian Navy ship, or you are captivated by the prospect of spotting some of the epic marine life that surrounds the wreck, then the ex-HMAS Tobruk needs to be your next dive.
What is the ex-HMS Tobruk in Queensland?
The ex-HMAS Tobruk is one of the world’s newest wreck diving sites and was officially opened for underwater exploration in late February of 2019. For those who haven’t tried it, wreck diving is like taking part in your own Indiana Jones underwater caper. Minus the hat of course.
Decommissioned in 2015 after 34 years of service, the ex-HMAS Tobruk was sunk in mid-2018 approximately 17 nautical miles (32 km) off the coast, halfway between Hervey Bay and Bundaberg in the Great Sandy Marine Park.
The shallowest part of the wreck lies in 36 feet (11 m) of water, easily accessed by certified open water divers, while more advanced divers will be able to explore the entire wreck, which rests at a depth of 100 feet (30 m).
The waters of the Great Sandy Marine Park are warm year-round and protected from rough weather by the nearby Fraser Island.
What makes it unique?
The ex-HMAS Tobruk is seriously huge 417 feet (127 m) long, meaning it occupies a colossal position on the ocean floor.
Certified wreck divers can swim over 328 feet (100 m) in one direction inside the ship — no tumble turns required. All areas of the ship, including the troop areas, crew quarters, the tank deck and other sections are waiting to be explored. BYO flashlight to check out all the finer details inside the ship.
If going inside the ship makes you feel claustrophobic, don’t stress, there’s more than enough to see outside the wreck (like some of the friendly locals).
What will I see?
A huge variety of marine life – like manta rays, groupers, cod and Spanish mackerel – call Tobruk home so make sure you have your waterproof camera at the ready for your dive.
As breeding turtles have a soft spot for the waters around the Fraser Coast and Bundaberg, our flippered friends are expected to be regulars in and around the wreck.
Divers can also expect to see and hear migrating humpback whales as they traverse through the area from May to November.
How can I dive it?
Both Bundaberg and Hervey Bay are an easy three to four-hour drive north of Brisbane. Both towns also have airports if you’re looking for a speedier trip or are coming from interstate.
You can book a dive on ex-HMAS Tobruk through one of the four experienced dive operators who hold permits to access the site who each offer a standard package of two dives over a total trip time of five to six hours.
Hervey Bay departures:
- Bundaberg Aqua Scuba
- Lady Musgrave Experience
Alternatively, experienced divers with their own boat and equipment can access the site by booking a two-hour time slot via the Bundaberg or Fraser Coast websites.