Ex-HMAS Brisbane Conservation Park Sunshine Coast

Diver exploring the abundant marine life around ex-HMAS Brisbane. Photo courtesy of Gillian Davison, Noosa Blue Water Dive.

Visiting Ex-HMAS Brisbane safely

    Divers must be certified and obtain a permit before they can dive the ex-HMAS Brisbane. Photo courtesy of Blue Water Dive.

    Divers must be certified and obtain a permit before they can dive the ex-HMAS Brisbane. Photo courtesy of Blue Water Dive.

    Getting there and getting around

    Ex-HMAS Brisbane Conservation Park is a world class, wreck-dive site featuring the ex-HMAS Brisbane, a former Royal Australian Navy warship. The conservation park was created around the wreck, where it now lies in 28m of water off the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. It is growing a beautiful reef, which is home to a multitude of colourful fish and other small sea creatures, together offering a premier-quality, wreck dive.

    The decommissioned HMAS Brisbane was scuttled, using explosive charges, on 31 July 2005. It only took two minutes and 10 seconds for the 133m ship to sink to its final resting place, where it now serves as a structure for an artificial reef and magnificent wreck-dive site.

    Be aware: To enter the conservation park, and dive or snorkel the ex-HMAS Brisbane, visitors must either book onto a dive tour or get a Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) dive permit.

    Permits

    * QPWS permits are only issued by one of the licensed dive tour operators.

    Opening hours

    Ex-HMAS Brisbane Conservation Park is open to permit holders for snorkelling and diving seven days a week, for both day and night dives.

    Location

    Restricted access area

    • Entry to the park is prohibited without a permit or written approval.
    • This applies to everyone—all vessels, divers and snorkellers.
    • On-the-spot fines can be issued for entering the restricted access area without a permit.
    • See Restricted access area notice (PDF, 201.2KB) for full details.

    Qualifications

    • All divers must have a recognised scuba-diving qualification.
    • A range of dives is available: some suitable for open-water level, certificate divers, and others for advanced wreck divers.
    • Snorkellers do not need dive qualifications, but will need a permit.

    For further information:

    Staying safe

    An adventure needs planning

    Wreck diving is adventurous and challenging for recreational divers. It requires careful planning and experience. It has dangers, such as:

    • entrapment
    • getting lost
    • injury from sharp protrusions
    • decompression sickness (bends).

    Get qualified

    Get experience

    • The site is not suitable for inexperienced divers without a guide.
    • Intending divers should satisfy themselves that they have an appropriate level of training, certification and experience to undertake the planned dive.
    • If any doubt exists, dive with a licensed dive tour operator.

    Dive leaders have responsibility

    The dive leader must accept the permit conditions and undertake that all divers on the trip have an appropriate level of training and/or experience to carry out the planned diving activity.

    Dive within your limits

    It is recommended that:

    • only divers with suitable equipment, training and experience should ever attempt to enter the wreck
    • divers have completed a minimum of 10 open-water dives before diving this site
    • certified open-water divers can descend to tour around the top deck of the ship in approximately 15–16m of water
    • qualified, advanced open-water divers can dive to the base of the wreck.

    As a guide

     To dive hereYou will need
     outside and upper decksopen-water dive certification
     outside to bottom leveladvanced, open-water dive certification
     upper level penetration

    wreck certification and/or suitable open-water dive experience

     lower level penetration

    wreck certification and/or advanced, open-water dive experience

    Check the weather

    • Note that all diving on the Sunshine Coast is done in open-sea conditions.
    • For your safety and comfort, ensure you only venture out for diving trips in good boating weather.
    • Weather forecasts are available online: Bureau of Meteorology.

    For dive medical or safety advice

    For urgent medical attention

    Call Triple Zero (000).

    For other safety information, please read the general guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

    Before you visit

    Essentials to bring

    Diving gear

    • Most divers wear two-piece 5mm wetsuits when diving.
    • Water temperatures on the Sunshine Coast vary from 18°C in winter to 27°C in summer.
    • Diving gear can be booked through licensed dive tour operators.

    Diving permits are required

    • A valid Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) permit or written authority is required to enter the park, and to dive or snorkel the ex-HMAS Brisbane.
    • All divers must be certified and hold a recognised scuba-diving qualification.
    • Permits for private divers, snorkellers, or club divers using the public mooring, can be obtained from one of the licensed dive tour operators.
    • Divers can book a dive tour with a licensed dive tour operators on the Sunshine Coast.

    Be aware:

    • On-the-spot fines apply for entering the conservation park restricted access area (PDF, 201.2KB) without a permit and also for failure to comply with permit conditions.
    • For serious breaches, seizure of equipment, including tools, dive gear and boats, may occur.
    The following information must be provided when applying for a permit:
    • name, home address, contact number/s and dive licence number of the trip dive leader
    • name, dive licence number and home postcode of each diver
    • name and registration number of the boat and postcode of its registered address
    • total number of divers and non-diving passengers.

    Permits for private and club dives or snorkels

    • Two Sunshine Coast dive tour operators are licensed to issue QPWS permits to private divers, snorkellers or club divers using the public mooring.
    • Permits may be applied for by email, phone or over-the-counter seven days a week (business hours only).

    Permit conditions

    The dive leader must accept the permit conditions and undertake that all divers on the trip have an appropriate level of training and/or experience to carry out the planned diving activity.

    Permit conditions are applied to protect divers and the site.

    • The number of permits offered is limited.
    • The number of divers and snorkellers is limited for safety and environmental reasons.
    • Diver numbers are restricted to a maximum of 10 divers per club booking and four divers per private booking.
    • Permits to use the public mooring and dive or snorkel the ex-HMAS Brisbane are allocated in 2hr timeslots.

    Fees

    • private dive groups: $25 per person per 2hr timeslot
    • club dive groups: $22 per person per 2hr timeslot
    • private snorkellers: $15 per person per 2hr timeslot.

    Dive tour operators

    Two dive tour operators are licensed to offer dive tour within the Ex-HMAS Brisbane Conservation Park. If you are a certified diver, contact the operators to find out which dive experiences they have on offer.

    Climate and weather

    Diving or snorkelling the ex-HMAS Brisbane is great all year 'round.

    • South East Queensland has a subtropical climate.
    • Local weather and sea conditions are likely to provide about 200 dive days per year.
    • Local water temperatures rarely drop below 19°C, but can reach 27°C in summer.

    Fuel and supplies

    Fuel and supplies are available at Maroochydore and other Sunshine Coast towns.

    For more information see the tourism information links.

    • There are currently no park alerts for this park.