Diving Brisbane

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Brisbane, Australia

hmas brisbane

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Country: Australia  Area: Queensland

Water Temp: 17 - 27°C (63 - 81°F)

Visibility: 10 - 20m (33 - 66 ft)

Depth Range: 5 - 28m (16 - 92 ft)

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Brisbane is the capital of Queensland, and the third most populated city in Australia. Located on the Gold Coast, the city is famous for Surfer’s Paradise, where visitors can either ride the waves, or ride the many rides and attractions in the theme parks.

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Brisbane has an excellent cultural scene, and visitors will be spoilt for choice with the large variety of bars, restaurants, theatres, galleries, and exhibits. The waters off the coast of Brisbane have several interesting diving opportunities, with artificial reefs, wrecks, and plenty of marine life.

 

Marine Conservation

The Brisbane Waters Marine Conservation Society aims to improve the awareness of marine ecosystems and out human impact on them, and to preserve our marine environments. The society also gets volunteers together to do clean ups and foundraising for the Great Barrier Reef.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society also aims to protect the waters in both Brisbane, and throughout Australia.

Climate

The climate in Brisbane is humid subtropical, and has hot, humid summers, with dry, warm winters. Thunderstorms are common from November to March, although droughts are also common.

While Brisbane lies in the Tropical Cyclone risk area, cyclones are very rare. Summer is from late November to early March, and winter is from June to September. Winter is still warm though, with most people wearing shorts and a t-shirt during the day. The average temperature is 30ºC (86ºF) in summer, and 17ºC (62ºF) in winter.       

 
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The Diving

Many people are unaware of the many great dive sites near Brisbane. Here are some of the best sites for diving:

Flinders Reef

This reef has an incredible diversity of marine life, with more than 175 species of fish, plenty of turtles, and migrating Humpback Whales from June to September.

This site is great for divers of all experience levels, with ledges, pinnacles, and swim-throughs. Divers can expect to see schools of Sweetlip, Trevally, Bat, Surgeon, and Parrot fish, along with Manta Rays, Leopard Sharks, and Wobbegongs.

Flat Rock

Flat Rock is one of the most popular scuba diving sites in Brisbane, mostly because of the natural rocky environment, and the diverse range of fish and coral, including tiny clown fish, and grey nurse sharks.

Smiths rock

This is an advanced dive site, located between Flinders Reef and Cape Moreton. The maximum depth is around 21m (68ft), and even advanced divers can find the swell and strong currents challenging.

The site is full of little caverns and swim-throughs and there is also a lot of ship debris on the sea floor, as Smiths Rock is a huge shipping hazard that claimed many ships as they tried to navigate around Cape Moreton.

Henderson Rock and Cherubs Cave

This is one of the best dive sites in Brisbane, and also the least frequented. The site is best in winter, as the sea is calmer and the westerly winds make it easier, but it’s well worth a visit as the terrain can only be described as spectacular.

Expect to explore deep ledges, caves, overhangs, and plenty of deep gutters on the east side. Divers usually see large schools of Batfish and Pelagic fish, along with Gummy Sharks, Wobbegongs sharks, and Queensland Groupers.

St Pauls

St Pauls is a steamer, which sank with a full load of ore. The depth is between 38m (124ft) and 43m (141ft). The ship is sitting upright, and is abundant with marine life. Divers will find it challenging, but well worth it with lift raft anchors, encrusted deck winches, and nuggets of chromium ore.

Tangalooma Wrecks

This dive site has almost every diving environment available, including wreck, rift, naturalist, and drift, while only 12m (39ft) deep. The large propellers are home to large schools of fish including Moray Eels, Stonefish, Lionfish, Wobbegongs, and lots of other tropical fish.

The Ex-HMAS Brisbane

The Ex-HMAS Brisbane is suitable for advanced divers, and it’s a 133m (436 ft) guided missile destroyer which was made into an artificial reef in 2003. There are two moorings located mid-ship, and most divers can explore the majority of the ship in two dives. However Sunroof has exclusive access to these moorings, so if diving with another company divers will enter from one end, and leave from the other.

Divers travel from all over the world to dive the HMAS Brisbane and see the sea hares, angler fish, eagle rays, lion fish, and octopus which hang out here.

The diving in Brisbane is varied and underestimated, and definitely well worth it. There are plenty of day trips available, and divers can also jump on board a liveabord for a few days to access the dive sites which are further out.

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How to Get there

Brisbane International Airport is located 20km (12mi) north-east of the city centre. There are direct flights from around Australia with Virgin Australia, Qantas, and Jetstar, and international flights arrive from New Zealand, the Middle East, the United States, Asia, and Europe.

It’s important to note that the terminals are 2 km apart, and it’s not walkable in the heat with a lot of luggage. The Air train provides transfers between the terminals for $5, but they only run every 15-30 minutes.

Travellers heading to the city can stay on the Airtrain, however expect to pay $16 one-way. Coachtrans provides a shuttle bus for $20 one way, although there are also public buses which will allow tourists to get to the city for just $4. A taxi will cost around $35, so public transport is definitely a better option for those watching their spending.

The CBD is flat, which makes getting around Brisbane relatively easy. It’s an excellent city for walking, and biking, and the Brisbane City Council now offers CityCycle, which has bicycles at different stations around the city. Tourists can hire them for 24 hours for $2, or for a week for $11. Make sure you bring a helmet as not many stations offer them.

Green cabs have recently been added to the city, which are like small rickshaws and can usually accommodate a family. They operate within the inner-city areas, and prices start at $5.  

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Where to Eat & Drink

Be sure to visit the Eat Street Markets at Hamilton Wharf on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night. Inspired by the night markets in Asia, Eat Street has a wide variety of cuisines, and live entertainment served from shipping containers to give it a hipster vibe.

Food trucks have hit the streets of Brisbane, and they’re doing well. Be sure to check out Oi Taco, for great Mexican food, King of the Wings for the best wings in town, or The Pasta Cruiser, for fresh home made pasta on the run.

For breakfast and great coffee, head to Double Shot Expresso, which has excellent fresh food, and fast and friendly service. Get there early since it’s very popular and they don’t take bookings.

127 Bar & Bistro is located in the middle of the CBD, and offers early morning breakfasts, delicious brunch, and becomes a bustling restaurant after work. With an extensive wine list, and cocktails done by the carafe, locals like to meet with friends over a few drinks.

For a stand-out dining experience, visit Malt. With excellent service, a large menu, and top-notch desserts, it’s the perfect place for a nice dinner for tourists about to leave Brisbane.

Brisbane has plenty of bars and clubs, so be sure to take a night out to visit a few of the most popular options. Some of the best are at Port Office Hotel, which includes Fix Wine Bar, Marble Bar, and Liber Lounge. This is an excellent place to go for a drink, as each bar has something different to offer. The upstairs balcony encircles almost the whole top level of the Port Office, so be sure to get there early to scope out a seat.

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Other Activities

Along with diving, Brisbane has plenty of activities available for those who have the time to stay and enjoy the city.

Go kayaking or stand up paddle boarding on the Brisbane River, or take a walk up Mount Coot-tha for a great view of the city. The Queensland Performing Arts Centre always has a variety of shows available, and both the Museum of Brisbane, and the Queensland Art Gallery are worth a visit. 

Family Friendly

Most dive schools offer diving for kids, and the majority of day trips are family-friendly as well. For those with small children, Brisbane is a city which has plenty of entertainment options.

South Bank Parklands has a lagoon, beach, playgrounds, and plenty of restaurants, cafes, and picnic areas to keep the whole family occupied for a few hours. The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is also an excellent place to visit and get up close to some of the native animals of Australia.

The Brisbane Botanic Gardens are a great place for the kids to run off some energy, or perhaps consider taking a day trip to St Helena Island, which features the ruins of a colonial prison.

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Tips

Brisbane is one of the safest cities in Australia, and the locals are very friendly. Keep an eye on your belongings when in public transport areas, and don’t walk alone after dark in the central city.

Be sure to take plenty of sunscreen and a hat, as Queensland is the skin cancer capital of the world.                 

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Rating 8/10

Christmas diving on the Gold Coast

Brisbane20 Dec 2014 - 4 Jan 2015

The Christmas holidays this year have been kind to our local divers with consistently good conditions throughout.Cook island has had the usual summer influx of leopard sharks and also guitar sharks in good numbers.blue spotted rays were in abundance along with a few large bull rays and we even got a brief glimpse of a manta just before Christmas.this along with all the usual critters has made for some great diving and it looks like it's set to continue into the new year!

4

Morgan Bennett

This sounds like great diving! I have yet to see a guitar shark - it is on my bucket list. Are they pretty common there? Are they seasonal?

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