See the sunken ships of Tangalooma amidst this sapphire shore!
Nestled just off the coast of the magnificent Moreton Island is the famous Tangalooma Wreck. A cluster of fifteen sunken ships known as the Tangalooma Wrecks. It has become a world-renowned snorkelling and scuba diving site, with its perfect blend of the rusting ship vessels and the marine life which call it their home. But how exactly did this wreck come to be?
The Creation of the Tangalooma Wrecks
It is no mistake that fifteen vessels coincidentally marooned in a row in the shallow shores of Moreton Island, as it is, in fact, a completely man-made marine wonderland. The fifteen wrecks were deliberately sunk near the coast to form a break wall for small boats after local boat owners requested the construction of a harbour for safe anchorage.
The request was granted in 1963, and the 15 junk ships were buried in a sandbank off Moreton Island. These ships included old barges, dredges, and flatboats, with the huge structures creating a fantastic protected region for swimmers and smaller boats to enjoy. Moreton Island’s crystal-clear waters make the sunken ships an easily seen structure, transforming the ocean silhouette into this unique sight of both man mad structures and marine scenery.
How you can see the Ships
Snorkel the Region
Due to the permanence of the submerged ships, the entire landscape has become one with the reef. After years of slowly rusting, with moss, coral, and seaweed growing over sections, the entire underwater ship sections have become as much a part of the reef as the seafloor, providing for a perfect snorkelling site! The region offers depths of 2-10 meters and visibility up to 8 meters, letting visitors spot the amazing amount of marine life admits the rustling ships. Get up close and personal with the incredible wildlife, such as an array of colourful fish, ancient sea turtles, and even grassing sea dugongs.
Boat or Kayak Out
If you aren’t much of a swimmer, you can simply cruise out on a boat or kayak to see the wrecks up close! The big ship vessels slowly cruise past this line of ships, with the professional cruise describing the history and details about each vessel. There is even sunset and night boat rides to see the nightlife of the region. Kayaking can offer you a little bit more independence, letting you glide around the wrecks easily and even hopping into the ocean if you get tempted!
Sea Scooter the Sea Floor
For one of Moreton Island’s truly unforgettable experiences, hop on their sea scooter. An underwater contraption that propels you through the water so you can see the marine life up close and personal without any effort.
See the Bird’s Eye View via Helicopter
Soar above the sea and clouds on one of the island’s helicopter flights! Guaranteeing you epic views of the iconic Tangalooma Wrecks from above, seeing all fifteen vessels all at once as they blend with the aqua and sapphire ocean waters.
Snorkeling on Moreton Island
Found 25 kilometres off the coast of Brisbane, Moreton Island boasts an array of fascinating offshore reefs peppered with shipwrecks and colourful marine life just waiting to be explored. Snorkelling Moreton Island is one of the most popular ways to discover everything it has to offer, seeing the picturesque underwater scenes that can be explored all year around.
About the Reefs
The Curtin Artificial Reef and the Tangalooma Wrecks are both man-made diving sites that are set close to the shore and offer a great introduction to the expansive marine life. Elsewhere, you can discover Flinders Reef, the only true coral reef near Brisbane that can be reached by boat, and the area surrounding Smiths Rock, which has sunk numerous ships over the last couple of centuries. It is the clear waters that make Moreton Island a exceptional diving spot for scuba divers and snorkelers.
Wildlife in the Reefs
Moreton Island is a hot spot for wildlife, with both the shallow shores and deeper ocean region crammed full with unique marine flora and fauna. If snorkelling between November and February, both Green and Loggerhead Turtles can be seen both swimming in the shores and laying eggs on the beaches of Moreton Island. You can even swim with dolphins and dugongs, even glimpsing an occasional Humpback Whale from time to time.
The Wrecks of Moreton Island
The shipwrecks off the coast of Smiths Rock make for a popular diving site for keen underwater enthusiasts. Here, you can glide amongst the colourful marine life, including fascinating coral formations and a tropical selection of fish.
The Wrecks themselves are set beneath 12 meters of clear water, and are easily accessible by swimming from the beach.
Found near the township of Bulwer, there is a small artificial reef that sports an old car that was dumped off the back of a barge in the 80s. “The Bus”, as it’s known, is heavily encrusted and forms the ideal habitat for a range of fish, including morays, wobbegong, red emperor, and other smaller species of fish.
Further down the coast, you can spot the remains of a VW Beetle that lives underwater. You can swim across the sand bars to get between the two wrecks, exploring the fascinating selection of marine life as you go.
The Bulwer Wrecks are some of the most popular wrecks to be explored off the island. Here, there are three sunken ships, two of which emerge from the beach. Even when the water on this part of the island is shallow, you can still discover colourful marine life, including wobbegongs, bream, whiting, and a whole host of tropical fish species.
Snorkeling around Moreton Island is an incredibly popular activity thanks to its numerous wrecks and its eclectic collection of marine life. Whether you’re looking to learn more about the shipping history of the region or simply want to experience the serene underwater world, taking a snorkelling trip is the perfect introduction.
And what else…
Moreton Island is famed for its shipwrecks and diving, but it is also a full blown adventure paradise worthy of any nature lover’s attention! Whether you’re snorkelling the above wrecks, feeding dolphins at sunset, sand tobogganing or parasailing along the shoreline, Moreton Island has managed to jampack itself with plenty of adrenaline-pumping adventure.
Make absolutely sure you do the following when on the fabulous Moreton Island:
Moreton Island is a giant sand island, so what can you expect to do on an island that consists mostly of sand? Sand tobogganing, duh! The sand dunes are huge and are perfect for reaching top speeds of up to 60km/h when flying down their faces, allowing that tropical wind to fly by as you go!
Moreton Island is famous for many things, and one of those most popular things is its awesome resident dolphin crew that come swimming up to Tangalooma Resort each night for a hassle-free feed! Guests at Tangalooma can feed the dolphins for free and everyone else can join the experience as part of a Dolphin Feeding package with the Tangalooma Flyer.
Anywhere it’s hot, tropical and sublimely beautiful is going to be pretty good for parasailing right? Right! Moreton Island is the perfect place for a spot of parasailing, with stunning views along its windswept shoreline and across the gorgeous island beyond.
Who knows, you might even be able to spot a whale or two frolicking in the waters below – it’s all part of the joys of visiting Moreton Island!
Explore the Moreton Island Tours from Brisbane!
Destination: Brisbane and Gold Coast
Duration: 1 Day
Tour type: Day Tour