Mulgumpin (Moreton Island) is one of the best islands near Brisbane and a fantastic getaway to leave the city behind. It is incredible to have such a natural and exotic place accessible for a day trip. I have been there many times, mostly for snorkelling on the Tangalooma Wrecks. I finally decided to try scuba diving Tangalooma Wrecks. Is it worth it? Read on about this experience to make your own opinion.
Responsible travel tip: Did you know your sunscreen could harm the reef? The best way to protect your body from the sun is to cover it with long sleeves and pants. If you do have to use sunscreen, choose a mineral one (like zinc) and apply it at least 20 minutes before entering the water.
Scuba diving Tangalooma Wrecks vs snorkelling
I always prefer scuba diving rather than snorkelling. Not only do I find it easier and calmer, but it also offers more opportunities to see things from very close and to explore further down. However, I do admit that some places are as good for snorkelling as for scuba diving especially because diving requires more effort with all the equipment and the organisation, and I won’t even talk about the budget difference.
I always thought scuba diving Tangalooma Wrecks wouldn’t add a lot compared to snorkelling. But I was wrong.
It is not only about the abundance of friendly fish that you will also meet when you snorkel. Tangalooma wrecks are very fun to explore. I particularly liked the offshore side of the wrecks, which we often skip when snorkelling as it’s deeper and more exposed to the current. More corals cover this part of the wreck than on the other side, and it looks fantastic when you look up. Plus, we got the opportunity to see from close the details of the Tangalooma Wrecks, like the huge propellers and rudders.
Your underwater photos don’t look that good? Check out these beginner tips for underwater photography!
Scuba diving Tangalooma Wrecks vs other Moreton Island scuba diving sites
Tangalooma Wrecks is not Moreton Island’s best dive site, but it’s an easy one to access if you have your own equipment.
There are many better sites for scuba diving Australia’s East Coast than Tangalooma Wrecks, even near Brisbane for a day trip or a scuba diving weekend trip. But good shore dives are rarer and can be an excellent opportunity for a quick dive while non-divers in the group enjoy other activities.
Tangalooma Wrecks is a shore dive, and the wrecks cannot be easier to find. The car ferry brings you a few metres away from the wrecks, and there’s a resort nearby that has a dive shop. You can go for a weekend or day trip to Moreton Island and easily add scuba diving to your list of activities. There are many other things to do on Moreton Island, especially if you stay at the resort*.
However, if you are exclusively seeking a scuba diving experience on Moreton Island, I recommend having a look at other scuba diving sites such as the very reputed Flinders Reef, and Cherubs Cave. A few dive shops from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast organise trips there.
The neighbour island, Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island), also offers fantastic dives all year round. The dive shop on the island organises trips every day, and you often need to book in advance for the weekend.
Important things to know for scuba diving at Tangalooma Wrecks
Are you covered for scuba diving by your travel insurance? It’s worth double-checking. If not, I recommend DAN (Divers Alert Network) for those who dive regularly. WorldNomads* and Covermore* also make it easy to add adventurous activities like scuba diving to your plan.
Tangalooma Wrecks are accessible to Open Water certified scuba divers. Our maximum depth was 12.5 metres and our average depth was around 7 metres.
The ships were sunk on purpose to create a shelter for smaller boats. There are 15 wrecks in a line that you can explore one after the other. You can dive from a boat or swim to the wreck as they’re about 100 metres from the shore. Navigation isn’t complicated, and visibility is often quite good. However, the boat traffic is often heavy during weekends and boats go between the beach and the wrecks.
There are often strong currents at the wrecks. It is recommended to dive at slack tide. And even at slack tide, we had to plan a drift dive. Scuba divers who aren’t comfortable in current will be safer exploring the site with an experienced guide.
A standard rule is not to touch the wrecks: it’s sharp, and you could easily hurt yourself. Plus, there may be an animal you didn’t see which can be dangerous for you too.
How to organise a trip for scuba diving Tangalooma Wrecks
There are many ways to organise a trip for scuba diving Tangalooma Wrecks.
We dived Tangalooma Wrecks as part of a sailing trip around Moreton Bay while the rest of the crew was snorkelling. We brought all the scuba diving gear with us from Brisbane to Moreton Island. It was a fantastic break from the sailing. Although it’s the best way from my point of view, it’s not the easiest to organise!
If you feel confident enough to dive as a buddy pair by yourselves and you have your equipment, book a ferry from Brisbane to Moreton Island (a return trip can cost as little as $28). You will disembark a few metres away from the Tangalooma Wrecks. Another option may be to hire the equipment from Tangalooma resort dive shop ($99) but call before to confirm this is possible. If you’re not staying at the resort, you’ll need to obtain a free casual visitor day pass to go to the dive shop. Every time we’ve tried, they would only offer to join a tour and they even suspended the visitor day pass.
If you’re not confident about diving by yourselves, the dive shop offers guided tours ($229 with equipment). For a guided dive, the easiest (and maybe only) way is to book your Tangalooma Dive with Adventure Moreton Island ($229, ferry from Brisbane included). You’ll get from Brisbane to Moreton Island via the Tangalooma Ferry and use Tangalooma resort dive shop Tangatours to organise your dive. Plus, you’ll have access to other equipment from the resort for the rest of your time on the island.
Have you tried scuba diving Tangalooma Wrecks on Moreton Island? Share your experience in the comments below.
Where to stay on Moreton Island to scuba dive Tangalooma Wrecks?
If you are staying in Brisbane, you can go to Moreton Island as a day trip just for scuba diving Tangalooma Wrecks. But I’d recommend staying for more activities.
If you decide to explore the island as a pedestrian, you’ll have two options for the night:
- The Wreck Camping Area, just in front of Tangalooma Wrecks and not far from where the main ferries will drop you. It’s also within walking distance from the resort if you plan to hire gear from the dive shop.
- Tangalooma Island Resort* or Beach Front Villas* that you can conveniently reach with their catamaran from Brisbane
Taking a 4WD to Moreton Island? Check out this weekend itinerary!
Where are Tangalooma Wrecks?
Tangalooma Wrecks are located on the western side of Moreton Island, in Queensland (Australia). They’re in front of The Wrecks Camping Area. Although the parts above water were dramatically reduced a few years ago, they are easily visible, and you cannot miss them.
It takes about 1h15 to reach Moreton Island by ferry boat from Brisbane.
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