• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

Australia’s Top Shipwreck Dives of all Time

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Tourism Australia recently sent us their newsletter and we thought this was a great blog to share.  Queensland may be home to the Great Barrier Reef, but it’s also home to some of Australia’s most interesting diving sites based around some of the greatest shipwrecks in history from warships to trawlers. Read on to find out the must dives of Australia:-

 

 1.  SS Yongala

Considered one of the world’s top dive sites, the SS Yongala shipwreck is situated 12 nautical miles off Alva Beach near Ayr. This ship sank in 1911, but it was more than half a century before she was discovered. You’ll find giant groupers and schools of trevally and cobia here, as well as sea snakes and turtles.

2.  Tangalooma Wrecks

Situated within swimming distance off Brisbane’s MoretonIsland are the rusty wrecks of 15 ships that were deliberately sunk to create a break wall for small boats, as well as provide the perfect spot for divers and snorkellers. You’ll find wobbegongs, trevally, kingfish yellowtail and tropical fish at the Tangalooma Wrecks which have been here since 1963.

 

Picture courtesy of Tourism Australia

Picture courtesy of Tourism Australia

 

3.  HMAS Brisbane

Despite its name, the HMAS Brisbane is not situated off the Queensland capital, but on the SunshineCoast between Maroochydore and Mooloolaba. Operating between 1967 and 2001, this former warship was sunk in 2005 and now provides the ideal artificial reef for divers with a huge array of sea life to discover in and around the wreck.

4.  The Lady Bowen

This elegant old lady was built in Glasgow in 1864 and arrived in Australia four months later, but met her fate when she crashed into Kennedy Shoal near DunkIsland in 1894. These days, The Lady Bowen is home to giant groupers, sea snakes, sharks, rays, lionfish and turtles at this dive site.

5.  St   Paul

Divers consider this wreck off MoretonIsland as one of the most challenging, as it sits in an exposed area of sea with no decompression diving. But this wreck carries a tragic history worth exploring. Eighteen people died when it mysteriously hit Smiths Rock back in 1914, during good sailing conditions.

6.  RMS Quetta

Considered one of Australia’s greatest marine tragedies, 133 people died when the RMS Quetta sank in 1899, after striking a coral mount near the Adolphus Channel in the Torres   StraitIslands. Cod, trout, angel fish and barracuda are common here.

The AllSoulsQuettaMemorialChurch on Thursday Island was built in memory of the ship.

7.  Severance

For divers looking for a more intact site, head to LadyElliottIsland in the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Just offshore here, you can explore the remnants of the Severance, a two-masted sailing boat that sunk in 1998. So new is this wreck, remnants of the sails can be seen, and you’ll likely encounter a moray eel here.

8.  The Cremer

Situated just 10 metres offshore from KeswickIsland, off Mackay, The Cremer is considered a perfect dive, thanks to its shelter from wind and current. This large steamship sank in 1945 and is now home to giant Maori wrasse fish.

9.  The Singapore

Another treasure of the warm water off of KeswickIsland is The Singapore, which sunk in the late 1800s after striking a large rock just offshore. Considered a more challenging dive than The Cremer, it sits in some 25 metres of water and is home to pelagic fish, sharks and rays.

10. The Llewellyn

Closer to Mackay, you’ll find the wreck of the Llewellyn, which is ideal for novice divers. This coastal steamer mysteriously disappeared in heavy winds in 1919 between Rockhampton and Bowen and was only located in 1997.

11. Cetacea

Off the Southern Great Barrier Reef coastline of Seventeen Seventy you’ll find the remnants of the Cetacea, a 13-metre trawler which sank in 1992. This lady of the ocean sits 32 metres underwater on a sandy bottom, attracting a variety of marine life such as rays, grouper, tuna and trevally.

12. Barcoola

Also around the same area as the Cetacea lays the wreckage of the Barcoola, sunk in 1994. Some believe this is the stand-out dive – she’s in 41 metres of water and home to groupers, cod, kingfish and giant cobia. There are often large rays, bull sharks, and bronze whalers here, too.

13.  Karma

The trawler met her karma in 2003 and now sits upright in 26 metres of water, again off the Southern Great Barrier Reef coastline. This is considered an accessible dive for both open water and advanced divers, and is home to thousands of fish and other marine life.

 

If you would like to find out more or incorporate one or more of these dives into your own bespoke, tailor made holiday then please give us a call on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

 

 

 

The Great Barrier Reef – The ‘Great Eight’

Posted on:
Posted by:

Amanda Skingle

 

Picture Credit Lady Elliott Island Eco Resort

Picture Credit Lady Elliott Island Eco Resort

Africa has the ‘Big Five’…The Great Barrier Reef has the ‘Great Eight’

Here you will find eight iconic residents of this fantastic underwater eco-system which until you have seen them all, really means you haven’t seen the Great Barrier Reef at all.

Whales, Manta Rays, Clown Fish, Turtles, Potato Cod, Giant Clams, Maori Wrasse and of course Sharks.

The largest coral reef system in the world is their home. Some might migrate here, some might travel along its length and some stay in exactly the same place all of their lives.

They range in size from 18cms long right up to 18 metres long and are the ‘heroes’ of the reef.

To put it in perspective how wonderful diving the reef is you can spend about an hour in the water on an average snorkel or dive. That dive site changes with the tides, during daytime and night and throughout the seasons so what you see in one half of the day can be totally different in the other.

You could visit exactly the same site every day for a year and always see different things there….so if you think you’ve seen ALL OF the Great Barrier Reef…think again.

So, if you would love to dive off into another world to find the reefs great eight then let us help you make it part of your very own bespoke, tailor made holiday to Australia all you have to do is contact us on 01323 446550 email info@experienceholidays.co.uk or click on the contact us link on our home page.

Picture Credit Tourism & Events Queensland

Picture Credit Tourism & Events Queensland


Picture Credit Tourism & Events Queensland

Picture Credit Tourism & Events Queensland

Islands of Queensland

Posted on:
Posted by:

Amanda Skingle

 

Fraser Island  Picture courtesy of Tourism Australia

Fraser Island
Picture courtesy of Tourism Australia

 

Lady Elliot Island Picture Courtesy of Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort

Lady Elliot Island
Picture Courtesy of Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort

 

Green Island Picture courtesy of Tourism Australia

Green Island
Picture courtesy of Tourism Australia

Located on the east coast of Australia, Queensland is home to a huge number of beautiful, idyllic islands – some of which offer accommodation, making for a fantastic addition to any Australia holiday – time to relax, reflect or perhaps to explore the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. Here, we have mentioned just some of the islands to consider off the coast of Queensland.

Fraser Island

This is the largest sand island in the world, and is World Heritage listed. Access is by ferry from Hervey Bay, just a 3.5 hour drive north of Brisbane. With pristine beaches, lakes and rainforests growing in the sand, the island is best explored by small group four-wheel drive tours. There are no paved roads on the island but, rather uniquely, parts of the beach surrounding the island act as a ‘highway’ for the four wheel drive vehicles. Visit 75 Mile Beach, the Champagne Pools, Coloured Sands and Eli Creek. Between late July and early November whale watching cruises operate in search of humpback whales.

Whitsunday Islands

For many, the Whitsunday Islands bring to mind an image of a yacht sailing in crystal clear waters to beautiful white sandy beaches. Comprised of 74 islands, only a few of these offer accommodation, leaving many uninhabited and beautifully natural. Access is either by ferry from Airlie Beach on the mainland, or by flight into Hamilton Island with boat transfers from there. Hamilton Island, Hayman Island and Daydream Island are three of the key islands to consider for a stay. Alternatively, think about taking a multi-day cruise by yacht, tall ship or by motor boat. The southern part of the Great Barrier Reef can be visited from the Whitsundays by day trip.

Lady Elliot Island

This is the southernmost of the islands located within the Great Barrier Reef Marine National Park, and is a true coral cay. It is situated in a tidal lagoon, and one can simply walk into the ocean and begin snorkelling over the magnificent coral reef. You’ll also see abundant marine life and bird life. Access is by light aircraft (providing fantastic views of the reef on the approach) – the island is too remote for access by sea.

Heron Island

This island is another true coral cay, located right on the Great Barrier Reef – within the World Heritage Listed Marine National Park. It is perhaps best known as a significant nesting location for two turtle species – the Green Turtle and the Loggerhead Turtle. Viewing of the turtles during nesting and hatching is subject to strict guidelines, and generally begins in November. With beautifully white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, the snorkelling from here is fantastic. Access to Heron Island is by seaplane or by boat from Gladstone on the mainland.

Green Island 

This island is easily accessible from Cairns, located just forty five minutes away by boat. It can also be accessed by helicopter. It is one of the busier islands, and is in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Explore the reef by glass bottomed boat, or get up closer and snorkel or dive instead. Kayaking and windsurfing are readily available here as well as some walking tracks across the island.

Lizard Island

This island is located in the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef. The island itself is a national park covering over 1000 hectares and with 24 beaches. A stay here is very much an exclusive and luxury experience, with access only by private charter flight from Cairns. The island is eco-certified, not only providing a research station for the Great Barrier Reef, but also providing guests with an education through nature walks and presentations.

Whichever island (or islands) of Queensland you choose to visit, you can be assured of an unforgettable experience – almost certainly a highlight of your tailor-made Australia holiday.

Heron Island Turtle Picture Courtesy of Tourism Australia

Heron Island Turtle
Picture Courtesy of Tourism Australia

Visits to the Islands can easily be added to the beginning or end of your trip, but if you want to incorporate them part way through your itinerary, take a look at the links below for inspiration

Queensland By Rail

Southern Queensland

 

Cruise to Papua New Guinea and learn to take underwater photos

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

When planning your bespoke trip to Australia make sure you talk to us about your time in Perth. There is so much to do here with the Daintree Forest, Great Barrier Reef and Tablelands to explore. You should ensure you give yourself plenty of time to see all that this part of Australia has to offer. It is a holiday destination in its own right.

For those that want to make even more of their time here and to explore even further afield then the following could be added to your tailor made holiday. Join a 6 day adventure with North Star Cruises to Papua New Guinea.

Picture courtesy of True North

Picture courtesy of True North

You will fly from Cairns (flight costs included) to Alotau to join your North Star vessel and sail in to the South China Strait. Over the next few days you will explore the Louisiade Archipelago, one of the great island arcs of the South Pacific, nearly 400kms of islands and barrier reefs along the northern edge of the Coral Sea. You will meet the seafaring Dobu people and have the best diving, snorkelling and fishing to be found in Papua New Guinea.

Snorkel over the Japanese Zero wreck at Deboyne Island, swim with manta rays at Losai Island and drift snorkel with huge trevally fish at Nivani Pass. You will have the chance to explore the little islands and to meet the locals and enjoy amazing meals on shore and on board. Take to the air in the helicopter to fly over the Calvados Barrier Reef and again over Misima Island for stunning views of emerald green islands in a deep blue tropical sea.

Finally, on some of the cruises an award winning underwater photographer will be on board to give you tips and guidance on how to make your underwater photos the envy of friends.

Call us to ensure Perth and Papua New Guinea are part of your bespoke, tailor made Australian holiday on 01323 446550 or email: info@expereinceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of True North

Picture courtesy of True North

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