The ex-HMAS Tobruk dive wreck will be featured on television on Queensland Weekender this Saturday 30 March at 5.30pm on Channel 7 Queensland.
Australia’s newest dive attraction, the ex-HMAS Tobruk was scuttled just off the coast of Bundaberg in mid-2018 and opened to divers in February 2019.
The major project was a partnership between the Queensland Government, Bundaberg and Fraser Coast Regional Councils to create an artificial reef and world-class dive site in the Wide Bay region.
Tobruk dive tours
Only four commercial dive tours are available to the wreck, with two departing Bundaberg – the Tobruk Dive Experience, by the Lady Musgrave Experience team, and Bundaberg Aqua Scuba.
Divers from across Australia have been travelling to Bundaberg to take a tour to the wreck, including dive clubs and ex-armed forces personnel who served or were transported on the vessel.
The Queensland Weekender crew, including Victoria Cross for Australia recipient Ben Roberts-Smith, were some of the first divers to experience the wreck when they were hosted by the Tobruk Dive Experience in early March.
“Having Queensland Weekender covering the ex-HMAS Tobruk is really significant to the Bundaberg region, as it showcases not just Australia’s newest dive wreck but also that Bundaberg is a key destination for world class dive experiences,” general manager of Bundaberg Tourism Katherine Reid said.
“The international dive market is a very lucrative one and given Bundaberg’s proximity to both the ex-HMAS Tobruk dive and the Southern Great Barrier Reef, we are expecting to see an influx of travellers to our region who are attracted by the fact that they can dive two bucket list locations within 24 hours of each other.”
Brett Lakey, owner of the Tobruk Dive Experience and Lady Musgrave Experience, said everyone who had dived the Tobruk were taken by surprise by the amount of marine life that has been attracted to the new ecosystem already.
“It’s far more than expected at this point in the wreck’s life – we’ve spotted turtles, manta rays, groupers, cod and Spanish mackerel already, and we can’t wait to hear and possibly see the whales during the annual migration from May to November,” he said.
“Bundaberg is increasingly coming to the world’s attention as the closest point to Brisbane you can access the Great Barrier Reef, and with the Tobruk as an added bonus, I’m really positive about the future of the tourism industry in Bundaberg.”
As an ex-landing ship heavy, the ex-HMAS Tobruk is more light and open than standard wreck dives and, uniquely, certified wreck divers can swim over 100 metres in one direction inside the ship.
Also of great interest is that as the shallowest part of the wreck just 10.9 metres underwater, access is available to certified open water divers, as well as offering lower level explorations for more advanced divers to a depth of 30 metres.
A significant marketing campaign is being undertaken thanks for $1million in funding provided by the state government in late 2018.
Tourism and Events Queensland is currently working with Bundaberg Tourism, Fraser Coast Tourism & Events, Dive Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) to create and distribute content which communicates Queensland's world-class dive experiences along the coast, including the state's newest dive site – ex-HMAS Tobruk.
Activity includes two strategic content partnerships as well as attendance at five dive expos throughout 2019 to promote diving in Queensland.