Tangalooma Wrecks, Moreton Island

Half submerged off the coast of Moreton Island is a cluster of fifteen marooned ships, known as the iconic Tangalooma Wrecks. But these wrecks have one very unique feature…

Throughout the history of sea travel, there have been hundreds of ships that have met their doom in the treacherous waters of the ocean, sinking down into their watery graves. The Tangalooma Wrecks, however, are different. Why is that you may ask? Well, their sinking was deliberate.

History of Tangalooma Wrecks

Back in the 60s, a large group of locals requested a harbour to be built along the coast, for small boats to dwell in. The government half-heartedly came through on that promise and decided to sink fifteen junk ships along the sandbank to form a break wall and provide a safe anchorage for the boats instead. Soon, however, they became a famous attraction for Moreton Island. With the ocean’s crystal-clear waters, you can easily see the rusted ships peaking above the waters, with the rest of their carcasses submerged in the green-blue waters. These ships have become a popular attraction in Moreton Island, drawing tourists from far and wide to snorkel in these fascinating wrecks. The submerged sections have even become a part of the reef, with corals making their homes here and colourful fish swimming in and out of the vessels. Interestingly, the word ‘Tangalooma’ translates as ‘where fish gather’.

15 boats were sunk off the shore of Moreton Island from the 1960s to the 1980s with one of the ships; the Maryborough, dating from 1885. Each of the wrecks are named which gives locals the feeling of a special connection to the wreck site. The depth of the water ranges from 16-27 metres however some of the wrecks are only about 12 metres down.

How You Can See the Tangalooma Wrecks

  • Snorkel

    By far the most popular way to see the wrecks is to snorkel around them. The dramatic contrast of rusting metal and thriving marine wildlife has made the Tangalooma Wrecks one of the must-see snorkel sites in the country. Get up close and personal with the vibrant tropical fish and ancient sea turtles in this veritable underwater playground.

  • Boat or Kayak

    If you aren’t big on snorkelling, then taking a boat or kayak out to the area is the next best thing. Hire a kayak for the day to spot the underwater world from above, gliding around the wrecks easily. Or, join a bigger vessel on the after-dark wrecks tour. These sunset and night boats illuminate the sea life, attracting the fish by way of LED lights which draws them to the boat. See these creatures through a special viewing chamber, giving you a unique look into the ocean’s nightlife.

  • Sea Scooter

    For an unforgettable experience, try out the sea scooter! These contraptions let you glide through the water with no effort needed. Simply grab on to the handles and let it propel you along! With both adult and child sizes available, anyone can have a go. See the countless fish and bright coloured corals in style with a sea scooter!

  • Helicopter

    If you think the view from below is awe-inspiring, then you need to see the boats from overhead! Climb aboard a helicopter for a scenic flight over the island, coastline and shipwrecks, and enjoy jaw-dropping views of Moreton Island and the Tangalooma Wrecks in all their submerged glory.

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