Gold Coast’s new Wonder Reef attracts commercial dive operator

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Gold Coast diver Ian Banks says he’s surprised more people aren’t visiting the tourist town’s new $5million Wonder Reef.

Mr Banks, who runs Diving the Gold Coast, said the new off-shore site was designed for three commercial operators and a private boat to dive the submerged floating reef.

“There are three commercial moorings and at this point there is only one operator operating them,” he said.

“When the visibility is great, everyone likes it.

“Naturally, when the visibility is not so good, it is not so appreciated.”

Mr Banks said that although divers did not seem to be rushing to the reef yet, there were many species of fish there.

“The other day I was there and I counted 64 species,” he said.

“When we first started recording, we probably saw about 10 species.

The dive site is 2.5 kilometers east of Main Beach and features nine floating reef streamers, submerged seven meters below the surface.

The Gold Coast City Council website describes Wonder Reef as “a world-class diving attraction”.

Wonder Reef is located 2.5 kilometers off the Gold Coast.(Provided: Gold Coast City Council )

Commercial operators Queensland Scuba Diving Company and Gold Coast Dive Adventurers have the right to use the commercial anchorages.

A spokesman for the Queensland Scuba Diving Company said the company is not currently diving on site and instead sending customers off-shore with Gold Coast Dive Adventures, so they can focus on coastal diving.

Gold Coast Dive Adventures co-owner Nicole Cottrell said their boat was often full, but they hadn’t seen many independent divers exploring the artificial reef.

“There are definitely people using the private anchorage,” she said.

“Not in large numbers yet, but we believe it will increase.”

Ms Cottrell said the site exceeded their expectations.

“The amount of marine life that was attracted came as a shock to all of us,” she said.

Divers swim near an artificial reef underwater and cut a ribbon
Wonder Reef was officially opened with an underwater ribbon cutting.(Supplied: City of Gold Coast)

“I think the local dive community loves it because it adds another site to an already extensive array of sites we have around the Gold Coast.”

She said there are over 30 dive sites on the Gold Coast and Wonder Reef is fast becoming a draw card for interstate and international divers.

“I think it’s going to be one of the gems, I think we have a lot,” she said.

Gold Coast City Council, in a statement, had received an “overwhelming” response to Wonder Reef.

A spokesperson said around 20% of the 225 divers received between June 8 and mid-August were international visitors, including from the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany and the UK .

“Wonder Reef dive trips are regularly booked during peak hours, including weekends and holidays,” the spokesperson said.

The statement also said 23 people have used the public anchorage since June 8.

attractive future

Mr Banks, who also advised Gold Coast City Council during the planning process for Wonder Reef, said the site would attract diving tourists.

“It’s not such a problem because fish life builds itself,” he said.

“Marine growth changes, it turns into different species that grow on structures, so it’s all about giving everything a chance to settle properly.”

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