Crown Lands

HMAS Adelaide site re-opens to divers

Media release | 5 September 2022

Divers can once again visit the HMAS Adelaide dive site after the NSW Government invested $114,545 to make the site safe and undertake an expert safety review to approve its re-opening following impacts from large ocean swells.

Safety works included:

  • Cutting free sections of the superstructure that had cracked and were moving with the current and threatening to fall.
  • Clearing obstructions to ensure all rooms inside the wreck had separate entry and exit points.
  • Modifying openings to ensure flushing of sediment that had accumulated from this year’s flood events to make the site safer for divers.

Minister for Lands and Water Kevin Anderson said the site was closed to diving after several East Coast lows brought swells over five metres.

“This globally-significant artificial reef attracts thousands of divers each year injecting spending into the region to support local shops, cafes, dive operators and other businesses, so it’s great to have it reopened to support local tourism,” Mr Anderson said.

“While many of the world’s top dive sites are hours offshore, HMAS Adelaide is a five-minute boat ride from Terrigal, providing an easily accessible underwater experience that’s great for tourists and locals to enjoy.”

Department of Planning and Environment – Crown Lands Area Manager for the Hunter Rob Micheli said Crown Lands had worked with its contractors to re-open the site for divers as quickly as possible.

“The wreck is ideal for marine life as it has large surface areas with many nooks and crannies covered in marine growth, and there’s even an unusual pink soft coral which looks like a cauliflower and is home to shrimp and other species,” Mr Micheli said.

The NSW Government created a Crown reserve for the wreck after HMAS Adelaide was scuttled 1.8 kilometres off Avoca Beach in 2011. It has since developed into a rich haven of marine life including iconic blue groper, giant Australian cuttlefish and wobbegong sharks.

Dive Masters are recommended to take precautions when taking divers near the damaged accommodation structure. All dive permits for the wreck must be obtained from local dive operators and fishing activities above the wreck are prohibited.

For more details, see: Crown lands recreational use.

Diving on HMAS Adelaide - Sydney Dive Charters
Diving on HMAS Adelaide. Credit: Sydney Dive Charters