Subsea attraction

The world’s first buoyant reef just minutes from shore features nine suspended underwater sculptures, towering almost 22 metres above the sea floor, moving in the currents like giant kelp.

31 August 2022


The Gold Coast’s newest attraction, Wonder Reef is now opened to divers. In June, Mayor Tom Tate and Deputy Premier, Steven Miles did the honours with an underwater ribbon cutting to mark the occasion.

The world-class $5-million dive attraction for experienced divers is an innovative fusion of art, science and engineering design and has attracted hundreds of different marine life species in just a few short months.

Tate said the experience was out of this world and he can see why this project has divers from all corners of the globe excited.

“It’s just an amazing experience! The marine life is as good as what you’ll see at any other dive site. The coral is thriving, and the sculptures are just mesmerising,” Tate said.

“Renewing our tourism products and attractions is vital if we want to keep our title as Australia’s tourism capital – and believe me this is something special.

“This unique site is already attracting global publicity and Destination GC is leveraging that publicity with a campaign to draw in more tourists who will want to experience Wonder Reef.”


Inspired by the concept of a hot air balloon rising in the sky, nine reef sculptures become larger towards the surface, like oxygen bubbles rising in the ocean.

Wonder Reef has been designed to attract and sustain a rich diversity of marine life and withstand cyclonic conditions, yet appear light, buoyant and floating in the ocean.

Over time, complex marine communities will take centre stage, creating a hanging garden for divers to explore and admire.

The world-first buoyant design is the outcome of collaboration between global reef experts Subcon Blue Solutions, large scale sculptural artist Daniel Templeman and the City of Gold Coast, with specialist input from around the world.

The project is a joint initiative between City of Gold Coast and the Queensland Government.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Steven Miles said the $2.5 million in funding comes from the Queensland Government’s $25 million Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

“Queensland’s diving spots are up there with the best in the world,” Miles said. “I’ve seen this spectacular dive site firsthand and the world is in for a treat when it officially opens.

“I want to thank the Gold Coast City Council for working with the Queensland Government on this project.”

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Queensland Government is focused on helping tourism destinations to build back better after COVID.

“The Palaszczuk Government has backed the Gold Coast’s vision of joining the world’s bucket list of top dive experiences with a $2.5 million investment in Wonder Reef,” Hinchliffe said.

“As a new visitor experience on the Gold Coast, Wonder Reef’s delivery is perfectly timed for rebuilding international tourism to Queensland.”

Member for Gaven and Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said Wonder Reef was a wonderful addition to Gold Coast tourism.

“Wonder Reef builds on our trademark for innovative tourism experiences that make the Gold Coast Australia’s favourite holiday destination,” Scanlon said.

“This opens up an entirely new world of Gold Coast experiences that confirms our city’s place on Queensland’s global diving map.”

Coral was planted at the site in late 2021 and has created a colourful experience on the reef where locals and tourists can dive to a depth of 30 metres – all within a 10-minute boat trip from the Gold Coast Seaway.

Wonder Reef has been created with the natural environment in mind and will inspire a greater appreciation of the environment as it evolves into a significant new marine habitat.

Regular dive tours will be operated by Gold Coast Dive Adventures and Queensland Scuba Diving and experienced divers with their own boat and dive equipment are able to book a public mooring.


Fast facts

    • Reef structures weigh more than 846 tonnes (in air).
    • Each reef foundation weighs 72 tonnes, including almost 66 tonnes of concrete.
    • About 1 tonne of chain, shackles and swivels connects each floating flute to a foundation reef.
    • More than 144 tonnes of steel, sourced from Port Kembla, has been used to create the reef structures.
    • Structures include about 298 cubic metres of earth-friendly concrete, weighing 702 tonnes.


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