Kids Dive Right into Tangalooma
How do you get your kids to share your love of diving? Show them what all the fuss is about. Moreton Island, a short boat ride from Brisbane in Queensland Australia, is the third-largest sand island in the world and offers a gentle yet fascinating introduction to life below the waterline. This site can also be a safe, fun location to get some practice in before heading north to the reef.
Before they even get wet, kids can learn about the ocean and its creatures from the marine biologists at the Tangalooma Marine Education and Conservation Centre. Eco Kids activities combine fun and education and include collecting plankton to study under a microscope and examining the bones and teeth of dolphins, dugongs, and sharks to discover how they live and feed.
With their appetites whetted – pardon the pun – the kids will want to join you to explore the Tangalooma Wrecks, an artificial reef on the landward side of Moreton Island. Here, fifteen deliberately sunk vessels lie on a sandbank about 500 meters off the beach forming a break wall for small boats and a wonderful wreck dive. Just a short swim from the shore and offering good diving in depths from 2-10 meters, the reef is perfect for divers or snorkelers who are just starting out, and can be dived as a drift dive or on a slack tide.
The Tangalooma Wreck’s first vessel was sunk in 1963 and the scuttling of decommissioned dredges and barges continued until 1984. Even from the beach, the rusty, twisted metal and funnels poking out of the water offer an intriguing picture. Up close, even the biggest kid will be mesmerized by the array of marine life who call the Tangalooma Wrecks home. Despite the shallow water, you’re likely to encounter wobbegongs, trevally, kingfish, yellowtail and plenty of tropical fish among the soft corals and seaweed.
Naturally, with such an abundance of marine life, it pays to be on the lookout for stingers, like fire coral or stinging hydra which are capable of dishing out a painful rash. And where possible, keep feet covered as stonefish can be hard to spot and have a nasty sting if stepped on. Also, as the area is a popular fishing spot, a dive knife is essential in case any family members get tangled in old fishing line.
Time for a Holiday
If you’re keen to combine your family’s underwater adventure with a great getaway, Moreton Island’s Tangalooma Island Resort offers activities and accommodation options for all tastes and budgets.
Formerly a shore-based whaling station, the resort is now dedicated to appreciating and conserving marine life complete with a Marine Education and Conservation Centre and wild dolphin feedings. Each evening resort guests are able to wade into the shallow water to hand feed wild dolphins – a wonderful opportunity for children to interact with nature and acquire a life long love of the ocean and its inhabitants.