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Gold Coast Wonder Reef: a floating fusion of art, science and engineering

by Riviera Australia 28 Apr 2023 11:23 UTC
Wonder Reef, the stunning new attraction on Queensland's Gold Coast, is the perfect adventure playground for Riviera owners © Destination Gold Coast

Giant Queensland grouper, painted crayfish, octopus and lionfish, are among the new residents happily making themselves at home at Wonder Reef, mere months after the Gold Coast's new artificial reef was opened to the public last year.

Wonder Reef is the latest and most exciting marine attraction for Gold Coast Riviera owners, and owners passing through, to discover the area's subtropical marine life. Indeed, it's little wonder the city council called on another Gold Coast icon, a Riviera, to ferry some of the first divers out to the reef. And what better Riviera for the task than a 505 SUV, with its expansive all-water sports cockpit and large boarding platform, ideal to dive from.

Wonder Reef is located just over 1nm east from Main Beach and around 10 minutes run from the Seaway on Queensland's Gold Coast. Watch here as the Riviera 505 SUV ferries divers out to explore the glorious reef in celebration of its official opening. Video credit: Destination Gold Coast

The reef itself is a world first; a floating fusion of art, science and engineering - described by the city's Mayor Tom Tate as an underwater theme park. Wonder Reef is formed by nine 22-metre tall spiral floating flutes, tethered to the ocean floor at 32 metres. As unique as the city's skyline, it was designed by reef experts Subcon Blue Solutions and renowned Queensland artist Daniel Templeman, who was inspired by rising hot air balloons. Held fast to the seafloor by nine 75-tonne foundations, Wonder Reef is designed to withstand the harsh marine environment including 18-plus metre waves.

Located just over 1nm east from Main Beach, and around 10 minutes run from the Seaway, the dive site is meant to lure more than marine life with thousands of divers expected to splash in. The floating flutes hang at depths between 8m and 20m, suitable for divers with varying levels of experience, with the anchor structures at 30m and suitable for advanced divers.

Wonder Reef has been purposely designed to attract and sustain a range of marine life; it creates 32,000sqm of habitat. Coral fragments from six species, collected from local established reefs, were carefully transplanted onto the flutes to prompt coral cover and establish a diverse ecosystem. The first to be naturally attracted have been algae, crustaceans and barnacles. Swim-throughs provide refuge for marine life including Indian scad bait fish, giant gold-spotted rock cod and sequined mulloway. In time, plate corals will extend from these swaying reefs, providing even more food and shelter for marine life. A resting platform at the deepest part provides space for selfies - but watch for the photo bombing grouper! Plus, whale season from July to November offers the chance of an entertaining surface interval between dives.

This multi-million-dollar world class dive site is calling for Riviera owners to explore. A number of commercial and public moorings are available.

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