Dive HMAS Adelaide

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Dive HMAS Adelaide: Explore Australia's Best Dive Site

Imagine plunging into the depths of the ocean to explore a piece of history, a former Australian naval warship transformed into a breathtaking underwater playground. Welcome to the dive HMAS Adelaide, a one-of-a-kind artificial dive reef that has captured the hearts of divers from around the world. Ready to embark on an unforgettable underwater adventure? 

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Discover the Adelaide

The HMAS Adelaide in all her glory

The HMAS Adelaide holds an esteemed place in Australian naval history. Commissioned by the Royal Australian Navy in 1980, this magnificent vessel served in various operations, including the first Gulf War and peacekeeping missions in East Timor. After its decommissioning, the Ex HMAS Adelaide was given a new lease on life as an artificial reef and deep dive site, providing a thrilling experience for divers and a sanctuary for marine life.

Great care was taken during the HMAS Adelaide’s scuttling process to prioritize safety and environmental friendliness. Stripped, cleaned, and made dive-ready, the ship was carefully sunk off the coast of New South Wales in 2011, creating a unique underwater world for divers to explore.

The Scuttling Process

Sinking the Adelaide didn’t happen without overcoming several challenges. Legal battles and environmental concerns had to be addressed before the ship could be converted into an artificial reef. Ultimately, the tribunal reached a unanimous decision, acknowledging the benefits of the artificial reef for the community and marine life.

The ship underwent a meticulous preparation process before scuttling, with the safety of divers and marine environment at the forefront. Shipping plugs and auxiliary booster cans were removed to guarantee successful detonation, and the ship was meticulously cleaned to prevent the leakage of hazardous materials. The result is a safe and accessible wreck dive site, teeming with life and history.

Environmental Benefits

Artificial reefs, such as the Ex HMAS Adelaide, present significant environmental benefits. They:

  • Provide a habitat for a variety of marine species

  • Enhance biodiversity

  • Support fisheries

  • Contribute to ecological rehabilitation.

Like other artificial reefs, the Ex HMAS Adelaide serves as an artificial dive reef, drawing a variety of marine organisms and fostering the development of vibrant hard and soft corals. As a thriving underwater ecosystem, the wreck plays a crucial role in supporting local marine life and offers divers a spectacular underwater experience.

Dive Site Details

The HMAS Adelaide about to be sunk for a dive site : note the holes

Located off Sydney’s Central Coast, near Terrigal, the Ex HMAS Adelaide dive site offers a unique diving adventure. Resting at a depth of 32 meters on a sandy bottom, the majority of the wreck’s fascinating features can be found above 20 meters. Divers can expect visibility ranging from 15 to 40+ meters, depending on the conditions, allowing for an incredible view of the wreck and its marine inhabitants.

Diving at the Ex HMAS Adelaide dive site is recognized as a challenging yet rewarding experience. With a temperature range of 15-24 degrees Celsius, divers can explore the wreck in comfort, marveling at the intricate details of this former naval warship.

Divrs deceding on at the Ex HMAS Adelaide dive site at tTerrigal

Location and Access

Off the coast of Sydney, Australia, near Terrigal and Avoca Beach on the Central Coast, you’ll find the Ex HMAS Adelaide. Access to the dive site is facilitated by boat from the dive center, making it easy to embark on your underwater adventure.

Its prime location offers easy access for divers from Sydney and nearby areas. With a drive time of approximately 1h30 from Sydney, the Ex HMAS Adelaide is an ideal destination for a day trip or weekend getaway.

Depth Range and Conditions

The Ex HMAS Adelaide offers a depth range of 14 meters, making it suitable for experienced divers who are up for a thrilling exploration. Visibility at the dive site typically ranges from 5m to 25m, depending on the prevailing conditions.

Diving conditions at the Ex HMAS Adelaide may vary due to factors such as weather, tides, and other environmental influences. It is recommended to seek local knowledge when planning dives in this area, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.

Diving the Ex HMAS Adelaide: A Guide for Advanced Divers

A diver navigating the Ex HMAS Adelaide wreck

Advanced divers with the necessary certification and experience are the ones privileged to experience diving at the Ex HMAS Adelaide. This ensures that divers are prepared to navigate the wreck safely and get the most out of their underwater adventure.

Navigating the ex HMAS Adelaide wreck requires skill and expertise. The Ex HMAS Adelaide features multiple entry and exit points, strategically placed to facilitate exploration. Divers can expect to observe:

  • The captain’s chair

  • Console

  • Chart table from the bridge

  • Helicopter hangars

  • Operations room

These provide a fascinating insight into the ship’s history.

Required Certifications and Experience

A scuba diver on the captains chair making a phone call from the  the wreck of the Adelaide, a dive site that requires dive HMAS Adelaide certification and experience.

Divers intending to explore the Adelaide must hold an Advanced Diver certification and have substantial diving experience. This ensures that divers are prepared to navigate the wreck safely and get the most out of their underwater adventure.

In addition to the Advanced Diver certification, it is recommended to have completed the PADI Wreck Diver Specialty course or have experience in planning, organizing, and making multiple wreck dives. This additional training and experience will help divers safely explore the HMAS Adelaide and appreciate its unique features.

Navigating the Wreck

Divers should be aware of potential surges while exploring the Ex HMAS Adelaide. This can affect visibility and make navigating the wreck more challenging.

To safely explore the wreck, divers should familiarize themselves with the layout of the Ex HMAS Adelaide. Access holes have been cut parallel to each other on either side of the hull, allowing for easy ingress and egress in all areas of the ship. By understanding the layout and paying attention to safety guidelines, divers can enjoy a thrilling and unforgettable exploration of this historic vessel.

Marine Life Encounters

Beyond being a historical site, the Ex HMAS Adelaide is a bustling underwater ecosystem rich in marine life. The artificial reef has attracted a diverse range of marine species, creating a rich and abundant habitat for divers to explore.

From big grey nurse sharks and Australian fur seals to colourful corals and pelagic fish, the HMAS Adelaide dive sites offers a unique opportunity to observe a wide variety of marine life in their natural habitat.

Common Species

As divers explore the HMAS Adelaide wreck, they will encounter a variety of common fish and marine species that call the artificial reef home. Some of the species that can be spotted around the wreck include:

  • Eastern fortesque

  • Kingfish

  • Cuttlefish

  • Blue gropers

The Ex HMAS Adelaide provides a unique habitat for these marine species, offering shelter, food sources, and a stable structure for them to inhabit and reproduce. This thriving underwater ecosystem is a testament to the success of the artificial reef project.

Unique Sightings

In addition to the common species found at the HMAS Adelaide dive site, divers may also encounter unique and rare marine life, including:

  • Kingfish

  • Tailor

  • Yellowtail

  • Port Jackson shark

  • Samson fish

  • Moon wrasse

These sightings offer a truly exceptional scuba dive experience at some of the world’s best dive sites.

The Ex HMAS Adelaide’s artificial reef structure attracts a diverse range of marine organisms, including:

  • Nudibranchs

  • Sea stars

  • Leatherjackets

  • Frogfish

Keep your eyes peeled as you explore the wreck near the boat ramp; you never know what fascinating marine life you may encounter.

Dive Tours and Boat Dives

Ex HMAS Adelaide wreck going to the bottom

Numerous dive tour options and boat dives are available for those interested in visiting the HMAS Adelaide wreck. Some operators that provide dive tours to the wreck include:

  • Abyss Scuba Diving

  • PRO DIVE Central Coast

  • Sydney Dive Charters

  • Expedition Dive


These tour operators ensure a safe and enjoyable dive experience, providing divers with the necessary certifications and equipment. They also offer invaluable local knowledge and expertise to help divers make the most of their HMAS Adelaide adventure.

Departure Points and Itineraries

Dive tours to the Adelaide typically depart the Terrigal Boat Ramp, located at LOT 5 Scenic Hwy, Terrigal. The marina offers free parking and easy access to the boat ramp and the dive site,s which is approximately 2km away..

Dive Equipment and Safety Considerations

A diver exploring the Ex HMAS Adelaide dive site

Having appropriate dive equipment and adhering to safety precautions are paramount for a safe and enjoyable dive at the HMAS Adelaide wreck. Divers should possess the necessary certifications, experience, and gear for their underwater adventure.

In addition to the standard scuba diving equipment, divers should also consider bringing a dive light, wreck reel, and dive slate and pencil to fully explore the HMAS Adelaide wreck and its intricate features.

Essential Gear

Specific gear is necessary for a safe and enjoyable dive at the Ex HMAS Adelaide. This includes:

  • Scuba diving mask

  • Snorkel

  • Fins

  • Buoyancy control device (BCD)

  • Regulator with alternate air source

  • Dive computer or depth gauge

  • Wetsuit or drysuit (depending on water temperature)

  • Weight belt or integrated weight system

  • Dive knife or cutting tool

  • Dive light (for exploring the interior of the wreck)

  • Surface marker buoy (SMB) for safety ascent

  • Tank and air supply

Having the appropriate gear not only ensures a comfortable dive but also allows divers to safely navigate the wreck and appreciate its unique features to the fullest extent.

Safety Precautions

When diving the HMAS Adelaide wreck, safety should be the top priority. Divers should adhere to the safety precautions and guidelines provided by dive operators, including abstaining from areas of the wreck that are inaccessible for safety reasons and exercising caution throughout the dive site.

Potential hazards and risks associated with diving the Ex HMAS Adelaide include:

  • Severe pitting or damage due to storm waves

  • Discoloration of water and suspension of sediments during the scuttling process

  • Prohibition of accessing the interior of the wreck at depths greater than 30 meters

  • Associated risks of diving with compressed air, such as decompression illness and hyperbaric injuries

By considering these safety precautions, divers can ensure a thrilling and unforgettable exploration of the HMAS Adelaide wreck.


The Ex HMAS Adelaide offers a unique and thrilling diving experience for advanced divers, combining history, marine life, and adventure. With its rich history, diverse marine life, and challenging diving conditions, the HMAS Adelaide wreck is a must-visit destination for diving enthusiasts. So gear up, dive in, and embark on an unforgettable underwater journey!

Frequently Asked Questions

How deep is the HMAS Adelaide dive?

The HMAS Adelaide dive is designed for advanced open water divers and lies in thirty-five metres of water on a sandy bottom, just five minutes away from the coastal town of Terrigal.

Where is HMAS Adelaide dive?

HMAS Adelaide is a wreck dive located off Sydney's Central Coast, five minutes from Terrigal Haven. It lies in 35 metres of water on a sandy bottom and is filled with marine life, making for an excellent dive experience.

Can anyone dive HMAS Brisbane?

Anyone wishing to dive HMAS Brisbane must have open water certification, have dived from a boat and completed at least one dive to 12 meters, and have obtained a permit or written authority from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

What certifications and experience are necessary to dive the HMAS Adelaide?

To dive the HMAS Adelaide, an Advanced Diver certification and advanced diving experience is necessary.

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