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Gold Coast’s new dive attraction set to open soon!

Artistic rendering of divers exploring Wonder Reef with abundant marine flora and fauna. Image supplied by the City of Gold Coast.

Subcon founder Matt Allen discusses the floating artificial reef in the video below.

Gold Coast’s World Class Dive Attraction

In collaboration with the Gold Coast and artist Daniel Templeman, Subcon was contracted to build and install this world-class, cost-effective and innovative dive attraction. The engineered reef will be Australia’s first purpose-built dive attraction – a long-held catalyst project to diversify the City’s tourism offering, increase market share and boost tourism jobs. It’s being delivered by the City with $2.5 million in matched funding under the Queensland Government’s Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

A primary goal of the Gold Coast Dive Attraction is to deliver an iconic, off-shore reef dive site, eco-engineered to attract bio-diverse marine life. This unique underwater journey will offer a distinct experience aimed at raising the profile of the Gold Coast and Queensland as a premier, unique and innovative nature-based dive destination.

The site is 3.5 kilometres southeast of the seaway and 2.5 kilometres offshore from Philip Park, Main Beach, at a depth of 30 metres. It will be less than 20 minutes from dock to dive and will provide at least three return dive charters per day. With an average of 220 diving days per year, the attraction will be a welcome addition to the City’s tourism activities.

Project scope

The Gold Coast Dive Attraction will include a purpose-built reef, moorings and navigational markers to:

  • complement the Gold Coast’s visitor appeal, adding an iconic and innovative nature-based tourism experience
  • create a unique and interesting dive experience encouraging repeat visitation
  • attract and sustain a wide variety of marine life
  • deliver a dive experience for a range of dive certification levels
  • deliver a new ‘wow’ factor eco-tourism experience that contributes positively to the Gold Coast as a world-class tourism destination
  • offer an element of ‘fun’ interaction that incorporates a distinctly Gold Coast experience that the diver can share post-dive trip.

Economic benefits

The dive attraction will inject an estimated $32.8 million into the region’s economy (including investment costs, regional flow on and tourism benefit) during the first 10 years of operation. This will be achieved through the generation of 166,543 new overnight visitors to the Gold Coast with the specific intention of diving and/or snorkelling. These visitors will generate an additional 133,940 visitor nights that would not otherwise exist.


The investment cost, regional value-added and tourism expenditure will support 80.8 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs by year 10. The dive attraction project will generate an estimated 18.3 construction FTE’s during the two-year construction period.

Project timeline

The dive attraction is being delivered under joint funding by the City and the Queensland Government. The City secured $2.5 million in matched funding under the Queensland Government’s Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

The City has awarded a contract to design, manufacture and deploy the dive attraction including the reef, moorings and navigational markers to Australian company Subcon Technologies Pty Ltd. The City aims to have the dive attraction operational by June 2021.

Contractor information

Subcon Technologies are leaders in offshore marine structures and have delivered many complex purpose-built reefs around Australia and internationally.

They have delivered more than 20 industrial-scale engineered reefs in Australia and internationally, primarily for habitat restoration, diving and recreational fishing. This will be their largest artistic reef combining innovative and robust technology and engineering methods to create a thriving ecosystem in a harsh marine environment.

Other purpose-built reefs delivered by Subcon Technologies include Simpson and Hardy reefs in Hervey Bay, Turner reef off Scarborough and multiple installations off New South Wales, Darwin, Perth, Exmouth and Mauritius.

Concept design

The reef sculptures are the work of renowned Queensland artist Daniel Templeman who has brought his creative interpretation to the marine engineering capabilities offered by Subcon Technologies.

The design will undergo further design development in consultation with the dive industry reference group.

The concept design comprises nine buoyant ‘sculptural reef flutes’ individually tethered to the seafloor by 62-tonne reinforced concrete and steel pyramids.

The sculptural reef flutes will stand 16 to 20 metres above the ocean floor.

The steel reef flutes and foundations are designed to attract fish and serve as sustainable habitats for a diverse range of marine flora and fauna.

To learn more about Subcon’s amazing Blue Solutions or to chat to one of our engineers, contact us at