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Out-of-this-world underwater sculptures soon to be installed on the Gold Coast

2 August 2021

Collaboration between artist Daniel Templeman, the City of Gold Coast and Subcon Blue Solutions will create a phenomenal underwater experience to be discovered and enjoyed by tourists and locals alike.

The journey to bring Wonder Reef to life will culminate soon when the purpose-built dive attraction is deployed 2.5 kilometres off The Spit, Main Beach, on the Gold Coast. The purpose-built attraction is a long held project being delivered by the City of Gold Coast to diversify the tourism offering.

“Wonder Reef is designed to provide an unreal underwater experience. It will inspire the public to get out in nature, get their dive ticket and interact with the living sculptures in a totally unique way. Explorers of the reef are unconstrained by gravity – which conceptually has enabled new dimensions for me as an artist,” says Daniel.

Artist Daniel Templeman smiling in black and white.
Wonder Reef sculpture artist Daniel Templeman. Image supplied by Daniel Templeman.

The mammoth steel flutes enable divers to explore the reefs in 360 degrees, swimming through them in an upwards spiral to get up close and personal with the intricate flora and fauna on their journey. 

“Most importantly, Wonder Reef was designed to be a living ecosystem that evolves over time as the flora and fauna communities develop and take centre stage – eventually the sculptures become one with nature,” says Subcon Founder and Director, Matt Allen.

The concept for floating reefs created the opportunity for the artist to further explore his fascination with gravity with ideas of weightlessness, buoyancy, ecosystem and space to create a truly unique experience. The kinetic nature of the sculptures means they will gently move with the currents like a giant kelp forest. Wonder Reef is an inspirational and immersive adventure unlike any other dive attraction in the world. 

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

Not only does this attraction provide Gold Coast visitors with a unique new experience, but it’s also an opportunity for education about our oceans, connecting people to the environment.

Openings, ledges and cryptic spaces allow light, currents and oxygen to flow through the sculptures, creating ideal habitats for flora and small fish and invertebrates. They also create a framing device to look through to different areas of the reef and discover flora and fauna in more detail. The large spacing between the flutes and foundations also becomes habitat for larger species of fish which will call Wonder Reef home. 

Wonder Reef, a jointly funded project between the City of Gold Coast and the Queensland Government under its Growing Infrastructure Tourism Fund, will be deployed offshore in August 2021. Project delivery, overseen by the City, has involved securing Queensland and Commonwealth Government approvals including a permit under the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981, engagement with the local dive industry, statutory authorities, marine scientists and the tourism industry. The project needed to obtain a 50-year seabed lease from the Queensland Government for the dive precinct. A long-term commitment to the ecotourism venture includes ongoing environmental and engineering monitoring for the life of the dive attraction in accordance with approvals.

The reefs will develop into thriving ecosystems over the next 6-8 months before the world-class reef attraction opens to the public in early 2022. 

Learn more about Wonder Reef here.

Daniel Templeman
City of Gold Coast 
Subcon Technologies Pty Ltd 
Core Marine 
Think Structural 
Media enquiries:
Matt Allen | +61 422 267 244 |