As soon as I knew I was moving to Australia, I signed up for an open water Scuba diving course. It was an activity I’d always dreamed of doing, just never had the time or resources for it. What better place to learn how to scuba dive than Australia, home to the infamous Great Barrier Reef?
I was certified in January of 2020, and since have logged over 50 dives in some incredible spots. Here are a couple of my favorites.
North Stradbroke Island
Just an hour drive and short ferry ride south of Brisbane is North Stradbroke Island. From there, Manta Lodge takes keen scuba divers on their boat out to some awe-inspiring dive sites: Shark Alley, Flat Rock, Turtle Cave, and their infamous Manta Bommie. During the summer months, Reef Manta Rays flock to the area to graze on the small fish off North Stradbroke Island. They are visible on almost every dive at Manta Bommie. Until you’ve experienced a 3-meter wingspan Manta ray gliding over you, you haven’t lived. These curious and graceful creatures are some of the most amazing marine-life I’ve experienced.
If you drive two hours north of Brisbane, you’ll hit the Sunshine Coast. Their beaches are pristine and the location of some of the best surfing near Brisbane. Additionally, a short boat ride off a town called Mooloolaba lies the ex-HMAS Brisbane Wreck. This was a purposeful sinkage that occurred in 2003 to provide a marine park for fishes and divers to reap the benefit. Small fish hide in the rooms of the ship while larger fish patrol the borders as they hunt. Diving here is an experience you don’t want to miss. Guides will take you around the massive upper deck and (if you have an advanced license) through the rooms of the ship, emerging from the wreck on the top stacks of the deck. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot the large resident grouper - bigger than your average diver - hanging around the top deck.
Scuba diving is an incredible experience; in particular, diving around Australia is extremely special. I highly recommend getting a certification and exploring the underwater world while you are living here!
Tiffany Hansen started her medical journey at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ with a biomedical degree. After graduating, she decided to expand her medical knowledge by completing a Master of Science in Bioethics at Columbia University in New York City. It was there that she learned about UQ Ochsner and knew this was the path for her. Since arriving in Australia, she has enjoyed learning medicine at UQ, meeting friends from all over the world, and scuba diving around Queensland (as much as possible).