Gold Coast Wonder Reef dive attraction undergoes coral grafting in preparation for opening in 2022
Divers have finished transplanting coral taken from reefs around the Gold Coast, onto a $ 5 million underwater tourist attraction.
- $ 5 Million Wonder Reef Dive Attraction Set to Open in Early 2022
- Divers attached transplanted coral to underwater structures to accelerate the growth of a reef featured in the dive
- The goal is to attract at least 16,000 divers to the site each year
Nine floating sculptures were anchored about 2.5 kilometers off The Spit in August, hoping to open the dive attraction by March of next year.
Sea World has partnered with Townsville’s consultants, Reef Ecologic, to transplant segments of coral reefs onto underwater structures, named Wonder Reef.
“Some were directly attached using a material like cement,” said Wayne Phillips, head of marine science at Sea World.
“Others were attached to geo-fabrication and things like rope and placed around the reef in the hope that they would sow on that reef.”
Colonization of fish begins
Mr Phillips said a transplant effort had been undertaken to “speed up” the growth of reefs in the area and to “make sure we get the right species”.
“Something they hope will attract new divers to the area and a range of divers.”
The transplanted coral is expected to grow between one and 25 centimeters per year, depending on the species.
“It’s pretty surreal to see them at first.”
Thousands of divers every year
The “Wonder Reef” attraction was jointly funded by the state government and the city of Gold Coast.
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said “this is expected to attract over 16,000 divers each year, support local jobs and generate up to $ 33 million in revenue for the local economy over the next decade” .
Mayor Tom Tate said the site will attract a range of qualified divers.
“It’s for all levels; beginners, intermediate and if you want to go 30 meters you can.”
It is hoped that the site, aimed at diversifying the city’s tourist offer, will create a marine habitat of 32,000 cubic meters.