Frequently asked questions

ex HMAS Canberra Project Details

What is the current project status?

The ex HMAS Canberra FFG-02 has been scuttled at the chosen site. We are now waiting on the authorities to install moorings, declare the site safe, and open up the permit booking system.

Please see Sink the Canberra for more information about the project status.

Where is the ex HMAS Canberra Reef located?

See full details about this on the ex HMAS Canberra Reef Location page.

The following questions and answers should give you an idea as to what we expect things to be like once the ex HMAS Canberra FFG-02 is open for diving.


About the Diving

Am I qualified to dive the ex HMAS Canberra?

As long as you have an Open Water dive certification, you can dive the ex HMAS Canberra Reef. Dives on the wreck range from 15 metres (49 feet) to 28 metres (92 feet), so you can start at shallower depths. As you become more comfortable with the diving, and if you have the required certifications and/or experience, you can go on to deeper dives.

Victorian dive shops also offer a full range of dive courses if you are interested in earning additional certifications such as advanced open water diving, deep diving and/or wreck diving.

How many dives do I need to do in order to explore the ex HMAS Canberra Reef?

The ex HMAS Canberra is 138 metres (453 feet) long, making it possible to do well over 20 unique dives on the wreck. If you are keen to really explore the wreck, you will want to do at least 10 dives but you can certainly get a feel for the wreck on just a couple of dives.

What’s the deepest dive on the ex HMAS Canberra Reef?

To go any deeper than 28 metres (92 feet) while diving the ex HMAS Canberra Reef you're going to need to bring a pick and shovel! All Victorian dive charter operators adhere to the Victorian Diving Code of Practice. Thus you will be required to provide appropriate certification and evidence of applicable experience if you're planning to do any deep dives, especially those beyond the recreational diving limits.

Ideal Depths for ex HMAS Canberra Reef
Ideal Depths for ex HMAS Canberra Reef

What other dives sites can I dive other than the ex HMAS Canberra Reef?

In addition to the amazing range of dives that you can do on the ex HMAS Canberra Reef, we have a huge range of other wreck dives, wall or reef boat dives and shore dives in Victoria.

Can I dive without a Dive Guide, Dive Master or Instructor?

Of course you can if you're a certified open water diver. Most charter operators in Victoria provide you with a way to get to and from the dive site. Once at the dive site you will be briefed on the dive site. Then you and your dive buddy are free to do the dive independently from all others on the dive boat.

Many visitors aren't accustomed to this. They are used to having a Dive Guide, Dive Master and/or Instructor with them on all of their dives. If you would prefer to dive with such supervision, you'll need to arrange it with your Charter Operator or Dive Shop.

Can I hire a private guide for technical or underwater photography diving?

Yes, if you are a technical diver or a serious underwater photographer, you may arrange for your own private dive guide on the ex HMAS Canberra Reef and most other Victorian dive sites.

Are night dives available?

Absolutely! Various charter operators offer a fantastic night dive experience on the ex HMAS Canberra Reef where you will be amazed at the hordes of fish.

Night diving the many local shore dives is also very popular with local and visiting scuba divers.

Are boat or shore dives available?

The ex HMAS Canberra Reef is a boat dive, so you'll need the services of a dive charter operator, or access to a private boat.

A huge selection of exciting boat dives and shore dives are also available in Victoria.

Can I dive every day?

Yes, there are dive shops and charter operators open every day of the year, except for Christmas Day.

What visibility can we expect?

Anything from 3 metres (9.8 feet) to 30 metres (98 feet) outside. Visibility inside the ex HMAS Canberra wreck is usually good.

What is this litres, metres and bar stuff?

In Australia we dive using the metric system of measurements (e.g. litres, metres and bar), not the imperial system (e.g. cu ft, feet and psi) which is what most Americans use. If you normally dive using the imperial system, you might like to check out our Litres, Metres and Bar web page for some more information about the differences. It could save your life!

Dive Equipment

What kind of wetsuit should I bring?

During the summer months (December to February) most divers wear a 3 mm or 5 mm full length wetsuit. The water temperature varies with depth so if you're planning deeper dives you may need more protection.

During the winter months (June to August) most divers prefer a 7 mm wetsuit plus hood to keep warm in our temperate waters. Though as dry suits become more affordable, many divers are switching to them.

It is important that you have enough protection to ensure you stay warm during any necessary safety and decompression stops, as well as to protect the skin from contact with wrecks and reefs. Divers planning to do dives with long decompression times in winter may prefer a dry suit.

Can I hire dive equipment?

Yes, most dive shops and charter operators in Victoria have quality, name brand, dive equipment available for rent. You will find a wide selection of wetsuits, BCDs and regulators (both DIN and yoke), fins, masks and torches.

The majority of cylinders (tanks) available for hire in Victoria are fitted with yoke valves. Some valves are fitted with inserts which can be removed to switch to DIN. However, if you're planning to bring your own DIN regulators, it may be prudent to also pack a DIN to yoke adaptor.

Can I hire an underwater camera?

Most photographers prefer to use their own equipment, but you may find a few dive shops and charter operators who rent underwater cameras. Underwater photographers can bring their own digital cameras.

Can I dive with twins?

Yes, most charter operators are happy to assist you in diving with twin cylinders. Please let them know of your interest to dive twins when you book so that they can coordinate scuba gear requirements with you.

Is Nitrox and/or Trimix available?

Yes, many dive shops and charter operators offer both Nitrox and Trimix.

Where is the nearest hyperbaric chamber?

The nearest hyperbaric chamber is at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. This is a world-class facility with a number of chambers which are used to treat divers, plus the general public for various medical conditions.

Will I need extra lead weight?

Well of course you will. Victoria, Australia is the land downunder which means you'll need extra lead to keep you from falling off. The local dive operators can help you with this.

Travel and Accommodation

Getting to Melbourne

Melbourne has a busy international airport with most of the major airlines flying in regularly. There are also two domestic airports for those flying in from interstate, with plentiful flights each day from Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Cairns etc.

If coming in from interstate, for a more scenic, leisurely ride, you might like to travel by train or bus. Or you might prefer to hire a car or recreational vehicle and drive yourself.

How do I get to the ex HMAS Canberra?

Dive Charter Operators to the ex HMAS Canberra operate from Portsea on the Mornington Peninsula, Queenscliff on the Bellarine Peninsula, and Barwon Heads. They are around 100 kilometres (62 miles), or a one hour and thirty minute drive, south of the Melbourne city centre.

You can use public transport (train and bus) to get close to most of dive operators and then take local taxis. Or you might choose to hire a car. Fortunately car hire costs in Australia are very reasonable.

For further assistance on arranging travel to and within Victoria, please contact one of the Booking Agents.

Where should I stay?

If you want to be based in Melbourne itself, you will find a wide range of accommodation, which can either be booked as part of your package or find something on-line to suit your budget.

Please visit the Accommodation page on our web site, or contact one of the Booking Agents for assistance. They can recommend the best accommodation to meet your needs.

How do I get from my accommodation to the dive operators for my dives?

You have the choice of using public transport, taxis, hire cars or your own transport. In some cases dive operators will pick you up and drop you back at your accommodation before and after each dive.

Melbourne and Victoria

Australia! What is it like?

Australia is the sixth largest country in the world. It's about the same size as the 48 mainland states of the USA and 50 per cent larger than Europe, but has the lowest population density in the world — only two people per square kilometre.

Map of Victoria, Australia

What’s the best time of year to come?

Victoria, Australia is a temperate water diving location with a moderate oceanic climate which is notable for its changeable weather conditions. Indeed, "four seasons in one day" is a common term used to describe the weather at certain times of the year. The amazing thing is that we have great scuba diving all year round!

Melbourne enjoys manageable summers, glorious springs, mild autumns and crisp winters. With its variable climate, Melbourne is warm to hot in summer (December to February) 26 °C (79 °F), mild in autumn (March to May) 17 °C (63 °F), cold and damp in winter (June to August) 14 °C (57 °F), and cool in spring (September to November) 17 °C (63 °F).

For the city as a whole, the warmest months are generally January and February, which are often dry and prone to hot spells, although some respite is provided by the cooling sea breezes of Port Phillip Bay. June and July are the coldest months, while October is the wettest. The annual average rainfall for Melbourne is around 600 mm (23.5″), which is substantially less rain than Sydney receives.

What is the average water temperature?

Diving in the Melbourne area is colder than its compatriots further north in Sydney, Brisbane or on the Great Barrier Reef. In winter the temperature can be as low as 11 °C (52 °F) and in summer get to about 20 °C (68 °F). While the water is colder in winter, the visibility is typically better, which is why so many people dive in Victoria all year round.

During the winter a 7 mm wetsuit or drysuit, plus hood is highly recommended. During the summer months most divers wear a 3 mm or 5 mm full length wetsuit. The water temperature varies with depth so if you're planning deeper dives you will need suitable protection.

What is the time zone in Victoria?

Victoria is on Australian Eastern Standard Time which is UTC/GMT +10. In the summer, daylight saving is introduced and everyone switches to UTC/GMT +11.

What languages do the locals (Australians) speak?

English. Though you may also come across those who speak "strine". To avoid sounding too much like a tourist, remember Melbourne is pronounced "Mel-bun" rather than "Mel-born".

Will my battery chargers and powered stuff work?

The electricity supply in Austrralia is 240 volts AC. We also use a different electricity outlet style to most other countries, so you may need to purchase adapters.

What type of money do I need?

The Australian Dollar is the unit of currency. One Australian Dollar is roughly equivalent to approximately .80 US Dollars.

What can my non-diving partner or family do?

There are plenty of activities and tours for the non-diver visiting Victoria. There is some fantastic snorkeling and kayaking at local piers and beaches. Plus there are charter operators who can take your partner swimming with seals and dolphins.

When it comes to other activities, you name it and Victoria probably has it. The Mornington and Bellarine Peninsulas areas are renown for their local golf courses, wineries and food outlets.

Melbourne is home to many of Australia's major annual sporting events, with tennis, golf, motor racing, horse racing and motorcycle racing all represented.

Melbourne is the self proclaimed cultural capital of Australia, with its European street cafes, theatres, galleries and museums. In Melbourne alone, you'll find over 3,000 restaurants, cafes, bistros and bars. There are various art, music and comedy festivals throughout the year.

If you can't keep away from the underwater world for too long, then try the Melbourne Aquarium. The brand new Ocean Down Under exhibit features the Shark Conversation Project and Australia's largest fishbowl. Watch the sharks being fed, wiggle with the octopus, enjoy the jellies, bask with the stingrays and go for your life on the Shipwrecked ride.

Melbourne has tied with other cities as the World's Most Livable City on a number of occasions.

Need a question answered that wasn't covered above?

Then ask away using our online Request Information form, or by sending an email to info@hmascanberra.com.au. Your email question will be answered, plus the commonly asked questions will be added, together with the responses, to this web page.

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