A tsunami is a series of powerful, fast-moving waves caused by an undersea earthquake, volcanic eruption, or landslide. Tsunamis can occur with very little warning—sometimes only minutes.

When you hear a tsunami warning, call 13 00 TSUNAMI (13 00 87 86 264) for current warning information.

If you hear a warning

  • in the water—get out and move to higher ground
  • on a boat or ship
    • if in a harbour, estuary or shallow water close to shore, and there is enough time, return to land, secure your vessel and move to higher ground
    • if at sea, move to deep water (open ocean) well off-shore and stay there until further advised.
  • at home or work
    • if asked to evacuate, lock up and follow recommended evacuation routes for your area
      • walk to safety (if possible) to avoid traffic jams
  • if there's no time to get to higher ground, shelter on the upper level of a sturdy brick or concrete building
  • in a safe place—stay there until advised it is safe to leave.

If you live in or regularly visit an area prone to tsunamis

  • Contact your local council to find out about the risk of tsunamis in your community.
  • Familiarise yourself with information about tsunamis and the natural warnings signs, such as earthquakes, rumbling or roaring sounds, or sudden changes in the behaviour of the ocean—the sea may recede dramatically before a tsunami.
  • Visit the Bureau of Meteorology website for more information. The Bureau of Meteorology issues tsunami warnings in Australia.
  • Familiarise yourself with the tsunami history of coastal areas you visit regularly and identify places prone to flooding
  • Develop an evacuation plan with your family or household. Identify the nearest high ground and the safest routes to it.
  • Ensure that your emergency kit is up to date and that you and your family or household know where it is.
  • If you have to carry your emergency kit, take only essential items (e.g. important papers, medical needs, a battery-powered radio with spare batteries, and family photographs).
  • Ensure your home has an electrical safety switch installed.

Tsunami evacuation areas for Queensland

The Queensland Government, working with local governments and the Commonwealth, has developed statewide evacuation area mapping for the Queensland coastline. This mapping identifies broad areas for evacuation in the event of a tsunami, to support community warnings and risk-informed planning.

Click to access Tsunami evacuation areas for Queensland