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Diving Sites in Sydney
To view the details of any of the dive sites listed below, simply click on the heading.
- North Bondi
The local residents that make North Bondi its home include the majestic Weedy Sea Dragon, which is almost exclusive to the NSW coastline. These beautiful creatures are part of the seahorse family and display a fantastic array of colours making them a huge attraction for local, interstate and overseas underwater enthusiasts. One of the friendliest and most curious of all the fish at North Bondi is the protected Blue Groper. One in particular, who is affectionately known amongst the local divers as Bluey, appears on a regular basis looking for food and attention.
A few hundred meters east of Mermaid Rock about 12 - 15m below the surface, you can find two cave systems, Cathedral Cave and Slot Cave.
Cathedral Cave is about 20m - 30m long. A gap in the top of the cave allows some light to enter making this a fantastic site for photography. Slot Cave is a large swim through starting at about 15m and exiting at 10m. Within both caves you can find schools of Bullseyes, Pomfrets, Damselfish and Yellowtail. Large boulders play host to fantastic sponge life and the colourful nudibranchs, ideal for macro photography.
- Bare Island
Bare Island is more recently famous from the movie Mission Impossible II, but also has a long military history and is on the NSW heritage list.
This small island located in Botany Bay offers a great variety of diving with plenty of dive sites on offer to all level of divers. The depths of the dives vary from 10m to 20m. The site has excellent Sponge gardens and a large variety of marine life. The eastern side of the Island is shallower but normally offers better visibility than the western side. During the winter months Port Jackson sharks take up residence here along with the fantastic Giant Cuttlefish. Weedy Sea Dragons can be found on the Western side at a depth of 12 - 14m. Plenty of Nudibranchs and the rare Sydney pygmy pipehorse make it a big attraction for photographers and marine enthusiasts.
This is one of Sydney's finest shore dives with a lot to offer and is very popular with the Sydney dive community.
- Shark Point
Shark Point requires near perfect ocean conditions due to its exposed location. It is positioned in front of Clovelly Pool along Sydney's eastern beaches not far from Bondi. However with the right conditions this dive has a lot to offer. Beautiful drop offs and overhangs provide some spectacular scenery coupled with some of Sydney's best marine life. Wobbygong Sharks and culltefish can be found resting under the overhangs and the occasional Eastern Blue Devilfish.
- Gordon's Bay
Gordon's Bay is one of the many protected Marine parks along the NSW coastline. This one in particular is ideal for all levels of divers. The local dive club has placed an underwater chain marking out the best parts of the dive. At one point the chain runs along a wall dropping to a depth of 14m where you will find plenty of Stingrays and the occasional Eagle Ray hovering the sandy floor in search of food. Along the wall is where you will find Sydney's underwater 'usual suspects' enjoying the near perfect conditions.
- Clovelly Pool
This natural rock pool off Clovelly Beach in Sydney's east is about the same size as two Olympic swimming pools combined and has plenty of marine life living here. The ocean end of the pool is blocked off at low tide by a natural rock reef, which is submerged when the water rises. The pool is up to eight metres deep, so it's also possible to dive within its confines. Expect to see blue groper, giant cuttlefish, the odd Port Jackson shark and plenty of schooling fish, old wives and even snapper around the rock barrier.
The pool is only open to divers in the winter months and is a nice easy dive making it popular with all level of divers.
- Camp Cove
Camp Cove has two very good dive sites. Here you can look for blue-ringed octopus, tiny cuttlefish, striped dumpling squid, nudibranchs and the occasional lionfish. If you look closely you may be lucky enough to spot a seahorse clinging to the seagrass. There is a reef at the northern end of the beach both having easy access and good swim throughs. Green Point to the south of the beach makes an excellent night dive with very calm conditions and a beautiful view of the city upon surfacing.
Boat Diving Sydney
- No gear $110
- Tanks & weights $135
- All gear excluding mask, snorkle & fins $195
- All gear $225
- Magic Point
Magic Point is a critical shark habitat area for the beautiful Grey Nurse Shark.
There are many critical shark habitat areas declared in NSW waters with associated regulations to control fishing. Grey nurse sharks are not considered to be dangerous to humans. They are a passive species with teeth designed for capturing prey such as fish, squid and crustaceans. The docile grey nurse shark has been speared and fished to the point of extinction throughout Australia. Grey nurse sharks were first listed as a protected fish in NSW in November 1984 in response to concerns over declining populations; it was the first time a shark species had been listed as protected anywhere in the world. In April 2000, the NSW Government upgraded the status of grey nurse sharks to endangered.
- Blue Fish Reef
Inner Blue Fish Reef is a safe haven for divers when there is a strong southerly blowing or when there are less than ideal dive conditions. Depth gets to about 18m with some kelp, sponges, boulders & caves to be seen. Outer Blue Fish Reef is approx 25m deep and has sponges, large boulders, overhangs, swim throughs & drop offs. The marine life here consists of mullet, wrasse, leatherjacket, sea perch, bullseyes & goatfish, Grey nurse sharks and eagle rays. Eastern Blue Devilfish are some times found hiding under the many overhangs.
- North Head & South Head
"The Head's" has some of Sydney's best boat diving sites. All along the headlands from the open ocean to the harbour can be dived. There are about 20 different dive sites including Colours Reef, The Gap, Sponge Gardens, Pollys Point, Waterfall and Quarantine Station. These reefs consist of beautiful walls and giant boulders that play home to some of Sydney's finest diving. Bream, sweep and yellowtail are most common of the schooling fish. The inner area of the heads is particularly good for Weedy Sea Dragons and the rarer Red Indianfish. Giant Sting Rays and Eagle Rays also cruise by occasionally in search of their next feed.
- The Wall and The Apartments
The Wall and The Apartments is without doubt one of the better reef dives to be found around Sydney and if you are looking for fish life. This dive site is located off the Northern Beaches suburb of Long Reef. The Apartments consist of a large drop off with a large bommies to the seaward side. The dive site starts with a wall, which drops from around 8m to 15m and then rises back up before dropping away past 20m. The space between the bommie and the wall is filled with huge balls of schooling fish, yellowtails, pomfrets, bulls eyes and nanagi's. It is not unusual to see Grey Nurse Sharks cruising around among the boulders. This is beautiful dive site and has something to offer to everyone.
Recreational Wreck Dives
- 'The Duckenfield' 24m-26m
In May 1889 the 14 year old struck the lee side of Long Reef enroute to Sydney from Newcastle. The crew abandoned ship within minutes while the vessel still lay on the reef. The remains of the vessel lie in 23-24m of water on a vast area flat reef that dominates this segment of coastline. It is located approximately 1.5nm from the Long Reef boat ramp. The 'Duckenfield' site has a great variety of visual interest - anchors, propeller, davits, rudder, winches, copper ingots, boiler, donkey boiler and the quite dominating presence of the upright compound steam engine. It is highly accessible to divers, of reasonable depth and in an area, which generally has relatively high visibility and minimal current. The wreck is very interesting, and can easily be seen in one dive given its 23m maximum depth.
- 'The Royal Shepherd' 26m-28m
'The Royal Shepherd' sank off The Gap between "The Heads" following a collision with SS Hesketh, 14 July 1890. The two vessels approached each other until the Royal Shepherd was struck on the port side and so badly damaged she sank quickly to a sandy bottom. Predominantly the drive shaft and engine are in 27m. Fishlife is not all that prolific, but you will see moray eels, cuttlefish, bullseyes and some species of leatherjackets as well as small flathead on the sand.
- 'The Centurion' 15m-18m
'The Centurion' is a relatively intact wreck, which struck rocks at North Head in 1887 as she was being towed out from Sydney. The Centurion was a fully-rigged barge with a length of 63m which drifted shorewards into the harbour and quickly went to pieces. Swimming over the site today you can see the deck frames, masts, anchor chain and other fastenings. You may also see a resident octopus, cuttlefish, eels and many other forms of marine life.
- 'The Valiant' 26m-28m
The tugboat Valiant was being scuttled in 1980, when the towrope towing her snapped and she sank prematurely. She now lies slightly listed to port, or the left side. Her position makes it an ideal dive for newly certified advanced divers or someone else seeking a change. 'The Valiant's' rusted hull and upper deck are covered in fixed growth, such as soft corals, jewel anemones, some bryozoans and other some sponges. At times huge schools of baitfish circle the ship looking for places to get away from the large predators like kingfish or jewfish. Although most often you'll see the resident bullseyes, yellowtails, mados, sweep and other common reef-dwelling species.