Port Macquarie

Port Macquarie


The Pinnacles


This reef has some great coral growth and good fishlife. This “pinnacle” (a well worn name for diving spots) is off Tacking Point and offers an impressive drop-off. The rock wall is covered in colourful sponges and other invertebrates. It has plenty of moray eels and wobbegongs along the bottom.


The Cod Hole


GPS Position – S 31°26.658’, E 152°56.206′ WGS84

This site consists of twin pinnacles. One bommie Comes up to 10m, the other one comes to 6m. They are joined by a small swim- through that is usually full of fish. The ocean side is sandy with scattered rocks, while the land side has a scattered reef system. All the surrounding reef has a healthy variety of marine life including, soft corals, sponges, nudibanchs, wobbegongs. It is an easy beginners dive and has the richest fish life of the inshore reefs in the area.


The Wall


S 31°28.8084′, E 152°56.6844′

This site is renowned for good fish life and the area is often visited by pelagic fish. There are also smaller animals to see such as nudibranchs. Charter operators claim that every time you go there, you will see something different. This actually true.


Bait Reef

S 31°24.470’, E 152°55.437′

Here we have a shallow kelp-covered reef system surrounded by large patches of sand. A couple of small pinnacles break up the kelp.


Bird Rock

13 metres

GPS Position – S 31°26.067′, E 152°55.931′

Bird Rock rises to a height of over 7 metres above the surface, making it an ideal place for seabirds to roost. There are plenty of gutters and rock habitats that provide shelter for marine life. A good and easy dive.




GPS Position – S 31°31.448 E 152°55.355

Thirty minutes a rock plateau rises from 33m to a peak at 12m. This offers swim-throughs and crevices. One hundred meters north east of the main rock there is a sponge garden. This dive is spectacular when conditions are good.


Point Plomer/ Barry’s Bay Reef


GPS Position- S 31°18.215, E 152°58.710’

Off the point is a shallow kelp-covered reef system between 8 and 12 meters. This then gives way to soft corals. The sites have low gutters and crevices to look in. There are lots of schooling baitfish, gropers and wrasses. The marine life is abundant including turtles, octopus, cuttlefish, wobbegongs, and grey nurse sharks. A long boat ride/


Kelp Reef


This small reef overed in short kelp is nothing new to southerners but will be a novel experience for divers venturing from the north.


Shelley Wide

S 31°27.512’, E 152°57.398′

This vast dive site is made up of rock ridges and gutters. Marine life is abundant including soft and hard corals, sponges, nudibranchs and a wide variety of fish.


South American Reef


An extensive reef off Nobby Head, just south of the Cod Hole. A colourful sponge garden and a few tropical fish species are mixed in with the usual temperate reef fish.


Wreck of the “Ballina”


This 179.4 feet long iron paddle steamer was built in Low Walker and Company, Northumberland, England, in 1865. The Ballina was lost on 13 February 1879. Attempting to leave the harbour, the vessel became grounded on a sand spit to the north of the channel. The wreck of the Ballina remained visible for several years and became a navigational hazard. Dynamite was used in 1910 in an effort to reduce the height of the wreckage. The Ballina wreck lies on the north side of the entrance to the Hastings River at Port Macquarie. The area is subject to strong tidal flow and diving is only possible during a short period either side of the turn of the tide. She is often covered and uncovered by sand, but the engine room and boiler which can be readily located. Portions of the port and starboard paddle wheels lie alongside. She is covered in sea squirts.


Coral Reef


This dive off Nobby Head offers an interesting sponge garden with hard corals and lace bryzoans interspersed among cold water sponges. The fish life is also good and includes big schools of kingfish and drummer.


Lighthouse Reef


Directly off the Tacking Point light and about 500m offshore, this reef is two kilometres long. It is mostly covered in kelp, but there are sponge garden patches. The fish life is good and is a mix of temperate and tropical species. It is a great spot for both smaller macro life. An easy and shallow dive.


Laurieton/North Haven/Camden Haven


Cod Ground


S 31° 40.952, E 152°54.567′ WGS84 Main two pinnacles

S 31°40.867’, E 152°54.617′ low pinnacle to east

This deep dive offers some rocky pinnacles more than 6 kilometres offshore. The deeper areas have sponge gardens with black coral trees and lots of ascidians. However, it is the fish life that makes it special with grey nurse sharks, yellowtail, jewfish, kingfish and trevally. The site consists of two main pinnacles rising from 31 meters. It is mainly a deep rocky reef with scattered sponge gardens on the rocky substrate. It is current affected and for experienced divers. One of the best dives in NSW but it is a Commonwealth marine reserve and permits are needed unless you go with an authorised charter operator.


The Maze


GPS Position – S 31°35.657’, E152°51.972′

Several large boulders create gutters and swim-throughs giving it the effect of a maze. One of the better sites out of Laurieton, the Maze has a large variety of fish and invertebrate species


Bonny’s Wall


S 31°35.188’, E 152°51.553′

This is part of a shallow reef system that runs from Lake Cathie to Bonny Hills. The site has a maximum depth of 18 meters and consists of shallow gutters, rocky reef and kelp fields. The gutters and bommies offer soft and hard corals, nudibranchs, sea spiders, schools of bait fish, rays, morays eels and blue groper. It is an interesting rather than brilliant dive.


Pat’s Reef


31°34.858’ , 152°56.104’

This deep reef attracts large schools of jewfish and yellow-tail kingfish. A larger main pinnacle is covered in invertebrates including has soft corals.


Camden Haven drift/ Wreck of the “Indant”


This one is worth saving for when the seas are a bit rough outside. On an incoming tide it is possible for divers to drift along the sandy opening to Camden Haven along the breakwater. Schools of fish can be encountered and there is some smaller marine life along the breakwater walls. On the southern side opposite the second car park is the boiler of the “Indant” in3 metres of water. In 1940, the small wooden steamer hit the breakwater while trying to enter the port. Mortally wounded she managed to reach still waters before sinking. She was a wooden screw steamer of 121 tons and built in 1918.


Big Reef


This large reef runs out from the shore in an easterly direction and offers a big areas of reef to explore. In the deeper areas and sheltered crevices there are sponge gardens offering bright and colourful diving. The fish life is relatively sparse. As an inshore site it can suffer from poorer visibility than the offshore sites.


Diamond Hd

2- 17m

South of Camden Haven there are many shallow reefs off Diamond Head to snorkel or dive. They are kelp-covered flow profile reef with lots of the usual southern reef fish. They tend to be clear, but are exposed to adverse weather. In calm weather boats can also be launched from the nearby beach. The wreck of the “Iron Chief” almost on the beach on the southern side of Diamond Head. She struck the reef in 1928 and drifted onto the beach. Only twisted steelwork remains.


Leah’s Lumps


This is a deep reef off Diamond Head covered in corals with large gutters, schools of bait fish, and nudibranchs.


Mermaid Reef


31°34.858’ , 152°48.804’ Mermaid Bommie

31°34.250’, 152°48.698’ Mermaid Outer

This is a broken rocky reef system with kelp patches which breaks the surface in places. There are rock walls on the eastern side of the reef. The deeper areas offer lush sponge gardens and the walls are patrolled by pelagic fish and grey nurse and bronze whaler sharks. This very large reef is remote from boat ramps and little visited. There is even an unknown wreck of an “old milk tanker” on the reef that broke in half, with one half in the shallows and the rest in deep water at the base of the wall. This may be confusion with the “Iron Chief” which is up on the shore. Calm weather is needed. This offshore reef often has good visibility. Centred on 31.46.237 152 48 682.  There is a 200m exclusion zone for bait fishing, designed to protect the local grey nurse aggregations.


Old Faithful


GPS Position – S 31° 35.566′, E 152°51.936′

This reef lies near Grants Head and offers lots of crevices and swim-throughs with reasonably good fish life. A large wall also runs from north to south. Large schools of red morwong are common. There have also been sightings of Grey Nurse Sharks and schools of jewfish in the area.


Wreck of the P.S. “Prince of Wales”


In 1862, this 548 ton, 216.9 foot long, iron paddle steamer was heading north from Sydney when she struck rocks off Point Perpendicular. Filling with water, it was decided to beach her on Pilot Beach. She now lies broken up against the rocks that line the beach. The stern is still partly intact and recognisable pieces such as boiler flywheels and ribbing can be seen poking out of the sand. When its calm, as it often is, she is an easy dive for beginners or stranded wreck tragics.The Prince of Wales was built Great Britain in 1861.


Wreck of the “Telegraph” and Telegraph Rock


This shallow and more exposed wreck occurred as almost a rerun of the “Prince of Wales” disaster. In 1867, she struck Point Perpendicular but was held on the reef until she fell to pieces in the swell. All that is left is a jumble of twisted metal, but the flywheels, stern, ribs, engine parts and anchors can be discerned on the sand around Telegraph Rock. The deeper areas are also covered in colourful sponges, sea whips and ascidians. The waters from the Camden River can flow over the site and affect visibility after heavy rain. Calm weather is needed as it is shallow and a little exposed. This is one of the nicest dives in the area, more for the sponge gardens than the wreck.


The Arch


This site lies south of Diamond Head and offers an exploration over interesting crevices and rock gutters.


Titan Crane

40 metres

31° 39′ 57.1″S 152° 52′ 20.1″ E AUS66

GPS Position- S 31° 39.848′ , E 152°52.407′

In 1919, pieces of a large floating crane arrived in Sydney from a factory in England. She was assembled at Cockatoo Island Dockyard and put to work around the port unloading ships and performing construction work. The crane was 58 metres high and able to lift 150 tons. The hull of the crane was 176 feet long and contained boilers and generator for running winches. It was a particularly vital piece of harbour infrastructure during World War II. By 1992 it was no longer is use and was put up for disposal, despite being given heritage status. A public outcry did not stop it from beind sold to Singapore for scrap.

In December 1992 the Titan left Sydney Harbour under tow in heavy seas. At 10:50 pm while off Smoky Cape, the crane capsized and the top section of the crane fell off. The upturned hull of the Titan was towed into shallower water and it was decided to abandon the tow and scuttle the Titan off Perpendicular Point at North Haven.  The crane now lies on its side and is still intact. It lies in on silty sand in a very current-affected area. The current can still be felt on the bottom. Shelter from the current is provided by the upturned hull, which acts like an artificial cave. It is filled with school fish and the ironwork is covered in colourful jewel anemones. This is a dive for experienced divers only.


The Strip


This site on a reef starting near the shore and heading seaward. The site lies to the NE of Grants Head. It offers a sponge garden rich with soft corals. The fish life is above average but the visibility can be poor at times.


Crowdy Head




She was built in 1921 in the government shipyards at Walsh Island NSW. In 1972, she was under tow when the tow line parted in heavy weather and she sank. A steel wreck believed to be the Koorangaba, lies broken up on a silty bottom off Crowdy Head. It is about 50m in length. Comes off the bottom about 4m. The hull is still discernible and the boiler is very noticeable.


Unknown Wreck


The wreck is about 40m long and only 1m out off the sand. There is very little left of it poking out of the silt, but still has the bow shape, winches, and other structure.


Never Get Lost


This site is a small rock that sits off a larger reef. The rock is small enough to swim around in one dive. It attracts large schools of bait fish, jewfish and kingfish. Has lots of corals and other invertebrates on the rock faces.