Botany Bay and Port Hacking
Cape Banks walkway
34° 00′ 02″S 151° 15′ 02.3″E AUS66
Near the golf course walkway at Cape Banks there is an area of rocky reef covered in sponges and small gorgonias. The small boulders have some very good fishlife, rays, eastern blue devilfish, one-spot pullers, sea pike, bream and leatherjackets.
Wreck of the SS “Minmi”
The SS Minmi was built at Meadowside, Glasgow, Scotland in 1927. The new vessel was 75 metres long and displaced 1,455 tons. She was owned by J & A Brown and Abermain Seaham Colleries. She was named after either the Lower Hunter Valley’s Minmi Colliery. The Minmi‘s main route was between Newcastle and Melbourne, carrying coal on the southward trip and returning empty.
On Saturday 8 May 1937 the Minmi left Melbourne to return to Newcastle. At about 8 pm she passed by Port Kembla, on their usual course which should have taken them three miles off Cape Banks at the mouth of Botany Bay. There was an incoming tide and the sea was from the starboard side and she drifted onto the rocks at Cape Banks and was lost.
The remains of the main hulk of the wreck now lies above high water mark on the rock platform, but pieces of the ship can be found over the eastern side of Cruwee Cove and around the Cape. These remains include metal plate, timber pieces and steel.
Cape Banks – southern side
34° 00′ 09.6″S 151° 15′ 00″E (AUS66)
About 50 metres south of the tip of Cape Banks there are walls gullies, holes and caves. The gullies are quite large, up to 30 metres long and 10 metres wide. The reef boasts excellent fishlife including yellowtail, eastern blue devilfish, bream, luderick, eastern rock blackfish sweep, one-spot pullers, sea dragons and Port Jackson sharks (in winter).
GPS S34° 00′ 19.5″ E151° 15′ 05.9″ using WGS84
The dive site consists of a wall and a series of large boulders. The boulders form overhangs, swim-throughs and small caves. Red morwong, one-spot pullers and eastern blue devilfish inhabit the caves. The rock walls are covered in gorgonias and sea squirts Sea dragons are found along the edge of the kelp. Port Jackson sharks are seen in large numbers during the Spring.
34° 00′ 21.7″S 151° 14′ 41.7″E (AUS66)
The dive site is a flatish reef near Cape Banks forming a wall split by a series of trenches about 2m x 4m in size. The wall runs basically north-west to south-east and there are numerous boulders, swim-throughs, overhangs and small caves along the face. The rocks are adorned with sponges, sea squirts and small gorgonia sea fans. Port Jackson sharks, silver sweep, leatherjackets, cuttlefish, octopus and yellowtail can be seen. All along the reef and on the sand there is a huge amount of coal, perhaps from the SS Minmi. On a high or incoming tide you should get reasonable visibility.
Cruwee Cove – Pussycat Bay
The first inlet inside the Bay is Cruwee Cove, also known as Pussycat Bay. This is a more leisurely dive offering colourful sponges and kelp gardens. Good fish life includes groper, moray eels, cuttlefish, red morwong, mado, common bullseye, wobbegong, bream and maori wrasse.
S34° 00′ 04.4″ E151° 14′ 11.0″ (using AUS66)
This site offers large boulders ledges, overhangs and swim-throughs. Fishlife includes groper, yellowtail, bream, cuttlefish, sea dragons, eastern blue devilfish, old wife, mado, red morwong and magpie morwong. Sponges and sea squirts adorn the rocks and are particularly thick at this site. Usually hard to find red indianfish are also seen here.
33° 59″ 43′S 151° 14″ 04′E (AUS66)
This site is on the northern headland between Henry Head and Little Congwong (Little Congie) Beach and is based around a relatively shallow reef offering lots of small crevices. Red Indianfish have been seen on the rocks and sea dragons patrol the sand. There are also rays, Port Jackson sharks and sea horses. In the shallows, there are large schools of surgeonfish, yellowtail, seapike, leatherjackets, cuttlefish, bream and luderick.
Bare Island is probably the most popular shore dive in Sydney and is busy most weekends. It is joined to the mainland by a small timber bridge, and is a popular spot for a picnic and stroll around the old Victorian era forts on the island. It is quite sheltered from all but the roughest seas, at least on one side or the other. The eastern side of Bare Island generally boasts superior visibility and its shallower depths make it more suitable for beginner divers. The visibility on the right (western) side of the island tends not to be as good as the left, but makes up for this with an abundance of aquatic life. Two small bommies are also located out to sea about 150 to 200 metres from the island. They are patrolled by huge schools of fish snapper, kingfish, bream, sweep, luderick and ladder-finned pomfrets. The diving on the western (right side) starts at the boat ramp and crosses kelp-covered reefs and sandy patches. There are lots of large and small boulders. All along this section there are sea dragons, flathead, octopus. In spring Port Jackson sharks, in summer firefish. Red Indianfish and anglerfish hide in the dead kelp on the sandy fringe. Fish include blue groper, catfish, Sydney cardinalfish, pygmy pipehorses (It is easier to find them at night late Spring to early Autumn), big belly sea horses, yellow banded sea perch and half-banded sea perch. Other fish include bearded cod, beardie, bream, cuttlefish, old wife, mado, stripey, red and blue morwong, maori wrasse, crimson-banded wrasse, mosaic leatherjacket, six-spined leatherjacket, smooth flutemouth, blackspot goatfish, white ear, mullet, sergeant baker, yellow-eyed leatherjacket, pineapplefish, herring cale, senator wrasse, yellowtail, silver drummer and moray eel. On the rocks there are sponges, ascidians, lace coral and Bairds solitary coral. Away from the reef in 17M there is a low wall there are lots of sea squirts, pygmy pipehorses, different nudibranches and sponges. At 33° 59′ 41.1″S 151° 13′ 43.5″E (AUS66) there are lot of caves and pygmy pipehorses. There are often currents in the 16 to 19 metre range. When diving here, beware of small boats. After prolonged periods of very heavy rain, the visibility can be reduced to one or two metres. As with a few other urban sites, there are a lot of break-ins here at night – diving at night should be undertaken with that in mind.
Larpa Drift – Astrolobe Bay, La Perouse Point
This area back from the Bare Island bridge along the coast, can be done as a “drift” dive even though the currents are often moderate. The best place to start is on Bare Island just to the west of the bridge. Heading along the coast there are small boulders off the reef and a few small overhangs. The reef offers blue ringed octopus, squid sea dragons, pineapplefish and sometimes red indianfish. The sponge and sea squirts are very colourful.
La Perouse Artificial reefs
9.6 to 14M
Artificial Reef 1 Lat (S) 33.58.940, Long (E) 151.13.447 WGS84
Artificial Reef 2 Lat (S) 33.59.448, Long (E) 151.13.742 WGS84
Artificial Reef 4 Lat (S) 33.59.654, Long (E) 151.14.136 WGS84
The six artificial fishing reefs laid by DPI in three different areas are made up of 180 concrete reef ball modules (about 30 per reef). They are located in Yarra Bay (3 reefs), Astrolabe Cove (1 reef) and Congwong Bay (2 reefs). The reefs are all new and only fairly small. Fixed life is starting to cover the concrete, and there were a lot of juvenile fishes. There’s quite a bit of boat traffic in the area, take along a float and flag.
34° 00′ 38.7″S 151° 13′ 51.6″E AUS66
Offshore from the remains of a coastal defence pillbox is Anchor Reef. There are a number of small rocks, overhangs and cracks along an underwater wall covered in sponges and gorgonias. The fish life includes sea dragons, serpent eels, blue devilfish, one-spot pullers, yellowtails and seapike.
There is a very easy dive site located inside Botany Bay about 500 metres to the NE of the obelisk marking Captain Cook’s landing place. Apart from the long surface swim it is a very relaxing dive. Once you enter the water you snorkel out over kelp in a north easterly direction towards the red navigation marker along the shallows. Dive in 4M or whenever you get tired. Large rays are seen swimming over the kelp sometimes. Keep following the same heading until you reach a drop off, the main focus of the dive. Swim along with the wall on your right. Overhangs shelter blue devil fish, wobbegongs, Port Jackson sharks, cuttlefish and occasionally, banded coral shrimp. Visibility can be a little worse here than the other sites around Kurnell and you need to watch out for boats. More experienced divers can do the site as a drift dive on an outgoing tide, you can drift from the Monument around to Sutherland Point or the Steps.
Sutherland Point (Inscription Point)
This dive is in Botany Bay National Park and you will have to pay an entry fee. The site is shallow with scattered boulders and stands of kelp. Head due north to reach the wall and shark cave. The cave is approximately 5m deep and 1.5m high and has two chambers. In the rear chamber there have been small blind (carpet) sharks. The site is also noted for its Weedy Sea Dragons. Further along there are swim throughs. The visibility can be poor (5 metres) especially at low water.
You reach it by entering the National Park and paying an entry fee. Slack tide (or an incoming current) is the best time to dive. The access is via some steep steps. You enter the water near the steps and swim out along the floor strewn small boulders. Sea dragons, cuttlefish, sea horses, nudibranchs and other small marine life can be seen. Head north to the sand where there are rocks covered in sponges and fish. Inshore there are also large boulders to explore on the return journey. Visibility is moderately good, at around 10 metres. More experienced divers can also do a drift on an incoming tide from the Steps around to Sutherland Point, or the Monument.
This is probably the deepest shore dive in Sydney. It is for experienced divers and can only be dived in calm seas. At other times the entry and exit are all surf. It offers spectacular walls and swim throughs. Visibility is usually good. Marine life includes wobbegongs, Port Jackson sharks, cuttlefish and rays. Solander can also be done as a drift dive to The Leap, entering from the western entry point on an ingoing tide. Great care must be taken in assessing the conditions at the exit too, as The Leap is even more exposed.
This gets its name from the giant stride entry needed to get in the water. Its for experienced divers with a rough entry and exit. Even the climb down to the rock platform can be slippery. Calm waters are required. It apparently has some of the clearest water in Sydney. After entry the best diving is along the sand edge where there are boulders and overhangs. The site is renowned for large schools of fish, seahorses and some attractive swim throughs.
Yena Gap Outer Reef
A nice dive and one of the few boat dives sites in Sydney that can be done in southerly winds. The site consists of a rocky reef split by sandy gutters. There are some small overhangs and some nice sponges and sea squirts. It can be affected by dirty water at low tides and after rain.
Whale Watching Platform
34° 01′ 08.9″S 151° 13′ 55.6″E
There is a platform at Cape Solander that marks a good reef dive. It consists of a rocky bottom with some sand patches and large boulders. A nearby wall is studded with sponges, sea squirts and a few small gorgonias. Caves are home to eastern blue devilfish and Port Jackson sharks. Stingrays, numb-rays, sea dragons, one-spot pullers, silver sweep, yellowtail, leatherjackets and nudibranchs can be seen. This is a very good dive.
34° 01′ 29″S 151° 13′ 51″E (AUS66)
This site offers a series of small walls with nice sea squirts and some nice fish. You can see bream, leatherjackets, sweep and yellowtail.
GPS 34° 01′ 35″S 151° 13′ 53″E (AUS66)
Walls run north-south beside a sandy bottom with a few small boulders. There a lot of small overhangs with cuttlefish, Port Jackson sharks, firefish, ladder-finned pomfret, silver sweep and leatherjackets. Visibility can be poor at times.
34° 01′ 34.5″S 151 34° 13′ 52.5″E.
This site is very impressive, with walls dropping from about three or four metres to 17 metres close to the rock platform. This wall runs north-south and has overhangs and caves, with a few swim-throughs. There are nice gorgonias and sea squirts on the main wall. The site is patrolled by eastern blue devilfish in the many caves, kingfish, silver sweep and cuttlefish.
34° 02′ 12.3″S 151° 13′ 35.2″E (AUS66)
This dive site consists of a wall that runs north-south. The reef offers boulders, overhangs and some small swim-throughs and arches. Along the reef there are excellent sponges, sea squirts and small gorgonias. The fishlife includes one-spot pullers, silver sweep, small seapike, yellowtail and leatherjackets.
34° 02′ 17″S 151° 13′ 35″E AUS66
This dive site consists of a very long wall that runs north-south about 140metres south of Big Saigon. There are lots of overhangs and gullies along the wall formed by some very large boulders. Away from the wall there are lots of boulders covered in sponges, sea squirts and small gorgonias. Fish life includes one-spot pullers, silver sweep, small seapike, yellowtail and leatherjackets.
Wreck of the SS “Hilda”.
34° 02′ 23″S 151° 13′ 25″E AUS66
The 125ft long iron collier SS Hilda was built in 1879 by Cuncliffe and Dunlop in Port Glasgow, for the run between the Newcastle and Illawarra coalfields. In 1893 she left Port Kembla for Sydney loaded with coal. Off Cronulla Beach Captain Phillipson departed the bridge to go below. He returned to the bridge and saw the ship was almost ashore, immediately he gave the order to reverse the engines. The Hilda suddenly crashed ashore on the rocks. Captain Phillipson ordered the crew to abandon ship.
Now located less than two hundred metres off Cape Baily Lighthouse the SS Hilda is pulverised into component pieces, but there is still a lot to see. The main wreckage of the Hilda runs in an south-west to north-east direction. The prop and rudder, engine area, anchors, capstans, winches, davits and boiler casings can be identified.
Container Wall Grotto
The wall consists of a granite base with concrete blocks piled on top of it. The wall is full of holes and tunnels created by the irregularity of the blocks. They are biggest on the southern side of the wall. Access to this dive site is either by boat or from the car-park at Molineaux Point. It is a difficult climb over the irregular rocks and down to the water. You will also need a torch as it is very dark under the wall. In some of these caves you can travel up to 20 or 30 metres. Inside the tunnels are mullaway (jewfish), bream and luderick. Beware of the large number of fishing lines and have someone mind your car against theft.
34° 03′ 37″S 151° 12′ 34″E AUS66
The reef covers a very large area and is generally a low reef that does not show up well on a depth sounder. It lies 2.5 kilometres south of Cape Baily Lighthouse at Kurnell. Some sites are better than others, this one offering overhangs, boulders and small swim-throughs. In the deeper parts of the dive there are sponge gardens with sea whips, lace corals and some gorgonia. In spring Port Jackson sharks and wobbegongs are seen. Other fish include blue gropers, bream, six-spined leatherjackets, silver sweep, kingfish, yellowtail, striped seapike, wrasse and red morwongs.
34° 03′ 00″ S 151° 12′ 07″ E AUS66
As with many sites in the area it consists of an underwater wall. This runs north/south. The wall has a few gorgonias, sponges and sea squirts on it. On the sand in spots there are some smaller boulders. Under the many overhangs there are fish, for fish and sweep, yellowtail, ladder-finned pomfret and one-spot pullers. On the sand there are rays and flathead.
34° 03′ 05″S 151° 11′ 57″E AUS66
This site lies on the secluded south side of the Kurnell National Park. This site should only be done by experienced divers and only when conditions are exceptionally calm. Also, there is quite a strong current and you have to be in the water 45 minutes before high tide and no later. Visibility can be very good (10M average).The dive site here is composed of a flat reef top with some small cracks and a small wall.Voodoo’s highlight is an overhang full of fish where you can see waves breaking overhead. It boasts cuttlefish, eels, seahorses and lots of sea dragons.
From here continue out to sea (south) through another canyon, walled by large boulders. It descends to around the 20 metre mark and then the reef drops off quite sharply to 25+metres. The invertebrate life is excellent with sponge, sea whips, gorgonias and sea squirts. The fishlife is also usually very good, silver sweep, one-spot pullers, leatherjackets and yellowtail are common. You may also see eastern blue devilfish under some of the overhangs and angelsharks, serpent eels, and Port Jackson sharks (in winter) on the sand.
12 to 20m
GPS Marks of 34° 03′ 35″S 151° 11′ 12″E
The northern and southern sides of this reef offer a sharp drop off. These are the best sections to dive. To the west. There is a cave draped in gorgonias, jewel anemones, sponges and sea squirts. Even further along, there is a wall and broken reef covered in fish, huge schools of yellowtail, ladder-finned pomfret and seapike. On the reef there are also leatherjackets, luderick, bream and other reef species. Other fish to be found here include very friendly blue groper, red morwong, cuttlefish, mado, stripey, common bullseye, crimson-banded wrasse, silver sweep, sergeant baker, old wife, white ear, leatherjackets, Port Jackson sharks, one-spot puller, blue-striped goatfish, pufferfish and eastern blue devil fish. Sea-dragons, dusky flatheads and common stingarees can be seen on the sand. The Osborne Shoals are also known for many different kinds of colourful nudibranchs.
Middle Ground North
34° 04′ 26.5″S 151° 11′ 23.2″E WGS84
The reef runs from the north-west to the south-east and is known for its excellent invertebrate life. The reef top has lots of sea tulips and sponges. The reef is very thick with gorgonia sea fans, more so than any other southern Sydney dive site. Cracks in the reef are home to many fish and some oddities like pineapplefish.
Middle Ground – Cronulla
34° 04′ 26.5″S 151° 11′ 23.2″E. AUS66
This reef offers nooks and crannies to examine on a convoluted wall. There are some overhangs and caves, including quite a large low cave that is home to large cuttlefish and wobbegong shark. This site noted for prolific sponges, sea squirts, gorgonias, sea whips and numerous species of nudibranchs. Fish life includes Port Jackson sharks, eastern blue devilfish, gurnards, numbrays, sea horse, red morwongs and pygmy pipehorses. The normally amazing south Sydney school fish are also there in swarms almost reaching to the surface, yellowtail, sweep, ladder-finned pomfret and seapike. Pelagics such as kingfish can also be encountered from time to time.
Six Fathom Reef /Simpsons Reef
34° 04′ 18″S 151° 10′ 13″E AUS66
This site is protected to a degree from southerly and south-easterly swells by Jibbon Bombora. It offers low walls with above average fish life. Ladder-finned pomfret, bullseye, yellowtail, seapike and one-spot pullers are everywhere, especially in the shallower 11 to 14 metre depths. Bream, yellowtail kingfish and trevally are also seen in large numbers from time to time. Other fish to be seen include blue groper, magpie morwong, eastern blue devils, crimson banded wrasse, combfish and blackfish. There are some good sponges on the southern side and a number of gorgonia sea fans on the south-eastern corner. It offers an excellent second dive but after periods of prolonged heavy rainfall, the visibility can be poor.
This shore diving site lies a few hundred metres north of Oak Park on Rostrevor Street. Park near the end of the street where there is a path down on to the rock platform. There are a couple of good entry and exit points, depending on the tides. At 11 metres there is a cave about a 20 minute swim to the south. There is also a medium size wall. For interest, someone has added a urinal and garden gnomes outside the cave. There are a couple of small swim-throughs and a lot of large rocks. The fish life is good with sweep, ladder-finned pomfret, yellowtail and seapike. There are also a lot of octopus, cuttlefish, sea dragons, rays, angelsharks, salmon, squid, eastern rock blackfish, wobbegong, Port Jackson sharks and luderick. It is a nice, easy dive that is also a good site for a night dive.
Oak Park in Cronulla is a popular shallow dive site with easy access. This site is located on the Cronulla Peninsula at the end of Jibbon Street, Cronulla. Oak Park is a very popular dive location for learners and novice divers. The dive site is a wall which runs in an arc from the shore. The wall is about two to three metres high and has numerous low caverns or overhangs. Crimson-banded wrasse, maori wrasse, beardie, yellowtail, herring cale, black-spot goatfish, ladder-finned pomfret, common bullseye, mado, cuttlefish, white ear, sergeant baker, red morwong, orange-lined wrasse, velvet leatherjacket, rough leatherjacket can be seen. You may see eastern blue devilfish, moray eels, knightfish (pineapplefish) and quite often firefish. This site is also known for friendly blue gropers. The site is fairly protected from southerly winds but is exposed to easterlies or northerlies. After heavy rain, stormwater from Port Hacking can reduce the normally good visibility. This is one of Sydney’s easiest dives but it is still interesting even to experienced divers. It makes for a good night dive too.
Bass and Flinders Point
This site was once very popular with dive schools, but Sutherland Shire Council closed off the road that leads down to the dive site. It is a long, steep walk for a dive on mostly sand. It does have the advantage of being very sheltered. On this dive look for flathead, blue swimmer crabs, striped dumpling squid, sole, cuttlefish, blue swimmer crabs, In October, there are huge numbers of baby Port Jackson sharks.
Shiprock is considered to be one of Sydney’s most popular dive locations. The site lies off Shiprock Road at Dolans Bay. At the end of the street there are a set of stairs to the water. There is now a gate and the site is closed from 9:30 pm till sunrise. This is to give the neighbours a break from the large numbers of divers in the area. As this is a very quiet residential area, keep the site open by avoiding annoying the neighbours. Keep noise to a minimum as it teems with people on weekends when it’s rough at sea.
Shiprock can normally only be dived for the short period between 25 minutes before and about 30 or so minutes after the peak of high tide. Peak tides are approximately 20 minutes later than at Fort Denison. The tide can sometimes be delayed, especially when there are very large easterly or north-easterly seas. At times other than slack water, the site is subjected to very strong currents and very poor visibility. If the difference is less than about 0.5 metre (neap tides), then you may be able to dive anytime on the incoming tide without too much effort.
From the entry, simply sink down into about 3m of water and head out in an easterly direction. Swim out over sand for about 6-7 metres and then you will see the wall, drop over the wall into about 15m of water. Most divers will head to the south of the wall first. If you get disorientated simply head west and you will hit the main wall again.
A good navigation marker and unique feature of the dive is the ‘Bubble Cave’ – a small cave inside an overhang in 15 metres. The bubble cave is marked by a flat rock running out from the main wall and an overhang. It’s not too far from the start of the dive. There’s room for two divers to stick their heads out of the water and have a chat. It’s not a good idea to breath too much of the air.Further along there are a number of very large rocks. These rocks are covered with growth and attract large numbers of fish. The area around the bommies also support some rarer fish, including the strange looking anglerfish. There are also sometimes sea horses.
The sandy bottom can be found in 18 metres around the base of the rocks and there is usually something worth seeing, including red indianfish. Over 130 species of fish have been recorded here. You may also see blue swimmer crabs, catfish, cuttlefish, decorator crabs, spider crabs, moray eels, conger eels and pineapplefish. The varied fish life at the site is a major feature of the dive.Shiprock is an aquatic reserve and all fishlife is protected. Shiprock is an excellent night dive. Shiprock is not known for good visibility, 5m is average. Extreme care should be taken on this dive to never surface unless unavoidable, as power boats are close and very common.
Lilli Pilli Pool
Dives in rivers are usually cloudy but the Hacking River is mostly within a national park and the water of Port Hacking is generally quite clear. This is a dive along the edge of the shore on the western side of the suburb of Lilli Pilli, 4.2 kilometres from the ocean. The bottom is generally sediment under some wharves, moorings and along a swimming enclosure. There is quite a lot of smaller marine life to see, eels, cuttlefish, nudibranchs, red indianfish, pineapplefish, sea horses, kingfish, numbrays, moray eel, eastern fortescue, eastern rock blackfish, luderick, stripey, blue groper, Sydney cardinalfish, bream, yellowtail, goatfish, leatherjackets, octopus, striped catfish, whiting, small rays and pufferfish. The best visibility is usually at high tide but the site is not especially affected by currents. It very good easy dive site, especially at night.
Just outside Port Hacking, 25 kilometres south of Sydney, lies a rocky outcrop that comes up to almost the surface, Jibbon Bombora. In calm seas, the reef is virtually invisible, but in large seas the waves break over the entire length of the reef if the seas are up, it can not only be difficult to dive Jibbon Bombora, but dangerous The bombora itself is made up of two peaks, a larger northern one and a smaller southern peak The western side of the bommie is not the best dive site as it does not drop down as rapidly or to as great a depth. wobbegongs eastern blue devils and giant cuttlefish overhangs and caves
Blue Devil Reef
reef here runs east-west small overhangs, some of which house blue devilfish sponges and sea squirts
The reef to the east of Jibbon Bombora is quite extensive and undived sites we have named after other fast food outlets here is also a sort of small tunnel here between the overhang and a large, low rock. fishlife here is prolific. We saw seapike, silver sweep, trevally, one-spot pullers as well as a few very large yellowtail kingfish
34° 04′ 46″S 151° 10′ 52″E – (AUS66)
A very prominent wall with some small boulders on the sand. An Admiralty anchor sits about 3 metres off the wall. There is a very small cave and a few more isolated rocks offering sponges, sea squirts, gorgonias and giant jelly ascidians.
34° 04′ 55.6″S 151° 10′ 48.5″E AUS66
This section has many small boulders going out to a small wall and then the sand. There are some larger boulders along here. The main wall and the boulders have lots of very large sponges, some small gorgonias and many sea squirts. This is very colourful. As you go, look under the boulders and you may see some Port Jackson sharks and cuttlefish. On the sand there are sometimes sea dragons, although not very many On dives here we have seen huge numbers of seapike, yellowtail, silver sweep and trevally. There are also lots of bastard trumpeters, black reef leatherjackets, one-spot pullers and other fish.
34° 05′ 02.3″S 151° 10′ 42.4″E AUS66
There is excellent fishlife and some of the best sponge gardens around Sydney. The reef here runs mostly east-west. Gorgonias Sponges, sea squirts and ascidians can be seen. There are huge schools of one-spot pullers all over the reef, a lot of bastard trumpeter, rays, mosaic leatherjackets as well as black reef and six-spined leatherjackets, boarfish, bream, sea pike and yellowtail.
GPS Reading of 34° 05′ 03″S 151° 10′ 43″E. AUS66
The main part of the reef is about 70 metres long and runs north to south. There are a number of cracks and small canyons across the reef. One almost breaks the reef in two. Gorgonias, sponges, sea squirts and ascidians of many colours can be seen in the cracks in the reef. This site is known fora large school of bastard trumpeter. There are also some bream, sea pike and yellowtail and leatherjackets in large numbers.
34° 05′ 31″S 151° 10′ 23″E AUS66
The flat top of this reef is covered in kelp and then drops vertically to the sand. This wall runs north/south and is cut by a crack four metres deep and two metres wide. There are a number of small swim-throughs and caves. The site is often visited by fish and common resident species include eastern blue devilfish, serpent eels, pygmy pipehorse, blue gropers, flathead, wrasse, sea dragons and giant cuttlefish. Gorgonias, sea squirts, nudibranchs and sponges can be seen on the rocks.
34° 05′ 29″S 151° 10′ 23″E AUS66
This is considered the best boat diving site in the Sydney but as no dive shop visits there it is no longer dived much. There is a dramatic drop covered with life. The fish swarm over the site in huge quantities, yellowtail, kingfish, one-spot pullers and ladder-finned pomfrets. It is famous for its friendly blue gropers. Not to be missed if you ever get the chance.
Just south of Baron’s Hut there is a spot called Tumbledown. It consists of rocks collapsed from the reef onto the rock platform. The site is renowned for sea dragons, rays, Port Jackson sharks, yellowtail, ladder-finned pomfret, seapike, silver sweep and one-spot pullers. Other fish that are likely to be encountered include luderick, bream, morwong and leatherjackets. The sponge life is very good. There are a number of small canyons as well as a few swim-throughs and huge boulders.
34° 05′ 40″S 151° 10′ 04″E (AUS66)
South of Baron’s Hut (550 metres) there is a wall from 5-14M with low rocks near the sand. The reef has some large boulders. The crevices in the wall include a main gully running north-south that is about three to five metres wide and four or five metres deep. The rocks are carpeted in gorgonias and sea squirts. The site is normally covered in fishlife including schooling catfish, silver sweep, yellowtail, seapike, ladder-finned pomfrets, sea dragons, Port Jackson sharks, red morwong and leatherjackets. You will also see up to a couple of hundred Port Jackson sharks here in Spring.
One Spot Reef
GPS S34° 05’ 52.0” E151° 09’ 54.5” AUS66
The dive site offers small caves and some swim-throughs created by the large boulders. The most noticeable feature is the thousands of one-spot pullers, morwong and yellowtail over the site, as well as the occasional blue morwong. This is a very good dive site, with some nice small gorgonias, lots of colourful sea squirts and sponges.
34° 05′ 55.7″S 151° 09′ 50.7″E AUS66
At the head of the small bay there is a large crevice on the shore. This is The Cutting, a site consisting of very large boulders. Explore these as there are some nice sea whips and sea tulips on the rocks. There are prolific numbers of fish yellowtail, seapike, leatherjackets and ladder-finned pomfrets. There may also be lots of one-spot pullers and in late Winter, Port Jackson sharks and rays. On the rocks there are lots of sponges, small gorgonias, sea squirts as well as nudibranchs.
34° 06′ 03″S 151° 09′ 45″E AUS66
This site is at its best in calm seas. The large underwater wall has an overhang and looks like a huge balcony. This site always has huge amounts of silver sweep, ladder-finned pomfret, seapike, yellowtail, ladder-finned pomfret, bulleyes, yellowtail, silver sweep and leatherjackets more.
GPS 34° 06′ 29.4″S 151° 09′ 24.9E WGS84
This 3m high underwater wall runs east-west site and offers boulders and caves. It also has a lot of leatherjackets, seapike and one-spot pullers.
Marley Sponge Gardens
34° 07′ 02″S 151° 09′ 00″E (AUS66)
Marley Point offers some huge boulders with prolific numbers fishlife, yellowtail, pomfret, one-spot pullers, seapike and silver sweep to be low wall. On the sand there are normally some sea dragons. There are small caves and overhangs laced with gorgonias, sponges and sea tulips.
34° 08′ 25″S 151° 07′ 43″E AUS66
One of the remote inlets at Royal National Park is Wattamolla Cove. Its northern headland offers very good dive sites including a deeper sponge garden site. The whole reef is covered in a mass of sponges, sea squirts, gorgonias and ascidians This also has some small gutters along a rock wall and large rocks off the main wall. The site swarms with thousands of silver sweep and nannygais. Bastard trumpeter also visit the site. The sand edge has sea dragons, serpent eels, wobbegongs, Port Jackson sharks, cuttlefish and rays. There are eagle rays and luderick on the reef top. Red Indianfish are also sometimes seen.
Wreck of the “Tuggerah”
34° 08′ 19.9″ S 151° 09′ 01.7″ E. AUS66
The 186 foot long steel collier was built in 1912 by Clyde Ship Building and Engineering Company Ltd, for the Wallarah Coal Company. In May 1919, after loading 820 tons of coal at the Bulli Jetty the Tuggerah left for Sydney. When she left Bulli, the Tuggerah was noticed to have a slight list to port and coal was not evenly distributed. Two hatches were not in place. The seas were bad and she was taking water. Off Marley Beach in Royal National Park, a huge wave of 6 metres hit the ship. Within a few minutes she capsized and sank. Six of the crew died. The site is now covered in huge clouds of fish. The site is large but heavily broken up with the stern and machinery still in place. The site is current affected at times and it is very exposed to the weather. It is a dive for experienced parties only.
Wreck of the “Undola”
34° 10′ 49.7″S 151° 05′ 34.2″E. AUS66
In 1909, the small steel collier SS Undola was built by J. Fullerton and Co., Paisley for an Australian coal company. In December 1918, the Undola had finished loading its cargo of coal at Bellambi. The weather was unusual hot and windy. At 7:30 pm the Undola was seen by a passing steamer but she failed to arrive in Sydney. Wreckage was found but no wreck. She probably foundered due to poor loading. The wreck was found by divers in the 1970s. Today, the Undola lies upright on the bottom with the plates broken off close to the sand. The machinery is exposed. The site is usually free of current and is usually easier to dive than the Tuggerah.