Sydney’s best shore dives

Visiting Sydney this summer? Despite the fact that we don’t have a Sydney Marine Park, there’s still some great diving to be had all along the coastline and harbour bays from the Northern Beaches to the Eastern Suburbs and south to Botany Bay. If you’re lucky you may even run into a grey nurse shark just off the beach (like this one pictured above, photographed by Pete McGee).

Here are our favourites and a great little video by GoodViz to kick it all off. There’s also a list of the Top Twenty Sydney Dive Sites here – it you want to explore a little off shore as well.

Starting with Sex on the Beach – just of Kurnell Monument you’ll likely see lots of nudibranchs (like this amorous pair of Harlequin nudibranchs)…Actually two dive sites at Kurnell: Kurnell Monument and Kurnell Steps. Both relatively easy dives, one faces north-west (Monument) one faces north-east

…and the site is also famous for weedy sea dragons and pygmy pipehorses (photo below by Andrew Trevor-Jones).

Kurnell Weedy Sea dragon

On the northern end of Botany Bay, Bare Island is another popular shore dive, where you’ll find plenty of flamboyant nudibranchs (this one photographed by Pete McGee) and gorgeous pygmy pipehorses.

Bare Island nudibranch Pete McGee

Further east in Camp Cove the sea horses steal the show. Those and the swimmer crabs and angler fish.

Sydney Harbour diving holiday travel planning for Camp Cove - where, who and how

Meanwhile, in the mud of Chowder Bay in Clifton Gardens, there are more anglers, pipefish, frogfish, playful octopuses, lots of seahorses and it’s also famous for decorator crabs.

Clifton Gardens Decorator Crab_3365

Fairy Bower being within Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve is a great place for a day or night dive.

Cabbage Tree Bay cuttlefish Pete McGee

You’re bound to run into cuttlefish (they aggregate to breed in winter but are there year-round), Port Jackson sharks, juvenile dusky whaler sharks, plenty of rays…

Cabbage Tree Bay ray Pete McGee

… loads of wobbegongs – and you’re bound to make friends with the local blue groper.

Cabbage Tree Bay eastern blue groper Pete McGee

Finally – Shelly Beach – which is not just one dive site. You could spend hours in there and never cross the same path, yet still encounter over 200 species of fish and rays. And you never know who’s coming to visit.

Best dive site in Manly is Shelly Beach. Scuba holiday travel planning for Manly - where, who and how

One day it’s a dolphin, next day it’s bronze or dusky whalers, sometimes the odd eagle ray streams through – and recently, a whole flotilla of cow nose rays!

If you liked this post, you might also like The Best Places to Dive with Grey Nurse Sharks in NSW.

One thought on “Sydney’s best shore dives

  1. Thanks for those tips.
    I recall seeing dive boats out behind Bangally Headland at the southern end of Whale Beach.
    Just wondering if any readers have dived or snorkelled there

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