Dive Site: Chowder Bay, Clifton Gardens, Sydney NSW

Pygmy leatherjacket at clifton gardens diving sydney harbour banner

Site Overview

Site Type: Macro (Nudi's); Reef – Scenic
Depth: Top: 3MMedian: 6MBottom: 9M
Location: Inside Sydney Harbour on the north shore facing south east


Chowder Bay dive site at Clifton Gardens on Sydney’s lower north shore is a classic inshore harbour muck dive: one day you might see a tiger pipefish, anglerfish and the frogfish, and on another you might not see your own hand in front of your face, and you will always see several species of sea horse and the site’s signature species; decorator crabs.

The dive pretty much follows the outline of the jetty as the net runs underneath and it’s on the pilings and the amongst and around the area of the netting that you’ll find the obvious stuff like blue lined goatfish, leatherjackets, goatfish, bottom dwellers such as blennies, threefins and gobies.

Chowder Bay frogfish credit Jayne Jenkins_JJ38210

It’s tempting to move on if these creatures seem to want to hide; though a little patience pays off.

Chowder Bay decorator Crab credit Jayne Jenkins_JJ38677

On the sand and silt in front of the jetty you might find stingarees and the occasional gloomy octopus, who can be tempted to play if you come bearing gifts (shiny objects).

Chowder Bay dive site, Clifton Gardens, Sydney, NSW. Shore dive: how to find it, safe entry point, what to look out for, what you might see, who to go with

You’ll find several species of seahorse – including Whites Seahorse …

Chowder Bay Whites seahorse credit Jayne Jenkins_9162

… in the netting and on the pylons, and in the “Seahorse Hotels” – wire cages installed as sheltered habitat for the White’s seahorses, in a program to help boost their dwindling numbers.

… and on the sand, look out for numb rays, octopus, blennies and pipefish and look under the rubble for shy moray eels.

Chowder Bay moray eels 54credit Jayne JenkinsJJ3_8025

Once you’ve traversed the netting, it’s time to check your navigation skills. From the end of the jetty head true east and see if you can hit the buoy. Then turn around and head north west and back to the beach. In the kelp you might find that pipefish and/or anglerfish!

Chowder Bay frogfish credit Jayne Jenkins_JJ35919

For a more exhaustive list of critters you might encounter, have a look at Marine Explorer’s album.

Clifton Gardens Decorator Crab_3365

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