My opinion of some dive sites around Newcastle,

the Central Coast and Port Stephens

Site Name
Rating (Out of 5)
Description

Nelson Bay

 45 minutes drive North of Newcastle

 Fly Point

 ***

 Easy dive, and quite shallow at the ledges (11-12m). Popular spot for Open water divers and dive classes. An excellent night dive. Schools of fish in the shallows. High tide dive. Strong current at other times.

Halifax Park

 ****

 Excellent shore dive. Main diving
between 15m and 24m. A few tame Blue Groper that will eat from your hand, and lots of Moray Eels that love a tickle. Lots of colour on sunny days. Tidal dive.

 Dunny Pipe

 **

 Easy dive as you have a great navigation aid (the pipe). Popular night dive, with a few pineapple fish and lots of prawns. Tidal dive. You can also drift from Fly Point.

 Marina Wall

 ***

 Underrated drift dive. Literally thousands of bait fish, among just about every other type of fish that inhabits the rock wall of the marina in Nelson Bay. Do the drift an hour after high tide, starting at the dunny pipe, and exiting on the beach near the boat entrance to the marina. Should take around 40 mins to drift.

 Little Beach

 **

 Easy dive with a built in rope path that leads you over a sunken houseboat, a large A-frame and a sunken barge. A local diver has also begun to build his own artificial reef. Dive within an hour of high tide.

Shoal Bay

 **

 Shallow dive which does not get deeper than about 4-5m. Good for classes and those who like to dive under moored boats. Non tidal.

 Broughton Island

 *****

  Short boat trip north of Port Stephens. Most popular dive site in the region. More than a dozen documented dive sites around the island. There are many sheltered bays and small reefs, and the area is frequented by Grey Nurse sharks and pelagic species. On a good day, it is hard to match on the East Coast.

 The Looking Glass

 ****

 The looking glass is a crack / crevice that runs through Looking Glass Island. The crack is 5-12m wide and around 50m long. The depth ranges from 25m up to 12m. Fantastic walls and rock boulders.

 Bubble Cave

 ***

 Extends back into the Island and is quite large. The depth doesn't get much below 15m and there is good fish life.

 SS Oakland

 ***

The Oakland is a 47m long wreck that lies off Cabbage Tree Island in 26m of water. All that remain of the wreck are the hull ribs and small portions of the deck, as well as the boiler and forward mast. This makes for a safe dive with lots of marine life and sponges.

  Boat Harbour

  ***

 If the seas are calm, this is an excellent dive. Inside the harbour is a bit plain but easy. Once you're outside the bay, there are gutters, big boulders and big rays among other things.

  Fingal Bay

***

The sponge gardens off the Lighthouse headland are quite amazing. It's not uncommon to see a turtle or too off here.
 Newcastle
 

City

 **

You need flat seas to dive anywhere in Newcastle itself. Merewether and Newcastle baths provide good, shallow dives, as does the Bogie Hole. There is an historic wreck (The Commodore) off Nobby's Lighthouse, but not really worth a dive
 Swansea
 20 minutes drive South of Newcastle.

  Swansea Bridge

 ***

 Excellent dive, but take a compass. The bridge pylons begin to look the same after a while. The fish life can be absolutely amazing one day, then almost
non-existent the next. Dive around 2 hours after high tide.

 Swansea Channel

 ***

 One of my favourite dives. Challenging drift dive starting on the North side of the Channel at Blacksmiths and finishing at the Southern side of the Bridge. Dive on the incoming tide.

 Swansea Heads

 **

 Shallow dive and you need relatively flat
seas. Best to dive this one, as with the
Channel, with someone who has dived
it before.

  Moon Island

 ***

 Just five minutes by boat, Moon Is. Offers great diving for beginners or more advanced divers. Quite rocky in most places, but you'll never get sick of the small swim throughs. I've spotted a few big Jewfish there as well as Eastern Blue Devilfish.

 The Advance wreck

 ?

Still Haven't Dived this one. I hear it is in 50m of water and is a good dive.
 Central Coast
 45-60 minutes South of Newcastle.

 Norah head

 **

 Easy shallow dive around the back of the baths at the boat ramp. Watch out
for boat traffic. Dive when flat.

  Hargreaves Reef

 ***

 One of the best Shallow dives I have done. Get the boat to drop you off at one end and pick you up from the other. Lots of overhangs and swim throughs. Watch out for fishermen.

 Two poles

 ***

 A short boat ride from the boat ramp, Two Poles is situated off the Norah Head lighthouse. Good for Open water divers and has excellent marine life

 Inside wall

 ***

A terrific wall that runs for almost 6 km parallel with the shore. A bit of a boat ride to get to the good spots. Too many dive spots to mention.

 Rock Gardens

 ****

 Between the boat ramp and Bird Island, the Rock Gardens are my favorite dive in this area. Giant Cuttlefish and huge Wobbegong Sharks are some of the residents and the swim throughs are astounding. Quite deep at between 24 and 32m.

 The Nerong

 ***

About 5 - 10 minutes from Terrigal, the
wreck of the Nerong lies in 40 - 45m of
water and is completely surrounded by
sand. Bottom time is short but the huge
Wobbegongs and massive schools of
Bullseye's will leave you quite satisfied.
Well worth it.

Foggy's Cave

 ***

Excellent Nurse Shark dive and only
around 10 minutes boat ride from
Terrigal. Sharks are there from around
March till September.

De Soto Inlet

 ***

Located at Catherine Hill Bay, the De
Soto is a great spot to dive, especially if
you are into Underwater Photography.
There is a small cave at the back of the
inlet and walls full of life. Watch the
seas for calmer conditions. Depth is 5 -
18 m.

These are just some of the sites that you will find between Terrigal on the
Central Coast and Nelson Bay at Port Stephens. Other sites that we can give
you information on are Seal Rocks at Forster, South West Rocks and Fish
Rock Cave, Solitary Islands off Coffs Harbour, the HMAS Swan in W.A. as
well as sites me and my friends have dived in Fiji, Vanuatu and The Solomon Islands.

Phone us on (02)49 530001 or 0403 327327

e-mail me at diver@exemail.com.au