Every year, more than 100,000 people learn to dive, and thousands of them decide to travel to Australia. As the only Commonwealth country with an island so close (10 nautical miles), many visitors decide on a diving holiday in Sydney. It is not hard to understand why people would want to experience the Great Barrier Reef, but there are excellent dive sites in Sydney’s backyard too.
CABBAGE TREE BAY, MANLY: (NORTH SHORE)
Isolated from the other sites on this list, Cabbage Tree Bay is about 30km north of Sydney. It faces northwest and has an exposed sand channel that attracts seagrass. As the name suggests, it also marks the edge of Cabbage Tree Bay. When conditions are calm, it provides for a more relaxed diving experience, but when the sea is rough then divers tend to go elsewhere.
Cabbage Tree Bay has some interesting topography for divers who are more experienced. There is plenty of bigger fish on the reef, which is particularly active in their feeding times. On a clear day, you can see people at Bronte on the other side of the bay.
LA PEROUSE, PYREE: (NORTH SHORE)
Like Cabbage Tree Bay, La Perouse is also isolated from the other sites on the list, but it has better diving. There are large boulders that attract a lot of fish, and these in turn attract sharks. Nurse sharks are common at La Perouse, and the surrounding walls also attract much larger fish such as tuna. Like Cabbage Tree Bay, La Perouse is best when it is not too rough.
WHITE COVE: (NORTH SHORE)
White Cove comes in between Bronte and La Perouse in terms of quality and popularity. It has a fairly exposed location, which means that it is rough more often than not. However, when conditions are calm then White Cove provides excellent diving. You can expect to see the usual reef fish here, but also large numbers of groper.
MANLY BEACH: (NORTH SHORE)
Manly Beach is good because it has a wide variety of reef topography. Experienced divers will have a lot of fun exploring the same waters as beginners. Plus, Manly Beach is only a few minutes drive from Sydney, so it is popular for weekend diving. There are many different depth ranges, which make conditions more consistent and increase your chance to see interesting things. You can also take a boat to the nearby reef sites, and it is easy to find a boat that will take you diving.
NUMBER ONE BEACH: (SOUTH SHORE)
Number One Beach sits at the end of Pittwater and has its own little cove with some excellent reef topography. It can get slightly rough here, but there are often good conditions when other sites are too rough. The reef attracts a lot of fish, particularly big parrotfish. There are also some interesting things to see on the shore, including an old freighter wreck. Usually, people use diving gear here, but there is something to see for snorkellers too.
PIPE TUNNEL BAY, CLARENVILLE: (SOUTH SHORE)
Pipe Tunnel Bay is a little further from the city than most of the other sites. It is only about 40km from Sydney, but you need to travel through Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. The best way to get there is by boat from Palm Beach or Careel Bay. Once you get there, the sheltered bay and scenic views provide a very relaxing diving experience. Pipe Tunnel has a large variety of reef fish, and in particular, it attracts the popular blue groper.
MOSMAN BAY: (SOUTH SHORE)
Mosman Bay is about 25km from Sydney. It offers a sheltered location, which makes it suitable for diving when other sites are too rough. This bay is also known to attract sharks, so divers should keep a close eye on where they are swimming. However, the blue groper still comes here in large numbers. There is plenty of reef fish, including many species of moray eels .
Sydney has some excellent sites for both beginner and experienced divers. The best time to go diving is on a calm, clear day. If the sea conditions are not so good then you can still have a great experience but it is less likely. Most of these popular dive sites have an entry fee, but there are few licenses required for Sydney diving. As long as you follow the safety procedures you should be fine. Does this article interest you in finding someone to keep you company in Sydney? Log on to Ivy Societe, and make sure that your interests are well met.