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Broulee Cave – Batemans Bay - New South Wales
An open water dive site that’s off a great big rock platform – with a cave underneath it – I’ve found some amazing stuff while down there – inside the cave there’s a lot of interesting things to see. And once you’ve explored the cave and turn around, you’ll see that there’s a myriad of fish are gathered outside the cave. It’s an amazing and breath-taking sight, especially when the water is pure blue, and full of sunlight.
Once you’ve had your fill of the cave, there’s a line of boulders to the south east or so, and beyond them, sand. Follow the sand line for a bit, and you’ll find a lovely area with growths of corals, both hard and soft. Depending on the time of year you’ll find some lovely ‘seasonal’ stuff, including pelagic fish and eagle rays. Nudibranchs and shoals of groupers top off the amazing sites in the area.
Max depth out here is about 10 metres, and the visibility is about the same, but because there are some currents, this is an open water rated site – I’ve never encountered any problems but we did hear a story while enquiring about the area that another diving couple had to abandon their dive because things were ‘restless’ down there. All in all though, a highly recommended site.
Guerilla Bay - Batemans Bay - New South Wales
This open water dive is just off Bateman’s Bay, Beach Road. Find the car park at the first right off Beach Road, and then walk down from the car park to the water. I was advised to dive left to right, but you can do it either way round and still get the full effect of the area. There are rock shelves to the left hand side, some gutters, but no waves, making this one of the best beginner open water dives you’ll probably get to do in the area. There’s a small island connected from the car park (a few metres from the entry point) at low tide, so depending on the time of day it is, you’ll find that the layout and dive itself is very different – the ever changing bay and area around it is filled with interesting things to explore, before they’re washed away.
There is an absolute abundance of sea life, which delighted me – everything from tiny basket stars, to some gorgeous types of fish I couldn’t identify. It’s a great place to go on a photo-shoot, or just to go for a leisurely dive, without worrying or stressing about the dive itself. With interesting reef features, and rays, sharks and other wildlife this is an amazing place to visit and should be experienced at all costs.
The Gantry - Bawley Point - New South Wales
This is a lovely little dive accessible by a gantry way, which makes it easy for people to access, and easy to get out again when you’re done. There are no discernable currents as far as I can tell, so it’s not too hard to swim around either. It’s not a long walk from parking either so you’re not going to be hauling kit too far when you get there. I think the average depth was around 15 metres, and the deepest I went was just past 20 metres, so it’s not a bad dive, though the visibility is absolutely stunning at 15 metres. You can’t really manage this if you’re a beginner but its good if you’ve recently gotten your open water pass as this isn’t a difficult dive at all.
There’s lots to see – you follow the scenery kind of east, and have a look in all the nooks and crannies – crevices and holes and have an explore. There’s a lot to see, depending on what you’re interested in, lots of fish and micro creatures on the bottom, while there’s lots of plant life hiding other stuff too. All in all, this is a highly recommended dive, for those that have just gotten their open water certification, or are looking for something easy to do one quiet afternoon.
The Bommie - Bowen Island– Jervis Bay New South Wales
Another dive from Jervis Bay that you get to by boat. Watch the currents and swell as you’re heading out, if you go on your own because it’s strong enough on occasions to upend your boat and land you in the water before you planned!
The local dive site can talk to you about it, but this is a dive that’s basically large boulders and rock walls. The last time I was there, which was a while ago, there really wasn’t much growth or sea life, which really surprised those of us going on the dives. It’s incredible to see a dive that’s basically divided though, by water currents in different temperatures. It’s almost as if the sea had waves of shimmering material in it – you could actually see the cold currents in the water here, and boy, did you feel it if you weren’t paying attention.
I’d say this is rated as an open dive, just because of the shifting currents and rapid temperature change – it’s not deep though, with a max of just over 15 metres, and an average of about the same. The boulders have lots of little nooks and crannies that you might find stuff in, but overall, the most interesting thing I saw was the current curtains!
THE WALL - BOWEN ISLAND – Jervis Bay New South Wales
Accessible by boat, this average depth of 34 metres dive is rated advanced. The local dive shop can take you to this dive – but be aware that it can be pretty difficult to do if the sea is not calm.
The max depth of 35 metres with a visibility drop the further down you go from around 20 meters to somewhere around 12 metres is something we were warned about. There’s a wall at around 24 metres that drops away to a nice sandy bottom – strewn with rocks. This is an ideal place to explore – there are lots of creatures and fish, and plant life to enjoy down here, without much effort. There are some amazing Jewel Anemones down here, alongside some sea whips – one of the few sites I’ve seen them in fact. The wall too is strewn with nooks and crannies and there are lots of shoals of fish hanging around the area.
All in all, though this is a dive for the more experienced, it’s still ‘easy’ if you’ve got a good day to go. As you’re on the seaward side of Jervis Bay, you may find it difficult to dive here occasionally, but all in all, it’s a nice dive, with some really neat things to look at.
The Pinnacle – Brush Island - New South Wales
I was told, when heading out to the Pinnacle, that it’s rarely dived – you have to hire a boat because it’s somewhere in the region of 3 kilometres out from the very tip of Ulladulla. It’s a gorgeous dive because of this – there’s considerable sea life, including seals, which are apparently known to chase and grapple with you as a game. We never experienced this, but I did get to see some amazing sites, such as hammerheads, and kingfish schools that just kind of folded around us.
The average depth on this dive is around 28 metres – but the final depth on this seems to be just over the 40 metre mark. Visibility wasn’t spectacular, at around 10 metres, but it was still cool. The pinnacle is about 18 metres under the water, and drops all the way away to the base. We went there in the summer, and it was around 20 degrees, making the conditions very favourable for lots of fish and other wildlife. All in all, a recommended dive – just due to its differences and amazing things on offer each time. Since my first visit I’ve been a further seven times, and each time I haven’t seen the same thing twice.
The Docks - Jervis Bay - New South Wales
Like most of the other dives in Jervis Bay, you do this one with a local company – these guys are really pretty friendly and happily talk your ear off about the area you’re going to go into. The vital stats on this one are that it’s an open water dive, with a max visibility and depth of around 20 metres, and an average depth of 16 metres. Sites of note include places like the ‘double decker’ cave, and lots of areas to go off and explore.
This is a huge site, and you’re not going to get everything that you may hope to see in a day – it’s important to remember that the site is so massive that you may want to come back several times before deciding you’ve seen it all. We swam in and out of the caves, explored some of the swim throughs on our first dive, then came back and swam the caves again, more carefully this time, then explored some of the deeper parts. We saw lots of stuff, though I didn’t see the fairy penguin the dive guide told me to look out for – I did see lots of wildlife, sponges and more though on each and every one of my dives, which is a good sign. I did the dive at several times of the year too, which was nice – each of the different times lending a slightly different quality to the site that we went to each time. It’s not quite like exploring a different site, but close each time.
Kalkite Homestead – Lake Jindabyne - New South Wales
Kalkite homestead is an area at the end of Lake Jindabyne. Marked by a football sized orange marker buoy, you need to hire your own boat and head out yourself – there is no other way to each it.
While there’s limited life on the site, there is a LOT of silt – this is a flooded homestead that is rapidly deteriorating. It’s odd to see the site – with exposed roof beams, and windows and doors that are collapsing out onto the area around the walls itself. For that reason, it’s not wise to swim around inside though there’s a lot to view from the outside. The visibility is terrible - at 2 metres or less, depending on whether the silt has been stirred up – and you’ve got to be careful not to get entangled in a tree that the buoy is attached to. It’s important too, to remember to be careful where and how you propel yourself – the area is very low visibility so taking your time and when entering the region, go feet first if at all possible. It’s not very deep, only 12 metres, so it shouldn’t take long to reach the bottom. Acclimatise your eyes before exploring, and keep your eye out for things like belongings from the house (including a child’s cot) in the region surrounding the homestead.
Sunnybrae Homestead - Lake Jindabyne - New South Wales
Like the other homesteads on Lake Jindabyne, this is a sunken building that was flooded some time ago. . It’s important to remember that these sites are very fragile – and that there are no commercial tours on the lake, at any time. As long as you keep that in mind, you should be ok.
You can’t go inside the homestead itself – and bumping or knocking timbers and other items will lower visibility considerably – for that reason you should always enter these areas FEET FIRST. But there’s lots of interesting things to see down there – a chimney, foundations and a twin pipe stove. Not much of the homestead itself is still standing, but there is a completely intact shed with corrugated iron roof and walls, alongside some of the more interesting pieces.
Be warned that there is a tree tangled into most of this site, as such, you need to be careful not to snag yourself or collide with it – the silt in the area is considerable, just like at the other homestead sites and can be stirred up at the drop of a hat. The max depth seems much more because of poor visibility at 14 metres; the visibility can drop to only a metre.
Close Bombing - Ulladulla - New South Wales
This site has incredible visibility – up to 21 metres on good days. Couple that with the cacophony of colours of all of the amazing, incredible vast number of fish and you’re going to be in scuba divers heaven. I hired a boat to take me and some friends out a couple of years ago, and it’s stuck with me for all this time as one of the best dives I’ve ever been on.
The bottom is as you would expect, some sparse life, but not much, and lots of pebbles, rocks and a spattering of sand patches here and there. Interspersed on this is lots of bottom dwelling life – I spotted a couple of nudibranchs and what might have been a sea horse before being entirely distracted by the amazing array of fish swimming around in front of me, at maybe 24 metres.
It was impossible to miss all of the fish darting around, and it completely distracted me from the rest of the sights on the bottom of the sea bed. I saw shoals of clown fish (and was greatly amused when someone else described them as ‘Nemo’), lionfish, blue groupers and lots of other fish. I saw some turtles, a manta ray, some eels and more – all of which were highlighted against the gorgeous, azure blue green of the water around us. Most of the fish were placid, almost docile even, giving the impression that this was a frequently dived site – with an advanced dive rating though that really does surprise me. The maximum depth we went was just over 30 metres, which was almost comforting while you were down there – this is my first dive with clear enough visibility to see all the way back to the top most of the way down – and was my first and very memorable advanced dive.
Home Bommie - Ulladulla - New South Wales
Though this site is only a few minutes from Ulladula harbour, you should phone and book a space in advance where at all possible, guaranteeing that you’ll be taken out on your day of choice.
This open water site with a max depth of 24 metres and an average visibility of around 10 metres, this is a lovely site to go off and enjoy when you get the chance. The average depth is 22 metres, which is just shy of the deepest area, so it’s a fairly nice place to dive, predictable and visible once you get to the bottom.
There’s lots to do down here – swim by a seal statue into a channel, then out the other side through a vent, explore round the huge sea anchor embedded in the sea floor, or enjoy yourself around the myriad of nooks, crannies, boulders and more, while enjoying the abundant wildlife.
Along with their being a lot to do, there are lots of things to see – I spotted dozens of different types of fish such as eastern blue devil fish – which is a stunning fish to look at. I also stirred up several rays and other small fish from the sea bottom, which was quite a fright, as I didn’t see them till they moved!
Wattamolla-National Parks wildlife reserve - Wattamolla Scenic Reserve - New South Wales
In the Royal National Park, you’ll find an exit just past Bundeena turn off – it’s the next left after that turn. A long walk, there’s about a 700metre walk from the car park to the dive site itself.
Day or night, there’s something to see no matter when you go – just remember that the protected bay you enter in has a long walk to and from your car at the end. Once in the water, you’ll be fairly safe – have a look around before diving in, just to get a feel for the currents – and snorkel to have a brief tour of the area, before diving in – it’ll give you an idea of what you can do while there, and allow you to use your time even better. There are scour holes and lots of little nooks to explore. It’s also not deep and in a protected bay type area, shielded by headland that marks one edge of the dive. The other end is marked by southern swells, where you can start feeling a bit more of the tide than when you got in the water.
There’s lots of wildlife to see here – with the ever present normal marine life along with other stuff to see – it’s not the best dive if you’re looking for sea life to photograph, but it’s a good place to practice some skills that you can use later to get shots of wildlife, plus gain a bit more confidence when you’re diving.