3 Jul, 2018 Back to blog

Sydney Shore Diving

Every Saturday morning Dive 2000 runs a Dive Master guided Sydney shore dive and without a doubt this is our most popular dive activity and has been so for the past 30 years.It is very easy to understand why, Sydney’s dive sites provide encounters with a wide variety of marinelife totally unique to our local marine environment and not seen anywhere else in the World.

Cherie encounters a Fiddler Ray at Shelly Beach, Manly. This harmless species is a cross between a shark & ray.

Cabbage Tree Bay, Manly is a good place to encounter large flathead.

Add to this dive sites that provide ready access to calm, protected, shallow water and year round accessibility on the foreshores of Australia’s most spectacular city and you have a wonderful combination for a day out.

Our Bare Island dive site is the best location for encountering many species of Nudibranchs Blotched Hawkish are both a tropical and temperate water species happily surviving year round mostly encountered at local dive sites like Bare Island & KurnellDamselfish common to most of our local dive sites grow up into rather drab adults but as juveniles they are beautiful.

There is also great diversity of species encounters between the dive sites, although some marinelife will be consistently seen at all sites others are very site specific.

Sea Horse at Clifton GardensSergeant Baker fish at Shelly BeachSydney dive site Kurnell at the entrance to Botany Bay is our best shore dive featuring Sea Dragons.

For example, Manly’s Cabbage Tree Bay is best for encounters with juvenile Dusky Reef Sharks & Wobbegong Sharks, Clifton Gardens has Sea Horses and Anglerfish, Bare Island is best for Red Indian Fish, Pygmy Pipe Horses and Nudibranchs while the stars at Kurnell are Sea Dragons among colourful Sea Tulips & Sponges.

Our local Moray Eels, hanging out at most of our dive sites, look nasty but in fact are gentle creatures that have never bitten any diver.

Australian Giant Cuttlefish over one meter in length move into some of our local dive sites such as Cabbage Tree Bay, Bare Island & Kurnell ready to mate in Spring. 

  Green Turtles are occasional visitors to Sydney but of course anyone who has seen `Finding Nemo' would know that!

Night dives at Clifton Gardens are the best way to encounter giant nudibranchs that emerge from under the sand to feed.

Nothing beats interacting with our Blue Gropers, this large friendly fish welcomes divers at some of our dive sites and follows our team around like a friendly puppy.

 A friendly Blue Groper checks out Cherie at Kurnell

They are not related to Groupers, they are actually Wrasse, in fact one of the larger Wrasse in the World and like most of our local species, only found in our cooler temperate water.

They are also our official NSW State Fish and a protected species, at one meter long and weighing 15 kilos they are an impressive companion on any dive, the largest recorded specimen was 40 kilos and perhaps, now they are protected, in years to come some will grow to this size again.

Blue Lined Octopus at Clifton GardensMourning Cuttlefish Mating at Clifton Gardens

Baby Boxfish & Perch at Kurnell

Our local dive sites never become routine, as the seasons change so too does the seasons in the sea. Summer, Autumn, Winter & Spring produces seasonal species that arrive and depart with the seasons.

For example, Summer heralds the arrival of each seasons newly born juvenile Dusky Sharks, Autumn heralds the arrival of the Giant Australian Cuttlefish, large males stake out territory and compete with other males for females. Winter arrivals include dozens of female Port Jackson sharks attended by males hoping to mate and Spring produces Port Jackson Shark babies along with babies of many other species including Southern Eagle Rays.

 Each summer recently born juvenile Dusky Whaler sharks shelter in Manly's Cabbage Tree Bay. During Autumn they have grown sufficiently to depart into the deep blue ocean.Photo by David Young.

During the height of Summer the East Australian current sweeps down from tropical seas delivering all sorts of tropical marinelife that attempt to take up residence. Unfortunately many of these will perish once the winter arrives but it is a pleasure to experience them during the warm season.

Bare Island dive site is the only shore dive in Sydney featuring the rare Red Indianfish.The East Australia Current delivers many tropical species like this Harlequin Ghost Pipefish during summer months.

Red Morwong are regulars at Bare Island and many other dive sites As the seasons in the sea change so does behaviour, this male Pygmy Leatherjacket is presenting his mating display to a nearby female.

Our Sydney Shore Dives also feature regular night dives at many of the popular sites. An entirely different range of species occupy the night shift after many of the day time species have retired for the evening.These include Squid, Sea Pens, Giant Nudibranchs which feed on the Sea Pens, Octopus, Crabs and nocturnal fish of many varieties.

Nothing beats surfacing from an exciting night dive with thousands of stars twinkling overhead, the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge illuminated in the distance.

 Surfacing from a night dive in Sydney Harbour is as spectacular as exploring beneath it.Photo by Jason Ruth.

Most of our regular shore divers have elected to join Dive 2000 Dive Club, this provides a huge advantage, for only $95.00 a year, all the guided Sydney day and night Shore Diving is free, hire gear is 20% cheaper and if they wish, a 20 dive all scuba equipment hire package can be purchased for just $295.00.

This works out at just $14.75 per dive in hire fees so cost will never be an issue for clients who become club members.

Sydney's shore dive sites typically provide easy access to calm sheltered bays inhabited by a myriad of marinelife species.

So what are you waiting for, come and join us for wonderful underwater encounters in Sydney’s waterfront marine wonderland.


Written by our Dive 2000 Dive Centre owner Kevin Deacon, who freely admits after writing this, felt like rushing straight down to Shelly Beach, Kurnell or Bare Island for a dive right away.



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