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Favorite dive-sites in New South Wales?


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#1 MortenHansen

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 03:39 PM

Hi everyone! 

 

I will be heading to Sydney to visit family in January 2015 and would like to get a couple of dives in while I am there. 

 

I don't mind driving around a bit as I have a full month time there. 

So lets line them up, what are your favorite dive-sites in NSW and why? 

 

I have a fair amount of experience, currents/rough conditions is no problem. 

 

As usual your advice is much appreciated! 

Lots of greetings from sunny Bali, Morten

 


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#2 Drew

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 08:57 AM

South West Rock's Fish Rock Cave for the sharks, Jervis Bay's  seal dives and If you can delay till late Feb/Mar, the PJ sharks aggregate to breed,  Byron Bay's Julian Rocks is usually good but other sites are so so.  These are the highlights and faves to many.
If you need to be local to Syd, I've always liked  Ship Rock and Palm Beach.


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#3 wobby

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 02:54 PM

It will depend on what you want to see and photograph, if you have a month go north and south to see the difference.

Sydney has brilliant shore and boat diving - Bare Island and Kurnell (both shore diving sites in Botany Bay) have weedy sea dragons and other great creatures.

South of Sydney is all temperate diving, great spots are Bass Point, Jervis Bay, Ulladulla, Batemans Bay, Narooma, Eden and Merimbula. I would recommend Narooma at that time of the year to dive Montague Island - hundreds of fur seals, also port jackson sharks, pelagic fish, stingrays, grey nurse sharks and the visibility is rarely less than 20m. (Note the PJ aggreate over winter, June-August, so are as common over summer)

North of Sydney, Port Stephens - best shore diving in Australia - great muck and beautiful sponge gardens packed with critters. Forster/Seal Rocks - great boat diving and lots of grey nurse sharks, especially at that time of the year.

South West Rocks is always brilliant and the start of the subtropics, more coral reef fish and corals. Coffs Harbour has wonderful boat diving around the Solitary Islands and if you make it all the way to the border Byron Bay is spectacular - lots of wobbegongs, reef fish, pelagic fish and at that time leopard sharks and manta rays.

Hope this helps.


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#4 MortenHansen

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 03:57 PM

Thanks for the input guys, much appreciated! 

 

Since I will be visiting my sister who lives in Sydney I thought that Magic Point would be a good place to start out as its right around the corner from where she lives, apparently there are quite a few grey nurse sharks around that spot as well? I wall also thinking about Bare island to try and find some seadragons.  

 

I already thought about hitting Montague Island, Fish-Rock and Julian Rocks. I am not particularly interested in tropical life as I dive every day in Indonesia and get my fair share of tropical fish and critters up here.

 

I am more interested in the bigger animals that can be seen in subtropical/temperate Australia, my wish list is:

1: Lots of grey nurse sharks :)

2: Weedy sea-dragons (I know they are not really big, but gotta have it on the list)

3: Seals

4: Schooling fish

5: Good visibility

 

Taking that into consideration, would it still be a good idea to take Julian Rocks and fish-rock into my program or should I stay further south?

 

I did Jervis Bay 2 years ago with Crest Diving and had a good time with loads of Wobbegongs and some other cool stuff, but no seadragons/seals/sharks.

 

Thanks again, Morten    


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#5 wobby

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Posted 28 October 2014 - 12:05 PM

Hi Morten,

 

Magic Point is a lovely dive, and can be done as a boat dive or a shore dive (with a very long walk, but you also need to know the right spot to get in). There will be resident grey nurse in at that time of year. If the grey nurse numbers are light (as they do migrate) head to Forster/Seal Rocks for the best grey nurse experience.

 

Botany Bay (Bare Island and especially Kurnell) are the best spots in Sydney for weedy sea dragons, but it is good to have a local guide to find them, as they are so well camouflaged it is easy to swim right passed them without seeing them. I have done dives when I have seen a dozen or more and then spoken to divers who had been in at the same time at the same place (following behind us) and they didn't see one.

 

Seals, Montague Island is the best spot in New South Wales for fur seals, with the colony there growing each year, in the winter there are thousands, but still hundreds over summer. The island is very close to the continential shelf, so awlays has clear water. Over summer I have also seen manta rays, sunfish and grey nurse sharks, also a good spot for schooling fish.

 

Best spots for schooling fish are Julian Rocks (Byron Bay) and Solitary Islands (Coffs Harbour and Mullaway) as both these areas are marine sanctuaries.

 

January can bring both good and bad conditions, as the water temperature lags a few months behind the air temperature it can either be 21C or 16C in Sydney, with clear blue water or cooler green water. It can also be warmer south of Syndey, we have had 17C in Sydney and then driven down to Monatgue Island (350m south) and it has been 21C. But in general January is a good month for diving.

 

Cheers,

Nigel


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#6 MortenHansen

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 05:49 PM

Fantastic! This forum never disappoints with great local knowledge, thanks Drew and Nigel! 

 

After doing a lot of research and after reading your advice I decided to leave out Byron Bay as it is a bit far to drive from my base in Sydney, so my plan is as follows: 

 

1: Narooma 

         -Montague Island (2 days of diving)

 

2: Sydney

          -Magic Point (2 days)

          -Kurnell (1 day)

          -Bare Island (1day) 

 

3: Forster 

          -Seal Rocks (2 days of diving)

 

Now all I need is a couple of good dive-shops, any recommendations? 

 

Thanks again for your help,

Best regards, Morten


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#7 wobby

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 09:22 PM

Hi Moreton,

 

You should have some great dives.

 

For dive operators both the charter boats at Narooma are excellent - Narooma Charters and Island Charters.

 

For Sydney it just depends on what shop is closest to where you are staying.

 

Forster has several good operators but would recommended Ron Hunter at Dive Forster.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel


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#8 MortenHansen

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Posted 02 January 2015 - 05:38 AM

Quick last question to this topic, any chance/risk to see great whites on the seal dives in Montague or on any of the dive-sites above?  

 

I do realize that the ocean is a big pond and that these fish swim great distances and could be seen almost everywhere, what I am asking is if there is any real chance to see them? 

 

Thanks again, and happy new year! :) 


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#9 recd

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Posted 04 January 2015 - 04:46 AM

Quick last question to this topic, any chance/risk to see great whites on the seal dives in Montague or on any of the dive-sites above?  

 

I do realize that the ocean is a big pond and that these fish swim great distances and could be seen almost everywhere, what I am asking is if there is any real chance to see them? 

 

Thanks again, and happy new year! :)

Honestly, chances of seeing a white at Montague are very slim.

 

Personally, I would recommend South West Rocks over Foster.  South West Rocks has fish rock cave and grey nurse sharks.  http://www.southwestrocksdive.com.au/



#10 MortenHansen

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Posted 04 January 2015 - 05:46 AM

I sort of figures that there would be a very small chance to see gws around Montague, my sister is a bit nervous though and I guess she needed to hear it from someone else. 

 

I am thinking about heading to South West Rocks as well, it seems like a really cool dive-site, better totally skip out on Foster and go Fish Rock instead? 


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