NEW SOUTH WALES AUSTRALIA Portfolio

The New South Wales coast is blessed with an abundance of amazing dive sites that are home to a diverse range of tropical, subtropical and temperate species.

TWEED HEADS

Located on the northern border of New South Wales, and actually part of the Gold Coast, Tweed Heads has numerous rocky reefs that are loaded with subtropical marine life. Common species seen off Tweed Heads include turtles, wobbegongs, stingrays and grey nurse sharks, but small critters like nudibranchs, blennies, pineapplefish and even frogfish can be seen. Popular offshore reefs include Nine Mile Reef, Fidos Reef and the all-weather site Cook Island. Shore diving is also popular in the Tweed River.

BYRON BAY

Byron Bay was once a sleepy holiday town, but now it is unfortunately overflowing with tourists, but with so many attractions it is easy to see why. The diving off Byron Bay is stunning, with the main attraction being Julian Rocks. This wonderful marine reserve is overloaded with subtropical marine life, especially wobbegongs. However, there are other great dive sites in the area including Mackerel Boulders, Cape Pinnacle, Windara Banks and three shipwrecks that can be dived from the shore off Main Beach.

SOLITARY ISLANDS

The Solitary Islands are a collection of rocky islands spread over 50km of coastline. Access to these islands is from the towns of Coffs Harbour, Mullaway and Wooli. Each of the islands, and the numerous rocky reefs between them, are home to great collection of subtropical marine life, everything from turtles to manta rays to Spanish dancer nudibranchs. Popular dive sites include North Solitary, South Solitary, Split Solitary and Pimpernal Rock.

SOUTH WEST ROCKS

South West Rocks is one of the most popular dive destinations in New South Wales because of one incredible cave. Fish Rock Cave is a 125m long cave that cuts right through the centre of Fish Rock. The cave is an unforgettable dive, but equally unforgettable is the rich mix of tropical and temperate species found at Fish Rock. Grey nurse sharks are the main attraction, but also come are wobbegongs, turtles and pelagic fish. Other great dive sites off South West Rocks include Green Island and Black Rock.

PORT STEPHENS

Offshore from Port Stephens are many wonderful rocky reefs at Broughton Island, Cabbage Tree Island and Boondelbah Island. However, most divers that come to Port Stephens never dive these sites, as they quickly become addicted to the best shore diving in New South Wales. Located near the town of Nelsons Bay are three incredible shore diving sites - Halifax Park, Fly Point and The Pipeline. Best described as subtropical muck sites, divers will see frogfish, seahorses, cuttlefish, octopus, eels, nudibranchs and many other wonderful critters.

SYDNEY

Sydney is blessed with one of most beautiful coastlines in the country - sand beaches, sheltered bays and sandstone headlands and cliffs. A city for anyone that loves the water, divers are particularly rewarded with countless rocky reefs, fascinating shipwrecks and brilliant shore diving sites. Off Sydney divers can see weedy seadragons, seahorses, Port Jackson sharks, wobbegongs, cuttlefish and a good mix of subtropical and temperate species. Popular dive sites include Bare Island, Kurnell, Shiprock, The Gap, North Head, Long Reef Wall, Magic Point and the Ships Reef.

JERVIS BAY

The New South Wales south coast has some of the best temperate water diving in Australia, with Jervis Bay a standout. Inside the bay are numerous shore diving sites, but the best sites in this large bay are only accessible by boat. The headlands of Jervis Bay have some of the highest sea cliffs in Australia, and they continue underwater to form walls. Popular dive sites include Bowen Island, The Docks, Point Perpendicular and Smugglers Cave. Typical marine life seen in Jervis Bay includes Port Jackson sharks, blue devils, wobbegongs, giant cuttlefish, rays and fur seals.

NAROOMA

Narooma is a pretty holiday town 350km south of Sydney. For the diver the main attraction is a rocky island 9km off the coast called Montague Island. This amazing island is wash by blue water currents, so almost always has clear water and is regularly visited by pelagic animals like manta rays, sunfish and sharks. But the best feature of Montague Island is the largest resident colony of Australian fur seals. Also commonly seen around this island are stingrays, fiddler rays, Port Jackson sharks and grey nurse sharks over summer.

MERIMBULA

Close to the border with Victoria is a fantastic dive destination called Merimbula. Off Merimbula, and nearby Tathra and Eden, are wonderful rocky reefs covered in sponges, plus the wreck of the Empire Gladstone and two scuttled tug boats. Merimbula also has some great shore diving sites, with Merimbula Wharf always a brilliant dive. Typical marine life seen off Merimbula includes blue gropers, boarfish, stingarees, Port Jackson sharks and the occasional angel shark.

Other great dive destinations in New South Wales not covered in this portfolio include Lord Howe Island, Port Macquarie, Forster, Central Coast, Wollongong, Ulladulla and Batemans Bay. If you want to learn more about the incredible dive sites around Australia grab a copy of my book - UNDERWATER AUSTRALIA.