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Australia flag Advice on Scuba Diving in Sydney, Australia




42 Dive Sites 17 Dive Shops

Part 1: Overview of Scuba Diving in Sydney, (Australia)

For many people, Sydney is the gateway and starting point to travel Australia. But that Sydney offers excellent diving is something not many people know. With many good shore dives and boat dives alike, Sydney boasts more dive sites than any other city its size. For a busy harbor like Sydney, it is surprising how much there is to see underwater. With most tourists heading directly to the Great Barrier Reef for diving, Sydney diving mainly caters to a local dive scene.

Diving in Sydney is categorized as temperate water diving. In winter, the water temperature can drop to 15 degrees Celsius, and in summer it goes up to around 22 degrees. Mind you that the seasons are opposite to the seasons in the northern hemisphere. Because of the high number of shore dives, Sydney makes for a great destination to dive independently. Sydney can be divided in many different suburbs and dive centers are spread out between them, usually either south or north of the city center. It is easy to reach them by public transport, or by renting a car. 

The waters around southern Australia and New South Wales are home to the Weedy Sea Dragon, a colorful and interesting looking creature that is related to the sea horse. Endemic to this area, this animal alone is a big attraction for divers. There are many interesting shore dives around the Sydney area. Bare island, just south of Sydney, has several good dive sites. North Bondi is another great shore dive with impressive rock formations and caves. North of Sydney, Shelly beach is a calm and easy dive site with a sandy bottom and nice variation of marine life. Venturing out by boat, Sydney diving offers amazing sponge gardens, colorful coral growth, and a chance to see the endangered grey nurse shark. 

Part 2: Dive Sites, Marine Life & Environment in Sydney, (Australia)

Diving in Sydney offers some of the best temperate water diving in the world. With water temperatures between 15 and 22 degrees Celsius, a 5mm wetsuit is usually enough, with hood and gloves in winter between June and August. Visibility generally ranges between 5 and 15 meters, getting better the further away from shore.

The waters in New South Wales are home to the weedy sea dragon. These mystical-looking creatures are a family member of the sea horse, and can only be found in the southern Australia region. Another fish specific to Sydney diving is the Blue Groper, this member of the wrasse family is well known to divers in this area and often very curious. Several species of sharks frequent the waters here, like the endangered grey nurse shark and the Wobbegong. 

Each area and each dive school offer their own selection of shore diving. Some of Sydney’s best shore dives are around Bare Island. This island, just south of Sydney, is attached to the mainland by a bridge and sports several good dive sites for any level diver. The Weedy Sea Dragon is found here, along with groupers, Morwong, Wrasse, Damsels and other fish. North Bondi, for advanced divers only, is an interesting dive to explore rock formations and has two caves, the Cathedral Cave and Split Cave. From all northern Sydney shore dive sites, Shelly Beach is by far the most popular. This dive site consists of a sandy bottom and rocky reef that, amongst other marine life, is home to the Wobbegong, Port Jackson shark, groupers, Octopus and Cuttlefish.

Magic Point is reached only by boat and offers a rare opportunity to see the grey nurse shark. The Color Reefs, outside of Sydney Harbor are about 30 meters deep and have an interesting topography with gullies, caves, and drop offs. Sea whips, anemones, gorgonians and sea fans cover the reef here and the site attracts a wealth of marine life that includes Wrasse, Scorpion fish, Cod and Old Wives. 

Part 3: Dive Shops, Airports & Logistics of Diving in Sydney, (Australia)

When traveling to Australia, the majority of people fly to Sydney. This international airport has excellent connections to cities all around the world, including Asia, Europe, North and South America. Once in Sydney, it is easy to get around by public transport or rental car. Sydney boasts a high number of dive sites, unmatched by any other mayor city this size. Opportunities for shore dives are plentiful, making it easy for the diver to explore Sydney’s dive sites individually. However, dive centers around Sydney organize shore dives as well as boat dives to guide out-of-the-area divers in these unfamiliar waters. Despite Sydney’s great dive options, most tourists flee to the Great Barrier Reef for diving, and Sydney’s dive scene is mostly local.

Abyss Scuba Diving is located in Botany Bay, just 20 km south of the center of Sydney. This professional dive center offers a wide range of dive courses and has a well-stocked dive shop. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday they organize free divemaster led shore dives, where divers only pay for renting equipment or tanks. Situated in the beach town of Manly, Dive Center Manly arranges two shore dives daily, as well as night dives and boat dives.

Focusing on high quality dive training, the Sydney Dive Academy offers courses from beginner diver to professional level and technical diving. This center is located in Matraville, just south of Sydney and close to the airport. Dive Center Bondi, situated a bit closer to Sydney in the surf town of Bondi Beach, is another well-established dive center that offers local shore dives and dive courses.

Pro Dive Sydney has three locations, in the city center, in Manly and in Coogee. It is one of the largest dive operators in Australia and offers two daily double-tank boat dives from Sydney. With hot showers, drinks, and a toilet on board, they offer a comfortable and economical way to explore Sydney’s best dive sites. 

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