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Sydney-Central Coast
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Temperate water region with fascinating reefs and many historic shipwrecks.

Rock reefs provide various structures, from the gutters favoured by Grey Nurse Sharks, to the overhangs favoured by giant cuttlefish and eastern blue devilfish. Kelp beds cling to the flatter surfaces of rock reefs, hiding sea dragons and hermit crabs. 
Shipping routes were vital to a young Australia.  Many colliers and other ships were lost between Newcastle and Sydney.   The region has a large number of historic shipwrecks, and more in the artificial reef off Long Reef.

Dive Sites

General Reef Diving

Sea grass beds with baby cuttlefish and sea pens. Soft coral trees hide decorator crabs and sea horses. Rock reef gutters with grey nurse sharks, overhangs with giant cuttlefish and eastern blue devil fish. Kelp beds hiding sea dragons. Sponges and sea tulips in yellow, orange, and pink.
Off Moonee:
• Flat rock
• The Slot
• Fraser caves
• Wybung Arch
• Bird Dropoff
• Inner Bommie
• Pick Reef
• Bird Island
• Hargraves Reef

Off Norah Head:
• Bull Reef
• Lighthouse reef
• Soldiers Point
• Pelican Point
• Shallows

Off The Entrance
• Kingys Chasm
• 2 Mile reef
• Kempys cave
• 3 Mile reef
• Bateau Reef
• Pinnacles

Off Terrigal
• Two Poles
• Munckin reef
• Trailer reef
• Slippery Dip
• Fifeshire
• 19th Hole
• Lookout
• Captain Cooks
• Hole in the wall
• West reef

Valiant Wreck

Depth (27m | 89ft) |
Wreck of an ex-Ministry of Munitions diesel engine tug, sunk in the early 1980s. Upright and largely intact.


·                   Constructed 1945 in Williamstown, Victoria.

·                   Motor vessel, steel construction, diesel engine.

·                   Wrecked 30 November 1980 off Broken Bay by foundering under tow from Pittwater.


The Valiant was a diesel engine tug originally commissioned in 1945 by the Ministry of Munitions.  She was later purchased in the late 1970s by a Sydney based company.  The Valient sunk 30 November 1980. 


The wreck sits upright on the sand in 27 meters depth with a slight list to port.  Parts of the hull have begun collapsing but she is still relatively intact and can be penetrated by experienced divers. 


The wreck is covered in brown algae textured by barnacles and tubeworm shells, short hydroid ferns, and occasional patches of spreading orange sponge.  Schools of bullseye, brim, leatherjacket and Yellowtail Kingfish populate the wreck.


Visibility is usually limited to between 5 and 15 meters. 


There are some conflicting reports as to how the Valiant sunk.  The most popular theory is that at some point it was sold to David Jackson in Sydney and either proved unusable, did not pass maritime inspection, or was otherwise sunk as an insurance scam, possibly after an earlier attempt to set fire to the vessel. 


It should be noted that the vessel rests on the bottom facing shore towards Broken Bay, which would seem to counter another theory that she sunk while being towed out to deep water for scuttling.




Australian Government - Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities; "Australian National Shipwreck Database", available at <https://apps5a.ris.environment.gov.au/shipwreck/public/initiate-mch-search.do?mchTypeCode=MCT_SHWR>.

exHMAS Adelaide

Depth (38m | 125ft) |
This former warship boasts excellent wreck penetration and attracts many temperate water marine species.
Launched 21 June 1978, the guided missile frigate HMAS Adelaide, served with the Royal Australian Navy from 15 November 1980 to 19 January 2008. She has length 138 meters, width 14.3 meters and draught 7.5 meters. In the course of her service, she was deployed to Iraq in both the 1990 and 2003 conflicts, and to the 2001 Afghanistan conflict. In 2001 the Adelaide intercepted a vessel carrying suspected illegal immigrants in what became the infamous children overboard affair.

Hundreds of vessels from Newcastle, Sydney and the Central Coast attended the scuttling of the exHMAS Adelaide, with the first boats having arrived the night before and anchored in the lee of the nearby headland. After some frustrating delays while a pod of dolphins were encouraged to leave the exclusion zone, the exHMAS Adelaide was scuttled just before midday on 13 April 2011 off Avoca Beach.

The wreck is covered by alternating areas of bare Navy paint and spreading areas of encrusted marine growth. The growth consists of encrusted baarnacles and tube worms, overlayed with brown algae and spreading patches of yellow and orange sponge.

The wreck attracts schools of pelagic fish and is home to a developing reef ecosystem. The exHMAS Adelaide is an excellent dive, suitable for wreck penetration divers, as well as those who prefer to explore the outside of the structure without entering the overhead environments.

Her bow is adorned with winches, the base of her forward missile launcher, and other paraphenalia, which provide structure for marine growth and shelter for octopus, lionfish and various reef species.

Once within the superstructure you can explore the crew quarters, bathrooms, caffeteria and kitchen for an impression of life onboard for her compliment of 221 sailors. Descending into the bowels of the ship, you will find lobsters, shrimp and crabs amidst the machinery of the engine room.

At her stern you will find two cavernous helicopter hangers, with overhead control room, and leading out onto the expanse of her aft helicoper landing deck. Descending again to the propeller and rudder where you will find jewfish, yellowtail kingfish, and the occasional bull ray, tuna and turtles sheltering beneath the hull.

Returning to the superstructure you can visit the semi-enclosed speces of the lateral walkways, where the greatest concentration of marine life can be found. At the top-forward edge of the superstructure is the bridge with the captains chair, where you can look out over the bow and imagine the view her Captain must have enjoyed while the vessel was underway.

To complete your dive, the superstructure provides a point of interest to explore while completing safety stop and decompression obligations.

Dee Why Ferry

Depth (48m | 157ft) |
The Dee Why Ferry lived a long and interesting life plying the waters across Sydney Harbour. She now sites in 48m off Long Reef.
The Dee Why Ferry is one of a dozen of so ships scuttled in the Long Reef "Boneyard"
She was 220 Feet long and 36 feet wide with a propellor at each end and 4 boilers. She has no stern or Bow as both ends could serve either purpose which makes for a sometimes interesting dive to navigate!
Most divers will talso visit the Meggol  which is only about 50m to the south and is often connected by a thick rope.
Visibility, like most long reef wrecks is often good (15-30m) and rarely has strong current.

SS Birchgrove Park

Depth (52m | 171ft) |
One of Sydney's most Iconic technical wrecks dives.
 Built in Aberdeen Scotland in 1930, the SS Brichgrove Park was a steel hulled steamship measuring 47 metres long and weighed 640 Tonnes. She was known as a "60 Miler" which was a term given to Coal ships that carried coal approximately the 60 miles from coal ports to the cities as power stations were in the middle of the cities. During World War 2 She served as a Minesweeper and Stores Cargo ship but returned to the 60 Mile trade after the war.
On August 2nd 1956 on a routine trip from Newcastle to Sydney she encountered a southerly gale and capsized off Barenjoey at about 02:45. Only 4 of the 14 Crew aboard were to survive. 

Today She sits about 7 kms off Barrenjoey on the Northern edge of Sydney. She lays on her port side in a depth of about 52m facing towards land (west). The Wreck comes up to about 44m and nearly always has good Visibility and low current. It can be difficult to hook if trying to anchor on it and using a shot line is preferred as it caused a lot less damage to the wreck. 

There are points in which you can penetrate the wreck and it often harbours schools of large Jewfish and Mowrong. Outside the wreck are large schools of Bullseyes and plenty of Wobbegongs. A suitably qualified Technical diver would do between 20 and 35 minutes bottom time which is more than enough to swim right around it and get a good feel for the site. 

Commonwealth Wreck

Depth (40m | 131ft) |
Wreck of twin-stack timber steamer. Remains two boilers, two engines, lots of copper rivets.

·                   Twin screw steamer, wood construction, compound engine.

·                   Constructed 1901 in Failford, NSW.

·                   Tonnage 99.57 (metric), length 11/19 meters, width 2.46 meters, draft 0.58 meters.

·                   Wrecked 19 August 1916 off Terrigal.

Remains of twin-stack timber steamer wrecked off Bateau Bay.  The hull has long since rotted away leaving two boilers, two engines, and lots of copper rivets.


Australian Government - Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities; "Australian National Shipwreck Database", available at <https://apps5a.ris.environment.gov.au/shipwreck/public/initiate-mch-search.do?mchTypeCode=MCT_SHWR>.

Foggy Cave

Depth (40m | 131ft) |
Deep overhang under rock plateau shelters grey nurse sharks and giant cuttlefish.
 The rock reef rises to a plateau topped by kelp beds at about 24 meters depth.  On the northern side is a horseshoe-shaped bay dropping to the sand at 39 meters depth.

One edge of the horseshoe runs approximately north-south and the other runs approximately east-west.  Where these lines intersect, the sand bottom has piled up to around 36 meters depth and feeds directly into a 3 meter high overhang. 

The overhang reaches beneath the reef for a length of about 12 meters.  It is common to find grey nurse sharks around the cave mouth and within the cave itself.  Other residents of the cave include giant cuttlefish, eastern blue devilfish and wobbygong shark.  There is only mild growth within the cave including some tiger anemones, small gorgonian fans and sea tulips.

SS Galava

Depth (50m | 164ft) |
Collier wrecked within minutes of springing a leak just an hour after departure from Catherine Hill Bay coal terminal bound for Sydney.

·                   Constructed 1906 in Workington, United Kingdom.

·                   Twin screw steamer, steel construction, compound engine.

·                   Tonnage 165.62 (metric), length 13.12 meters, width 2.23 meters, draft 1.14 meters.

·                   Wrecked 9 February 1927 off Terrigal after springing a leak in a gale.


Descending the mooring line towards 50 meters depth and the darker shape of the Galava emerges out of the gloom covered in schooling Bigeyes.  The most prominent feature is the stern and the single large boiler.  The stern sits upright with the rudder control column and top of the rudder visible above the sand.  The boiler and two cylinder compound steam engine once turned her single four-bladed propeller.


The decks of the Galava have collapsed and most of the hull plating has collapsed within the confines of the wreck, leaving a distinct outline of the vessel ringed by the foot of hull and ribs projecting from the sand.  Just forward of the boiler along the side of the vessel are bollards resting on top of the collapsed hull and decking.  


The bow remains distinct and there is a large bow wench.  Small soft coral trees decorate the top of the boiler, old fishing nets are draped over the remaining areas of superstructure, adding to the spectral feel of the Galava.


Visibility ranges from 5 to 30 meters, and often varies at different depths over the wreck.  Water temperature ranges from 16 to 22 degrees.




Just before midnight on 8 February 1927 the Galava left the coal terminal at Catherine Hill Bay bound for Sydney under the command of Captain Pearson.  At about 1am on 9 February 1927 the ship sprung a leak such that the engine room remained dry but the holds rapidly filled with water.


When the situation became apparent, the First Mate immediately woke Captain Pearson.  At this time the ship had a list to port.  Captain Pearson ordered the ships whistle blown to alert the crew.


There was insufficient time to launch a lifeboat; the ship capsized and sank in minutes.  Five crew, including Captain Pearson, survived, four drowned and three were listed as missing.



Australian Government - Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities; "Australian National Shipwreck Database", available at <https://apps5a.ris.environment.gov.au/shipwreck/public/initiate-mch-search.do?mchTypeCode=MCT_SHWR>.

TSS Hall Caine

Depth (42m | 138ft) |
Wreck of a small coal fired steamer used as a collier between Melbourne and Brisbane.

·                   Constructed 1912 in Coopernook, NSW.

·                   Twin screw steamer, wood construction, compound engine.

·                   Tonnage 99.57 (metric), length 12.19 meters, width 2.69 meters, draft 0.67 meters.

·                   Wrecked 17 March 1937 off Broken Bay, by capsizing on a voyage from Sydney to Lake Macquarie.


The Hall Caine was a twin screw vessel powered by two compound steam engines, each with two cylinders: a large low pressure cylinder and a small high pressure cylinder with condensers on the outside nearest edge of the hull.  The propeller shafts are just visible running from the engine to the propellers, each with two blades visible above sand level.




At 10:55am on 17 March 1937, the Hall Caine left Sydney bound for Lake Macquarie, in heavy seas and extremely heavy rain, under the command of Captain D Turner with 8 crew members.  She was carrying a cargo of tea and drums of benzene. 


The Hall Caine started taking on water around 4:30pm when she was just south of Avoca.  The flooding extinguished her boiler fire, she was heavy at the stern and listing to Starboard.  The Hall Caine signalled for help, to which the SS Indant responded, placing the Hall Caine under tow heading for Broken Bay where it was hoped the Hall Caine could be beached.  All but Captain Turner and two crew members were evacuated to the Idant. 


Over the next 90 minutes the two ships made only 9.6km towards Broken Bay and the list to Starboard increased dramatically.  Captain Turner and his two remaining crew members evacuated to the Idant.  At 6:50pm the Hall Caine capsized and sank. 


A subsequent Court of Marine inquiry concluded on 3 May 1913 by Judge Curlewis that the Hall Caine should never have gone to sea.  He found that the ship sank because the hull was rotten and the pumps were in poor condition.


The wreck was known to fishermen and was first dived in 1976.  The wreck was subsequently plundered of all copper and brass items.  The timber hull has rotted away leaving the two engines sitting proud of the bottom with the propeller shafts just visible running to the dual propellers, each sitting with two blades above the sand.  There is some wreckage just forward of the boiler and engines.  However, this is a very small wreck.


Australian Government - Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities; "Australian National Shipwreck Database", available at <https://apps5a.ris.environment.gov.au/shipwreck/public/initiate-mch-search.do?mchTypeCode=MCT_SHWR>.

SS Kiama

Depth (45m | 148ft) |
Wooden steamer collier sank 1915 when caught in a storm travelling between Newcastle and Sydney.


·                   Constructed 1921 in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

·                   Twin screw steamer, steel construction, compound engine.

·                   Tonnage 363.74 (metric), length 15.61 meters, width 2.52 meters, draft 1.21 meters.

·                   Wrecked 19 January 1951 off Tuggerah Lakes.


The Kiama was a wooden steamer collier wrecked in a storm in 1915 on a voyage between Newcastle and Sydney.


The most prominent feature of the Kiama is the large boiler and the engine.  Most of the wreck is a shattered pile of collapsed decking and hull plates.


The bow is still distinguishable as is the stern.  The ribs of the vessel project from the sand and border the collapsed and shattered vessel. 


Unlike steel wrecks, wooden vessels tend to rest much higher on sand Weakening structural integrity causes them to collapse, with first the decking then the hull falling inwards.  The result is the shattered pile that you can see on the Kiama.




Australian Government - Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities; "Australian National Shipwreck Database", available at <https://apps5a.ris.environment.gov.au/shipwreck/public/initiate-mch-search.do?mchTypeCode=MCT_SHWR>.

Nerong Wreck

Depth (44m | 144ft) |
Wrecked 1917. Clearly recognisable shipwreck with some intact structure, clear outline, boiler, twin engines and propellers proud of the sand.


·                   Constructed 1903 in Sydney, NSW.

·                   Single screw steamer, steel construction, compound engine.

·                   Tonnage 134.12 (metric), length 11.15 meters, width 2.04 meters, draft 0.73 meters.

·                   Wrecked 19 September 1917 off Norah Head by gale, on a voyage from Sydney to Nambucca River.


The wreckage of the Nerong lies 5km east of the Nora Head Lighthouse in 44m of water.  She is upright on the sand with the aft section most intact but littered with wreckage.


From the stern, the tips of the Nerong’s twin propellers are visible above the sand, as is the top of the rudder.  Moving forward, the twin engines and associated machinery lie just astern of the boiler.  


The outline of the ship is clearly visible with a foot of hull projecting from the sand in the mid-ship section before reaching the winches and clear shape of the bow.  




The Nerong was a steel vessel single screw steamer, designed to negotiate the bars and shallower waters of the Northern rivers.  She served with the North Coast Steam Navigation Company on a run between Sydney and the Nambucca River.


The Nerong left Sydney bound for the Nambucca River at 9:30pm on 18 September 1917 under the command of Captain H. Frost.  She left in light rain with a very small following sea. 


At 2am, a sudden heavy squall struck the ship from the eastward.  Heavy seas crashed over her flooding the decks.  The Narong lay in a trough, broadside to the waves as more heavy seas swept over the ship.  The squall quickly dropped off, only to be replaced by gale force winds from the south-east.


The Nerong had developed a five degree list to port and was chased by a large following sea.  The Chief Engineer flagged to the Captain that the ship was taking on water at an alarming rate.  With all pumps and bale-buckets already deployed, the crew began to jettison cargo.


By 5am, the water in the engine room was washing pieces of coal out of the bunker and down into the bilges where they caused the pump to choke, further worsening the flooding.  The Captain was informed by the Chief Engineer that the fires were almost out.  The ship’s boats were prepared, but kept in the inboard position because of the big seas.

At 7am, Norah Head Lighthouse was sighted three miles away.  Distress signals were raised and rockets were fired but were not noticed by the lighthouse staff for another five hours.  The Nerong continued to settle deeper into the water over the next five hours before the lighthouse staff caught sight of her.


At 1:10pm the ship rolled over so that her masts were lying level with the sea before she foundered stern first.




Australian Government - Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities; "Australian National Shipwreck Database", available at <https://apps5a.ris.environment.gov.au/shipwreck/public/initiate-mch-search.do?mchTypeCode=MCT_SHWR>.



Max Gleeson (2004) “Destination Never Reached”.

SS Paterson

Depth (10m | 33ft) |
Shallow wreck of a small coastal freighter working between Sydney and Newcastle. Remains of a wooden steamer lying on sand close to the rocky shoreline.


·                   Constructed 1920 in Sydney, NSW.

·                   Twin screw steamer, wood construction, triple expansion engine.

·                   Tonnage 227.59 (metric), length 13.82 meters, width 3.04 meters, draft 1.05 meters.

·                   Wrecked 11 June 1951 off Norah Head.


The Paterson was a small wooden steamer built at Sydney in 1920.  She spent her life working as a coastal freighter between Sydney and Newcastle. 


The Paterson set sail from Cabbage Tree Bay on 11 June 1951 before springing a leak and sinking in 10m of water while only 300 away from the wharf.


Little is left of the wreck other than the large fire tube boiler.  Occasionally shifting sand reveals artefacts including kitchen cutlery, crockery, bottles and jars.  This is a good second or third dive as it is very close to the Cabbage Tree Bay boat ramp.




Australian Government - Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities; "Australian National Shipwreck Database", available at <https://apps5a.ris.environment.gov.au/shipwreck/public/initiate-mch-search.do?mchTypeCode=MCT_SHWR>.

Skillion Cave

Depth (22m | 72ft) |
Boulders suspended over a wedge gully provide an overhead environment with natural lighting through gaps. Very colourful marine growth with lots of macro photography.

From the ring-road around the oval at Terrigal boat-ramp, the Skillion is the Southern grassy projection of the headland.  Part-way along the ring-road, there is a carpark overlooking a rock platform next to the Skillion.  The rock platform runs out from the surface to 4 meters depth, then drops by a wall down to 22 meters depth.  The submerged areas of the runout rock platform are covered in kelp beds.


Directly left, within metres of the entry point, there is a wedge gully leading back towards the headland.  Swimming up the gully there are boulders suspended between the rock walls to either side which create the overhead environment but allow light to penetrate through gaps and holes creating a cathedral-like quality.


Inside the cave, red and green algae mixes with creeping sponges, short hydroid ferns , seagrass blades and sponge pollops to create an amazingly coloured environment.  Amongst all the marine growth can be found nudibranchs, shrimp and other macro species.


As you leave the cave, continue to explore the wall to either side.


As a shore dive, this is a very dangerous dive-site and conditions can change quickly.  It can be extremely difficult to exit if there is any swell.

Coolooli Bucket Dredge

Depth (48m | 157ft) |
The Coolooli was a 50m long, 10m wide bucket dredge that somewhat resembled a giant "chainsaw" that was built in 1955 and was used to keep the Sydney and Newcastle port navigable.
 The Coolooli was a 50m long, 10m wide bucket dredge that somewhat resembled a giant "chainsaw" that was built in 1955 and was used to keep the Sydney and Newcastle port navigable.
She was scuttled off Long Reef in 1980 into 48m of water. There she rested until 1994 when a huge storm turned the wreck on her side, where the creaks and groans haunt divers with an unforgettable eeryness.
This wreck doesnt have as much fish life as some of the other local recks, but if you are  interested in machinery and penetration this wreck is worth quite a few dives.
Visibility is often good (15-30m) and the site rarely has any strong current.


Depth (48m | 157ft) |
The Meggol or HMAS Doomba was originally built in the UK as a minesweeper just after WW1. She was purchased by an Australian company for tourism and also served for Australia in WW2. Now sitting in 48m off Long Reef
The Meggol was 70m long and 8.7m wide. She belonged to the Aberdare class of minesweepers and built in 1919.
The Meggol had many names during her long life: HMS Wexford, SS Doomba, HMAS Doomba, Meggol.
She was scuttled in 1976 off Long reef where she now rests in 48m of water.
Suffering badly from age and time on the bottom, most of the superstructure is gone or collapsed. 
She is situated roughly 50m to the south of the Dee Why ferry and most divers visit both wrecks on a dive, connected by a thick rope from midship on the dee Why to the bow of the Meggol.
Like all Long Reef Wrecks, Visibility is usually good (15-30m) ansd rarely is current strong.

The Apartments

Depth (30m | 98ft) |
The apartments dive site is made up of stacked large boulders on the mid to north eastern edge of the long reef shelf.
 The apartments dive site is made up of stacked large boulders on the mid to north eastern edge of the long reef shelf. The name itself describes the site well. The boulder stacks are riddled with swim throughs and small caves that create an aquatic housing project. The depths range from the top of the shelf at 11m to 21m at the base of the boulders. Everyone is there, eastern blue devil fish, hundreds of ladder finned pomfrets, yellow tail and bulls eyes. Friendly blue groper, sleepy wobbegongs and vagrant Port Jackson sharks. You will also see schooling kingfish and snapper. The Cathedral Cave is the biggest of the swim-throughs and is usually hidden behind a cloud of fish

SS Duckenfield

Depth (23m | 75ft) |
The SS Duckenfield was a 49m long single screw masted steam ship. She ran aground and sunk in 23m water in 1884 not far off Long Reef.
 The SS Duckenfield was a 49m masted steam ship. She ran aground in 1884 whilst carrying a cargo of copper from Newcastle to Sydney in heavy weather.
She is sitting in 23m just over a kilometer from Collaroy Beach. The wreck is badly broken up, but the rusted iron has given way to thick growths of kelp and spinges, making this a pretty reef dive.

There are many more dive sites in this area that can be arranged on request either to the skipper on the day of this event for normal dives,
or by Contacting Us for specialist technical dives.

Dive Centres

Dive Imports Australia

188 Central Coast Highway, Erina, NSW, Australia Facilities:
Founded in 2000, Ian and his team run a great RIB to local reefs, exHMAS Adelaide and several historic shipwrecks. Their success is due to its quality of service and customer centred approach.

Dive Spear Sport

1727-1729 Pittwater rd mona vale NSW 2103 Facilities:
Some of the best scuba diving in Sydney, undiscovered wrecks and remote reefs, beautiful soft corals and plenty of fish. Free parking, hot showers, hot food and drinks at the kiosk. Convenient 'drive in' cylinder fills at Mona Vale for air, oxygen and helium.
Air Compressor
Enriched Air Nitrox
100% Oxygen
Closed Circuit Rebreather Support
Booster Pump
Equipment Hire
Dive Lodge Accommodation


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