Sydney scuba and snorkeling opportunities are some of the best in New South Wales. There are more than 30 good Sydney dive sites and snorkeling areas quite close to the Central Business District (CBD). The fancifully named Wedding Cake Island is a group of rocks off Coogee Beach about six miles south of the city. Although most of the rocks are only a few feet above the water, they provide excellent protection for a small beach and for the reefs around them. This offers some of the most breathtakingly beautiful diving in Sydney Australia so close to the metropolitan area. An interesting fact is that one of the country's best rock music groups, Midnight Oil, has a hit instrumental about this little group of rocks.
Another of the excellent and easily accessible Sydney dive sites is the SS Royal Shepherd, sunk after a collision in 1890. At the time, it was a collier (coal carrying cargo ship), but had a previous life as a passenger liner. To dive the wreck without an instructor, you need to be licensed for a depth of 30 meters (98.5 feet). If you are not licensed for that depth, you may dive the wreck with an instructor. This makes it an excellent and popular wreck dive instructional site. The ship sits nearly upright on sand just inside the South Head of Sydney Harbour.
In the same general area is both one of great Sydney scuba spots and one of the city's most popular lookout points—The Gap. Buses on sightseeing tours of the city stop here regularly so that visitors have a few minutes to savor the spectacular views of North Head on the other side of the harbor. Down below, is the 1857 wreck of the Dunbar that ran into the cliff during a storm. All but one onboard were killed. In addition to exploring the wreck, there are numerous fish along the wall, and there are many small caves and swim-throughs.
More diving in Sydney Australia is available off Dee Why (named for one of the Manly ferries), one of the beaches a bit north of Manly. After a long career, the ferry was intentionally scuttled in 1968, and has been a popular dive site ever since. Today, the Dee Why is only part of one of the more unusual Sydney dive sites called the Long Reef Wreck, an artificial reef that consists of five ships. This is only for experienced wreck divers, as the depth goes down to as much as 170 feet.
One of the best places for Sydney scuba trips is The Pinnacles, located about 100 miles north of Newcastle. There is an excellent reef dive here where you can sometimes see huge schools of more than 200 grouper. There are also marlin, yellowtail, and numerous grey nurse sharks. Like the many surfing beaches in Australia, you need to be hyper-aware of currents. The Pinnacles is best only for experienced divers.
If you want your diving in Sydney Australia to roam a bit further out of town, you may want to consider Lord Howe Island, located about 370 miles off the coast in the Tasman Sea. It boasts the most southerly coral barrier reef in the world and is an excellent spot for divers who have chartered cruises either for diving or fishing.
Image: 3 Stroke Photography; Tourism NSW