Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Broughton Island Spider Cave
Broughton Island is located off the coast of Myall Lakes National Park, just north of Port Stephens (named by Lieutenant James Cook, RN, in 1770). On the southern shore of Port Stephens is Nelson Bay and on the north shore, Hakes Nest/Tea Gardens. For more information about Nelson Bay, see my page on this small town.
About 12 kilometres from the Nelson Bay marina is Broughton Island. Also part of Myall Lakes National Park, it is really made up of a big island (Broughton) as well as Little Broughton Island, Looking Glass Island, North Rock, Inner Rock and some smaller islets. In calm seas it is a nice easy run out to the island. In north-easterly winds (common sometimes early in the day in summer) or in southerly winds, it could be advisable to stay closer to Port Stephens. In good condition it is about 50 minutes to the island in Pro Dive's large boat.
Off the southern side of the eastern corner of Broughton Island there is a series of step like rocks called, not unexpectedly, The Steps. To the south of this point, there is a cave that is very interesting. This is called Spider Cave. Head to GPS Reading of 32ΒΊ 37' 25" S and 152ΒΊ 19' 28" E. Note that all the GPS Readings on my Web Site are taken using AUS66 as the map datum. If you use another datum you may be about 220 metres off the site. See my GPS Page for more details and how to convert readings. Anchor here and you will be in a bowl. There are four or five gutters that radiate off the bowl. Swim up the northern one and about 30 metres along on the left you will see an entrance to a cave. This is Spider Cave. There are two more entrances just along and another even further on.
If you enter the first entrance, you will find that there are two parallel tunnels heading north. The right-hand one is narrower and has more light. The left-hand one is lower but wider, with some larger caves off to the left. These may have cuttlefish in them. There are normally Port Jackons sharks in the cave as well as some wobbegong sharks. After 20 metres or so, the tunnels join to become one cave. This goes north for another five metres before turning left for another five or ten metres. It has some smaller nooks off to the left and right. The cave then turns right and exits out to the open.
Follow the gutter back to the bowl and explore the other gutters. A nice dive with a great cave.
All in all, Broughton Island is an excellent dive location, well worth the extra distance you have to travel in the boat from Nelson Bay. The service on my trips from Pro Dive Nelson Bay and the Hawks Nest Dive Centre was very good and I can certainly recommend them both.