Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Wattamolla Point
Southern Sydney has some of the most spectacular scenery of any section of Australian coastline. Royal National Park starts at the southern edge of the city and runs all the way to the northern edge of Wollongong. The park, the second oldest national park in the World, has magnificient cliffs that run all the way along the coastline except for a couple of beaches and two inlets. One of the inlets is Wattamolla Cove.
This very sheltered bay is located about a third of the way down the coast from Port Hacking. The inlet is about 500 metres deep and 150 metres wide. The northern headland juts out further than the southern headland and is home to a number of very good dive sites. Probably the best of these is the deeper sponge garden site.
To find this site, head south from Port Hacking for about 8.5 kilometres till you are off the centre of Wattamolla Cove. Turn around and head due north towards the water off the northern headland. Aim for GPS mark of 34° 08' 25"S 151° 07' 43"E (note that all my GPS Readings are using AUS66 - if you use any other datum, you will need to convert the reading - see my GPS Page for more details) and drop anchor once the wall comes up from 25 to 26 metres to 20 to 21 metres.
The spot where you are anchored is on the southern wall of the dive site. From here, the reef runs west towards the headland and a little to the east. A good way to dive here is to first head to the east. This has some small gutters and the depth drops from 25 metres to over 27 metres. There are some large rocks off the main wall. The reef then turns north and runs in this direction for perhaps 50 to 75 metres. Where it turns north, there is a very large rock located about 15 metres off the wall. I have seen a stargazer on the sand around this rock.
The reef then turns to the west and the depth comes up gradually to 18 to 20 metres. This is probably as far as you will be able to get, so head south from here. Follow one of the small walls or just head due south. You will come to the main wall after about 75 to 100 metres. The sand here is about 22 to 23 metres. Turn left and follow the reef back to the starting point. If you get lost at any time, just head south till you stike the wall and then follow it to the east.
You will have to keep moving to do all the dive as described as you will only get a maximum of about 34 to 36 minutes bottom time before going into decompression. For a first dive here, it may be preferable to only do a in/out dive, that is go one way and come back along the same route. If you saty mostly around the eastern point, you will only get 20 to 25 minutes bottom time.
The fishlife can be prolific here. To the east of the anhor spot there are normally thousands of silver sweep and to the west of the anhor dozens of bastard trumpeters. Further west there are thousands of small nannygais in between the rocks just off the reef. The sand edge has sea dragons, serpent eels and rays. There are eagle rays, wobbegongs, Port Jackson sharks, cuttlefish and luderick on the reef top. Keep an eye out for red Indianfish, they can also be found here. The whole reef is covered in a great mass of sponges, sea squirts, gorgonias, giant jelly ascidians and other fixed marine life.
A very, very good dive site.