My Favourite Divesite

By Dave Harasti - Published in Australasia Scuba Diver Magazine (2007 - Issue: 4)

Dive site: Fish Rock
Location: South West Rocks – NSW - Australia
Maximum depth: 40m
Visibility: 10-30m
Level: All
Favorite part: Land of the Giants
Pack your bags: Fly to Sydney or Brisbane, hire a car and drive 5 hours.
Dive with: South West Rocks Dive Centre
Tips: Take a good torch as it’s more than likely you will end up in the cave.
Missed the Cut: 2nd, Fly Point (Nelson Bay); 3rd, Suzie’s Bomie (Loloata - Papua New Guinea)

“Fish Rock is one of those locations where everything appears to be fed on steroids, from the 3m grey nurse sharks to the massive gropers, it’s a place where you can’t help feeling overawed”.

Fish Rock is an iconic site in Australia and is the premier location to get up close and personal with the endangered grey nurse shark. The rock is located a 30 minute boat from the town of South West Rocks on the NSW north coast and is one of the most popular dive locations in NSW.

The fantastic thing about diving Fish Rock is that each dive will always be unique as there are so many sites around the rock that can be visited. The most famous section of the rock is Fish Rock Cave. Created by a fault in the island, the cave runs from the deeper seaward entrance at 24 metres, 125 metres through the rock emerging into the blue, fish filled, silhouetted shallower entrance fringed by pink gorgonian fans at 12 metres. Within the cave you can find wobbegong sharks, threatened black cod, large rays, turtles and numerous lobster species can be found cramped into the crevices. The shaft section in the cave is completely pitch black and can be very eerie so a torch is essential!

On the southern section of Fish Rock there are numerous canyons that form the grey nurse shark gutters. Grey nurse sharks can be found around at Fish Rock all year round however over winter the rock can be literally swarming with sharks and it’s not uncommon to encounter 100 grey nurse on a single dive! Diving the site on the full moon seems to be the best time for grey nurse as they seem to flock to the rock and pack into the gutters.

On the northern section of the rock there is a site known as the Pinnacle and just to the east is the appropriately named divesite ‘Land of the Giants’. At a depth of 30-40m you can encounter QLD gropers the size of small VW’s and huge schools of kingfish and mackerel can be seen on descent. This site is my favourite location at Fish Rock however it is subject to strong currents so divers must ensure the conditions are right.

The best thing about Fish Rock is that you could spend a week diving there and still not cover all the sites around the rock; one day you’ll be playing with grey nurse sharks and the next you’ll be swimming with manta rays and turtles. The variety of life makes this site go off!

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