Nelson Bay

Tropical dive without the travel

Nelson Bay

The best part about writing about a dive is the chance to relive it, and this is one dive anyone would be keen to experience again!

Fly Point is located just two and a half hours north of Sydney, in the beautiful Nelson Bay. The long weekend proved to be perfect diving weather and the site was busy with experienced and newbie divers alike. There’s parking right by the entrance to the site on Victoria Parade, just as you start to go around the bend and up the hill – but be sure to leave a little extra time to find a spot on long weekends!

Diving at Fly Point MUST take place at slack tide due to the dangerously strong currents in the area. Consult tide tables or call up local dive centres to find out when slack tide is before heading in.

It’s one of the easiest shore entries I’ve experienced. A small set of stairs next to the parking area leads directly to the entry point. The only thing you need to do is dodge the snorkelers, swimmers and other divers, with the site being one of the most visited in Australia! But it’s worth it the moment you descend and are greeted with the kind of colour you’d expect much further north. Electric blues from damselfish, reds and yellows from wrasses, bright purple nudibranchs and deep orange corals are just the beginning. Seagrass beds and rocky reefs host a myriad of species, including butterflyfish and the ever-grumpy-looking scorpionfish. A moray eel was spotted underneath an overhang (make sure you take your torch to explore) and gropers, wobbegongs and rays were easily spotted as we drifted by. If you’re really lucky and it’s a quiet day in terms of divers, you might even spot some turtles. A great page detailing the amazing marine life to expect can be found here.

The rich environment of Fly Point is protected within a sanctuary zone of the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park. As you head further around the point there can be boat traffic from the nearby marina, so if you need to surface mid-dive for any reason, be sure to keep your ears and eyes open.

Because it’s slack tide, it’s easy to keep your body relaxed and not churn through your air. We were underwater for just over an hour on a single dive (with the water a balmy 19°C), reaching a depth of about 14 metres as we followed the coastline. Just before we surfaced, a silver cloud of tiny fish enveloped us like a curtain, completing the amazing dive. Despite this diver’s satisfaction – actually, I would go so far as to say elation – with the dive, the divemaster described it as “usually much better”! I will certainly be back to test that theory! 

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