Cape Solander

Boast some of Sydney's Best Diving


Cape Solander  
Site Large site, normally good visibility and large marine creatures
Experience Level advanced open Water
Max Depth 24m
Warnings Exit Point Important, the sea must be flat
Location Yena Picnic Area, Kamay Botany Bay National Park

Cape Solander is probably the deepest shore dive in Sydney, when conditions are favourable boasts world-class visibility of up to 30 metres. Found at the end of a dirt road that peels off to the left of the Kurnell National Park road about 200 metres past the Leap parking lot, Cape Solander is strictly for Advanced divers only. Apart from the depth, conditions at the entry/exit points can sour quickly, with a very narrow window of time with which to get out at the best of times. Injuries have been sustained by inexperienced divers miscalculating the exit at Solander. Warnings aside, in favourable conditions, Solander can provide not only awesome visibility, but also fantastic wall diving and swim-throughs revealing wobbegongs and Port Jackson sharks, giant cuttlefish, bull rays, southern eagle rays and in season, the song of the humpback whale can be heard.

Solander can also be done as a drift dive to The Leap, entering from the western entry point on an ingoing tide. Bear in mind the depth and bottom times you may be facing; decompression is a possibility.

Details

The Eastern entry takes you into the water about 4-5 metres deep and this continues north for approximately 75 metres before dropping over a number of ledges at 4-metre intervals, the last drop is about 8 metres, taking you to a depth of 24 meters. From here you can follow the wall to the east or west. The same applies to the western entry/exit; however the wall runs in a topographical zig zag, so make sure you refer to your compass for orientation - just remember that land is south. On the return leg, whilst performing your safety stop, explore the shallow ledges alongside the exit, great photo opportunities can be found in the added light. Conditions and tides permitting, this can be done as a drift dive to The Leap, however great care must be taken in assessing the conditions as the exit at The Leap is even more tenuous than those at Solander, have a look at both sites before attempting.

cape solander map

Entry

The dive site has two entry/exit points (see map) and thus can dive in a number of ways: as a drift on either an ongoing or outgoing tide, or a 'V'-shaped pattern. Both entry points require a giant stride entry. Both consist of a number of oversized steps that can be used as an exit: time it carefully, wait to gauge the timing of the sets, come in on one of the minor swells and climb up onto the next step before taking doffing your fins. Leave your reg in until you’re standing up with fins in hand.

cape solander entrycape solander marker

 

Can be seen

Commonly seen Solander’s diving could only be described as ‘oceanic’. Huge schools of yellow barracuda, yellowtail, large numbers of giant cuttlefish, Port Jackson and Sydney’s biggest wobbegong sharks, blue grouper, moray eels and in the shallows be on the lookout for octopus and a colourful variety of nudibranchs. The odd weedy sea dragon is not an irregularity.