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3 Best Spots To Freedive Shellharbour

Updated: Apr 8, 2023

(Diver: @CurtisTredway, photographed by @skye254)

We are very lucky to have Bass Point Reserve right on our doorstep. Shellharbour is one of the best diving locations in NSW as there is a massive grey nurse shark colony, tonnes of marine biodiversity and it has lots of different dive sites to suit all weather conditions.

Bass Point Reserve is a large peninsula in Shellharbour, just a 30 minute drive south of Wollongong.

Being a peninsula you can get protection from all swell and wind conditions. Making it a great day trip for freedivers as you have plenty of options.

This article will detail the 3 Best Places To Freedive Around Shellharbour.

Bushrangers Bay

(Photo credits: @curtistredway)

Bushy's is my old stomping ground. This is where I taught myself to freedive, before doing any Level 1/Wave 1 Freediving Courses.

This Marine Reserve, from the carpark it is a short 200m walk (with some solid stairs - rip scuba divers) to the water's edge.

It is an inlet, that is slightly South East facing and has small hills on either side. So it is protected from most swell and wind conditions.

The bay itself is in the shape of a 8, with the first being a flat 3-5m depth, filled with lots of nice structure and weeds.

The two wider parts of the bay are joined by a channel that is 5-8m deep, with a beautiful sandy bottom and stunning underwater cliffs on the Southern side. This valley is also a congregating spot for the local Grey Nurse Shark population.

Most of these sharks range from 1-2m in length and they are extremely docile. However please avoid swimming too close, chasing or trying to touch them.

There are very few spots in NSW where you are almost guaranteed to be able to swim with sharks in a very safe and comfortable shore dive, so we definitely recommend checking it out if you haven't already.

The Viz is often around 8-12m, so you can even bring family and friends to snorkel along the surface and swim with these beautiful creatures.

The second half of the bay opens up to a deeper 12 - 18m and in this portion of the bay you are often greeted with better viz. The rock structure and schooling fish are epic to see.

Marine life:

  • Grey Nurse Shark

  • Fiddler Rays

  • Stingrays

  • Octopus

  • Port Jackson Shark

  • Red Mowie

  • Ludrick

  • Sea Horse

  • Cuttlefish

Gravel Loader

(Divers + Photography credits: @curtistredway and @skye.254)

The Shellharbour Gravel Loader is the most unique dive site on this list.

Just as you get to Bass Point Reserve, you will notice a large jetty heading out to sea.

The Gravel Loader is no longer in operation, however I would still advise to bring a buoy as there is often boat traffic nearby from fisherman. It's a shallow dive site with 8-12m depth.

Freediving along these piers is otherworldly and a FANTASTIC spot for underwater photography. With piers, mooring line and a couple of Grey Nurse Sharks you are almost guaranteed to get some good shots.

This site is completely protected from Southerly winds and swell, so you can almost always get a dive out here.

  • Grey Nurse Sharks

  • Stingrays

  • Octopus

  • Red Mowie

  • Kingfish

  • Ludrick

  • Old Wives

  • Cuttlefish

Because it is such a protected dive site this is one of our favourite locations to run Line Training and our Level 1 Freediver Course.

Maloneys Bay

This is my favourite spot on this list.

Maloneys Bay is a little more exposed to weather conditions as it is South an open, south-facing bay.

When there is little swell, conditions in this bay can absolutely turn on!

The majority of this bay is about 8m deep, however as you swim out it drops down up to 20m.

Like the rest of Bass Point Reserve, you can see:

  • Grey Nurse Shark

  • Port Jackson Shark

  • Wobbegong

  • Blind Shark

  • Rays

  • Blue Grouper

  • Eels

  • Octopus

  • Old Wives

  • and so much more.

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