South Solitary island dive site edition
Nick-named “The Light”, the South Solitary Island has reached iconic status because of its most prominent feature, a lighthouse!
Set at the highest elevation on the southernmost end of South Solitary Island, the lighthouse is situated 58 metres above the Pacific Ocean, pinpointing the magical location above and below the water.
Situated 8.5 N miles offshore of Coffs Harbour, the island is more exposed to the magnificent blue water currents blending tropical waters from the north with temperate waters from the south.
Find ‘all things big’ at South Solitary, including “big” fish, such as schooling Pelagics, Grey Nurse Sharks and the Giant Cuttlefish. Additional marine life found around South Solitary Island includes Blue Gropers, Wobbygongs, Shovelnose Rays, Bull Rays, Eagle Rays, Loggerhead Turtles, Frogfish, Anglerfish, King Fish, Bannerfish, Jewfish, Trevally, Wrasses, Moray Eels, Giant Cuttlefish, Blue Tangs, Clownfish, Nudibranchs. The list goes on.
Dive the eleven dive sites located around the South Solitary Island to discover the best dive locations in NSW.
Roll in and get your adrenalin pumping with Solitary Island’s Shark Dive! Immerse yourself within an excess of 30+ Grey Nurse Sharks while drifting through an underwater arch. Swim along the gutters surrounded by boulders and ridges at a depth of 30 metres. Large anemones adorn the landscape and host large varieties of clownfish. A pile of boulders rise up from the depths offering a perfect place to watch schooling pelagic fish.
Depth: 12-30m, Visibility: 10-30m, Water Temp: 18-24⁰C, Structure: Arch
Barney the Loggerhead Turtle and Charlie the Blue Groper are regular friends that visit here, along with an array of marine life in the gutters and boulders, including Angelfish, Black Cod and Frogfish.
Depth: 12-20m, Visibility: 10-30m, Water Temp: 18-24⁰C, Structure: Small cave
GREY NURSE GUTTERS
Sliced by gutters radiating out from the shore in depths from 10 meters to 18 meters, Shark Gutters is well known for its abundant fish life and sightings of Grey Nurse Sharks. Schooling KIngfish, Silver Travally, Jewfish, Pomfreds, Bullseyes and Tarwhine are often found here too.
Depth: 8-25m, Visibility: 10-30m, Water Temp: 18-24⁰C, Structure: Swim through
The site where the old gantry crane for loading supplies onto the island collapsed into the water, providing an interesting shallower dive to 18m. The wreckage hosts large amounts of marine life with a turtle or two!
Depth: 5-18m, Visibility: 10-30m, Water Temp: 18-24⁰C, Structure: Gantry wreckage
NORTH AND SOUTH BOULDER WALLS
If prolific fish life is to your liking, this dive is for you. Large boulders litter the top and cascade over the edge of the wall, leveling out to a comfortable 18m. This provides a perfect base for Crayfish to hide and corals full of tropical fish life like Blue Tangs to thrive. Schools of fish are abundant with Silver Trevally, Goatfish, Tarwhine, Red Morwong and Snapper, some of the many you can find. During the winter Giant Cuttlefish can be found along the wall, which entice turtles to the island.
Depth: 8-25m, Visibility: 10-30m, Water Temp: 18-24⁰C, Structure: Large boulders
Recently added to the mix of South Solitary Island dive sites, The Gap journeys through a split in the island. This drift dive features turtles, large boulders, a variety of fish life and encounters with Giant Cuttlefish in the winter months.
Depth: 12-30m, Visibility: 10-30m, Water Temp: 18-24⁰C, Structure: Boulders
Towards the southern end of the island on the southwest side provides a wall of rock mass starting at 15m and ending at 30m. This is a particularly good area for invertebrate life, including Nudibranchs, Spanish Dancers, encrusting soft corals and anemones. The resident clownfish appear big enough to wear boxing gloves!
Depth: 10-30m, Visibility: 10-30m, Water Temp: 18-24⁰C, Structure: Rock wall
Just along from Buchanan’s Wall, there is a boulder pile and associated rock masses. The remains of an old trawl cable draped around the area give this site its name. This area has spectacular fish and sightings of Grey Nurse sharks. A large Black Ray calls the area home, sharing company with Cuttlefish.
Depth: 10-30m, Visibility: 10-30m, Water Temp: 18-24⁰C, Structure: Large boulders
Prominently featured at the south-eastern side of the island is Archie’s Cave. Tucked within the cracks, crevices, and caverns lies a variety of marine life featuring Grey Nurse sharks, Bullrays, Eagle rays, Spanish Dancers, Mantis Shrimp, Painted Crayfish, Nudibranchs and Turtles.
Depth: 12-25m, Visibility: 10-30m, Water Temp: 18-24⁰C, Structure: Cave, Swim through
Tucked below resident buildings, the lighthouse and a wall of rock lies the remains of a boiler from the wreck of the Wyong! The site is also a retreat hosting Turtles, Red Morwongs, Bannerfish, Grey Nurse sharks and amazing Giant Cuttlefish in the winter months. The site also hosts schools of big Pelagics.
Depth: 12-30m, Visibility: 10-30m, Water Temp: 18-24⁰C, Structure: Wreckage remains