Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Little Bay
I grew up in the Sydney suburb of Little Bay. This is in the Eastern Suburbs, just north of La Perouse. When I was young, we spent a bit of time swimming at Little Bay itself. The bay is located just behind what used to be Prince Henry Hospital (formerly the location of NSW's only civil recompression chamber) but is now (2006) the location of a (disgusting) new housing development. Little Bay is the hidden jewel of Sydney's many beaches. The bay is, as the name suggests, very small with a size of 200 by 75 metres.
|A satellite photo of Little Bay on a very calm and clear day|
Entry and exit point is top of the larger beach - dive is out through the centre of the bay's opening
Photo taken January 2010
Access to the site is via the main entrance to the old Prince Henry Hospital site on Anzac Parade. Travel via Anzac Parade or Bunnerong Road and Little Bay Road to the entrance. Travel straight down the main road until you come to the chapel. Park in the car-park in front of the chapel (not sure if you can now, there may be another spot to park). Walk behind the chapel and check the sea conditions, the bay is right below. You need fairly flat seas as the water is shallow.
After gearing up, walk down the path on the left side of the chapel and cross the golf course behind the tee (watch out for golfers and flying golf balls and be quiet if people are teeing off). There is a set of stairs that runs from here to the beach. Once on the beach, enter the water and don your mask and fins.
You can either snorkel out a bit towards the centre of the bay or go straight down. Navigate by going at right-angles to the ripples in the sandy bottom and this will bring you to the bay's mouth. The sea floor here is about 3.5 to 5 metres deep, depending on tides. Go up over the rocks and enter the open ocean.
As you head east you will see that it is fairly obvious which way to go. You will see a smallish wall on your right. Keep following this and the depth goes to 5 then 7 and 10 metres. As you go, look for golf balls, they are everywhere. There are some nice overhangs along the way, a couple of swim-throughs and a few small gullies. There is also some nice fishlife, yellowtail, seapike and sweep. Closer to the shore, there are some luderick and eastern blackfish hiding in the overhangs.
You will encounter the sand at 13 metres. Follow this for a while and then turn right till you come to the rock platform. This is a very interesting area, with lots of overhangs and small canyons.
It will be about 25 minutes to this location. Follow your route back to the sand. If you have enough air, cross the sand in a northerly direction till you reach the other side. Follow this back to the west, going shallower if you like.
Again, it is fairly obvious which way to go. Finally you will cross back over into the bay. Instead of going straight back to the entry point, go right across the sand till you hit the reef. Then follow this south till you reach the beach.
It is a bit of a climb back to the car, take your time and rest at the top of the stairs. There is a tap on the eastern wall of the building to the south (near the old tennis court) to wash the sand off your gear.
Apart from the walk/climb, this is one of Sydney's easiest dives. After the dive, why not have lunch in the Golf Club where they have a cheap and quite good bistro, cool drinks and the best view from any restaurant or club in Sydney. You will be quite welcome.