Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Tumbledowns
The coastline of Royal National Park on the southern outskirts of Sydney has literally dozens of different dive sites. The coast all the way from Port Hacking in the north to well past Wattamolla has a skirting reef that extends a good distance from the rock platform and reaches a depth suitable for scuba diving (past Wattamolla I do not know as I have never tried to dive there).
Since 1988 I have dived every piece of this coastline (more than 7 kilometres) and explored the whole length of the reef. With the exception of one small section north of Marley Point, it is all very good for diving. Just south of the most popular dive site, Barrens Hut, the reef edge turns back in towards the coast before again turning south. Just past here is a spot we call Tumbledown, due to the nature of the rocks collapsed from the cliffs onto the rock platform.
To find this location, head to GPS Reading (sorry, not yet available) and run in towards the shore in line with the prominent pile of rocks. Anchor once the reef comes up from 24 metres. Just a short distance from the sand edge the reef comes up to 15 metres and then 12 metres. Any section of this coast line is suitable, you do not need to be exact.
Once you have descended, head to the sand and follow the reef either north or south. There are some small rocks/boulders along here on the sand. Look carefully and you will see sea dragons, rays and even fiddler rays (I saw 11 on one dive). The sponge life here is very good. After a while, come up shallower and head back in the other direction at about 15 to 17 metres. There are a number of small canyons as well as a few swim-throughs and huge boulders.
If you have air and bottom time, try going a bit shallower (to 7 metres) and there are more gullies ans swim-throughs. This area has a lot of fishlife and in Autumn you will certainly see Port Jackson sharks (as many as 50 on a dive). On this dive you may see huge schools of yellowtail, ladder-finned pomfret, seapike, silver sweep and one-spot pullers. Other fish seen include luderick, bream, morwong and heaps of leatherjackets (black reef and six-spined especially). I have also seen an eagle ray here. On a drift dive in April 2004 when in this area we saw a sunfish.
You can continue past the anchor area before returning to the anchor or go further into the shallows if it is calm enough.
|The sunfish seen at this site||Another shot of the sunfish|
Another great dive site.