Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site
Home Contact Me Sydney Reef Dive Sites Sydney Shipwrecks NSW Dive Sites Australian Dive Sites Overseas Dive Sites Dive Accidents and Incidents My Yachting Adventures 4WD Trips Weather Search 25 July 2024 11:44

About Me
My Diving
Web Links - Dive Clubs
St George Scuba Club
Some of my Best Photos
Contact Me

Dive Sites
Sydney Reef Dive Sites
Sydney Shipwrecks
Sydney Dive Visibility, Swell and Temps
Kelly Talking on ABC Sydney about Shipwrecks
NSW Dive Sites
Sydney Shipwreck Summary
NSW Shipwreck GPS/Marks
Australian Dive Sites
Overseas Dive Sites
Aircraft I have Dived
Old Bottles
Free Shipwreck Books

Dive Related Equipment
Shearwater Predator and Heinrichs Weikamp OSTC 2N
Uwatec Aladin Dive Computers
Apollo AV1 Underwater Scooter
Bauer Compressor
DIY Oxygen Stick - Nitrox
GoPro HD Hero Video Camera
My Camera Setup
Purchase of New Dive Boat
My Dive Boat - Mak Cat
My Old Dive Boat - Le Scat
My Dive Gear
GPS and Diving
Make Your Own Car Tank Rack

Marine Life
Rarer Sydney Marine Life
Bare Island Pygmy Pipe Horses
Bare Island Sea Horses
Bare Island Nudibranchs
Bare Island Marine Life
Encounter with Southern Right Whale and Calf

Other Dive Info
How Weather Affects Diving in Sydney
Visibility and Wave Averages in Sydney
Waves and Diving
Diving Weather and Sea Conditions
Tide Tables
Dive Accidents and Incidents
Dive Book Reviews
Site Map
Noel Hitchins 1951-2005
Lloyd Bridges - Mike Nelson in Sea Hunt
My Yachting Adventures
Below is a list of links to the main pages about my yacht, Catlypso and My Yachting Adventures:
  • Purchase of Catlypso
  • Details about Catlypso
  • Cleaning/Repairing Catlypso
  • My Yachting Adventures.
  • Login


    Forgotten your password?
    Request a new one here.
    Michael's 4WD Trips
    Click here for a list of my Four Wheel Drive and Camping Trips.
    Home Brewing
    Click here for an article about Home Brewing.
    Sydney Dive Site Hints
    "The Gullies has a feature called The Marble"
    Balmoral Baths
    Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Balmoral Baths The Sydney suburb of Balmoral is located on Middle Harbour. Middle Harbour is located right opposite the entrance to Sydney Harbour. Balmoral is one of Sydney's more exclusive locations, with views from some parts right across Sydney Harbour to the Heads. The waterfront at Balmoral has some very nice spots. There is a pathway that runs right along the water's edge and opposite there are some nice cafes and even a very good and pricy restaurant closer to the water.

    Balmoral has a couple of netted swimming enclosures. The first is located opposite the main "town" area and the other is further north. Both are good dives but one is better. The first one is a more traditional swimming enclosure, with a timber wharf and boardwalk being the supporting structure for the shark net. These nets (for non-Australian readers) are very common in places like Sydney Harbour, Botany Bay, Port Hacking and Pittwater. They are meant to protect swimmers from sharks but, in reality, they are more of a "security blanket" to swimmers (see later why I say this). This enclosure is called Balmoral Baths. It is probably best dived at night but it also makes a good day dive.

    To find Balmoral Baths, follow these instructions. There are a number of ways to get there but this is one I know works. From Sydney or North Sydney, head along Military Road till you reach the intersection with Spit Road. Go straight ahead on Military Road and around to Mosman shopping centre. Turn left into Raglan Street. Follow this right to then end and you will come to a T intersection. This is The Esplanade. Turn right and you will see that on the left is the water. This is Middle Harbour and you can probably see out towards The Heads.

    About 200 metres along you will see some right-angle parking on your left. This is a very good spot to park. There is more parking opposite and also along further and in daylight hours you may need to park in these spots. Once parked, walk to the baths and have a look at where you will enter and exit the water as well as get an appreciation of the length of the dive. Even though the bathing enclosure structure appears to be constructed of a number of straight and right-angled sections, the actual bathing nets does not have these right -angled bits. The net is curved and this can lead to some confusion if you are expecting to come to a corner. I would recommend that you start at the south-eastern corner and work your way around the net in an anti-clockwise direction.

    After gearing up, walk down to the water's edge and into the water from the sand. The water is quite shallow here, only a metre or so. Drop to the bottom and start following the net. The net is composed of a large mesh on the inside and outside there is (in parts) a much finer meshed net. There are also pylons on the inside of the net, giving a gap of about one to two metres. Straight away you should see sea horses on the netting. These are nearly all White's sea horses. The sea horses are sometimes quite small, in June 2005 there were quite a few only 20 mm long. As you go, the depth increases to just over four metres. Maximum depth is probably only five metres at high tide.

    You will notice that there are lots of sea horses. On a night dive in June 2005 I counted 87 sea horses on the dive. Other things you will (may) see are blue-ringed octopus, heaps of pygmy leatherjackets (some tiny, say 5 mm long), fan-bellied leatherjackets, sole, small yellowtail and seapike. There are also bream and other larger species swimming around.

    You will notice that there are plenty of holes in the "shark" net. Some are huge, large enough for the biggest white pointer to fit through without touching the net. In June 2005 there were at least a dozen very large holes and 20 or more smaller holes that permit large fish to get inside the net. Hence, my comment at the start of this article that the nets really just provide a security blanket for swimmers. Most of the shark nets in Sydney are similar, holes galore.

    Anyway, as I mentioned, the net runs in what appears to be a straight line (especially at night or in poor visibility) but it actually has a slight curve to it that goes right around 180°. At night you will see lights above and in daylight you should be able to see the timber pool structure to give you some guide. It will take about 40 minutes to go right around the baths. If you are keen, you can go back over the route you have travelled. Otherwise, exit the water on the beach and walk back along the promenade. There is a tap/shower on the steps to the right of the wharf structure where you can wash some of the sand off your booties.

    After the dive, you can have morning tea/dinner at one of the cafes, makes a nice after dive relaxation. A very good night dive and not a bad day dive. Worth doing regularly, especially if you like sea horses.

    Copyright © Michael McFadyen 1990 to 2024
    Non-commercial use of an article or photograph is permitted with appropriate URL reference to this site.
    Dive shops, dive operators, publications and government departments cannot use anything without first seeking and receiving approval from Michael McFadyen.
    This web site has been wholly thought up, designed, constructed and funded for almost 30 years by Michael McFadyen without any help from the Australian Dive Industry.
    Website created 1996!