Adelaide Metro Diving Sites
Broken Bottom, South Australia
Broken bottom is part of the old shore line and consists of a series of naturally formed rock piles spread over a large area 2kms north west of Glenelg in 10m of water. Access is by boat from the West Beach boat ramp. Fish life is sparse to prolific with no set pattern. If fish life is sparse you can investigate the rock piles, sea tulips and razor shells. At other times the whole dive can be taken up swimming amongst schools of Old wives, Bullseyes and the occasional Yellowfin whiting. Many Spider Crabs inhabit this area and occasional Rays and Flatheads may be found.
GPS 34:57:773 S 138:28:822 E
Claris, South Australia
28m shipwreck about 4km west of the Dredge around 12m in length
GPS 35:00:250 S 138:21:089 E
The Dredge (SS South Australian)
Glenelg Barge, South Australia
The Glenelg Barge is a hopper barge used by the South Australian (Glenelg Dredge) to take the silt dredged up from the Port River and dump it further out to sea. She was sunk in 1984 as an artificial reef and lies in 20m of water. Access is by boat from the West Beach boat ramp. A star dropper trail has been set up to enable divers to travel from the barge to the South Australian dredge in times of low current. The barge is a very interesting wreck with a wide variety of fish. Divers can swim its 30m length with ease. At either end there is a small opening where divers can penetrate into the work rooms. Divers can now access the workrooms from inside the hoppers as the bulkheads have rusted away in some areas. In these rooms on each side of the hoppers is the entrance to the flotation chambers and divers may peer into them. Divers may be tempted to attempt a penetration and it can be done as long as the divers are properly prepared with lines, torches etc. The entrance to each chamber is very restricted. This penetration is not recommended. The main hazards are rusting metal, silting and restricted entrances to the penetrations.
GPS 34:58:729 S 138:26:462 E
The Dredge: SS South Australian
The 133 foot South Australian, commonly known as the Dredge, was built in Holland in 1911 and sailed to Adelaide arriving in 1912. The vessel was a self propelled cutter suction dredge that was used to dredge the Port river. The South Australian ceased its working life in 1982 and was scuttled in January 1985 as a recreational resource for divers and anglers. Access is by boat from West Beach boat ramp. The wreck is laying upright in 20m water with the deck area in about 15m. The site has prolific fish life and is arguably the best fish dive off the metropolitan coast. A star dropper trail has been set up to enable divers to travel from the dredge to the barge in times of low current.
GPS 34:58:667 S 138:26:441 E
Glenelg Tyre Reef
Glenelg Tyre Reef, South Australia
The Glenelg tyre reef is a series of tyre tetrahedrons, set down as an artificial reef. Set up in 1983, 5kms west of Glenelg, 500m south east of the barge in 18m of water. As a fish breeding ground it has been very successful with large quantities of Whiting, Bullseyes, Strongies, Silver drummer, Old wives and Spider crabs. The main hazard is getting loose regs and gauges caught in tyre straps. The site has deteriorated somewhat: many of the tetrahedrons have come apart and areas of the reef scattered.
GPS 34:58:903 S 138:26:605 E
Grange Tyre Reef
Grange Tyre Reef, South Australia
Man-made reef approx. 4kms offshore from West Beach. Access is by boat from the West Beach boat ramp. Made up of a series of squares of old tyres laid down by the Fisheries Dept in the late 70s. The tyres lie in 15m of water and over the years the squares have split up and spread over a large area. The dive is interesting with a wide variety of life. Weedy seadragons can occasionally be seen here.
GPS 34:54:895 S 138:24:062 E
John Robb, South Australia
The John Robb was built in Port Adelaide in 1879 and sank during a storm around 1910 and is in the outer shipping channel to Outer Harbour, The wreck is 15kms offshore from North Haven and lies in 18m of water. Access is by boat from the North Haven boat ramp. The wreck is now nearly completely broken up with only the bow section recognisable sticking out of the sand pointing west. The wreck is extremely difficult to locate as land marks are almost impossible to find and a reliable GPS bearing is needed. Marine life around the wreck varies from prolific to almost barren depending on the day. Visibility is generally fairly good due to the distance offshore, but it is subject to tidal currents which can be strong.
GPS 34:49:360 S 138:20:260 E
Leather Jacket Alley
Leather Jacket Alley, South Australia
Leather Jacket Alley is approximately 2kms North west of Glenelg and is in 10m of water. Access is by boat from the West Beach boat ramp. The dive site consists of a series of naturally formed gutters inhabited by a wide variety of fish and aquatic flora — notable for its wide variety of Leather jackets, including the elusive Pygmy leather jacket.
GPS 34:58:163 S 138:28:832 E
Lumb, South Australia
The Lumb was sunk in 1994 specifically as a dive site by the SA dive industry. She lies upright on the bottom 50m west of the Noarlunga tyre reef in 20m of water 2.5 kms west of Noarlunga jetty. Access is by boat from O’Sullivan’s Beach boat ramp. The Lumb started life as a tug working in Tasmania before being used at Port Lincoln. She was refitted as a fishing trawler and used to fish for tuna. At the end of her life she was purchased by the dive industry. She was cleaned up and holes were cut in her deck and she was sunk as a dive site. Penetrations are easy and safe as holes were cut allowing easy safe penetration. Fish life can be sparse to prolific and look out for the many nudibranchs on the wreck.
GPS 35:08:881 S 138:26:530 E
Mac’s Ground, South Australia
Mac’s Ground is a small reef 4.5kms west of Glenelg in 17m of water. Access is by boat from the West Beach boat ramp. It is part of the old shore line and is a reef approx 1m high lying in an east west direction. The reef is about 150m long and has numerous overhangs and a small cave, home to squid and Cuttlefish. Other species of fish include Blue devils, Silver drummer, Strongies, Bullseyes, Old wives, Leather jackets and Spider crabs. It s a favoured fishing ground for winter Whiting. The fish life is usually prolific and tame which makes a great dive. There are no hazards.
GPS 34:58:550 S 138:27:084 E
Milkie’s Reef, South Australia
Named after the finder who was a milkman, Milkies is a reef running north south 4.5kms south west of Glenelg in 17m of water. Access is by boat from the West Beach boat ramp. Spider crabs abound and there are numerous nudibranchs, Blue devils, Cuttlefish, Strongies, Silver drummer and the occasional crayfish. At times it is the best local dive around because of the variety of fish life. Very few divers visit this area. There are no hazards except tidal currents.
GPS 34:59:189 S 138:27:241 E
Noarlunga Tyre Reef
Noarlunga Tyre Reef, South Australia
Lying in approx. 20m this set of tyre pyramids is spread out over a wide area off Port Noarlunga. There are lots of little fish to be seen, and it also acts as a haven for Boarfish, Cowfish, Octopuses, Blue devils, Morwongs, Wobbegongs. Bullseyes and Perch. The pyramids look very similar so divers can become disorientated.
Norma, South Australia
The NORMA was a steel 4 masted iron barque of 2122 tons, measuring 278 feet, that sank in the main shipping channel of Outer Harbour in 1907 when it was rammed whilst at anchor by the Ardencraig. The day after the sinking the Jessie Darling ran over the wreck and sank on top of the Norma breaking her back. The Jessie Darling was subsequently refloated. Because of the danger to shipping, the Norma was dynamited. The wreck lies about 5kms offshore from North Haven in 14m of water and is subject to strong tidal currents. Access is by boat from North Haven boat ramp. The wreck of the Norma is spread out over quite a large area and consists of a large area of twisted metal lying on the bottom. The bow area is still recognisable and acts as a marine haven for fish. The remains are very interesting, The fish life is prolific with wobbegongs frequently seen. If diving the Norma be aware it is still in the shipping channel and it is unwise to leave your dive vessel without surface support as large ships still use the channel. A marker bouy is positioned about 25m due west of the wreck.
GPS 34:49:349 S 138:25:111 E
Port Noarlunga, South Australia
The Port Noarlunga reef system is extensive and offers excellent diving and snorkelling. The reef is broken into the Northern Northern and Southern sections that run parallel to the shore with depths of around 5m on the inside , 8m on the outside and around 10m in the gap between the reef sections. The Northern section and the gap is accessible from the platform at the end of the Port Noarlunga jetty. The Southern section is accessible via a snorkel of around 100m from the beach opposite. Alternatively the reef can be accessed by boat from O’Sullivan’s Beach boat ramp. The reef abounds with numerous species of marine plants and animals. The Port Noarlunga Aquatic Trail with 12 markers starts next to seaward end of jetty and travels south along inside of reef through the gap and then north along the outside of the reef.
Seacliff Reef, South Australia
To many a diver, this site is the best local site due to the abundance of fish and its relatively shallow depth. Seacliff reef is part of the old shore line from about 10,000 years ago. It is a reef approximately 1 metre high. It travels in a north/south direction and is home to literally thousands of fish, including a number of large Blue devils. A whole dive can easily be taken up by sitting on the bottom watching the fish and not moving more than a few metres. The depth of the reef varies from 12m to15m without any hazards. Access is by boat from either West Beach or O’Sullivan’s Beach boat ramp.
GPS 35:02:264 S 138:29:440 E
MV Seawolf, South Australia
The boat, originally named the Matsu Maru , was owned by a tuna fisherman from Port Lincoln who had obtained the boat from the Australian Government after it was confiscated while operating off Darwin. The owner planned to refurbish it for the lucrative tuna long line fishing industry, however, as tuna farming was gaining momentum at the time it became uneconomic to refurbish the boat to Australian standards to enter the declining long line industry.
The partially stripped hull lay unused from 1993, anchored off Lincoln Cove Marina and became something of a local eyesore and haven for multitudes of feral pigeons
After negotiations by Christopher Deane, and fundraising (quite modest, compared to more recent sinkings) by the Sea Wolves Dive Club, and the rest of the SA Dive Community, the hulk was towed to Port Adelaide from Port Lincoln on 20/21 October 2001 so that the extensive cleanup and preparation for scuttling could be done safely and efficiently. The man-made contaminants were nothing compared to all of the guano which had to be removed before it could be sunk!
With her new name emblazoned across her stern and bow, on Saturday March 23, 2002 she was scuttled and lies on her starboard side some 20 metres slightly to the south east of the hull of the HA Lumb, making the site a two wreck dive with a tyre reef thrown in for added interest! Its GPS location is 35 deg 08.879 min S, 138 deg 26.525min E using the WGS 84 datum. Look for the “bomb” on deck and other Sea Wolves markers below decks.
Stanvac Barges, South Australia
There are 3 barges at this site that were sunk in 1954, one is 50m x 9m and the other two measure approximately 20m x 9m. At 28m this is an advanced dive and bottom time is restricted. The barges form an artificial reef with plenty of fish life and lie approximately 5kms west of Port Stanvac and rest on an otherwise sandy bottom. Access is by boat from O’Sullivan’s Beach boat ramp.
GPS 35:06:908 S 138:24:656 E
The Blocks, South Australia
The Blocks is a series of cement blocks visible at low tide and located 1/2 a kilometre from shore in 6m of water. The blocks were used as a mooring system for early ships coming to Adelaide. Access is by boat from West Beach boat ramp. On a good vis day, this is an interesting second dive, especially if you have plenty of air left after your first dive and just want to use the same cylinder. It is an easy dive with plenty of area to cover. This is an excellent muck dive. Wobbegongs have been found here.