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Reef Dives

Currents from both the Indian and Pacific Oceans bring marine life typical to both eastern and western coastal zones, combined with the diversity of our shoreline structures makes for some interesting and unique temperate water reef diving. Most of South Australia’s reef diving is enjoyed in shallow waters, extending bottom times and allowing for maximum time underwater to enjoy the dive.

We also have a number of artificial reef systems put in place to encourage marine life to certain area’s. Join Adelaide Scuba on a variety of local boat dives departing from our store, see the monthly schedules for times and locations.

Glenelg Blocks
 
Location: Metro Coastline, 20 minutes west of city centre
 
Depth: 4-8 meters
 
Rating: Open Water
 
The Blocks is a relatively shallow dive straight out from Glenelg. If you’re fit enough you can snorkel out there, but we suggest going out by boat. The blocks are part of the old Glenelg jetty and breakwater that washed away in a storm in the early 1920’s. Made up of a large series of concrete blocks,some upright and some on their side making a great dive. Expect to see large varieties of marine life including the resident seals, many resident carpet sharks, leather jackets, old wives, silver drummer, bullseye and sweep. We are also closely monitoring a colony of seahorses who have made their home on the site. After heavy rains or big tidal shift the dive can be limited in visibility because of its proximity to the Patawalonga outlet, but on a clear day can make an excellent dive. On recent dives we’ve also located frog fish and numerous macro shrimp and crabs making this a neat little muck dive.
 

Devil’s Elbow
 
Location: Metro Coastline, 15 minutes offshore from Glenelg
 
Depth: 8-10 meters
 
Rating: Open Water
 
The reef system incorporates 2 distinctive shelves which run 90 degrees to one another, when they meet they’re joined by an elbow bend in the primary ledge. Numerous species of temperate fish including dusky morwong, silver drummer, old wives, hula fish, Hutchinson’s boar fish, bullseye, blue throated wrasse, sweep, moonlighter perch and zebra perch are often seen on the reef. A large number of cuttlefish and blue devils have also been located at the site. Surrounding the reef walls to the south, the bottom composition begins to break into small rocky reef bommies providing wonderful cover for a variety of nudibranchs. The depth is between 8-12 meters and with the relatively shallow depth provides great sunlight to reach the soft and hard coral growth. A very beautiful dive and perfect for any diver whether newly certified or experienced.
 
Seacliff Reef
 
Location: Metro Coastline, 20 minutes offshore from Glenelg
 
Depth: 12-14 meters
 
Rating: Open Water
 
To many a diver this is the best local site due to the abundant fish life and relatively shallow depth. Seacliff reef is part of the old shoreline from about 10,000 years ago (also includes milkies, northern outer, broken bottom and mac’s ground). It’s approximately 1-2 meter high ledge off the sand and travels in a north/south direction forming a half moon shape and is home to literally thousands of fish. Boasting the largest number of blue devils in the metropolitan area, a whole dive can easily be taken up by sitting on the bottom and observing their behaviour only having to move a few meters. In numerous places along the reef, the rare and beautiful leafy sea dragons can be spotted. The depth varies from approximately 12-14 meters and makes a superb dive for any level of diver.
Milkies Reef
 
Location: Metro coastline, 20 minutes offshore from Glenelg
 
Depth: 17 meters
 
Rating: Open Water
 
Named after the finder who was a milkman, milkies if a reef running north/south 4.5km southwest of Glenelg in 17 meters of water. An abundance of spider crabs are seen the there are numerous blue devils hiding under the rocky ledges, cuttlefish, strongies, silver drummer and the occasional crayfish are also found. At times it’s the best local dive around because very few divers visit here and there is a huge variety of fish life.
Oliver’s Reef
 
Location: Metro Coastline, 20 minutes offshore from Glenelg
 
Depth: 18 meters
 
Rating: Open Water
 
A small but interesting rocky reef system which sits in a depth of approximately 18 meters and is located just east south east of Glenelg barge shipwreck. Oliver’s consists of rocky ledges and bommies where on most dives you’ll find lots of juvenile fish species, as well as stingrays, nudibranchs, crabs, shrimps, and an abundance of bullseye. A prominent feature of this site is a large purple coral, some 2 meters round which hosts blue devils and the occasional sea spider or blue dragon.
Fred’s Rock
 
Location: Metro Coastline, 40 minutes Offshore from Glenelg
 
Depth: 24 meters
 
Rating: Advanced
 
This large rock, suggested to be a meteorite but unconfirmed, sits at depth of 24 meters. The rock is one of the reference marks for Fred’s Ground which incorporates the Claris wreck and the superstructure 20 meters apart. Due to being the only lump on a large patch of sand, Fred’s rock proves to be quite the site hosting a variety of marine life and schooling pelagic overhead.
Northern Outer Reef
 
Location: Metro Coastline, 30 minutes offshore from Glenelg
 
Depth: 18-22 meters
 
Rating: Open Water/Advanced
 
Another part of the old shoreline of South Australia, Northern Outer runs in a north south direction and sits in 18-22 meters of water. It’s approximately 100 meters in length and consists of ledges and small rocky overhangs. Expect to see vast amounts of large sea sponges as well as schooling whiting, old wives and drummer. It also seems to be a breeding ground for blue devils, as there seems to be many young ones around. Please note the depth so a close eye can be taken in managing appropriate bottom times as time can go quite quickly when observing the diverse range of marine life on site.
Glenelg Tyre Reef
 
Location: Metro Coastline, 20 minutes offshore from Glenelg
 
Depth: 18 meters
 
Rating: Open Water
 
The Glenelg tyre reef is a series of tyre tetrahedrons set down as an artificial reef. Set up in 1983 5km west of Glenelg, 500 meters south east of the barge in 18 meters of water. It’s been a successful breeding ground with large numbers of whiting, bullseye, strong fish, silver drummer, old wives and spider crabs. It’s also a popular fishing spot so be aware of boat traffic and falling anchors and isn’t recommended when large numbers of boats are present.
Marino Rocks
 
Location: Metro Coastline, 30 minutes south of city centre
 
Depth: 4-6 meters
 
Rating: Open Water
 
Marino is a suburb in the south of Adelaide. It sits on coastal hills overlooking the Gulf of St Vincent. It neighbours Seacliff, Hallett Cove and Kingston Park. Access is via an old concrete pier which leads into the water with a carpark a short walk away. The site is made of intertidal rocky reefs in water approximately 3-4 meters deep and is a spectacular little ecosystem hosting large numbers of bullseye, old wives, moonlighter, magpie perch, silver drummer, pipefish and nudibranchs. During most dives on the site large schools of zebra perch will cruise the reef, also seen throughout the area are cuttlefish, stingrays and carpet sharks. Marino is a wonderful site and great for photography when the sun is out.
Hallett Cove
 
Location: Metro Coastline, 30 minutes south of city centre
 
Depth: 4-6 meters
 
Rating: Open Water
 
This shallow reef system makes an awesome dive, with heaps of fish to see. Not many divers get out here, so the fish are curious and swim up to you. Expect to see port Jackson sharks, blue devils and schools of bullseye. An easy dive with a lot to see, ideal for all levels of diver.
Aldinga Drop Off
 
Location: Fleurieu Peninsula, 2km offshore, 1 hour south of Glenelg
 
Depth: 15-20 meters
 
Rating: Open Water/Advanced
 
The Aldinga drop off is on the edge of the Aldinga reef lying 1.5km off the Aldinga beach. Access is via boat. The reef drops away from 5 meters to 21 meters creating a spectacular dive that is a mass of cavers, crevasses and overhangs. The reef is inside an aquatic reserve and prolific fish life makes this the photographer’s paradise. Large schools of king fish, drummer, sweep, old wives, grouper and bullseye inhabit the area along with the occasional harlequin fish. The drop off is where the big schools of snapper stay when travelling north to their breeding ground. When the snapper are running from November through March it’s advisable not to dive this area as the snapper school is occasionally followed by the white pointer shark.
Aldinga Pinnacles
 
Location: Fleurieu Peninsula, 2km offshore, 1 hour south of Glenelg
 
Depth: 10-15 meters
 
Rating: Open Water
 
Part of the Aldinga reef system which is closer in shore than the drop off. This is a spectacular dive with lots of swim throughs, overhangs, fish life and weed growth. The dive is in only 8 meters of water so an extended amount of time can be spent exploring the reef system, overhangs and occasional cave. Visibility here is generally very good and swimming amongst rock pinnacles extending from the sea floor to just beneath the surface of the sea is very different to other South Australian dive sites.
Carrackalinga Reefs
 
Location: Fleurieu Peninsula, 1 hour south of Adelaide
 
Depth: 4-6 meters
 
Rating: Open water
 
Carrackalinga hosts 2 primary natural reef systems; both are great shore dives with lots of crevices, walls and ledges. Most of the dive consists of a rocky reef wall, with lots of drummer, talma, old wives, goat fish and leatherjackets sheltering amongst the rocky reef. The Toilet Block reef is the first midway along the sandy beaches. This site if directly out offshore from the public toilet block in the main carpark; it begins at approximately 100 meters offshore. The North Head reef, as the name suggests, is off the northern most headland, entry again is off the beach following the rocky shoreline north, around the cliff edge.