Camp Cove Is a small beach less than a kilometre from South Head, the southern entrance to Sydney Harbour. It is a popular swimming, snorkelling, topless sunbathing, fishing and scuba diving site throughout the year. Adding to the attraction of the beach and its surrounding area are a number of parks, walking trails and spectacular views of the Sydney CBD and the Pacific Ocean.
Getting to Camp Cove
Access to Camp Cove is via Old South Head Rd and Military Rd. Free Parking is available within car parks at both ends of the beach. During summer and on weekends finding parking may be a challenge, and thus early morning or late afternoon dives are recommended.
Marine Life at Camp Cove
The main advantage of Camp Cove is that the variety of marine life found in Sydney waters is generally more accessible than at many other Sydney shore dives. Interesting species to be found include Eastern Blue Grouper, Leatherjackets, Sydney Octopus, Cuttlefish, seahorses and Sea Dragons. Goatfish, Mado, Sergeant Bakers, Red Morwong, Maori Wrasse, Yellow Fin Bream, Yellow Tail, schools of Damselfish and Luderick are also common. Close observation will reveal tube worms, hermit crabs, sea urchins, sponges, and sea anemone.
Diving Camp Cove
Being well sheltered behind the rock wall of South Head, Camp Cove is relatively protected from all but the strongest north-westerly winds. It is an easy, relaxing dive site suitable for all levels of diver, all year round, even in midwinter. It is generally best to dive during slack high tide, as the maximum depth is only 6-7m at high tide. For all dives, entry and exit simply by walking off/back onto the beach. Navigation is easy – simply follow the reef or boulders. There are three dive options at Camp Cove.
By far the most popular dive at Camp Cove, the north reef features the most abundant marine life. This consists of large boulders, overhangs, swim-throughs and walls with a maximum depth of 5-6m at high tide. At all times beware of fishing lines and stay close to the shoreline to avoid passing sailboats. This dive is excellent for underwater photography as well as night diving, when divers are rewarded with a spectacular view of the lit CBD skyline at the end of the dive.
In between the northern and southern side is a flat, rocky 8-10m wide reef at 5-6m depth running parallel to the beach. There are many wide cracks along the rock shelves in which marine life can be found.
More exposed than the north side, the bottom consists of large boulders and kelp beds. Seahorses are a common sight within the kelp. Dive schools often use this side for search and recovery drills.