Black Rock - Northern side

South West Rocks, New South Wales

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Dive Black Rock - Northern side


The starkness of these two rocks above the surface gives no indication of the beautiful coral garden below. The two rocks are situated off Smoky Cape beach which sweeps southwards from Smoky Cape Lighthouse towards Hat Head in the south. Though there are two rocks, the surge in the gutter between prevents safe passage through them on all but the calmest days. Also as a matter of safety we encourage diving within visual surface sight of the boat and therefore the skippers watchful eye! Usually this means Black Rocks is split into two different dives, the northern side and the southern side.

In the Northern side, dive centers usually moor in the centre of the natural bay formed by the two rocks to begin this dive allowing divers to explore the bay up to the rocks and out to the reef edge. Close into the rocks you will see in around 6-8 metres small crevices and larger boulders which get smaller in size as you swim away from the rocks towards the reef edge on the sand (14-16 metres). A large part of the reef here is made up of large plate coral (Black Rocks is the southern most point at which you will see plate coral growing in such abundance).

Everywhere you look you will see friendly moray eels, beautiful lionfish, obscure nudibranchs, feather stars, active octopus and juvenile fish darting in and around the boulders and hard coral. Look under the overhangs and in the cracks, and you will be rewarded by the variety of marine creatures you see. Look out for the huge schools of bulleyes and bait fish plus the tropicals adding dashes of colour. There are also small gutters or areas of sand in amongst the reef which are worth a closer look particularly to see hiding just under the sand numerous white-spotted shovelnosed rays and also flounder. Bigger fish are also seen by divers at Black Rocks - Grey Nurse Sharks, large king fish and jewies.

A particular highlight at this dive site are the amazing egg cowries that live on the coral and rocks: look out for a bright white shell partially or almost completely covered by the black mantle - the small white dots on the mantle are reminiscent of diamonds on black velvet! Another top spot are the resident loggerhead and green turtles that may join you on your dive. Plus if you have the time on your dive do check the sand edge of the reef - very, very large black stingrays (also known as bullrays) are seen here at times.

This dive is a popular alternative to the dive sites at Fish Rock and is suitable for all levels of diver. The bay is also a pleasant place to spend the surface interval.

Average depth 12 metres varying between 8 metres close to the rocks and 16 metres out on the sand slope.

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