Halifax Marine Park in Nelson Bay is a great dive site and offers plenty for all levels of divers. It is also a site that produces an excellent night dive. The entry point is at the end of dirt carpark through a little channel that has been cleared of rocks by local divers. It is recommended that you use this channel to enter and exit the site as it can get a little difficult if there is any swell slopping into the site. Once you have entered the water it is recommended that you snorkel out about 10 metres and descend into about 5-8 metres of water. If you swim due north you will come across a little pyramid of rocks – this was created by divers and is used as a reference point. It is also a popular spot for Open Water courses to conduct their skill sessions.
If you swim north from the pyramid you will come to a wall that slopes from 8 metres down to about 15 metres. This wall is an excellent spot to find nudibranchs as it contains extensive sponge growth. Harlequin ghost pipefish have also been spotted residing in the cracks of this wall. The wall has a narrow gutter that slopes down through the middle of it and this is a great spot to swim down until you hit the bottom at about 15 metres. Masses of sponges and soft southern corals are everywhere here. There is prolific fish life, morays in olive and the mosaic varieties, numb rays at night, nudibranchs, schools of bullseyes and just so much more!
Continue to swim north and for about 30 metres you will swim across a more barren area (there is still plenty of stuff to see here) until you come across some large bomies and big sponge gardens. Here the slope drops down a wall from about 18 metres to about 26 metres – there is excellent diving around here. Eastern rock lobsters, blue wrasse, white spotted moray eels, wobbegong sharks, numb rays, eagle rays have all been found down here. You need to keep an eye on your dive computer because its not to hard to head into deco if you spend to long looking around at the 25 metre mark. Also, the best fish life is also found down at the bottom with schools of bream, stripeys, bullseyes and drummer being very common.
If you have followed the above mention dive profile head back directly south up the slope until you hit the wall that goes from 15- 8 metres. If you have some air left it is always a good idea to explore around here before you head up to the pyramid area to commence your safety stop. A safety stop is generally recommended at Halifax as it is more than likely that you would have descended past 18metres. Halifax is also a very good location for a night dive – but remember that you must dive it on the high slack tide.
It is always recommended to dive here on the high slack tide as it produces the best visibility. It can also be dived on the low slack tide but the visibility is generally very poor. A safety point, if you need to head for the surface for some reason, please make sure you swim in close to the shore as boats frequently cruise above this divesite. If you surface from deep water there is a very good chance you could get hit by a boat.
You can dive in Fly Point too. Fly Point is where I learnt to dive. People travel from Sydney to learn to dive here. It is tidal and best on high tide . You can dive this site 50 times, and still see something new. There is a well defined access path to a set of concrete steps at the waters edge. See the Fly Point Snorkeling page for more information.
The location of Halifax Marine Park is through the roundabout past the Information centre in the main part of town, continue along this road with the bay on your left. After about 1-1.5 kms, the road takes a 90 degree turn right, keep going till you come to a left turn just past the ovals but before the RSL club. Turn left here and follow this down to another beach and a boat ramp. This is Little Beach. Just before the road turns right towards the Halifax Caravan Park, there is a turn to the left into the parking areas, turn left and then proceed to the right and through the carpark, a road heads up the hill, before this, turn left towards the bay and follow the dirt/sand track around to the right along the shore. There is a parking area here, the sand can be soft at times, so be careful not to bog the car. It’s also a good idea to try to park near one of the few remaining grass areas.