Australia is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and diverse dive sites. But one freediving destination people often overlook is the greater Newcastle area, despite the fact it has plenty of hidden gems to offer up to the savvy freediver.
So if you live in Newcastle and are looking for some incredible sights, here is our list, in no particular order, of the top 10 places to go freediving in Newcastle.
If you’re also open to travelling to some of Australia’s other fantastic freediving destinations, we’ve compiled some other handy lists as well! Check them out below:
What is freediving?
Freediving is the practice of diving while holding a single breath. This lets you explore the underwater world, boosts your physical fitness, and is a really fun social pastime. You may even find freediving a meditative experience, as diving without equipment and being one with the water is a great way to de-stress.
1. Fly Point
Not only is it easy to access, with stairs to the diving area, but it is also in a well travelled spot so there are plenty of amenities around. It has some fantastic, relatively shallow seagrass beds but also some deeper slopes for more challenging dives. Expect to see an abundance of wildlife, in particular nudibranchs in the seagrass.
2. Middle Rock
The aptly named Middle Rock dive site sits in the middle of One Mile Beach, making it a popular destination for freedivers. Enjoy a leisurely stroll to the site from either side. In particular, the nearby Ingenia Holidays Middle Rock Caravan Park also makes visiting and diving this site over multiple days really convenient.
3. Swansea Bridge
This is another one of the most well known spots for freediving in Newcastle. It’s incredibly popular because of how easy it is to access. Literally just off the road, the pylons of the Swansea Bridge, as well as the remnants of the old Swansea bridge, have well developed ecosystems and act like an artificial reef.
Diving the old supports can create the illusion of being in a shipwreck, and you will find all sorts of marine life. In particular, Australian salmon are often spotted swimming out from Lake Macquarie. So keep an eye out!
Important note: While the dive itself is not particularly difficult, it is a high boat traffic area so freedivers are advised to stay close to the shore, and not venture out to the centre of the bridge.
Just a short drive from the Swansea Bridge site is Flagstaff. It is a nice little protected bay that is perfectly suited for beginners, with its deepest point only reaching 7 metres.
From sandy flat areas perfect for snorkelling and seeing some stingrays, or weedy gardens where schools of fish play hide and seek, there is always something to see.
In winter, this spot is renowned for its grey nurse shark sightings. Before you panic, these sharks are friendly! They are brilliant to watch, and are definitely an attraction that makes this one of the best freediving spots in Newcastle.
As its name suggests, Pipeline is a dive site that features a disused sewer pipe that has turned into an artificial reef, attracting all sorts of sea creatures.
Due to its popularity, a clear path and concrete steps make this an easy site to access. The entire pipe, including its cement supports, have been reclaimed by sea life, leading to an abundance of sights that are literally lined up for you to enjoy.
Pay particularly close attention to the interesting curious pipefish, a species of syngnathiformes, that call this place home. They are everywhere!
Halifax is a stunning Port Stephens freediving destination. Known for being suitable for all diving skill levels, its depth ranges from 5 to 25 metres.
Enjoy hard and soft corals, as well rocky outcrops. With so many diverse environments, Halifax is simply teeming with marine life. One of the freediver’s most prized sights, blue gropers, are often seen here. Known for their striking blue colour and friendly demeanour, you won’t want to miss a chance to see one.
7. Fingal Bay
Fingal Bay offers a rare opportunity to dive the edge of a peninsula without the dangers of strong currents. Protected by Fingal Island and the famed Fingal Sand Spit, you can enjoy kelp forests, dotted with boulders that attract schools of fish.
8. Spoon Rock Bay
Spoon Rock Bay takes its name from the spoon shaped breakwall that shelters it from the ocean currents. Located near the majestic Caves Beach, you might be tempted to spend more time exploring above water than below.
But don’t be fooled by the quiet bay, the breakwall itself is home to all sorts of sea life and is a nice leisurely dive option if you want to cool off after a day of exploring the caves.
9. Shoal Bay
Shoal Bay has the advantage of being protected by the main channel of currents, and can be safely dived at any time because of it. This makes it a great location for beginners looking to freedive in Newcastle. With the Eastern end being just 3 metres deep, and the Western end being 5 metres, it is an incredibly simple dive.
Unfortunately, this area has a major drawback. It has far less marine life than any other site on this list. In fact, its fields of seagrass mostly hide any creatures, and its occasional bare patches of sand are mostly lifeless. So your best bet is to treat Shoal Bay as a training location, this isn’t one for the world champion freedivers!
10. Boondelbah Island
Unlike the rest of freediving sites on this list, Boondelbah Island is offshore from Port Stephens and you’ll need to charter a boat to get there. But don’t let that dissuade you! The island is surrounded by wonderful dive sites that are best suited to experienced divers.
Most notably, the South-West corner of the island has a fantastic crop of sponges. These have been known to contain Doughnut Nembrotha – a species of Nudibranchs that are usually associated with Cabbage Tree Island further up the East Coast.
Try A Freediving Course
Now that you know all the best places to go freediving in Newcastle, how about you join a freediving class to learn or hone your skills before getting your flippers wet?
No matter your skill level, Freediving Central can help you improve.
To get in touch and book a lesson, visit our contact page.