Port Noarlunga Jetty & Reef Diving

The final dive on our self-guided SA dive trip was on the Port Noarlunga reef, only half an hour from Adelaide. This was a somewhat last minute decision to dive, but we’re certainly glad we did!

The water was amongst the warmest we experienced on our trip, and we saw a host of fish amongst the nooks of the reef, some willing to hang around and show off. The leatherjackets, with their colourful patterns, were magnificent to see and the sharpnose weed whiting was a first. Watch out for the cray too!

The reef is a natural breakwater accessed by walking down the 400m long jetty, with a flight of stairs making entry to the water super easy. Very popular for both snorkelling and diving, there were plenty of people in the water with us. A series of signs make navigation underwater somewhat simple, although we did turn the dive when we couldn’t find the next sign as we went through the ‘gap’ to the open ocean side of the reef. Touristy area, so parking can be troublesome, but toilets nearby. Decent trek from carpark, so consider a trolley.

Location: Port Noarlunga, SA
Water Temperature: 21°C
Average Depth: 4.0m
Maximum Depth: 9.1m

Second Valley Diving

One of our last dives in SA was at Second Valley, around the corner from Rapid Bay. Just before jumping in, we had a guy on the pier look over at us and asked “Bobbi?”. Famous! Turns out that he was who we were headed to get our airfills from later, and he recognised us from my posts on the local facebook page. Pays to have your name on your tank (and pink hair!)

He was lovely, and gave us some pointers on the dive site before sending us on our way. Highlight of the dive was definitely the massive wobbegong shark we saw near the point – whilst not a particularly aggressive shark, they have been known to clamp down on people who inadvertently get too close, so makes sense to stay socially distanced from them! We also spotted cuttlefish, blue devils and more.

This dive site starts at a short sandy pier, but the interesting stuff it to be seen by following the coastline around to the rocky point. Next time we’ll go beyond, but this time we only just made it to the point as we were taking our time. Parking not too far away, with toilets accessible closeby also. Busy and popular beach spot on a hot day, imagine parking can be an issue.

Location: Second Valley, SA
Water Temperature: 21°C
Average Depth: 3.5m
Maximum Depth: 8.3m

Port Hughes Jetty Diving

Cuttlefish have long held my interest as they are just fascinating creatures – as a child all I knew of them was finding the white chalky bones on the beach to bring home to the cocky. I was blown away as a diver to discover how fascinating they look and behave underwater – changing colour and texture and dancing through the water.

Every year in the waters of Whyalla (South Australia) giant cuttlefish meet in huge numbers to mate – we had intended on visiting to witness this last year but alas it wasn’t to be. Perhaps this year. In the meantime, the sheer number of cuttlefish we saw on our SA trip was fantastic, spotting at least one every dive and often more. This video is from Port Hughes, an impromptu stop after chatting to divers in the carpark of our previous dive. So much to see, and the underwater soft coral and sponge growth reminded me of a winter wonderland.

Another accessible diving location, with plentiful parking and a relatively short walk down the pier to the staircase leading into the water. Simple dive – out and back underneath the pier, with big schools of fish to observe. Toilets closeby the carpark, and next time we’ll make this a late afternoon dive as there is a pub on the other side of the carpark!

Location: Port Hughes, SA
Water Temperature: 21°C
Average Depth: 5.1m
Maximum Depth: 6.9m

Edithburgh Diving

When Christie told us that Edithburgh was one of the best night dives in Australia, we just HAD to get there despite it being a few hours “out of the way”. Whilst it’s safe to say we enjoy diving, we LOVE night diving – the range of critters that come out at night are super special to see.

We ended up doing three dives at Edithburgh – a late afternoon checkout dive followed by two night dives. The aim was to spot a “striped pyjama squid”, an adorable black and white striped dumpling squid which, as you’ll see, we managed to spot (several times in the end!). We saw many other nighttime creatures as well, including an electric ray, lots of octopuses, cobblers (catfish), brittle stars and more. We were also treated to a special event – the sea cucumbers (which we don’t often see in Melbourne waters) were spawning – standing erect in the water and doing their thang. Was a sight to see, although best not to think about what we were swimming through so much 😂 No video as I don’t want to be kicked off Facebook for sharing illicit content 😲😝

This dive site was perhaps the most accessible that I’ve ever experienced – car parking mere metres from the jump in point, with toilets a few steps in the other direction. Relatively short pier, but more than enough to keep us entertained for 3 one-hour dives. Air available at the BP, although we bought air with us from Adelaide (double check with the BP beforehand if you’re relying on them for air, we did get mixed reports).

Location: Edithburgh, SA
Water Temperature: 21°C
Average Depth: 3.5m
Maximum Depth: 6.2m

Rapid Bay Jetty Diving

We were told that Rapid Bay Jetty was an epic dive, and it did not disappoint. When we arrived at the jetty, it was blowing a gale and we were hesitant to jump into unknown waters given the wind. A chat with some friendly divers in the carpark quickly changed that and off we went.

The main aim of our dive was to spot a leafy seadragon – cousin to the weedy seadragons we see here in Victoria. Such otherworldly creatures, we were lucky enough to spot one (probably the same one!) on each dive we did here. Of course there were loads of other creatures to see also – octopus, cuttlefish, massive schools of fish and so much more, with different critters greeting us on our night dive. A massive dive site, we did two day dives and a night dive and still didn’t make it to the end!

Rapid Bay Jetty is actually two jetties – an old large dilapidated jetty with sections falling into the water and a newer fishing jetty running parallel about 20m to the east. To access the old jetty (and dive site), walk down the fishing jetty (it’s long, consider a trolley), down the stairs and to the dive platform. Upon entering the water and descending, you’ll see a series of starpickets that lead the way to the old jetty. Head out (watch for fishing line) and then along to the T. Keep an eye on your air as it’s a large dive site, better to return with some air as opposed to a long surface swim!

We were advised to bring spare tanks with us given the long drive back to Adelaide and were grateful to not have to worry about air through the entire trip (public holidays and Sundays are a little different in SA!). On our return for the night dive we did discover that Peter at Second Valley Air Fills was available for air, super handy. Not many facilities in the area, so pack snacks for your surface interval and note that the closest toilets are at the campgrounds. Check the conditions with a local beforehand – our new found friends in the carpark were able to advise on current, recommended turn around points etc, which made for an easier dive.

Location: Rapid Bay, SA
Water Temperature: 20°C
Average Depth: 6m
Maximum Depth: 9.8m