• Hadassa

Snorkelling with Sharks at Bushrangers Bay {South Coast}

Updated: Mar 5, 2019

With summer almost over and the cooler temperatures rolling in I thought to take the family out on an adventure. So here is a wrap up for you outdoor adventure lovers with kids: Snorkel or Dive at Bushrangers Bay!

Kids exploring sea life at Bushrangers Bay

Bushrangers Bay in the Bass Point Reserve close to Shellharbour. Shellharbour is 90 minutes south of Sydney which makes it a perfect getaway for all those Sydney-siders wanting to escape for a day.

Bass Point Reserve offers clear waters, nature walks and outstanding snorkel/dive sites. The dive sites include shipwrecks and undersea cliffs and many beautiful as well as colourful sea creatures.

We would love to dive here on our own one day, but with the children being so young, it is snorkelling for now. 'My oh my!' are we excited to get out there. A few snacks before heading into the water are important - so the little ones don’t run out of energy.

With all our gear piled up against the rocks, we head off into the water. Make sure you allow for more time with kids getting ready; it always takes longer than you anticipate.

Once we are all ready, each adult takes along one child (lucky we only have two!). 'Whooohoooo' and straight away we are spotting our first fish! How exiting that we can see fish straight away, it will make this adventure even better. My eldest and I head out further after my husband came back super excited about seeing heaps of fish and even sharks. {DO NOT WORRY: Grey nurse sharks only look dangerous, but are harmless to humans. They are a critically endangered species but here Bushrangers Bay they are safe.}

And guess what, we are super lucky that day! Besides all the beautiful seagrass beds and kelp-covered rocky reefs we can spot a whole range of fish species. It’s teaming with life. To be honest I am not a fish expert but I was told that you can see wrass, sea dragons, gropers, sting rays, cuttlefish and yes the grey nurse sharks. We get to spot 3 sharks, a huge stingray and heaps of fish. With my daughter in tow I didn’t have the patience to look closer and longer for the notoriously elusive sea dragons but it was certainly an adventure.

Bushrangers Bay Aquatic Reserve is one of the best diving and snorkelling spots in NSW and one of the safer spots to go shark diving, apart from the grey nurse shark dive in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.

I am really happy that we get to share these experiences with our girls. Hopefully they will learn how to look after nature and make differences even if small in their lifetime.

Grey Nurse Sharks are critically endangered and are have found a haven of protection here at Bass Point

If you want more information about snorkelling or diving talk to the guys at Shellharbour Scuba Centre or Windang Dive & Spearfishing. We spoke to the guys at Windang and they had some great tips for us.

Tips for Snorkelling with little Kids:

  • Start snorkelling with you kids in a local pool to get them used to the fins, mask and breathing through a snorkel

  • If kids are younger and can’t figure out the mask and snorkel use normal goggles and let them come up for breaths, just like at swimming classes :)

  • Don’t bother buying expensive equipment, borrow some from other families around (ask at school/preschool)

  • Use life vests to support kids, they get tired a lot faster than we adults

  • Take a body board - makes a good ‘toy’ and can be used to swim further out with a little one in tow

  • Wetsuits are a great addition for the little ones - allows them to snorkel for longer without getting too cold.

About Bass Point/Bushrangers Bay:

  • Heritage-listed reserveMarine sanctuary - no fishing, collecting or touching of animals and coral allowed

  • Great for diving and snorkelling - dive sights include shipwrecks and cliffs

  • Diverse range of sea creatures

  • Self-guided Indigenous Cultural Walk at Bass Point with plaques providing detailed information about the place

  • Habitat for endangered grey nurse sharks, fearsome-looking but harmless to humans

What's at Bushrangers Bay?

  • No drinking water

  • No toilets (toilets can be found at the self-guided Indigenous Cultural Walk that you pass when driving to Bushrangers Bay)

  • Steps to get to beach

  • Not suitable for wheel chairs

  • Everything needs to be carried from car park down the steps to Bushrangers BayShops (Woolworths) are at the corner of Cove and Harbour Blvd.

Travel Tips:

There is no public transport to Bass Point Reserve. Be prepared for some gravel roads though you won't need 4 wheel drive.

If your travelling from the North

Fastest Route:

  • Take the M1and then A1 to Shell Cove

  • Exit Shellharbour Rd towards Shell Cove and then via Cove Blvd and Harbour Blvd onto Bass Point Tourist Rd

Via Windang and/or Shellharbour:

  • Exit M1 at Five Island RD toward Warrawong (B65)

  • Due to works at the Shellharbour Reserve (new marina being set up) make sure you DO NOT go via Darley St to Bass Point Tourist Rd

  • From Mary St turn onto Addison St and then onto Harbour Blvd

  • Stay on Harbour Blvd until you can turn right onto Bass Point Tourist Rd

Arriving from the South:

Take the A1 to Shell CoveExit Shellharbour RD towards Shell Cove and then via Cove Blvd and Harbour Blvd onto Bass Point Tourist Rd

Lake Illawarra - a nice place to stop and take a breath *close to Winding Dive & Spearfishing'

If you have some time perhaps make a weekend out of it. There are some great places to stay overnight down here. Take a drive through the Royal National Park and stop and some hidden beaches, take a photo of the famous Sea Cliff Bridge, have brekky at the Scarborough Hotel and then follow the Grand Pacific Drive.

Killalea Park just south of Bass Point has regular markets on too that are worth checking out and two great surf spots: The Farms & Mystics.

I hope you have enjoyed this article. Let me know what you think!



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