Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Rifle Range Reef
The Long Bay Rifle Range is located in the Sydney south-eastern suburb of Malabar. It occupies the section of coast from Long Bay to Maroubra Beach. The rifle range is still in use. Long Bay is home to the wreck of the MV Malabar. All around the rifle range there are some very good dive sites. On the northern side of the range is South Maroubra Beach, with the wrecks of the SS Tekapo and TSS Belbowrie. Also on this side is Magic Point with its resident grey nurse sharks. On the eastern side there are Red Flag as well as the area near Yellow Rock. The southern side has the wreck of the Malabar.
The eastern open ocean side has, as well as the abovementioned dive sites, many more potential dive sites. One of these is Rifle Range Reef, located to the north of Yellow Rock. Yellow Rock is the south-western corner of the rifle range and the outermost northern point of Long Bay. It is also Sydney, if not New South Wales' most dangerous fishing location, with more than 100 people killed over the past 100 years or so (although not many in recent years). It also used to be the location of the outfall pipe for the Malabar Sewage Treatment Works, but the treated sewage is now pumped into the Pacific four kilometres seaward.
If you are diving from a private boat (and that is the only way you will dive this site), come out of Botany Bay and turn to the north. Travel past Long Bay and about 200 metres or so north of Yellow Rock, go to GPS Reading of latitude 33ΒΊ 58' 02" S and longitude of 151ΒΊ 15' 51" E. Note that all the GPS Readings on my Web Site are taken using AUS66 as the map datum. If you use another datum you may be about 220 metres off the wreck. See my GPS Page for more details and how to convert readings. Run in from the east towards the GPS Reading and anchor in the 18 to 20 metre range.
The dive site consists of two walls. The first drops from 10 metres or so to 15 metres. The second, smaller wall, drops from a top of 20 or 22 metres to about 24 to 25 metres. In between the two walls there is a gentle slope.
Once on the bottom, go east to the deeper wall and follow it in one direction. After 10 minutes or so, return back the way you came and go past the anchor for another 10 minutes. Along this section you may see some sea dragons as well as the normal reef fish. Head west and come shallower until you come to the main wall. This is far more impressive, with lots of big boulders, some overhangs, swim-throughs and even some small gullies. The fishlife here is excellent, with lots of seapike, yellowtail and one-spot pullers to be seen. You will also see things like cuttlefish and eastern blue devilfish under the overhangs.
If the seas are absolutely calm, you will be able to go onto the top of the main wall and examine right up to the rock platform.
Not a bad first dive before doing the sharks.