The Steps in Sydney is a reputed shore dive. They almost guarantee you’ll get to see weedy sea dragons there. It took us a few attempts to finally scuba dive The Steps, and it was worth the wait. It is known to be one of the best scuba diving sites in Australia to see them. I hope our experience will help you organise your dive.
When to scuba dive The Steps
As for many shore dives, you cannot scuba dive The Steps at any time, especially if it is your first time at this site. You need the right conditions to make sure you enjoy your dive. It is recommended to dive The Steps at slack time (30 minutes before high tide). Also, you will have to check the wind and the waves; we use Willy Weather for this. It is well protected from southerly winds. But if there’s wind from any other direction (especially north) and/or the waves are higher than 1 metre (or you can see them crash on the rocks), you should look for another dive site in Sydney.
We also really wanted to dive The Steps in summer. The water is already quite cold then, so I wouldn’t be comfortable there in winter!
You can check the VIZ – Sydney Diving Visibility Facebook group to get regular reports on the conditions of dive sites near Sydney, including The Steps
How easy is it to enter and exit the water when scuba diving The Steps
If you choose the right day, it’s easy to enter and exit the water at The Steps. The hard part is to carry your equipment down there (and then back up). The stairs leading to the dive site are in very good conditions so if you take your time going down, it’s not too hard.
Going back up with all the gear is more strenuous. As we had enough air, we decided to swim to the other dive site, The Monument (aim for the whale sculpture) and exit via the beach, so that we would not have to climb up the stairs. One of us walked back to get the car (5 minutes) while the other unequipped and had a quick shower. The other bonus of exiting at The Monument is to have access to toilets and showers.
How much does it cost to dive The Steps
If you have your own equipment, it is quite cheap to dive The Steps. You’ll only need to pay for the car park in the national park ($8 for the whole day, so you can stay for hiking if you wish!). If you need equipment, a buddy or a guide, you can contact Abyss Scuba Diving.
What to see when scuba diving The Steps
For us, scuba diving The Steps was all about seeing weedy sea dragons, an interesting critter between a seahorse and a fish. Weedy sea dragons can only be found in Australian waters, in the south. They can be hard to spot as they blend in with the kelp. If you have a torch, the light will reveal the weedy sea dragons orange/red colour.
We found two during our dive; we spotted the first one after only three minutes in the water. But as they are camouflage experts, I’m sure there were a lot more to see! To find them, we swam along the edge of the kelp over the sand. Kelp and patchy sand is often described as a sea dragon heaven.
We also spotted three beautiful big seahorses hooked to sea tulips, an octopus, many nudibranchs and spent a part of the dive with a blue grouper following us around.
To organise your dive, you can use these two maps from the tourist information website: map for The Steps and map for The Monument. We were also lucky to meet a couple of divers at the car park who were happy to answer a few questions to help us finalise our dive plan. That’s how we decided to first go right from The Steps after entering the water and then turn around early to swim all the way to The Monument.
Have you dived The Steps in Sydney? Share your experience in the comments below!
Where is The Steps (Sydney) dive site?
The Steps dive site in Sydney is located in Botany Bay National Park, a bay near Kurnell on the south of Sydney Harbour Bay. As it is at the entrance of Botany Bay, it cannot be dived at any time.