Fancy ticking shark diving off your bucket list? Grant reckons he’s found the perfect spot to dip your toe in the water, without it becoming shark bait. Hit up South Head Rocks for an underwater experience you won’t forget in a hurry.


  • A majestic underwater paradise filled with BIG BEAUTIFUL SHARKS, Moray Eels, Gropers, Kingfish, Bull Rays, Wobbegongs, Clownfish, puffers, the list goes on…
  • Underwater pitch-black cave diving
  • The site is visited by other Pelagic fish including hammerheads and turtles!
  • A legendary dive crew run the dive shop

The Lowdown

Have you ever dived with sharks? Why not? I bet you have more excuses than a pregnant nun! Here’s why you should.

First stop was the Fish Rock Dive Centre in South West Rocks, about a 30 minute drive from our campsite at Hat Head National Park. Pete, the owner of the dive shop greeted us with a quintessential Australian grin and boardshorts that went so far past the knees that you knew he was from the era when bread was white or brown and coffee only came with cow’s milk. Don’t worry, no matter how you like your coffee, Pete and the team will sort you out!

They gave us a quick rundown of the day’s plan, supplied all the gear we needed, and we hit the water in a huge inflatable Zodiac dive boat. We arrived at the sail-shaped rock that juts out of the deep blue ocean just off Smokey Cape Lighthouse. The visibility was a delightful 20m! The excitement now became tangible, and the butterflies in my stomach reached fever pitch. We suited up and plunged backwards into the water.

Diving with Sharks! No cage, No worries - Grant Purcell, underwater, scuba, shark, shaka

No Cage, No Worries

Almost instantly I could see the sharks below, calmly patrolling the gutters. Excitedly I screamed into my regulator and so did my friends. We didn’t swim too far for this dive and mainly acted as observers. The sharks, commonly known as Ragged Tooth sharks around the world, or Grey Nurse sharks in Australia, look more menacing than they actually are and are extremely safe to be around.

These docile beauties ranged from 1 to 3m and many had beautiful spots along their dorsal fin and back. They calmly swam up and down like catwalk models, with us the adoring fans.

Diving with Sharks! No cage, No worries - Grant Purcell, underwater, scuba, shark, grey nurse shark

On the second dive we descended to a cave entrance. Torches in hand and in single file we made our way through the cave. Approximately 20m long, it’s pitch black and around 2-3m in diameter. I forgot to turn on my torch at first and then with a flash of light, I saw Large Bull Rays, lobsters and Wobbegongs filling the crevasses all around, while a myriad of soft corals, crustaceans and plant life battled for space on the walls.

Thankfully, before long the sun’s rays began to return and the ‘aquarium’ (a huge opening filled with so many fish they attempt to obscure the exit), came into sight. It’s a view I’ll never forget.

The boat picked us up and we returned to dry land, feeling instantly better about ourselves. I mean, I’ve dived with sharks now, so, new number, who this? If you want to have the best story to tell come Monday morning in the office, get down to Fish Rock, and remember that sharks are friends, not soup!

Diving with Sharks! No cage, No worries - Grant Purcell, underwater, scuba, cave

Essential Gear

None – the dive shop provides everything you need.

How To Get There

South West Rocks is located 5 hours north of Sydney and 3.5 hours north of Newcastle. It’s the perfect long weekend escape as it’s well away from the city crowds! Stay around Hat Head, Hungry Gate is a great option.


  • Scuba diving
  • Underwater photography
  • Swimming
  • Historical sites
  • Camping

Skill Level

Intermediate – I only say this as you do need your Open Water Dive Certificate. None of us are super experienced divers so don’t worry if you’ve only done 5-10 dives, you can still go!


More underwater specials

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SNUBA Adventure // Great Barrier Reef (QLD)

Paradise, Lost // Lizard Island (QLD)

River Snorkelling // Brunswick Heads (NSW)