Diving at Clifton Gardens, Sydney

Scuba Diving at Clifton Gardens (2024)

Explore the depths of exhilarating underwater adventures with scuba diving at Clifton Gardens. Plunge into the pristine waters and discover a world booming with vibrant marine life and captivating underwater landscapes. Uncover the thrill of submerging into the ocean’s embrace at Clifton Gardens in Sydney, where every dive promises an unforgettable experience. Immerse yourself in the aquatic realm, surrounded by colours and fascinating marine creatures.

Diving at Clifton Gardens, Sydney
Dive site at Clifton Gardens

Clifton Gardens is one of the most extraordinary dive sites I’ve experienced. Despite the somewhat murky conditions during my dive, I encountered a remarkable array of unique and spectacular marine life. Without a doubt, Clifton Gardens emerges as a stunning, protected, and serene dive site in Sydney.

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Where is Clifton Gardens in Sydney?

Nestled next to Chowder Bay, Clifton Gardens graces the suburb of Mosman in Sydney with its presence. This locale provides breathtaking views of the harbour, ideal for activities like swimming, snorkelling, and scuba diving.

Please be aware that the beach is one of Sydney’s popular beaches, is commonly frequented by families, and can get quite crowded, especially on weekends.

Diving at Clifton Gardens, Sydney

While there are no cafes directly on the beach, visitors can enjoy the convenience of several picnic tables equipped with barbecue facilities.

How to Get to Clifton Gardens?

By Road

The Sydney Central Business District (CBD) is approximately 10 kilometres from Clifton Gardens, a mere 15-minute drive. Conveniently, a paid parking area near Clifton Gardens allows visitors to park their cars. It’s important to note that the parking ticket, priced at AUD 20 for the entire day, is applicable even on weekends.

By Public Transport

Easily accessible from Wynyard station, Clifton Gardens offers convenient transportation options.

  • Bus – The closest bus stop is Bradleys Head Rd at Thompson St, a mere 1-minute walk (30 meters) from the beach. Frequent buses travel between Wynyard station on Carrington Street and Bradleys Head Rd, with bus number 247 heading to Taronga Zoo, stopping at Bradleys Head Rd.
  • For the latest information on bus routes and timings, refer to Transport for New South Wales (NSW).
  • Travellers can use Credit/Debit or Opal transportation cards to pay the fare on public transport in Sydney.

Dive Site at Clifton Gardens

Despite the murky conditions and nearly zero visibility, my dive experience at Clifton Gardens was enjoyable. My dive instructor, Pio, explained that the beach is shielded from strong winds, resulting in calmer waters. This particular dive was part of my PADI Nitrox course, an add-on to the main course. The Nitrox course equipped me with the skills to dive using a Nitrox tank, allowing for preparedness when exploring deeper waters and extending dive durations.

Diving at Clifton Gardens, Sydney
Information about seagrass


  • Type of Dive: Shore dive. Embark on a shore dive at Clifton Gardens, where the sandy beach is adorned with seagrass, giving it a distinctive green hue. Upon entering the water and donning our fins, we swiftly descended to the bottom. Be mindful of the pier nearby, with the dive centred around the wooden poles.
    • Exercise caution as fishing is popular, and numerous fishing lines are nearby.
    • For an enhanced underwater experience, bring along a torch to illuminate the depths. This proves especially helpful in spotting the adorable seahorses that inhabit these waters.
  • Dive Site: Open (Sea).
Scuba Diving at Clifton Gardens (Sydney) - Map
Map of Clifton Gardens dive site: Source: Michael McFayden’s website
  • Depth: 9 to 10 metres.
  • Visibility: Although reputed for its excellent visibility on favourable days, my experience at this site was marred by remarkably poor visibility, a mere 1 meter. It’s crucial to note that ocean conditions and weather heavily influence visibility. A fellow diver shared an incident where a fish inadvertently swam directly into his face, underscoring the challenges posed by limited visibility for divers and marine life.
  • Ideal For: All level divers, including the beginners.
  • Wet Suit: It is recommended to wear a 5 mm thickness wetsuit. The waters in Australia, particularly in Sydney, can be a bit chilly.
  • Current: Usually calm.
Diving at Clifton Gardens, Sydney
Map of the Chowder Bay


Restroom facilities are accessible at the dive site, providing a convenient space to change into or out of wet suits. Additionally, a water filling station is available, allowing divers to replenish their water bottles for drinking purposes.

Diving at Clifton Gardens, Sydney
Toilets at the dive site

Marine Life

The marine life at this location is unparalleled, showcasing a unique and vibrant array of species. Abundant seahorses, crabs, and octopuses populate the underwater landscape, creating a captivating and diverse ecosystem. Each dive offers an opportunity to encounter these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat, making it a premier destination for marine enthusiasts. The rich biodiversity of seahorses, crabs, and octopuses contributes to the allure of this underwater haven, ensuring that every exploration is filled with awe-inspiring encounters and a deep appreciation for the wonders of the sea.

Diving at Clifton Gardens, Sydney
A board showing the marine life one can expect at Clifton Gardens

A moment etched in my memory is the first sighting of a seahorse. The delicately tiny creature, ranging from 6 to 30 centimetres, exuded fragility, making the encounter absolutely precious and beautiful. Witnessing this enchanting marine marvel for the first time left an indelible mark, highlighting the delicate intricacies of the underwater world and evoking a profound appreciation for the beauty that resides beneath the waves.

Diving at Clifton Gardens, Sydney
Source: Gov.UK website

Optimal diving conditions are experienced in the mornings, characterized by fewer crowds and significantly improved visibility.

Diving at Clifton Gardens, Sydney
Information about seahorses

Dive Centre and Cost

As previously indicated, these dives were included in my PADI Nitrox course.

  • Dive Centre: Dive Centre Bondi.
  • Address: 198, Bondi Road, Bondi, NSW 2026.
  • Cost: Shore dive with full gear and 1 Nitrox tank cost AUD 110. This is additional to the Nitrox course. Also, the dive centre provides transportation to and from the dive site.
  • Equipment: One Nitrox tank, BCD, weights, a regulator, 7 mm wet suit, mask with an inner vest, fins, and boots.
  • Booking: via phone 02 9369 3855.

My experience at Dive Centre Bondi was delightful, and I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the staff. Pio, my instructor, exhibited extensive knowledge, and the Nitrox course’s theory session was particularly impressive. Diving with Pio and fellow enthusiasts was a great pleasure, even though she wasn’t familiar with the dive site; Jimmy, an experienced diver, adeptly guided us.

A notable feature at Dive Centre Bondi is the post-dive gear cleaning, fostering valuable equipment maintenance skills for future gear owners. While I loved diving with them, the downside is the comparatively high cost of shore dives. Unlike other centres, such as Dive Centre Manly, offering free guided shore dives for members, Dive Centre Bondi’s pricing makes frequent weekend dives challenging.

Is Scuba Diving at Clifton Gardens (Sydney) Safe for Solo Female Divers?

In scuba diving, the golden rule is always to dive with a buddy, especially for beginners like myself, where an instructor is the ideal choice. Partnering with someone more experienced ensures a safer diving experience. When diving with a reputable dive centre, concerns about safety are alleviated as the centre takes charge.

Diving at Clifton Gardens, Sydney

For solo female travellers, travelling to and from the dive site or centre is exceptionally safe. Sydney, being a generally secure city, provides a safe environment. However, as with any location, it’s advisable to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings.

Closing Notes

Clifton Gardens has secured its place among my top favourite diving spots in Sydney. While I’ve explored various dive locations in the city, Shelly Beach and Camp Cove held special spots in my preferences. Now, Clifton Gardens has seamlessly joined that esteemed list, earning its spot as a highly recommended dive site. The unique underwater experiences and captivating marine life make diving at Clifton Gardens a must for diving enthusiasts.

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Scuba Diving at Clifton Gardens (2024)
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    PIN for later reference – Scuba Diving at Clifton Gardens (Sydney)

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