Pier Diving in Melbourne
Diving in Melbourne
We are extremely fortunate that here in Melbourne there is an active dive community, and once you have dived some of Melbourne’s piers, you’ll see why!
There are dozens of piers scattered around the shore of the Port Phillip Bay, which means plenty of dive sites to choose from. But you’ll find some of the best pier dives on the Mornington Peninsula, which is within easy reach of Melbourne City and perfect for weekend breaks
The majority of pier dives offer easy conditions suitable for all levels and perfect for beginners and underwater photographers. If you are new to diving we have sites that offer ideal conditions for learning – take a look at getting certified with the PADI Open Water Course HERE.
Here are 4 of our favourite Pier dives we hoe to explore with you soon!
The closest pier to Melbourne is Mornington Pier, which is an amazing dive through the day but even better at night when the cephalopods emerge. Maximum depth here is around 7meters/23 feet making it an ideal site for all levels. Look out for big-belly seahorses, shrimps, globefish, goatfish, cardinalfish, scorpionfish, dragonets and a plethora of sea stars, which are a feature of Melbourne diving, especially huge eleven-arm sea stars.
Commonly seen at night are giant cuttlefish, southern calamari squid, southern keeled octopus and the southern blue-ringed octopus. On occasions it’s also possible to catch a glimpse of giant Maori octopus, southern sand octopus, southern dumpling squid and the strange southern white-spot octopus.
Heading south, the next worthwhile stop is Rye Pier. The clean, sandy bottom around Rye Pier is often a good place to see small stingarees, huge smooth stingrays and angel sharks. With a maximum depth of 15 feet (5 m), Rye Pier is also a good location to see big-belly seahorses, the largest seahorse species in Australia.
Abundant fish reside under the pier, including flatheads, leatherjackets, morwongs and wrasse, which in turn attracts the attention of hungry shags. It is quite a sight watching these sea birds swimming underwater between the pylons looking for a meal. Fur seals and the occasional dolphin also visit Rye Pier.
Also located in the Mornington Peninsula is Portsea, which is best known for its weedy seadragons. A nearby kelp covered reef is the best place to encounter the dragons, but they are also common under the pier. Like many of Australia’s shore / pier dives, this site is shallow and the maximum depth is around 6 meters/ 20 feet. Other marine species to look out for at Portsea are magpie morwong, stingrays, leatherjackets, sea stars, crabs, hermit crabs, nudibranchs, brittle stars and pretty weedfish. Portsea Pier is also the best place to see one of Australia’s most bizarre fish, the goblinfish.
Halfway between Portsea and Rye is Melbourne’s newest pier and hottest dive site — Blairgowrie Pier. This pier is a favorite of underwater photographers as it plays host to a wonderful range of marine life. The pylons of this pier are completely covered in colorful sponges, ascidians, algae and kelp, and home to shrimp, crabs, sea stars, tube worms, scallops and a large variety of nudibranchs.
Exploring the pier, divers will find big-belly seahorses, short-head seahorses, octopus, spider crabs, stingarees, cuttlefish, pipefish, dragonets, southern fiddler rays, smooth stingrays, flatheads and numerous reef fish. A photographers’ favorite is the cute Shaw’s cowfish that have their lips permanently puckered like they are looking for a kiss. The pier is also a great night dive, and under torch light divers will see numerous squid and octopus, and sometimes stargazers and skates.
One of the attractions at Blairgowrie Pier is a weird endemic fish, the tasseled frogfish. Only in southern Australia, a number of tasseled frogfish reside on the pylons at Blairgowrie, but with their elaborate camouflage they are very difficult to find.
Spider Crab Migration
Rye Pier and Blairgowrie Pier are also known as the best places to witness the annual giant spider crab migration. Every year from late May through mid-June one of the world’s most interesting congregations of marine life happens as these large crustaceans come together in the shallow waters off of the piers and beaches of Port Phillip. A sight worth seeing!
When to DIve
You can dive Melbourne’s Piers all year round, however during the winter months you need to prepared for cool water diving – and the warmer water found in SUmmer and Autumn brings with it an increase in marine life numbers and species diversity.
Water temperatures in Port Phillip Bay vary from 46 F in winter to 68 F in the late summer (8 to 20 C), while the visibility averages 18 feet (6 m) to 30 feet (10 m) but can be over 45 feet (15 m) at times.
Corona Virus and Diving with Ocean Divers
At Ocean Divers, we are following all recommendations regarding health and hygiene standards when diving and we have new procedures in place to ensure that gear is disinfected and all recommendations are being met. Our priority is always your comfort and safety.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you will require a doctor’s medical clearance, as a precautionary measure, prior to taking any in-water activities. Contact us and we can provide you with more information.
So are you ready to learn to dive in Melbourne with us? We’d love to be a part of your underwater adventures! If you’d like more information or to make a reservation, fill in our online contact form, or send us an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ocean Divers is a PADI Five Star Instructor Development Centre and a Scubapro Platinum Dealer. Established since 1972, Ocean Divers is the longest operating dive store in Melbourne.
We look forward to scuba diving in Melbourne with you soon!