Yorke Peninsula is located north West and West of Adelaide, over 100 km away. There is more than 700 km of coastline edging the peninsula that presents some of the best wreck, jetty and reef dives in the country.
Max Depth: 40 m.
An island studded with more than 50 dive sites, walls over 20+ meters, 6 wrecks – Young St. George (1878), Welling (1892), Pareora (1919), Rapid (1937), Altair (1971) and Mylor Star (1982) – and different seal colonies. In season, lots of crayfish and abalone can be found. Currents can be strong and with depths to 40 m many sites are for advanced divers only.
Max Depth: 6 m & 15 m.
The town of Ardrossan is home to two jetties, a large and a small one. The small one is an easy shallow shore dive to 6 m, with plenty of life especially on the bottom; although watch for lines as it acts as the local fishing spot.
While the larger jetty, the ‘grain jetty’, due to the length is best done by boat, launched from the Ardrossan boat ramp or snorkel over to the jetty about half way along then drop down. Huge schools of fish congregate at the end in a depth of around 15 m. For obvious reasons this jetty cannot be dived while a ship is in port.
Both Jetties are definitely worth the dive and exploration.
Depth: 17 m.
Following the implementation of a Protected Zone around the historic Zanoni shipwreck in 1983, the Department of Fisheries decided to establish a new artificial reef nearby, and acquired an obsolete Department of Marine and arbors barge for the purpose.
The Androssan Barge measured 42.6 m (140 feet) in length, 7.9 m (26 feet)
width, 4.1 m (13.5 feet) depth and had a capacity of 450 cubic yards. The steel barge had 9 watertight compartments and 6 sets of hopper doors, which were originally opened by hand but later converted to hydraulic operation. The barge had been used to dump spoil from dredging operations in Port Adelaide and most major outports, but became surplus to requirements after the commissioning of two self-propelled barges in 1978.
On 11 April 1984 the motorised barge Denis O’Malley towed No. 5 dumb
hopper barge to a site one nautical mile south of the Zanoni shipwreck.
Max Depth: 12 m
The Australian was a single screw steamer that wrecked of the coast of Wardang Island in May 1912. The vessel is approximately 15 meters long and was made of iron in 1879.
The wreck is well flattened, in shallow water, covered in growth and surounded by prolific fish life. Explosives have been used on her over the years. The boiler lies some distance from the main wreck site. Relics are on display at the Port Victoria Nautical Museum.
The site is part of the Wardang Island Maritime Heritage Trail. Plaques were placed adjacent to each of the eight shipwrecks and six land-based interpretive signs located at Port Victoria.
Max Depth: 15 m.
Chinaman’s Hat Island is a bit of a surface swim. When you reach the reef, cross over it and drop off to begin your dive. The whole reef runs around the island so if you want to see it all, make sure you don’t bide your time. The reef is exposed, so try to catch it during a northerly, as it may not be possible to cross to the drop off if there is too much swell.
Expect lots of fish life in and around the ledges, nooks and crannies. Don’t be surprised to see a dolphin on this one, as they are regular visitors to the island.
Max Depth: 9 m.
Edithburgh is one of the top (jetty) dives in Australia when it comes to muck diving and has been voted in the top ten Australian night dives. There is a huge amount of marine life to explore and it is a great opportunity for photographers!
Watch closely for lots of nudibranchs and seahorses, but don’t forget to look around you as there’s also the possibility of spotting cuttlefish, Port Jackson sharks, dumpling squid, octopus, the occasional cat shark and sea dragons here! 50 metres out from the north side of the jetty, there is also a reef, with lots of life on it.
This shallow dive is recommended for all divers. It is a great experience and there is an abundance in beauty.
You can also get air fills in Edithburgh.
Max Depth: 22 m.
The Haystack Island Reef runs parallel to the shore about 500m out. There are plenty of gorges, chasms, rocks and swim throughs to explore. You can easily do 10 different dives on this wall, without seeing the same spot once. Saying the marine life here is prolific is an understatement.
Watch the current and forget free water ascents.
Max Depth: 4 m.
The SS Investigator was a 64 m 605 ton vessel that sank on the Western side of Wardang Island 24 April 1918. The wreck lies in 3 m to 4 m of water. Fish life is usually prolific and the ships anchor and propeller can be seen.
Max Depth: 8 m.
The SS MacIntyre was a 33m converted river barge of 127 tons that sank near the SS Australian 1 April 1927 at the Southern end of Wardang Island. The wreck lies in between 4m and 8m of water. Fish life is sparse when compared with the SS Australian.
Max Depth: 6 m.
The Port Hughes Jetty is famous for its abundance of small critters and other photography opportunities. Due to the large variety of marine life, predictable light currents and very shallow waters this site makes for a perfect beginners dive.
Max Depth: 9 m.
The Songvaar is a 26 meter long 3-masted iron sailing vessel, built in 1884. April 14th 1912 is best known for the sinking of the Titanic, however on the same day maritime bad luck also struck this Norwegian ship.
Whilst at anchor between Point Pearce and Wardang Island the Songvaar’s captain left the ship, fully loaded with grain, for official business in Adelaide. On board the chief mate saw dark clouds on the horizon and dropped a second anchor in preparation for a storm. The storm blew out, the tide dropped and the Songvaar sat onto the second anchor, which pierced the hull. With decks awash and the wheat swelling, the Songvaar settled “peacefully and quietly on the bottom” (Chronicle, April 20 1912) standing fully upright. Several salvage attempts failed and the vessel which had become a hazard to shipping was later blown up.
Its been well accepted by the local marine life and makes for an enriching dive.
Max Depth: 10 m.
Down the heel of the peninsula, the Stenhouse bay Jetty is a dive site which is not for the faint-hearted and should only be attempted when swell is at a minimum!
Walk the steep hill down first to get to the jetty, then enter the water via a narrow ladder at the base. Once in the water, you will be rewarded for your trouble by basket stars, gorgonians and other marine life not common around the peninsula!
Make sure you make it all the way to the end of the Jetty where you can can witness the overturned Ford Telstar.
Max Depth: 4 m.
The Wool Bay Jetty is one of South Australia’s best jetties to dive. Drop in at the middle steps and be amazed by the abundance of life under the jetty. Look for seahorses, sea dragons and nudibranchs. Don’t forget to take your camera with you for this easy shallow dive!
Max Depth: 18 m.
Built in 1865, and sunk in 1867. Approximately 15 nautical miles from Ardrossan. She was a 3 masted composite ship, 42 metres long. A remarkably intact wreck, for her age. She lies on her side, and a bit of the superstructure is still standing.
It can be tricky to dive, because of tidal currents that can cause visibility to drop instantly, because of the wreck’s position at the top of the gulf.
The Zanoni cnnot be dived without a permit issued by Heritage SA. A boat mooring buoy has been installed at the site for the safety of divers and so the wreck will not suffer anchor damage. It is illegal to damage or interfere with the wreck and penalties are severe, and may involve substantial fines, imprisonment and/or confiscation of equipment. The wreck is a marine reserve, so no fishing or taking anything from it.
Although due to being a marine reserve fish life is abundant at this site!
Max Depth: 21 m.
The Clan Ranald sank on January 31st, 1909. After it departed, it overturned from an overload and took the lives of 40 men. On the cliffs above the wreck, lies the anchor from the ship. Be advised that there can be strong currents.
The Clan Ranald has been declared a historic shipwreck under the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976, and as such the remains cannot be disturbed without a permit. The wreck is also an outstanding feature of the Troubridge Hill Aquatic Reserve declared in 1983 to provide protection to a diverse and unique assemblage of marine flora and fauna.
The Clan Ranald is the only turret ship to have been lost in Australian waters and the extensive remains of the hull lying upside down provides an impressive sight to any visitor. It serves as a sombre reminder of the tragedy, as well as providing a tangible link with Australia maritime heritage.
It has been deemed one of the best wreck dives in South Australia.
Max Depth: 16 m.
The Port Giles Jetty has a low rank of incoming ships, so it is a perfect jetty dive. If there are ships, you’re not allowed to dive it. That being said, this jetty is amazing, it’s extremely long and has lots of life underneath it.
The steps are at the beginning of the jetty and it’s almost impossible to make the end of the jetty and back to the steps again before running out of air (especially because of the max depth of 16 m.), so head back with a little over half a tank if you don’t want to swim your way back on the surface.
Max Depth: 6 m.
The Point Turton jetty is one of the best jetties on the western side of the peninsula. Because it is in a sheltered corner, this site can be dived year round. Walk down the jetty to the steps to enter.
Max Depth: 8 m.
Because its on the western side of the peninsula, The Port Victoria Jetty often offers great visibility when a strong easterly is blowing. The jetty makes for an easy beginners dive, due to its abundance of marine life, easy access and shallow depths.
Moonta Bay Jetty is unique with its uncommon L-shape. Fish life although not prolific, still finds visits from garfish, tommy ruffs and squid although this makes it a popular fishing spot. Care should be taken as not to be caught on lines.
Max Depth: 14 m.
The Wallaroo Jetty is one of Australia’s longest jetties and is heavily used. The bottom can be a very silty, so take care not to stir it up. Enter via the swimming pool, to the right of the jetty. Take care not to get entangled in the many fishing lines and descend between the pylons.