Those of us who
have travelled the world diving in exotic locations appreciate the fact
that very few locations have this level of diversity and abundance of fish
life in an area so easily accessed 365 days a year. Catering for beginner
to advanced divers, the Gold Coast Seaway is the best dive area in any
enhance this marine habitat:
Geographical location located in the region where the subtropical
currents meet the temperate currents
Water Temperature Range 19 27 deg C
dynamics the tidal flows, up to 6 knots, which carry the nutrients
Estuarine nutrients The food source particles that flow from the
rivers and canals
composition and structures The rock walls and pipes that add
habitat to an otherwise sandy sea floor except for the occasional coffee
floor is largely coffee rock covered by sand but is exposed in areas where
the current forces are greatest.
The location of
the high current flow areas vary slightly depending on tide height and
wind direction and speed, so it is normal to have variations in sand depth
across the Seaway.
deep channel starts at the north eastern end of the seaway, swings across
to the south wall and remains there until just before the Seaway Tower
where it then heads off in a north-west direction around the south western
corner of South Stradbroke Island. It reaches a maximum depth of 20 metres
in places, the deeper areas being east of the sand bypass pipe.
When I first
described the Gold Coast Seaway for diving purposes in April 2006 I
stated: Gold Coast Seaway can be divided into 4 main areas: South Wall
including the Sand Bypass Pipe and the Short Pipe, North
Wall, South-West Wall and Wave Break Island.
Since then I
have refined this to 5 main areas:
Which area to dive at any time is dependant on when
you want to dive, what you hope to see and your
experience and fitness level.
When to dive
In reference to
the high tide and the current the following times can be a rule of thumb
when to dive:
Up to 3 hrs
before high tide you can dive the South-West Wall or make a drift dive
along the seaway walls from near the entrance.
On the high
tide you can dive all the areas
Up to 4 hrs
after high tide you can dive at Wave Break Island
As to the
marine life, this is not a location for corals but for fish, and some big
fish at that! I have photographed and filmed approximately 200 species of
fish throughout the seaway and this is what you are more likely to see at
the main areas:
Big fish -
the Sand Pipe, the North-East Wall and Gold Coast Seaway Entrance.
Eagle Ray Cleaning Station, North-East Wall, South-East Wall and Sand
- Gold Coast Seaway Entrance
Gold Coast Seaway Entrance
Coast Seaway Entrance
Bigeye Trevally - Sand Pipe and the North-East Wall
Critters South-West Wall, Short Pipe, Wave Break Island
do visit several locations but the likelihood of encounters are higher at
new divers and snorkellers Wave Break Island, South-West Wall and
South Wall around the Short Pipe.
Divers Sand Pipe, Eagle Ray Cleaning Station, South-East Wall,
North-East Wall, drift and night dives
the North-East Wall and Gold Coast Seaway Entrance are normally only
accessed by boat and should only be dived by those competent in deep, high
Being an estuary entrance, the best time to
dive is on the top of the high tide when the current is least and the
water is clearest.
Visibility has several factors influencing
it. But generally it is wind direction that has the greatest influence.
One of the other factors involved is the northerly longshore drift .The
water entering the seaway is fed by this drift and the water exiting the
seaway moves north. If the wind direction is from the SE, clear ocean
water is blown in on the incoming tide and 15-20 metres visibility is not
uncommon. If the wind is blowing from the NE then the water that has just
exited the seaway is fed back in and the visibility will drop to below 10
flatten the sea and just after a south easterly this often results in
extremely pleasant dive conditions, but continuous westerly winds cause an
up welling of a colder sedimented water rising from the depths, reducing
the visibility right along this coastal area.
The SE winds
are the predominant wind so generally, we average better than 10 metres
visibility in the Gold Coast Seaway, although the northern wall area
usually has less visibility then the southern side.
When the winds
are blowing from the NE and the seas arent rough it is possible to have
greater than 10 metres visibility on the South Wall at the last 100 - 200
metres of the eastern extremity.
NE or SE rough sea conditions there is never a day in the year when we can
not access the Gold Coast Seaway because it is too rough.
greater than 2 metres, will cause beach wave action to lift sediment and
often add cornflakes broken up seaweed which reduces visibility. If the
wind direction is from the SE, visibility will pick up as soon as the
Water temperature varies between
a maximum of 27°C in summer months and a minimum of 19°C in Winter. This
a very comfortable range for diving.
Parking 10 metres from entry point. Still in the city of the Gold Coast.
Offshore boats not required as the site is in protected waters.
Accessible in all weather
weather and sea conditions prevent boats from travelling out to the
offshore dive sites and it is too rough for the beach front and near
shore dive sites, the Gold Coast Seaway can still always be accessed.
Save our spit alliance
The Origins of
Seaway Coastal Information Sheet
The Use of
Fixed Sand Bypassing System
A brief history of the Gold Coast Seaway
Click here for a brief history of
the Gold Coast Seaway