Fortescue Camping Weekend!


09/Oct/2020 - 11/Oct/2020    
8:00 am - 7:00 pm


Bookings closed


Fortescue Bay
Fortescue Bay, Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania

Event Type

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We’re packing the tents and heading to the Fortescue Bay for 2 nights (3 days) of camping and diving!

If you can take Friday off work you’ll get an extra boat dive and more time to setup.

This will be a relaxing weekend with a number of dives run around the Fortescue area.

We’ll be running two boats, bringing the compressor and all the normal fun.

The Plan:

  • Thur 6pm: (Those that can) meet at the Southern dive shed to pack the gear, boats and compressor
  • Fri 8am: Those that can get a day off head to Fortescue.
  • Fri midday: A boat dive to one of the amazing sites in the area.
  • Fri Evening: Anyone that can’t make it down early joins us, then a night shore dive.
  • Sat Morning: Amazing boat dive
  • Sat Afternoon: Free arvo – shore dive/Bush walk/Fishing
  • Sunday Morning: Amazing boat dive
  • Sunday Arvo: Head home

We will organise all things diving (including compressors), water, campsite costs, gas cookers but its BYO food/drinks/camping gear. You will need to make sure you are adequately prepared for camping.

You will need to organise National Parks Passes – a few of those towing have passes so you might be lucky with lifts.

You will need to bring:

  • your dive certifications;
  • your own swag/tent (or share with a friend);
  • sleeping bag;
  • drinking water;
  • toothbrush;
  • warm clothes;
  • water; and
  • food;

Also please ensure you organise what dive gear you need from the club, and make sure you bring your own wetsuit, hood, mask, gloves and fins.

As with all trips this event is weather dependant (including fires).

Trip is limited to 14 divers only so get in soon!


Possible Dive Sites:


Two large Islands lie about 8 kilometres to the east of the Fortescue Bay boat ramp.
These small volcanic outcrops are very remote and exposed. Down at the 30 meter level the water is still and this has allowed a massive array of invertebrate life to grow. Just about any part of the two islands are covered in anemones, sea whips, nudibranchs and sponges. Erosion on the seaward side of the Big Hippolyte has has created a lot of swim-throughs that are packed with life. Also on the northern side of the Big Hippolyte there is a small seal colony. Any dive on the rocks usually attracts the attention of these animals. Don’t be surprised to find a seal looking over your shoulder during the dive!
There is a nice garden of sea whips in 30 meters on the western side of the Little Hippolyte. Exposed to ocean currents the area often attracts school fish. and the visibility is usually excellent.
These factors make for some of the best diving in Tasmania and is always a TUDC Favorite!


This series of rocks 12 kilometers to the north of Pirates Bay offers some excellent deep diving. The best diving is on the seaward end of the Outer Sister. P.ere huge
schools of Butterfly Perch patrol the vertical drop-off. At the base of the drop-off there are large forests of sea whips, up to two meters in length. Numerous large bommies and good fish life is a feature of this dive. The water is normally clear especially in Winter. Good diving can also be found on the many rock walls and reefs along the sides of the island chain. The diving is particularly good on the rock walls between the Second and Outer Sister. They are noted for good fish life, sponge gardens and large patches of yellow zoanthids (sea daisies). The area is very exposed and the rocks are subject to a noticeable current at times. It is also very easy to lose track of the time and fin too vigorously on this dive. Therefore, divers should be very careful about dive times and always do a safety stop.


Often northerly winds blow out the dive spots outside Fortescue Bay. If the seas arc not too strong: you may be able to reach the shelter of the Thumbs and anchor in the lee of the islands. This is a dive that can be very spectacular in good visibility. so it is probably better as a Winter or Autumn dive. The shallows are covered in hardy varieties of seaweed, and are fairly uninteresting at first. The bottom drops away sharply into 25-35 meters and become covered in colourful marine life. The seaward side drops sharply into over 50 meters. with large schools of Butterfly Perch patrolling the slope. Schools of Real Bastard Trumpeter are also seen quite often. On the inshore side of the rocks you should find a small but attractive garden of sea whips. This lies in the channel between the cliffs and the first island. As this is a deep dive a safety stop is recommended.

Cathedral Caves

Waterfall Bay contains some of Tasmania’s best sea caves. They are readily accessible by boat, and are set amongst brilliant coastal scenery. The bay gets its name from the large waterfall that cascades over the cliffs on the southern side of the bay. This beautiful landmark has tended to draw divers to these cliffs, with the result that the rest of the bay was rarely dived. This has led to huge areas of Waterfall Bay being only recently explored. It was originally thought that Waterfall Bluff contained only one small cave penetrating the cliffs. Since then dive charter operators have found a veritable maze of tunnels and chambers and have meticulously mapped them all. The interest in this site is well founded and it is probably the most impressive sea cave in Tasmania. The large cave dome is visible from the surface and in calm weather can actually be entered by boats. The depth inside the caves is slightly over 20 meters although depths of 30 meters can be found at other points around the bluff. The water is often crystal clear especially after long periods of calm weather in Winter. Feeding away from the main cavern is a number of relatively narrow passages. At the southern end of the main dome there is Purgatory Passage and Grommet’s Grotto a maze of small and dark passages terminating some distance inside the bluff. To the north there is the Cathedral Arch which opens out into Waterfall Bay. Nearby and slightly to the west are the Aisles, Bullseye Chapel and the Catacombs. These mazes of tunnels also open out into Waterfall Bay. Although the passages are dark, light from the openings can still be seen for most of the dive. The large schools of Bullseyes found there are an impressive sight especially when framed against the light. The area near the openings also supports a colourful array of sponges, hydroids, ascidians and sea anemones. Obviously a reliable torch (preferably two) is a necessity and bring a camera if you have one. Inexperienced divers should buddy up with an experienced guide, or stay close to the cave openings if they are likely to suffer from claustrophobic reactions.

Denison (Dunalley) Canal

This is the only drift dive in South-East Tasmania and one of the few that are relatively safe. The Denison Canal was cut through the narrow neck of land at Dunalley around the turn of the century. It was intended to shorten the journey of the small coastal craft that once connected the East coast to Hobart. The canal is still used by small pleasure craft and continues to be maintained by the Marine Board of Hobart. If you wish to dive in the canal you must gain permission from the Harbor Master. He will usually require you to provide a manned safety boat. The canal has created an artificial tidal stream and the current can be quite fast. Use the safety boat to pick up divers, or simply swim sideways to the current until the shore is reached. The canal is generally muddy, but is covered in schools of Soldier Fish or mating Spider Crabs. The crabs spawn in the canal and congregate here for a massive ‘orgy’ during the mating season.

Site Descriptions from “Dive Tasmania, Jacques 1997”


Dive Coordinator Andrew Bain
Dive Qualification Required Open Water
Meeting Location Olinda Grove
Dive Cost 140
Day or Night Dive Day Dive
Number of Dives 5

Refunds are at the Dive Coordinator's discretion however the following guidelines apply to normal events:

Cancellation where a replacement diver is found: 100% refund

No show or cancellation with less than 48 Hours notice: 0% refund
Cancellation with greater than 48 Hours but less than a week's notice: 50% refund
Cancellation with greater than a week's notice: 100% refund


Bookings are closed for this event.