Reef Dive | Boat access
Depth: 1 m (3.28 ft) to 30 m (98 ft)
Level: Open Water and beyond.
Beware Reef is a diver's paradise. An isolated rock covered in life of every conceivable shape and colour, it rises abruptly out of the sandy East Gippsland seafloor. The tip of the reef rises above the surface, a favourite resting place for passing Australian Fur Seals.
Beware Reef is located five kilometres south-east of Cape Conran, just over three kilometres offshore from Yeerung River. The Beware Reef Maine Sanctuary covers 220 hectares and comprises a 1.5 kilometre square around the reef. The exposed section of rock sits two metres above the water at low tide and is seventy metres long. Under the surface, the reef continues for one kilometre to the south-east.
The access to Beware Reef is by boat, from the ocean ramp at Cape Conran, 18 kilometres east of the Marlo township. The boat ramp is exposed to south-westerly winds and Beware Reef itself is exposed to all wind directions. Safe access is only possible in calm weather by experienced boat operators.
The GPS mark given below for Beware Reef is the centre of the Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary boundaries.
Around the edge of Beware Reef is a thick rim of Bull Kelp fronds, guarding the treasures below. Where there is enough light, the upper reef is covered in a dense canopy of brown seaweeds, interspersed with bright green meadows of green and red seaweeds.
On one side of Beware Reef lie the remains of old shipwrecks, including the Ridge Park (1878), the Albert San (1915) and the SS Auckland, a steamship wrecked on the reef in 1871.
On the other side of Beware Reef is a pink garden of encrusting coralline algae, kept free of large kelps by the voracious appetite of the Black Sea-urchin, hiding during the day under ledges. At night large Maori Octopuses lurk amongst the kelp stalks.
Lower down the reef, steep walls plunge to the bottom almost 30 metres below. There are large finger sponges, brilliant red sea-fans, sea tulips, long sinuous, sea-whips and carpets of orange anemones. Pink and blue brittle stars stick their spiny arms out of crevices. Green, orange and white feather stars are abundant between the rock with their tentacles extended into the water to capture passing plankton.
Fish are abundant. Trumpeters appear suddenly from the deep, while Long-snouted Boarfish, Wrasses, Morwongs and Sea Sweep patrol the rocks. Port Jackson Sharks and Wobbegongs can be seen resting in sandy hollows.
This dive site lies in the Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary which is a challenging place to dive, please take care.
Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary encompasses a series of pinnacles of granite rock rising 30 metres off the sea floor, with only a small section at its northern extremity rising some two metres above sea level. This underwater mountain range runs for just over one kilometre to the south-east from the drying part of the reef, and the marine sanctuary that protects this unique reef covers an area of 220 hectares. The reef lies five kilometres to the south-east of Cape Conran and about three kilometres offshore from the beach at Yeerung River.
Dive sites at Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary include:
There are many other great sites for the inquisitive diver to explore here.
There is a boat ramp at West Cape, Cape Conran which is suitable for most vessels up to six metres and a 4WD is normally required for launch and retrieval. The ramp can be inundated with sand and kelp for short periods of time. Due to the shallow angle of the ramp, low tides can be difficult to launch and retrieve vessels.
The boat launch site is exposed to westerly/ south-westerly winds and ocean swells. Calm sea conditions with light northerly winds and higher tides is ideal.
From the boat ramp at West Cape, avoid 'prop rock' which is about 50 metres directly out from the ramp and very shallow at low tide, and head south until you round the cape. Once clear of the cape head in an easterly direction for about 4 kilometres. The exposed section of Beware Reef is visible on a clear day once you clear the tip of Cape Conran. Often whitewater can be seen breaking on the exposed reef before the bare rock itself is sighted.
Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary Boundaries
NW corner of sanctuary
Latitude: 37° 48.883′ S (37.81472222° S / 37° 48′ 53″ S)
Longitude: 148° 46.700′ E (148.77833333° E / 148° 46′ 42″ E)
NE corner of sanctuary
Latitude: 37° 48.867′ S (37.81444444° S / 37° 48′ 52″ S)
Longitude: 148° 47.717′ E (148.79527778° E / 148° 47′ 43″ E)
SW corner of sanctuary
Latitude: 37° 49.683′ S (37.82805556° S / 37° 49′ 41″ S)
Longitude: 148° 46.717′ E (148.77861111° E / 148° 46′ 43″ E)
SE corner of sanctuary
Latitude: 37° 49.667′ S (37.82777778° S / 37° 49′ 40″ S)
Longitude: 148° 47.733′ E (148.79555556° E / 148° 47′ 44″ E)
See also, Parks Victoria: Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary,
Park Note: Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary,
Facebook: Friends of Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary,
Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary Divers Guide, and
Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary Identification Booklet Third Edition.
You are not permitted to carry a spear gun while snorkelling or scuba diving in Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary.
Bass Strait Warning: Always keep an eye on sea conditions throughout any shore or boat dive in Bass Strait on Victoria's coastline. Please read the warnings on the web page diving-in-bass-strait before diving or snorkelling this site.
Traditional Owners — This dive site does not lie in the acknowledged traditional Country of any first peoples of Australia.
Beware Reef Location Map
Latitude: 37° 49.267′ S (37.821111° S / 37° 49′ 16″ S)
Longitude: 148° 47.217′ E (148.786944° E / 148° 47′ 13″ E)
Datum: WGS84 | Google Map
Added: 2021-01-29 13:32:56 GMT, Last updated: 2022-03-27 17:22:46 GMT
Source: Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary Divers Guide
Nearest Neighbour: Seal Gully, 192 m, bearing 333°, NNW
Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary, East Gippsland.
Depth: 6 to 30 m.
DISCLAIMER: No claim is made by The Scuba Doctor as to the accuracy of the dive site coordinates listed here. Should anyone decide to use these GPS marks to locate and dive on a site, they do so entirely at their own risk. Always verify against other sources.
The marks come from numerous sources including commercial operators, independent dive clubs, reference works, and active divers. Some are known to be accurate, while others may not be. Some GPS marks may even have come from maps using the AGD66 datum, and thus may need be converted to the WGS84 datum. To distinguish between the possible accuracy of the dive site marks, we've tried to give each mark a source of GPS, Google Earth, or unknown.