Pier Dive | Shore access
Depth: 2 m (6.56 ft) to 7 m (23 ft)
Level: Open Water and beyond.
Blairgowrie Pier and Marina is located about a 75 to 90-minute drive south from the Melbourne CBD, which makes it perfect for a day trip out of Melbourne. Blairgowrie is on the Mornington Peninsula that separates Port Phillip by just 2 kilometres from the surf back beaches in Bass Strait.
Blairgowrie Pier faces north-east into Camerons Bight on the southern shore of Port Philip between Sorrento(to the west) and Rye (to the east), on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula. There is just so much to see in this constantly changing colourful environment across all of the different habitat types.
Blairowrie Pier is a favourite dive site of photographers into macro shots. Blairgowrie Pier is also popular as a training location for people on dive courses. In short, Blairgowrie Pier is quite simply one of the best temperate water pier dives you can do anywhere in the world.
Blairgowrie Pier was constructed by the Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron (BYS) to replace Blairgowrie Jetty and create a safe boat harbour and marina complex, which opened in 2001. There is an outer wave screen wall protecting the marina which makes for great snorkelling and scuba diving under the pier.
During the latest marina extensions, rock mattresses were placed at the bottom of the wave wall to prevent scour to the sea bed. The upturned corners of the mattresses have become a great habitat for Giant Australian Cuttlefish and various species of Octopus.
During the marina extension, 300 square metres of the north-south trending sea wall covered in sponge and ascidian life was to be replaced. A community group Operation Sponge was started up and in collaboration with BYS worked through 2016 to 2018 to cut the sponges and ascidians off the old wall and glue them to the new wall as it was being replaced.
Blairgowrie Pier receives a constant flow of nutrients washing through The Heads which is why so much marine life has made it home. There is a diverse colony of highly colourful sponges covering the pier pylons. The plant and animal life found varies with depth and distance from the beach. Thus each pylon reveals interesting new discoveries. If you look carefully you might find a Bigbelly Seahorse (aka Pot Belly Seahorse), Shorthead Seahorse or a Tasselled Anglerfish hiding in the growth.
Once you come to the end of the pier turn left and dive along the outer breakwater. (The outer breakwater extends right for a short way, but it is basically L shaped.) Fishermen can not access this part of Blairgowrie Pier. It gradually gets deeper with lots of dead shells and inside there is a mass of sponge.
Growth is excellent not only over the pylons but also over the steel sheet cladding on the side of the pier that serves to protect the yachts in the marina against waves and current. The outer breakwater and wave screen provide habitat for kelps, sponges, bryozoans, ascidians, molluscs and associated fish. Thus it ends up almost being a wall dive instead of a typical pier dive.
Good as a day or night dive for Nudibranchs, Southern Bobtail Squid (aka Southern Dumpling Squid), Southern Calamari Squid, various molluscs, Giant Australian Cuttlefish, Giant Spider Crabs (lots of them), Globefish, Moonlighters, Southern Velvetfish, Leatherjackets, Stingarees, and Southern Fiddler Ray (aka Banjo Shark). On the sandy seafloor, Flathead, Rays and even the odd Common Stargazer lie camouflaged. There are more fish nearer the end of the breakwater.
A long dive will allow you to cover the entire length of the jetty, the breakwater, and return to the Diver Pontoon or shore to exit.
Blairgowrie Pier is widely known for its spectacularly colourful Nudibranchs! More than a hundred different species of Nudibranchs have been identified under Blairgowrie Pier. You will most times find several kinds in a variety of sizes and colours. These soft-bodied sea slugs are often found foraging in the open without fear as their bright colours provide a warning to other critters about their foul-tasting toxins. Check out the Blairgowrie Nudibranchs group page on Facebook for recent reports.
Blairgowrie Pier is also known for Giant Spider Crabs. Each year from late May through mid-June thousands of spider crabs migrate along the ocean floor to shallow waters. When the water temperature drops, things heat up as the giant spider crabs moult their shells. As they crowd together for protection from predators like stingrays, seals and sharks, they sometimes begin to pile up in stacks over a metre high.
The Giant Spider Crabs gathering en masse on the sandy bottom is quite a slight for both divers and snorkellers. This hungry army is easy to spot as they scavenge for whatever food they can find. Rye Pier is also a place where this phenomenon can be seen. For more information see spider-crabs-melbourne, plus the Spider Crabs Melbourne group page on Facebook for recent reports.
But there is more to this site than nudi's and Giant Spider Crabs. You'll find Seahorses, Globefish, Box Fish, Decorator Crabs, Common Stargazers, Invertebrate, Bluespotted Goatfish, Tasmanian Blennies, Sea Grasses, Shellfish, Seastars, Epiphytes and a whole lot of colour. There are often giant Smooth Stingrays gliding along the ocean floor. Sometimes Little Penguins and Australian Fur Seals have been known to show up.
You might even get lucky and see the deadly Southern Blue-ringed Octopus. These critters are rarely seen due to their timid nature and the fact they're more active at night. Just don't touch one as their venom can cause total body paralysis and suffocation. Southern Keeled Octopus, Maori Octopus, and Southern Sand Octopus species are also often sighted.
Blairgowrie Pier has a steel cladding sea wall to protect the yachts in the marina from waves and currents. This also makes for a protected dive site and a great home to lots of sponges and marine animals. Although the bottom is sandy, the pylons and this cladding are covered in colour and life.
Along the left-hand arm of the pier there is also a wave wall, which again is there to protect the yachts. It runs from the surface to about halfway down and makes for a bit of a wall dive on a pier.
If you slow down and take your time, you're bound to find so much life on Blairgowrie Pier. There are always comments about how the colour and the protection from current makes this site a nice easy dive. Best dived at slack water (the period where the tide is not running). If the tide is running through you will feel it perpendicular to the pier. Please try to stay one metre off of the bottom, and don't touch, bump into, or fin kick the pylons or wall.
The Blairgowrie marina berth area is a marine reserve and no-take zone, though most of the fishermen on the pier seem to ignore this. It's also a No Go Zone for divers and snorkellers. The high amount of boat traffic, combined with the deep keels of large yachts, makes it a highly dangerous area to venture out into. So don't go there and instead stay safe under the pier itself!
Blairgowrie Pier is a very interesting and different dive site from most piers. If you stay under the pier you shouldn't be troubled by the many fishermen here. But it's still recommended to take a dive knife and/or shears with you just in case.
Location: Point Nepean Road, Blairgowrie, Victoria 3942
MELWAY Ref: Page 167 E1
Weather Required: The following winds will be okay: northerly <15 knots, westerly <15 knots,southerly <15 knots, easterly <25 knots. Fairly protected by the marina sea wall, which means even though the visibility may be bad, the dive site should still be safe to dive when the winds are stronger.
Similar to Portsea Pier and Rye Pier, southerly winds are the best no matter the strength. High tide will give you a bit more depth and hopefully some clean water. The sea wall means it's a little more protected here, so Blairgowrie Pier is often chosen over the other piers for this reason.
Ideal Conditions: Best dived at slack water as current moves fairly fast here perpendicular to the pier and allows for more areas to be dived if the current is stopped. However, even when the current is running you can still have a very good dive if you're careful and use the steel cladding wall on the side of the pier to shield you from the current. One side of the pier has been blocked off with a thin wall running from the surface to halfway to the bottom. The wall cladding is covered in sponge life making it interesting to swim along this part staying two metres off the bottom out of the current. Best dived close to high tide as it is then deeper.
Please feel free to take a look at the current information from the Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron Weather Station, located at the north-east end of the jetty within the Blairgowrie Safe Boat Harbour. There is also a Weather Webcam located at the southern end of the BYS jetty which pans through a series of preset locations.
See WillyWeather (Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron) as a guide for the tide times and the height of the tide..
Entry/Exit: Once down on Blairgowrie Pier, head for the Diver Pontoon about 150 metres, or half of the way out. A giant stride entry from this landing entry is easiest. A shore entry is also possible by entering from the beach on either side of the pier. Once in the water try to get under the pier as quickly as possible to avoid boats. The Diver Pontoon and the beach close to the pier are your exit points.
There are quite a few safety concerns you need to be aware of when diving or snorkelling at Blairgowrie Pier. The only place you should be is directly under the pier.
No Go Zones:
To the west (left) as you head out from the shore is the working safe boat harbour and boat marina. That whole area is a No Go Zone for diving and snorkelling. Yachts and powerboats have limited visibility and manoeuvrability when entering and leaving berths. In the interests of safety in this shared waterway:
A particularly dangerous part of this western No Go Zone is the Slipway at the end of the straddle carrier hardstand. Large yachts and powerboats can be lowered into the water here at any time without warning. Stay clear!
Most of the area to the east (right) of the Blairgowrie Pier is also a No Go Zone for diving and snorkelling. From about halfway out to the end of the pier is the Boat Pier Area where boats come in to tie up to the pier. Yachts and powerboats need access to the full length of the low landing and this eastern side of the jetty and are constantly entering and leaving this area.
Another No Go Zone is the beach area in front of the Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron and beach bathing boxes. This area has small powerboats, jet skis and sailing dinghies constantly coming and going from the beach.
The final No Go Zone extends out from the Boat Pier Area to the east (right) of the pier to cover the open water Boat Mooring Area.
The only safe Dive Zone at Blairgowrie Pier is directly under the pier itself. If you stay in the dive zone under Blairgowrie Jetty you should be safe from boat traffic, plus other marina and pier activities. Besides, under the pier is where the interesting stuff to see is. So you don't need to be anywhere else!
When using the Diver Pontoon for entry, please enter the water using a giant stride and head quickly under the jetty to your chosen dive site.
Please feel free to download and print out this dive zone safety sheet which shows the permitted and restricted areas: Blairgowrie Pier Dive Zones
This diver information safety sheet sums up the guidelines:
Blairgowrie Jetty Diver Safety Information
Never dive beneath the boat berths, walkways and berth access lanes of the marina. Always keep a watchful eye for boats should you head out from under Blairgowrie Pier. Also, be mindful of the dangers in the area of the Slip Way in the No Go Zone at the end of the new straddle carrier pier.
If you're not going to stay under the pier and head out into the Dive Flag Required areas, always take a Diver's Personal Dive Flag and Float with flag dimensions of not less than 300 mm by 200 mm to make yourself visible on the surface to boats. There are always boats around, particularly on the weekend. It's ideal to stay beneath the pier whenever you can.
There are two free car parking areas available at Blairgowrie Pier.
The best place to park is in the Lower Car Park area, down the bottom of the cliffs, along the road leading into the yacht club, behind the bathing boxes. It's on the eastern side of the marina, on the north side of Point Nepean Road. There is an auxiliary right turn lane as you head west on Point Nepean Road, to make it easier to turn right and head down to the car park. The yacht club people often try to claim this parking area as their own, but it's actually a public car park. Please keep clear of the driveway, the BYS entrance and vacant car parks. Be considerate to those trying to access the yacht club and bathing boxes. Don't leave litter.
The second and larger parking area is the Upper Car Park, off Nepean Highway, just west of the pier, overlooking the marina. After gearing up, there are two sets of stairs down to the dive site. The Northern stairs in the upper car park have difficult access to the marina walkways. We suggest you take the Eastern stairs on the far right which give better access to the walkways. It saves you ducking under the pier and is slightly shorter — which all counts when you're carrying so much dive gear.
Blairgowrie Pier is just a 10-minute drive from The Scuba Doctor Dive Shop. Please drop in and catch up with us before and/or after your dive.
See also Blairgowrie Map by Brendon Edwards — This now somewhat dated document still has some useful information.
Spearfishing is illegal within 30 metres of any pier or jetty and in Marine National Parks. See Spearfishing Laws.
Traditional Owners — This dive site is in the traditional Country of the Boon Wurrung / Bunurong people of the Kulin Nation. This truly ancient Country includes parts of Port Phillip, from the Werribee River in the north-west, down to Wilson's Promontory in the south-east, including the Mornington Peninsula, French Island and Phillip Island, plus Western Port. We wish to acknowledge the Boon Wurrung as Traditional Owners. We pay respect to their Ancestors and their Elders, past, present and emerging. We acknowledge Bunjil the Creator Spirit of this beautiful land, who travels as an eagle, and Waarn, who protects the waterways and travels as a crow, and thank them for continuing to watch over this Country today and beyond.
Blairgowrie Pier Location Map
Latitude: 38° 21.407′ S (38.356778° S / 38° 21′ 24.4″ S)
Longitude: 144° 46.416′ E (144.773597° E / 144° 46′ 24.95″ E)
Datum: WGS84 | Google Map | Get directions
Added: 2012-07-22 09:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2022-04-14 12:30:20 GMT
Source: Google Earth
Nearest Neighbour: Geoffs Scallop Hole, 2,001 m, bearing 97°, E
Blairgowrie, Mornington Peninsula, Port Phillip.
Depth: 2 to 7 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.