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Cottage By The Sea Reef

Shore Dive Shore Dive | Shore access Shore access

Ideal For Snorkelling Inside Port Phillip Night Dive Site Open Water Rated Reef Dive Site Slack Water Spearfishing Site

Cottage By The Sea Reef
Cottage By The Sea Reef
© Phil Watson

Depth: 1 m (3.28 ft) to 10 m (33 ft)

Level: Open Water and beyond.

Cottage by the Sea Reef is considered by many to be the best shore diving and snorkelling location on the Bellarine Peninsula. The beach here faces south-west into Lonsdale Bay, Port Phillip. It's at the end of Swanston Street, Queenscliff not far from the Cottage-by-the-Sea Children's holiday camp from which it gets its name. It's a short walk from the car park onto the beach and to the rocky platform visible at low tide.

Cottage By The Sea Reef
Cottage By The Sea Reef
© Phil Watson

What To Expect:
One of Melbourne's most well known and best shore dive locations on this side of Port Phillip. This site is in the bite between Point Lonsdale and Shortland's Bluff or Queenscliff. Named after a historic building on the foreshore the diving here although shallow is beautiful with a series of small reefs running parallel to the shore. Lots of fish and the odd old bottle may be seen here. This is a great site for the last dive of the day or as a training dive.

Abundance of fish life including cuttlefish, crays, sea dragons, etc. The dive site opens up towards the main heads of Port Phillip and is often exposed to ocean swell. On a good day, it is an awesome dive with significant cliff faces, bommies and rock formations down to a depth of about 9 metres. It can get a little busy during summer.

Rock wall of 2 to 4 metres is about a 50 metre swim from shore and is a few hundred metres long. You will need to swim at a bearing of 190 degrees over the sand to get to the reef. Most of the dive is at around 6 to 8 metres. The rock wall has swim throughs and ledges you can poke your head under. Can be current and swell prone so weather is important to take note of.

Seal at Cottage By The Sea
Seal at Cottage By The Sea
© Andrew Newton

The critters here include Australian Fur Seals, Smooth Stingrays, Southern Fiddler Ray (aka Banjo Shark), Giant Australian Cuttlefish, damselfish, morwong, wrasse, Bluespotted Goatfish, Southern Blue Devil, Old Wives, leatherjackets, Southern Rock Lobster (aka Crayfish), and Weedy Seadragons. Lots of pretty starfish as well.

If you're going to dive Cottage By The Sea Reef from a boat, the location you need is:
Latitude: 38° 16.554′ S   (38.2759° S / 38° 16′ 33.24″ S)
Longitude: 144° 38.990′ E   (144.64983333333° E / 144° 38′ 59.4″ E)

Source: Geoff Rodda

Cottage By The Sea Parking
Cottage By The Sea Parking
© Google Street View

Location: Corner Swanston Street & The Esplanade, Queenscliff, Victoria 3225
MELWAY Ref: Page 499 C12
Beach Marker: 9B

Parking: While traveling west from Queenscliff towards Point Lonsdale on the Bellarine Highway (B110), turn left onto Swantston Street. At the southern end of Swanston Street where it turns left into The Esplanade you'll find a small reserve, beach marker 9B, and a track down onto the beach.

Warning: Cottage By The Sea Reef is subject to a lot of boat and PWC traffic. Always take a dive float with a dive flag. Always go with a buddy and be extremely careful of the tidal flow.

Entry/Exit: Shore entry, from below the Cottage-by-the-Sea Children's holiday camp at the eastern end of Santa Casa Beach. From the car park, head down the stairs, across the sand to a rocky platform visible at low tide, not a long walk. Then its straight out to the sea.

Ideal Conditions: Conditions are usually best with no wind or after a few days of northerlies as surface conditions remain calm. Protected from northerly to westerly winds. Needs to be low tide at The Heads and dived in slack water to the ebb tide as the current can be quite strong otherwise.

See WillyWeather (Santa Casa Beach) as a guide for the tide times and the height of the tide.

The Rip & Tides Warning: Always keep an eye on sea conditions throughout any shore or boat dive within "The Rip" (aka "The Heads"). This is a dangerous stretch of water, where Bass Straight meets Port Phillip, which has claimed many ships and lives. Please read the warnings on the web page diving-the-rip before diving or snorkelling this site.

Wathaurong (Wadda-Warrung) country
Wathaurong (Wadda-Warrung) country

Traditional Owners — This dive site is in the traditional Country of the Wathaurong (Wadda-Warrung) people of the Kulin Nation. This truly ancient Country includes the coastline of Port Phillip, from the Werribee River in the north-east, the Bellarine Peninsula, and down to Cape Otway in the south-west. We wish to acknowledge the Wathaurong 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.


Cottage By The Sea Reef Location Map

Latitude: 38° 16.341′ S   (38.272352° S / 38° 16′ 20.47″ S)
Longitude: 144° 38.990′ E   (144.649837° E / 144° 38′ 59.41″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map | Get directions
Added: 2012-07-22 09:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2022-04-07 17:17:11 GMT
Source: Google Earth
Nearest Neighbour: Perpendicular Reef, 263 m, bearing 275°, W
Queenscliff, Bellarine Peninsula.
Depth: 1 to 10 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.


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