Bushrangers Bay Aquatic Reserve


Bushrangers Bay Aquatic Reserve is a small rocky embayment at the eastern end of Bass Point, approximately 4 km south of Shellharbour on the NSW south coast. The Reserve covers the entirety of Bushrangers Bay, an area of approximately 4 hectares.


  • conserve the biodiversity of fish and marine vegetation
  • protect fish habitat
  • facilitate educational activities
  • facilitate scientific research.


The Reserve was declared for its representation of rock platforms, crevices and rock pools typical of the NSW mid south coast and in recognition of the Reserve's unique habitat and role as a nursery area located between temperate and tropical regions.

The Aquatic Reserve's diverse marine life includes common temperate and seasonal tropical fish, many of which are quite abundant in the Reserve. Seagrass beds provide habitat for a variety of fish, including halfbanded seaperch (Hypoplectrodes maccullochi), southern maori wrasse (Ophthalmolepis lineolatus) and senator wrasse (Pictilabrus laticlavius). These fish, together with a suite of other species, including red morwong (Cheilodactylus fuscus), striped trumpeter (Latris lineata), blue groper (Achoerodus viridis), horseshoe and pygmy leatherjackets (Meuschenia hippocrepis and Brachaluteres jacksonianus) and herring cale (Odax cyanomelas), forage between the seagrass and the variety of other habitats found within the Reserve. The Reserve is also the southernmost distribution for several species of tropical fish.

What can I do in the Aquatic Reserve?

The Reserve is an excellent sheltered dive site, you can scuba dive and observe the variety of marine animals and plants within the Reserve.

This is a 'no take' Aquatic Reserve, which means you are not permitted to fish by any method, harm marine animals or plants, or collect marine organisms whether dead or alive (including empty shells as they provide homes for living organisms).

Please report illegal or suspect fishing activities to your nearest Fisheries Office or use the Fishers Watch Phoneline on 1800 043 536.

Explore the Aquatic Reserve

Bushranger's Bay Aquatic Reserve

Bushrangers Bay is a relatively small, sheltered bay. Photo: Gavin McDonall.

Bushranger's Bay Aquatic Reserve

The bay has a rocky beach and is popular for diving, especially with novice divers. Photo: Renata Pronk.

Bushranger's Bay Aquatic Reserve

Lots of mado (Atypichthys strigatus) swim amongst the kelp covered rocky reefs. Photo: Renata Pronk.

Bushranger's Bay Aquatic Reserve

The Reserve harbours a large number of juvenile tropical fish, including orange blotch surgeonfish (Acanthurus olivaceus). Photo: Renata Pronk.

Getting there

You can get to the Reserve on foot via a set of stairs from Bass Point Reserve, along Bass Point Tourist Rd.

Further information

Please contact staff at the Marine Environment Program at marine.environment@dpi.nsw.gov.au.