Shiprock Aquatic Reserve


Shiprock Aquatic Reserve is located at the western headland of Burraneer Bay, off Little Turriel Point in Port Hacking in southern Sydney and covers an area of approximately 2 hectares. It gets its name from the prominent ship-like rock which adorns the shore.


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

Special features

The Reserve has a unique marine environment with a rich variety of marine flora and fauna. A combination of strong currents, clean oceanic water and complex submarine rocky areas has resulted in a diverse environment inhabited by a wide variety of marine plants, invertebrates and fish.

Over 130 species of fish have been recorded in this small area and they inhabit the underwater caves, crevices and bommies along with various species of algae and invertebrates such as worms, snails, crustaceans and colourful sponges. During the summer, tropical species call the Reserve home after a long journey travelling down on the East Australian Current, coming from as far away as Queensland.

What can I do in the Aquatic Reserve?

Due to its amazing marine life the Reserve provides one of the most popular scuba diving sites in the Sydney area.

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

Shiprock Aquatic Reserve

The rocky shoreline is covered in encrusting marine organisms. Photo: Renata Pronk.

Shiprock Aquatic Reserve

The underwater cliffs are adorned with all sorts of marine life including colourful ascidians, corals, sponges and bryozoans. Photo: Renata Pronk.

Shiprock Aquatic Reserve

Nudibranchs are common inhabitants here. Photo: Renata Pronk.

Shiprock Aquatic Reserve

The Reserve is a popular spot for scuba divers due to the interesting marine life present. Photo: Renata Pronk.

Getting there

You can get to the Reserve at the end of Shiprock Road, off Port Hacking Rd South.

Further information

Please contact staff at the Marine Environment Program at