Black Rock Jetty and its surrounding rocky reefs and lush seagrass beds provide great snorkel spots, while also offering fantastic views of the sunken HMVS Cerberus.
Only a short drive or ride via public transport from Melbourne’s CBD, Black Rock is popular amongst snorkelers as a great place to explore some of Melbourne’s underwater world without having to travel too far.
Best snorkeled on westerly wind, the shallow waters around the jetty and rocky reef give home to a variety of marine critters, including numerous species of fish, sea stars (unfortunately, this also includes the northern pacific sea star!), urchins, anemones, fan worms, bryozoans, ascidians, nudibranchs and blue-ringed octopuses. Hiding in the sea grass beds you can find several species of fish including pipefish, flatheads, whiting, fiddler rays and, if you have a keen eye, you might spot the odd cuttlefish or squid.
The HMVS Cerberus served as a navy vessel from the 1860s before being sunk in 1924 in Half Moon Bay. Since its sinking, the ship has become an artificial reef structure and is currently covered in a range of settling marine invertebrates and algae. While the HMVS Cerberus is a fantastic sight, it is an unstable structure so be sure to keep to the regulation distance of at least 5 metres from the bow and stern, and 25 metres from the starboard and port of the ship for your own safety. For those less inclined to get in the water, you can also observe the wreck from the jetty or shore at low tide when a large proportion of the ship becomes exposed.
CLOSE PROXIMITY TO MELBOURNE
LUSH SEAGRASS BEDS AND ROCKY REEFS
GREAT VIEWS OF THE SUNKEN HMVS CERBERUS
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
EASE OF ACCESSIBILITY
All images courtesy of Evatt Chirgwin
Evatt is an evolutionary ecologist whose research focuses on how natural populations can adapt to environmental change. He is currently undertaking his PhD at Monash University.
You can find him on Twitter @EvattChirgwin