Recreational fishing effort was quantified at a 700 m3 steel artificial reef (AR) off coastal Sydney with a shore-based camera (06:00-18:00) over a two-year period. Stratified random sampling was used to select days for analysis of fishing effort from digital images. Fishing effort estimates derived from the digital images were adjusted to account for visibility bias using information from a validation study. The levels of effort recorded in the first two seasons were low as the AR had been recently deployed and colonization of the AR by sessile organisms and fishes was still occurring. The effort intensity (fisher hours per square kilometer) at the Sydney AR was compared with three South Australian ARs and 14 estuarine fisheries in New South Wales (NSW) to provide context for the study. Effort intensity at the AR was found to be up to 12 times higher than that recorded from some estuarine fisheries in NSW. Conversely, the levels of effort intensity at two South Australian ARs were much higher compared to those at the Sydney AR site in both survey years. Effort intensity comparisons showed that the relative levels of usage at Australian ARs were higher than those recorded from estuarine fisheries. The Sydney AR provides diverse fishing opportunities that may be concentrated in a small area. Camera-based technologies can provide a solution for cost effective monitoring of AR sites, providing the accuracy of fishing effort information derived from camera images is validated. Our study has broad implications for other recreational ARs, including many future deployments planned for eastern Australia.