An array of acoustic receivers deployed in Cleveland Bay, north Queensland, Australia, passively tracked 20 adult spottail sharks Carcharhinus sorrah over 2 years (2009–2010) to define patterns in movement and habitat use. Individuals were present in the study site for long periods, ranging from 8 to 408 days (mean = 185). Size and location of home ranges did not vary over time. A high level of segregation occurred among C. sorrah, with individuals using different types of habitat and showing strong attachment to specific regions. The depth of habitat individuals used varied between sexes. Males tended to use a narrow range of habitat depths within the study site (2·8–6·0 m), whereas females used shallower habitats (1·4–6·2 m) and displayed a seasonal shift in the depth of habitat used. Mean monthly habitat depth used varied by as much as 2 m for females, with individuals using shallower habitats during the winter months. Long-term presence and consistent home ranges suggest that Cleveland Bay provides important habitat for C. sorrah. By defining patterns in the use of nearshore habitats for C. sorrah, this study improves the understanding of the movement and habitat use of smaller-bodied coastal sharks and may help provide guidance for the management of their populations.