We’re a vast island with 34,000 kilometres of coastline. So, there are bound to be a few great snorkelling spots ready to explore.
Snorkelling is the best way to kill two birds with one stone; you can cool down from the warm weather, and dazzle your eyeballs with underwater sanctuaries at the same time! But there are far too many possible locations to choose from, so we’ve found the 12 best snorkelling spots around Australia excluding Canberra (for obvious reasons) and the Northern Territory because nobody likes to be eaten by crocodiles. Yep, it’s true. The Top End don’t swim at the beach.
The greatest part about our selection is that a majority of these snorkelling spots are self-accessible, meaning you don’t have to suffer mingling with groups of tourists who may scare all the fish away…
Editor’s Note: For first-time snorkellers, please read over these snorkelling tips to ensure a safe and fun experience. It is also recommended to snorkel in pairs or groups, especially in areas devoid of people.
Best Snorkelling Spots in New South Wales
There’s plenty of snorkelling spots off the coast of Sydney, and one of the best is Clovelly Beach. It’s got a stretching concrete platform along one side with many opportunities to dunk into the water. That being said, it can be busy on those warmer days, so perhaps waiting for the weather to cool down may be ideal. But then again, snorkelling with others can be just as fun!
Head out of the city and up north towards Byron Bay, where you’ll find one of New South Wales’ best snorkelling spots. Julian Rocks is just two-and-a-half kilometres off the coast of Byron Bay, accessible by hopping onto a boat tour. Byron Bay Dive Centre can take you out for the day, where you can spot friendly turtles and a myriad of colourful fish and flora.
Best Snorkelling Spots in Victoria
Australia, here’s another easily accessible and one of the best spots to snorkel in Victoria – where you can walk along Flinders Pier and slip into (and out of) the water from ladders that line the pier. Aim for high tide, where the fish come in and it’s deep enough to move comfortably. It’s by far a top spot to search for Water Dragons, but there are other fish to see as well.
Wilsons Promontory National Park
Wilsons Promontory National Park is a peninsula teeming with life. There are plenty of snorkelling spots to explore, ranging from easily accessible to the slightly difficult. For a detailed list of spots in this area, check out Marine Life, but our top recommended spots are Sealer’s Cove and South Point. Both require a trek to get to, but the good thing is you can camp near them overnight and save the hassle.
Best Snorkelling Spots in Tasmania
Ninepin Point Marine Reserve (Best Kelp Forest)
Kelp forests are literally named, where long stalks of kelp rise to the surface, offering the richest ecosystem for marine animals. And in Tasmania, the greatest kelp forest is at Ninepin Point Marine Reserve, which you can easily drive to. It may be a little tricky getting to the shoreline over the jagged rocks, but it can be done. It is recommended to snorkel here in autumn, with a low swell.
Freycinet National Park (Honeymoon Bay, Sleepy Bay)
Wineglass Bay is not the only beautiful thing at Freycinet National Park, there are also a few snorkelling spots to choose from. If you’re a novice snorkeller, consider Honeymoon Bay where the waters are shallow and sheltered from nasty currents. There’s also Coles Bay – the gateway to Freycinet National Park – where you can snorkel nearly anyway along its coastline.
Best Snorkelling Spots in South Australia
Port Noarlunga Reef
This would have to be the best self-accessible snorkelling site, adorned with markers that make up an underwater trail. As you make your way along the reef, you can read plaques that talk about the local ecosystem. It is also quite easy to get to via a pier that reaches the reef, which you can also walk along at mid-to low-tide.
You may get the best view with a scuba diving tour, where you can reach the T intersection of the old jetty. But it is also popular spot in South Australia for snorkellers, by accessing the water from the new jetty and swimming closer to the shore. Keep an eye out for the elusive sea dragon, which breeds in this area, as well as many other types of life.
Best Snorkelling Spots in Western Australia
Ningaloo Reef is near the sunny town of Exmouth, which is a 13-hour drive from Perth or less than that via plane. And it would have to be the most beautiful tropical reef that you can see in Western Australia. And much of the reef can be accessed straight from the many beaches that line the coast. The best spot for beginner snorkellers is Turquoise Bay, which looks as beautiful as it sounds!
The small city of Busselton is fast becoming a tourist haven thanks to its world-renowned jetty, one that stretches nearly two kilometres out to sea – the longest in the southern hemisphere! At the far end of Busselton Jetty is an underwater observatory, but you can hop in the water closer to the shore for a vibrant snorkel. There is a $4 entry fee to the jetty, and it is recommended that private snorkellers liaise with jetty staff about the best times to enter the water, as they also run diving tours from many of the access points.
Best Snorkelling Spots in Queensland
Snorkelling is not just for looking at pretty fish and fancy underwater gardens. Some places, like Tangalooma Beach, offer something different for curious adventurists. There are 15 sunken ships just off the beach, each offering their own unique story to explore. But, be careful with strong currents and nearby boats as you swim across, which is why we recommend this for experienced snorkellers.
The Low Isles
When it comes to visiting the Great Barrier Reef, the easiest port of entry is from Port Douglas. From there, you can charter a boat to the Low Isles and witness the stunning underwater flora and fauna. Reef Sprinter runs half-day tours, taking you from the cosy Port Douglas on a 15-minute boat ride to the reef.
Live in Sydney and looking for a quiet beach this summer? Check out our list of Sydney’s best-secluded beaches. And if you’re on the other side of Australia, consider checking out Margeret River’s best wineries and beaches.
We acknowledge the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.