Break out your flippers and snorkels because in this article we are going to dive into some of the best spots for where you should snorkel in Australia. You might suspect these places are limited to the Great Barrier Reef, which is an awesome place for underwater sightseeing, but that is not the case at all. A variety of locations scattered around the country serve as ideal bases for snorkeling excursions.
Located in Western Australia, this easily accessible coral reef measures about 260 kilometers. The site hosts many different fish and coral varieties. Whale sharks can be found at this fringing reef as can humpback whales, manta rays, and sea turtles. The Jurabi Turtle Center is located nearby and offers visitors more information about the local turtle populations. Several different sites can be found at the reef for snorkeling, but the Oyster Stacks area is the most highly recommended. This reef is also a popular location for scuba diving.
Julian Rocks Marine Reserve near Byron Bay
Boasting shallow, clear waters, this site hosts both temperate and tropical marine species. The marine reserve area is comprised of two islands located 2.5 kilometers offshore from Byron Bay. Legends say that the islands are the remains of a canoe that was used to transport a pair of fleeing lovers away from their pursuers. The canoe was speared and broke in half, leaving the twin peaks (the bow and stern of the boat) above the waters. The more scientific explanation is that that peaks were formed by an inactive volcano many years previously. Whatever the case, Julian Rocks is a prime snorkeling location and scuba diving is also available here.
This island is located 18 kilometers off the Western Australia shoreline, near Perth. Boat trips out to the islands take about 45 minutes-1.5 hours each way, depending on the departure point (some boats depart from Perth, but others leave from Fremantle) Places to snorkel on Rottnest Island include Salmon Bay, Parakeet Bay, and The Basin. Salmon Bay is noteworthy in that it has underwater markers to keep guests from getting lost. A visitor center, two lighthouses, and a military barracks located on the island are all available for visitor explorations. The pink salt lakes found around the island are another interesting feature. However, caution should be exercised while hiking, as there are poisonous snakes that also live here.
Busselton Jetty near Geographe Bay
At 1.8 kilometers long, this is the longest wooden pier in the Southern hemisphere. Admission costs is $2.50 for adults, but guests under the age of 16 are allowed free entry. Snorkeling is best along the sides of the pier, but it is also a popular activity on the nearby beach. There is an underwater observatory in operation at the end of the jetty and admission cost around $30 per adult. It is a nice but expensive experience for those who don’t care to snorkel. A train ride ($11) is available to take guests to the observatory should they not care to walk there themselves.
Lady Elliot Island
If you are able to board a plane and head for the Whitsunday Islands, this one seems to be a particular favorite. Named after a ship that was once stranded on the reef here, this island is a coral cay. You can walk around the entire island in less than thirty minutes, but there is plenty to do, with swimming, snorkeling, and reef walking being the chief attractions. Lady Elliot Island’s lighthouse is also popular with guests. The only problem is there seems to be only one hotel on the island, but prices are reasonable. Overnight rates can be avoided by simply taking a day trip. The flights from Gold Coast and Hervey Bay out to this island are scenic and therefore highly recommended.
Where is your favorite place to snorkel in Australia?