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Ningaloo Reef Snorkel | © sharon mckellar/Flickr
Ningaloo Reef Snorkel | © sharon mckellar/Flickr

The Best Places to Snorkel in Australia

Picture of Paris Donnatella Callan
Updated: 4 December 2017

Australia has become synonymous with seekers of paradise and wayward wanderers. It is home to some of the planet’s most diverse marine life, flora and fauna, and boasts a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the Great Barrier Reef. With stunning coastlines, complex ecosystems, sandy beaches and crystal waters in abundance, water activities reign supreme. Here’s the top snorkelling spots to seek out when Down Under.

Lord Howe Island

This subtropical island located in the Tasman Sea is a sight for sore eyes. Located just two hours flight from Sydney or Brisbane, Lord Howe Island is a paradise teeming with rich green forests, white sandy beaches and crystalline waters. Snorkelling is the top thing to do here and draws crowds from far and wide with technicolour fish displays, playful turtles and curious marine life.

Lord Howe Island. New South Wales. Australia.

Tangalooma Wrecks, Moreton Island

Although the sight of Tangalooma Wrecks on Moreton Island is enough to captivate even the most distinguished traveller, the experience is only heightened underwater. It is here, amidst clear waters that Tangalooma Wrecks comes to life; shrouded in a blanket of corals, kaleidoscopic marine life and schools of tropical fish, this is undoubtedly one of the most stunning places to snorkel in Australia.

Tangalooma Wrecks. Moreton Island. Queensland. Australia

Busselton Jetty

Stretching almost two kilometers out over clear blue waters is Busselton Jetty, the world’s longest wooden jetty. Located in Western Australia in the town of Busselton, the jetty has become a major sight for tourists in the region, not just for its impressive length, but snorkelling opportunities too. Enjoy firework displays of coral reef exploding from the underwater jetty structure and over 300 species of marine life.

Busselton Jetty. 3L Queen Street. Busselton. Western Australia. Australia. +61 (08) 9754 0900

Ningaloo Reef

Ningaloo Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed reef in Western Australia. Located just moments from the shore, this is the perfect snorkelling spot for children and beginners who can experience the world that lies beneath, in an accessible and relaxed way. Ningaloo Reef is also Australia’s largest fringing reef and covers 600,000 hectares of national and marine parks. It is 300 kilometres in length and home to 250 species of coral and over 500 species of fish.

Ningaloo Reef Dive & Snorkel. Coral Bay Arcade, 8/46 Robinson Street. Coral Bay. Western Australia. Australia. +61 (08) 9942 5824

Green Island

Located in Cairns in the North East of Australia, Green Island is postcard paradise on Earth. Set on a seductive stretch of the Great Barrier Reef, the island holds many possibilities to experience its impressive natural wildlife, none more spectacular than snorkelling. The island is home to over 120 native plant species, exotic bird life and circled by complex coral gardens with impressive hordes of tropical fish making it perfect for any adventurer.

Green Island. Cairns. Queensland. Australia

Shoalwater Islands Marine Park

Not far from Perth, Shoalwater Islands Marine Park in Rockingham is a protected park offering some of the most idyllic snorkelling experiences in Australia. Home to a variety of impressive marine life, including but not limited to, penguins, sea lions, dolphins, rocky reefs and seagrass, there is an abundance of water activities for all levels of fitness and experience.

Shoalwater Islands Marine Park. Arcadia Drive. Rockingham. Western Australia. +61 (08) 9591 1333

The Abrolhos Islands

122 islands make up the Houtman Abrolhos Islands or simply The Abrolhos Islands. This archipelago is a key attraction for locals and tourists in Western Australia due to its tropical island lure of sun, sand and sea. Home to a wealth of tropical and temperate sea life, birds, and marine life, water activities are in abundance. One of the most popular is snorkelling, with numerous tour companies offer day trips along the reef.

Houtman Abrolhos. Western Australia. Australia.

Julian Rocks Marine Reserve

Set just 2.5 kilometers off Byron Bay is Julian Rocks. The water that lies between this volcanic rock island and the mainland is a stunning marine reserve with incredible snorkelling opportunities. The waters are home over 1000 marine species including 500 tropical and temperate fish species, grey nurse sharks (which are safe to dive with), turtles, cuttlefish (octopus family) as well as eagle rays.

Julian Rocks Reserve. New South Wales. Australia.

Islands of Low Isles

Not far from Port Douglas in Queensland are the islands of Low Isle – white sand paradise plots featuring lush tropical forests, surrounding by translucent waters under clear blue skies. Here, a wealth of native marine wildlife, flora and fauna flourish. Snorkelling on Low Isle is one of its biggest draws to crowds who love to get up close experiences with the large population of sea turtles.

Low Island. Queensland. Australia

Ninepin Point Marine Reserve

This nature reserve in Gordon, Tasmania is a hot spot for water-babies and those in search of the lost Atlantis. Snorkelling at Ninepin Point gives visitors a stunning sneak peak into an underwater world, offering up a festival of colourful marine life, fireworks of fish, penguins, migrating whales and curiously complex reef systems.

Ninepin Point Marine Reserve. 5544 Channel Highway. Verona Sands. Tasmania. Australia