The beauty of Perth’s coastline doesn’t end with its beaches – there’s a whole other world of wonder just waiting to be discovered. Just grab a mask and a snorkel, and head to one of our favourite spots to get up close and personal with the magical marine life of the Indian Ocean.
If getting your face wet doesn’t appeal to you or it’s too cold to take the plunge, you can also visit AQWA – the Aquarium of Western Australia – where you can come face to face with creatures of the deep (and shallow), like sea turtles, manta rays, coral and the rare and beautiful weedy seadragon.
Who hasn’t dreamed of snorkelling around a real-life shipwreck? Part of the Coogee Maritime Trail, the historic Omeo shipwreck is number one when it comes to snorkelling spots in Perth, and features an underwater art gallery and an old cannon, complete with marine life including tropical fish, coral and giant starfish. Ten minutes south of Fremantle, the Coogee Maritime Trail is within wading distance of Coogee Beach.
The rocky stretch of coastline between Trigg Beach and Hillarys is perfect for snorkelling, with plenty of sheltered and secluded spots to see fish, anemones and coral hiding in the seagrass. Mettams Pool is one of the most popular spots, but we also like Hammersley Pool and Waterman’s Bay. Head there in the morning when the waves are at their calmest for maximum visibility.
While Hillarys is best known for its aquarium and marina, it is also home to the Boyinaboat Reef. A popular snorkelling and dive site, the reef is home to the odd seal and dolphin, along with blue devilfish, cardinalfish, morwong, sea stars and anemones. There are also caves, swim-throughs and several informative plaques. Located about 75 metres (250ft) from the sea wall, you’ll have to put in a bit of effort to get to the reef, including walking along the breakwater and climbing down over the rocks.
About 45 minutes north of Perth city, Yanchep is one of those hidden gem snorkelling spots that you’ve always dreamed about. The turquoise lagoon is perfect for a lazy snorkel or a swim, but if you’re a bit more serious then head up to the Yanchep Dog Beach and visit the reef there, where you can see everything from sea stars and octopus to sea urchins, crayfish, lionfish, anemones and pink snapper.
Perth’s best snorkelling is probably over on Rottnest Island. With 13 shipwreck sites, over 500 species of tropical fish and plenty of colourful coral, it’s the perfect place to explore WA’s fascinating underwater world. To get there, hop on the ferry and then jump on a bicycle and head south to Parker Point, the beginning of the Parker Point Marine Snorkelling Trail. You can also check out Little Armstrong Bay, Kitson Point and the shipwreck at Henrietta Rocks.
About 50km (30mi) south of Perth, the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park is a great spot for snorkelling and spotting wildlife above and below the water. As you explore this archipelago of limestone islands, keep your eyes peeled for penguins, dolphins and sea lions, along with fish, crabs and lots of coral. From the mainland, the best snorkelling is around Point Peron and Mushroom Rocks, but you can also swim out from Penguin Island or join a tour.