The Coral Coast is a marine wonderland and provides the most amazing snorkeling adventures along the length of the region for all ages and abilities, most just metres from the shore.
Here are some of the underwater wonders waiting to be discovered:
The Jurien Bay Marine Park contains a mix of temperate and tropical waters and marine life, thanks to the warm Leeuwin Current that flows south Western Australia's coastline. Snorkellers will delight in exploring the diversity of the environment, with colourful corals and extensive limestone reef. The Marine Park is also home to one of the rare Australian sea lion's most significant breeding grounds. Sea lion tours operate from the Jurien Bay Boat Harbour and are a great way to explore the Marine Park and get up close to the playful sea lions.
Houtman Abrolhos Islands
The Houtman Abrolhos Islands, off Geraldton, are an undiscovered underwater paradise, boasting world-class snorkelling and diving sites. Crystal clear turquoise waters surround the 122 island archipelago, offering incredible visibility and home to an abundance of marine life. The extensive coral reef system stretches for over 100 kilometres and the warm Leeuwin Current creates an environment perfect for both tropical and temperate marine life. Coral formations, density and colours are amazing, and sea lions, dolphins and migratory whales are commonly spotted in the area. The Abrolhos Islands are the northernmost habitat of the rare Australian sea lion, and the curious creatures frequently swim and play with snorkellers and divers.
The Batavia wreck is one of the better known dive sites at the Abrolhos Islands, and can also be experienced by snorkellers. Discover the site and story of the mutiny among the first European arrivals to Australia.
Shark Bay World Heritage Area
Shark Bay Marine Park is home to an abundance of marine life, and small coral reefs can be found in remote areas. Access is by boat or 4WD only, however snorkelling tours are available from Denham and Monkey Mia. Within Francois Peron National Park, Gregories is the perfect site for drift snorkelling with a shallow coral wall not far from the shore. On Dirk Hartog Island, Surf Point and Sandy Point are popular snorkelling locations. Surf Point, located at the southern end of the island, is a sanctuary zone boasting an abundance of fish and coral in shallow waters, whilst Sandy Point is located on the east coast of the island and has some of the best coral in Shark Bay.
Ningaloo Marine Park
Snorkelling the Ningaloo Reef of Western Australia’s Coral Coast is an absolute must if you’re visiting Exmouth, Coral Bay or the oceanside stations north of Carnarvon. Regarded as one of the last great ocean paradises on Earth, you can access this watery wonderland by simply stepping off the beach and into the sea. Guided tours provide the opportunity to explore the outer coral gardens of the world's largest fringing reef, and to swim with Ningaloo's Big 3: whale sharks, humpback whales and manta rays.
A much loved holiday hotspot on the shores of Ningaloo Reef, Coral Bay is the perfect snorkel spot for the whole family as the bays are protected by the reef. Walk down to the beach from your accommodation and straight out onto the reef from the shore. Coral Bay's prolific cabbage coral gardens are teeming with fish and turtles, with many of the friendly fish swimming right up to you. Children can enjoy feeding the schools of norwest snapper each day at 3:30pm, when the schools swim close into shore. Fiver Fingers Reef, Oyster Bridge and the Lagoon in Coral Bay are all popular snorkelling sites that can only be reached by 4WD.
The northern gateway to the Ningaloo Reef Marine Park and home to Cape Range National Park, Exmouth offers some of the best snorkelling in the world. Step off the beach and into the underwater playground of the fringing reef, mere metres from shore. Turquoise Bay is one of the better known snorkelling locations thanks to its drift snorkel, however this is not recommended for weak or inexperienced swimmers. Lakeside is a better option for inexperienced or less confident swimmers, as the sheltered, calm beach offers great snorkelling opportunities. Similarly, Oyster Stacks is a popular option for families as the coral reef and its prolific reef life are just steps from the shore in shallow water. However, due to the shallow waters here, Oyster Stacks should only be snorkelled during high tide when there is sufficient water over the reef; the Milyering Discovery Centre and Ningaloo Centre can assist with advising tide movements. Swimmers are reminded to take care when entering the water as the shoreline around Oyster Stacks is rocky, with some sharp oyster shelled areas; it is recommended to enter the water at the end of the walking track and snorkel either north or south.
Several outback station boundaries abut the Ningaloo Reef, making them the perfect place to base yourself on a snorkelling holiday. Specifically, the stretch of coast between Carnarvon and Coral Bay provides an ideal location to soak up the rugged beauty of the Coral Coast on an off-the-beaten-track escape. Quobba Station, Gnaraloo Bay and Warroora Station all offer incredible snorkelling opportunities, with Quobba Station's Red Bluff being the southern end of the Ningaloo Reef,
Outback Station Snorkelling