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's a complete guide to snorkelling the Coral Coast:
The Jurien Bay Marine Park contains a mix of temperate and tropical waters and marine life, courtesy of the Leeuwin Current. Snorkellers will delight in the diversity of this environment. Colourful corals, extensive limestone reefs and cheeky Australian sea lions can also be found here. Sea lion tours operate daily from the Jurien Bay boat harbour.
The Abrolhos Islands are an undiscovered underwater paradise, boasting world-class snorkelling and diving sites. The crystal clear turquoise water ensures incredible visibility, and the water surrounding the low lying coral islands is full of life.
The extensive coral reef system stretches for over 100 kilometres and the warm southerly current creates an environment perfect for both tropical and temperate marine life. The coral formation, density and colours are amazing. The sea lions, dolphins and migratory whales are often spotted in the area. The Australian sea lion is a relatively rare, curious inhabitant of the islands and they frequently swim and play with snorkellers and divers.
Exploring the site of the Batavia wreck and the islands that bore witness to blood-thirsty mutiny and massacres among the first European arrivals, can also be experienced by snorkellers.
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 four-wheel drive only, but snorkelling tours are available from Denham and Monkey Mia. Here's some great locations for your must-do snorkelling list.
The Gregories is the perfect site for drift snorkelling with a shallow coral wall not far from the shore.
Surf Point is located at the southern end of Dirk Hartog Island, is a sanctuary zone, and boasts an abundance of fish and coral in shallow waters.
Sandy Point is located on the east coast of the island, and has some of the best coral in the bay.
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.
Why not join a tour and explore the outer coral gardens of this amazing fringing reef, or snorkel with the giants of the deep the whale shark (from late March through to early July).
A much loved holiday hotspot and home to Ningaloo Reef, Coral Bay is the perfect snorkel spot for the whole family. Walk down to the beach from your accommodation and straight out onto the reef from the shore. Ningaloo's prolific Cabbage Coral Gardens are teeming with fish and turtles. The bays are protected by the reef and the friendly fish swim right up to you. The kids can even feed the schools of norwest snapper at the beach at 3.30pm each day as they swim into shore at Coral Bay. After you've snorkelled off the beaches join a tour and snorkel with the big guys - the gentle giant manta rays and whale sharks.
Oyster Bridge and the Lagoon in Coral Bay can only be reached by four-wheel drive.
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 and surrounded by the rugged beauty of the National Park. Step off the beach and into the underwater playground of the reef. The fringing reef is just metres from the shore and you can even drift snorkel over it at stunning Turquoise Bay.
The Oyster Stacks are great for fish life and is recommended for more experienced snorkellers. This site should only be snorkelled during a high tide when there is sufficient water over the reef - please check at Milyering Discovery Centre or Exmouth Visitor Centre for tide heights and times.
Take care entering the water as the shoreline is rocky with some sharp oyster shelled areas. Enter the water at the end of the walking track and snorkel either north or south.
Fish you will commonly see at this location include Moorish Idol, Convict Surgeonfish, various subsets of the Parrotfish family, Lined and Raccoon Butterflyfish as well as Angelfish.
Several outback station boundaries run right up to the Ningaloo Reef, meaning they're the perfect places to base yourself on a snorkelling holiday.