Sydney / Lifestyle / Dive In! The Best Places to Snorkel in Sydney

Dive In! The Best Places to Snorkel in Sydney

Nothing beats a summer’s day by the water – except a day spent in it. While it’s no secret Sydney is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, many of them are teeming with sea life, and perfect for a snorkelling session. From the harbour to Manly and Botany Bay, you’ll find open air aquariums full of fish, coral and other sea creatures just waiting to be explored. Don your mask, snorkel and fins, and dive in to see what’s going on beneath the surface at the best snorkelling spots in Sydney. 

Little Bay

If you have kids in tow, head to Little Bay – calm, clear and well-protected by headlands, it’s brilliant for beginners and families. The beach is beautiful, and the view below is just as good. You’ll spot a rainbow of sea life, including anamones, black urchins, squid and tiny species of fish swimming in large schools. Little Bay is also known as one of Sydney’s cleanest beaches, so pack a picnic and sunscreen and make a day of it. 

Coast Hospital Road, Little Bay

 Kamay Botany National Park, Kurnell

Famous for being the place where Captain Cook landed in 1770, Kamay Botany National Park in Kurnell plays host to a lively underwater community. Enter via Silver Beach, and then swim east until you pass Cook’s obelisk. Once you’re there, the fun begins. Suit up in your snorkelling gear, and you’ll spot the largest congregation of weedy sea dragons in Australia, as well as boar fish, wobbegongs, groupers, cuttlefish, eels and Port Jackson sharks darting around.  

Monument Track, Kurnell

Gordons Bay, Coogee

This pretty bay is popular with snorkelers and divers, and for good reason – it’s the only spot in Sydney with a dedicated underwater trail. Enter via the coastal trail, then paddle your way to the north end, where you can pick up a chain that makes a 500-metre loop around the crystal-clear waters of the bay. As you snorkel, you’ll see reefs, kelp forests, snapper, starfish, urchins and cuttlefish.  

Major Street, Coogee

Oak Park Pool, Cronulla 

In Cronulla, this ocean pool is a hit with both amateur and seasoned snorkelers. The protected area gives beginners a chance to get the hang of snorkelling, and there’s even more sea life on the other side of the pool walls. Bring your flippers and mask, and get ready to spot blue gropers, goatfish, cuttlefish, Moray eels, weedy sea dragons before flopping down on the parklands that lie behind the beach. 

Jibbon Street, Cronulla 

Shelly Beach, Manly

Part of Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve, Shelly Beach is heaving with over 400 species of sea life thanks to years of being a ‘no take’ (i.e no fishing) zone. With great visibility, it’s sheltered from the ocean swell and winds, so you can get up close to flounder, flathead, goatfish, wobbegongs, ‘old wives’, yellowfin bream and hawksbill turtles if you’re lucky! Jump in at the boat ramp and go from there. 

Marine Parade, Manly

Long Bay, Malabar 

Another snorkelling gem is Little Bay’s big brother, Long Bay, located in the inlet of Malabar Beach. The suburb was named after a 1931 shipwreck, the MV Malabar – everyone survived, and the site is now a go-to spot for snorkelers to explore. As you swim around what’s left of the ship, you’ll have plenty of company, namely the octopi, stingrays and different types of fish that have made the wreck home. 

Fishermans Road, Malabar 

Fishermans Beach, Collaroy

Sitting pretty in the Long Reef Aquatic Reserve, Fishermans Beach is brimming with beautiful, colourful species of sea life. The currents can be quite strong in this section of the coast, so be sure to check the swell before setting out. On any given day, you can expect to see feather stars, heart urchins, nudibranchs (sea slugs) and starfish. After you’ve ticked those sea critters off your list, spend the afternoon soaking up the sun.  

Anzac Avenue, Collaroy

Bare Island, La Perouse

Bare Island lies just north of Kurnell in La Perouse. It featured in the blockbuster, Mission Impossible II (the villain’s lair), but that’s not its only claim to fame: it’s also one of the busiest snorkelling and scuba diving spots in the state. That being said, the waters are tranquil, making it ideal for first-timers, too. Paddle your way past puffer fish, big belly seahorses, red Indian fish, gurnards and vibrant sponge gardens. 

Anzac Parade, La Perouse


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