Best Times of Year to Snorkel at Different Locations in Australia

by Catalin Andries on July 09, 2024

Australia offers some of the best snorkelling experiences in the world, thanks to its diverse marine life and stunning underwater landscapes. However, the ideal time for snorkeling can vary greatly depending on the location. This guide will help you plan your snorkeling adventures by highlighting the best times of year to visit various snorkeling hotspots across Australia.

1. Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

© Photo by Luka Peternel, CC By SA4.0, via Wikimedia

Best Time to Snorkel: June to October

The Great Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest coral reef system in the world. The best time to snorkel here is during the dry season (June to October). During this period, you can expect clear waters, comfortable temperatures, and minimal rainfall, making it perfect for underwater exploration. Additionally, this is the season when you might encounter minke and humpback whales.

2. Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

© Photo by By SYPulau - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia

Best Time to Snorkel: March to August

Ningaloo Reef is known for its pristine coral formations and the chance to swim with whale sharks. The best time to visit is between March and August, which aligns with the whale shark season. The water is warm and visibility is excellent during these months, providing ideal conditions for snorkeling.

3. Lord Howe Island, New South Wales

© Photo by Fanny Schertzer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia

Best Time to Snorkel: October to April

This remote island offers some of the best snorkeling spots in the world. The waters around Lord Howe Island are clear and teeming with marine life. The best time to snorkel here is from October to April, when the water temperatures are warmer and the weather is generally more pleasant.

4. Jervis Bay, New South Wales

© Photo by Charliekay - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia

Best Time to Snorkel: November to April

Jervis Bay is famous for its white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. The best time to snorkel here is from November to April, when the weather is warm and the waters are calm. This period also coincides with the breeding season for many marine species, offering a unique underwater experience.

5. Whitsunday Islands, Queensland

© Photo by DANIEL JULIE from Paris, France, CC BY 2.0, via Wikipedia

Best Time to Snorkel: May to November

The Whitsunday Islands are a snorkeler's paradise, with their clear waters and vibrant coral reefs. The best time to snorkel here is during the dry season (May to November). This period offers calm seas, excellent visibility, and comfortable temperatures, making it perfect for snorkeling.

6. Rottnest Island, Western Australia

© Photo by Hesperian - Own work, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia

Best Time to Snorkel: October to April

Rottnest Island, located off the coast of Perth, is known for its diverse marine life and beautiful coral reefs. The best time to snorkel here is from October to April, when the water temperatures are higher and the weather is more stable. This period also offers the best visibility for underwater exploration.

7. Port Douglas, Queensland

© Photo by zpunout, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia

Best Time to Snorkel: June to October

Port Douglas serves as a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The best time to snorkel here is during the dry season (June to October). The weather is cooler, the seas are calmer, and the risk of jellyfish is lower, ensuring a safe and enjoyable snorkeling experience.

8. Moreton Island, Queensland

© Photo by J Brew, CC BY-SA 2.0, via WIkimedia

Best Time to Snorkel: March to May

Moreton Island, known for its shipwrecks and marine life, is best visited from March to May. During this period, the weather is warm and the water conditions are ideal for snorkeling. Visibility is usually at its peak, making it easier to explore the underwater wonders.

Australia offers a plethora of snorkeling destinations, each with its own unique marine environment and ideal seasons for exploration. By planning your trip according to the best times of year for each location, you can ensure a memorable and enjoyable snorkeling experience. Whether you’re swimming with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef or exploring the vibrant coral gardens of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia’s underwater treasures are waiting to be discovered.


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Diane K. (Melbourne, AU)
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Life changing

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mask swimming

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(DRAFT) Diving Dry Snorkel Set with GoPro mount
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