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By Ninja Shark’s founder (and water enthusiast), Andrew Porter
It’d be easier to make a list of where to not go snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef! This incredible ecosystem is the largest living ‘thing’ on Earth, made up of thousands of reefs and hundreds of gorgeous islands – you can even see the sprawling reef from outer space!
You’ll find over 600 types of unique coral life here, and an endless variety of fish and sealife to discover amongst its many islands. With all the different destinations it can be hard to know where to find the best spots, so here’s where to find the best snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef.
Fish in Great Barrier Reef: Blue Starfish, Clownfish, Dolphins, Goatfish, Kingfish, Lionfish, Moray Eels, Parrotfish, Reef Sharks, Sea Turtles, Stingrays, Triggerfish, Wobbegong Sharks, Yellowtail, and so much more.
Corals in Great Barrier Reef: Cauliflower Coral, Finger Coral, Flowerpot Coral, Hump Coral, Honeycomb Corals, Mushroom Coral, Organic Pipe Coral,, amongst 600 other species!
1. Agincourt Reef
Where: Port Douglas
Details: This is one of the best snorkelling sites in the world, on the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. A spectacular ribbon reef that’s crawling with an abundance of diverse sea life and complete with an underwater observatory, there are 16 different snorkel sites to explore here. It’s also one of the best places in the Great Barrier Reef where both advanced snorkellers and beginners have lots to enjoy.
2. Fitzroy Island
Where: 29km off the coast of Cairns
Details: Fitzroy Island is a local favourite, a rainforest-covered mountainous island with reef accessible right off the beach. The coral life here might not be as fascinating as elsewhere in the Great Barrier Reef, but there’s a tonne of active marine life to make up for it and a lot less crowds. This spot is the ideal getaway for those who want to snorkel, but do other things as well – here you can hike & bushwalk as well as swim with stingrays and sea turtles.
3. Flynn Reef
Where: 60km off the coast of Cairns
Details: This is one for the pro-snorkellers who are willing to invest time and money into seeing the best of the best. The sites here are world-class, with massive fields of hard corals and excellent visibility. Saturated with brightly coloured coral gardens, you’ll find lots of active marine life and enormous schools of fish weaving through the plants here.
Flynn Reef is really the best of the Outer Reef – there are giant clams up to 2 metres big, huge sea cucumbers, turtles, diverse topography and truly incredible reef overhangs.
4. Green Island
Details: This beautiful snorkel spot is popular with the tourists, and just a 45-minute boat ride away from Cairns. It’s the closest part of the reef that you can explore, and for that reason it can be a bit overcrowded at times. You might have to share the beach with other snorkellers, but you’ll find rich coral gardens and bustling marine life as soon as you hit the sand, with reef sharks, stingrays, turtles, parrotfish, chromis, clownfish, and more.
5. Hardy Reef
Where: Hayman Island, Whitsundays
Details: The Whitsundays are a stunning spot no matter which island you choose, but this is one of its most popular destinations and the closest to the Outer Reef. If you’re a serious snorkeler, this spot may be a little too ‘mainstream’ for you as it’s designed to make the Outer Reef accessible to less advanced divers. Still, there’s plenty of beautiful marine life to explore including Maori wrasse, reef sharks, stingrays, and green sea turtles.
6. Heron Island
Where: 80km off the coast of Gladstone
Details: If you’re looking to explore the Great Barrier Reef without compromise, Heron Island is a great bet with one of the reef’s best snorkel sites. Just as good as hitting the Outer Reef, you’ll get to see all the incredible coral life without having to head out as far – you can snorkel right off the beach! You can find around 60% of the Great Barrier Reef’s marine life right here, so expect to see wobbegong & reef sharks, manta rays, cod, turtles, eels, and all the coral life this reef is famed for.
7. Lady Musgrave Island
Where: South Great Barrier Reef
Details: Just an hour and a half from Bundaberg is this 1200-hectare lagoon that offers some of the best snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef. Pristine, untouched, crystal-clear turquoise waters, no current, and great visibility all year. Can snorkelling get any better than this? You’ll find over 350 varieties of coral here and more than 1,300 tropical fish species to swim with. Look out for leopard sharks and reef sharks, as well as turtles!
8. Opal Reef
Where: Port Douglas
Details: This is the section of reef that you see on Nat Geo when they show the Great Barrier Reef. Protected with restricted access, Opal Reef hasn’t seen the thousands of tourists that other parts of the Great Barrier Reef has, making it one of the most pristine and untouched areas. One of the best spots for beginners to get a taste of the Outer Reef, there are a number of different snorkel sites to explore, teeming with vibrant corals, white tip reef sharks, parrotfish, and turtles.
9. Tangalooma Wrecks
Where: Moreton Island
Details: The world’s third-largest sand island is a truly spectacular spot to throw on your snorkel mask and check out the pristine natural beauty. Off the shore of Moreton Island are the wrecks, 15 or so old boats, barges and dredges. The wrecks are just a short swim away from shore and home to over 175 different varieties of fish, crystal-clear water, and picture perfect scenery. Expect to see anything from turtles, moray eels, stingrays, dolphins, and sharks amongst all the fishlife.
The answer is: too many! Traditional snorkel masks can be uncomfortable and scary for many people, so the beauty of snorkelling goes undiscovered and unexperienced. Whether it's breathing difficulties, choking on sea water, or foggy goggles, there's a lot that prevents people from enjoying the wonderful sport of snorkelling. And that thought makes us sad.
We think everyone should be able to enjoy the underwater world - safely, comfortably, and easily. That's why we created Ninja Shark and our revolutionary line of full face snorkel masks. They're designed to be super comfy, easy-to-use, and make snorkelling accessible for all. Because nobody should miss out on discovering what's under the sea.
NINJASHARK is the sound of a revolution in snorkeling. Whereas other water equipments companies are constantly adding poor quality products, we listen to your feedback and constantly improve our products to fit for all of your needs.
While other water equipments companies offer just a way to look under the water, NINJASHARK wants to create an amazing experience for water enthusiasts. That's why we listen to your feedbacks and we develop products based on them.
The Influencer @lud.around doesn’t believes just in snorkelling, but in the entire experience of it. When NinjaShark asked her what is in her beach bag everytime she goes on a vacation, she said, “Ninja Shark:I'm not leaving my room without the mask. The full face snorkeling mask from Australia is comfortable and fit me perfectly! Love how easy it is to breath out your nose and mouth when you snorkeling and even has earplugs! ”
“The mask include GOPRO mounts, so you can easily film and photograph underwater scenery! I highly recommend especially to people who have a fear of snorkeling! This mask is really easy to use and is safe!” said @lud.around. “I can’t wait for my next trip with my new mask!”
The Ninja Shark full face snorkel masks comes equipped with advanced Anti-Fog technology, automatic drainage, no CO2 Buildup with improved uni-directional valves, and a revolutionary breathe flow system so you can breathe through both your nose and mouth.
Loved the complete set. I even used the waterproof phone pouch to take photos and videos underwater. It made my Fiji experience so much better than using the free snorkel set that hurt your face after 2hours and leaving a sun/mask mark. The ninja leaves no marks and gives great vision under water in comparison. It did take some getting used to but it definitely paid off! Only frustration is that the tightening straps are quite basic; they should be much simpler to loosen and tighten both in and out of water.” – Jock