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While the Great Barrier Reef offers some of the most stunning snorkeling opportunities in Australia (as well as the world in general), there’s still plenty of marine life to discover in Sydney. Famous for its numerous beautiful beaches, what’s less spoken about is the numerous snorkeling sites in the city.
All snorkeling spots in Sydney are accessible from the beach, free, and not too far off the beaten track. It’s a prime snorkeling destination for locals and travellers, beginners and pro snorkelers combined! Here are the best places to go snorkelling in Sydney’s beautiful beaches.
Fish in Sydney:
1. Bare Island
Where: La Perouse
Details: One of Sydney’s calmest snorkeling sites, Bare Island is a popular snorkeling and diving destination that’s just off the coast of La Perouse. Most of the snorkeling here happens around a huge fortress where there are plenty of rock platforms and marine life to discover. There’ll be puffer fish, sponge crabs, seahorses, red Indian fish, and more, all amongst beds of seagrass and other soft coral life.
2. The Basin
Where: Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park
Details: This beautiful spot is immersed in nature, far from the hustle and bustle of the city. A popular beach camping and water sports site, The Basin is an estuary filled with seagrass beds, rocks, sand, mud flats, and a wonderful opportunity to swim with Cuttlefish, Stingarees, Sea Stars, Leather Jackets, Rays, and even tropical fish in the warmer months!
3. Cabbage Tree Bay
Where: South Manly Beach to north Shelly Beach
Details: This aquatic reserve is where you’ll find some of Sydney’s healthiest sea life and best snorkeling. There’s an abundance of diversity in the marine life here with over 400 species of sea life to explore. Protected from swells and winds, Cabbage Tree Bay is one of Sydney’s calmest snorkeling spots, making it a great place for beginners and kids. You’ll be swimming amongst goatfish, old wives, blue groupers, wobbegongs, flounder, stingrays, and more.
4. Clovelly Beach
Details: One of Sydney’s most popular snorkel spots, this is a great place for beginner snorkelers as well as families to head out and have a splash. There is a calm enclosed pool where you can enjoy sea life on most days, but the real snorkeling action happens on the other side, in the ocean. You’ll get to enjoy varied underwater topography, lots of sponges and giant cuttlefish, as well as the resident blue groupers.
5. Gordons Bay
Details: Just on the other side of Clovelly Beach is this small hidden wonder, a calm beach where you can snorkel with catfish, combers, horse fish, pufferfish, and more. Enclosed by giant cliffs and boulders this beach is peaceful and picturesque, and one of Sydney’s best snorkel sites.
6. Kurnell Beach
Where: Botany Bay National Park
Details: This is where Captain Cook first landed in Australia, and there’s an abundance of marine and sea life to discover where it all happened. This rocky peninsula is one of Sydney’s quieter and more scenic beaches, and you don’t have to go very far to be swimming with giant cuttlefish, moray eels, Port Jackson sharks, and colourful weedy sea dragons (seahorse relatives).
7. Little Bay
Where: La Perouse
Details: Perfect for families, small children, and newbie snorkelers who don’t want to go too far from the city to see the good stuff, Little Bay is one of Sydney’s cleanest and most picturesque beaches. Less visited than some other popular Sydney spots, Little Bay is protected by two rocky headlands which provide shallow, calm waters for exploring marine life. The sea life is not so abundant and varied as elsewhere, but there are still colourful sea urchins and small fish to be discovered here.
“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!”
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