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Exploring the Best Snorkelling Spots in Sydney: A Diver’s Paradise

Find out where to snorkel in Sydney with our expertly curated list of the finest spots, including the best snorkelling spots in Sydney. Our selection, tailored for aquatic enthusiasts of all levels, provides a snapshot into the range of experiences awaiting you; from tranquil bays to rich underwater habitats. Keep reading to explore the details that make each spot a favourite among locals and visitors without giving everything away.

Key Takeaways

  • Sydney offers a wide range of world-class snorkelling spots, including Shelly Beach, Bare Island, and Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve. These spots showcase rich marine biodiversity and unique environments for both beginners and seasoned snorkelers.
  • Snorkelers in Sydney can expect encounters with various marine life, including weedy sea dragons, Port Jackson sharks, and colourful coral reefs, which add to the allure and excitement of the underwater experience.
  • Safety and preparedness are important when snorkelling in Sydney, with the optimal season stretching from September to April; Bondi 38 Serviced Apartments serve as a luxurious base for easy access to snorkelling sites and comfortable accommodations.

Top Snorkelling Destinations in Sydney

Sydney’s coastline is a treasure trove for underwater explorers, boasting an array of world-class snorkelling spots that offer a unique peek into the city’s vibrant marine life. Each dive site has its unique charm, featuring diverse underwater landscapes and aquatic species. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a beginner snorkeler, Sydney’s waters promise an unforgettable underwater experience that will leave you yearning for more. Some of the best snorkelling spots in Sydney include:

  • Clovelly Beach
  • Shelly Beach
  • Gordons Bay
  • Bare Island
  • Cabbage Tree Bay

Explore these spots and discover the beauty of Sydney’s underwater world.

From the tranquil waters of Shelly Beach to the aquatic wonderland of Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve, Sydney’s snorkelling spots are a diver’s paradise. But that’s not all! There’s more to explore at:

  • Bare Island
  • Clovelly Beach
  • Botany Bay’s Kurnell
  • Oak Park

Let’s explore these underwater havens further and discover what makes them some of the best snorkelling spots in Sydney.

Shelly Beach

Shelly Beach, nestled near the bustling Manly Beach and not far from the serene Malabar Beach, is more than just a stunning coastline. It’s a diver’s dream come true, home to a rich marine biodiversity thanks to protective measures like the ban on fishing since 2002. The unique marine environment at Shelly Beach comprises a sandy seabed that transitions to seagrass meadows and kelp-covered rocks, providing diverse habitats for aquatic life. This captivating underwater world is easily accessible. Shelly Beach is only a short stroll from Manly via the Marine Parade, making it an irresistible spot for beginners and seasoned snorkelers.

As you navigate the calm waters, you’ll encounter fascinating sea creatures like Port Jackson sharks, known for their unique breeding habits and winter mating congregations. These friendly sharks, and the colourful array of other marine species make Shelly Beach an unmissable snorkelling destination on Sydney’s coastline.

Bare Island

Bare Island is your go-to destination if you’re after a snorkelling experience that combines easy access with abundant marine life. The eastern side of Bare Island, known for its higher visibility and shallower waters, is ideally suited for beginners. The optimal conditions for snorkelling include a north swell and an incoming tide, contributing to calmer waters and enhanced clarity, making your underwater exploration a breeze.

As you dive into the crystal-clear waters, prepare to be amazed by an array of marine life, such as blue gropers, sea urchins, and small octopuses, amid the island’s underwater habitats. However, safety should always be a priority. Be sure to avoid diving during southerly swells over 1.2 metres, as rough water can make exiting more challenging. With the proper precautions, Bare Island promises an unforgettable underwater adventure.

Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve

One of Sydney’s prime snorkelling locations is the Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve, a haven for scuba diving, swimming, and underwater photography. The reserve encompasses the region from the southern end of Manly Beach to the northern end of Shelly Beach Headland, stretching over an area of roughly 20 hectares. With its protected waters and ease of foreshore access, Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve beaches are a popular destination for snorkelers.

But it’s not just the tranquil waters that draw snorkelers to this reserve. The vibrant community of over 160 species of marine fauna calls it home. As you snorkel through the waters, you’ll encounter some critters such as:

  • Blue gropers
  • Harlequin fish
  • Banjo rays
  • Flatheads
  • Dusky whaler sharks
  • Turtles

Each dive reveals a new facet of this aquatic paradise, making the Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve a must-visit snorkelling spot in Sydney.

Clovelly Beach

Clovelly Beach is not your typical Sydney snorkelling spot. This unique underwater environment features:

  • Dramatic boulders that provide a habitat for diverse species
  • The star attraction: a 1.2-metre blue grouper named Bluey
  • Giant cuttlefish
  • Various sponges

These add a touch of colour and excitement to the underwater experience at Clovelly Beach.

As you navigate past the boulders, you’ll also come across giant rays and wobbegong sharks, making your snorkelling experience at Clovelly Beach one for the books. So, grab your snorkel gear and jump in to discover the mesmerising marine life that awaits at Clovelly Beach!

Botany Bay’s Kurnell

Looking for a unique snorkelling experience? Head to the fascinating Botany Bay, home to Australia’s largest congregation of weedy sea dragons. These enchanting creatures are often found amongst the kelp and seaweed beds, providing snorkelers a unique experience as they navigate this underwater habitat.

Not only does Kurnell offer clear water conditions beneficial for snorkelling, but it also strongly emphasises conservation efforts to protect the weedy sea dragons. As you explore the waters of Kurnell, you’re not just snorkelling; you’re diving into a conservation story, playing a part in protecting these unique creatures.

Oak Park, Cronulla

Located in southern Sydney, Oak Park, Cronulla is a snorkelling location that is sure to captivate your senses. From the moment you dive in, you’ll notice a splendid array of marine life, including:

  • Gropers
  • Cuttlefish
  • Octopuses
  • Rays

The underwater adventure at Oak Park, located near the Royal National Park, is truly a testament to Sydney’s diverse marine biodiversity, featuring a dedicated underwater nature trail for exploration.

In addition to the fascinating marine creatures, the calm waters and beautiful underwater landscapes make Oak Park a memorable snorkelling destination. Whether you’re a beginner snorkeler or an experienced diver, Oak Park promises an underwater experience that’s nothing short of spectacular.

Sydney’s Underwater World: Marine Life You Can Encounter

Sydney’s underwater world is a kaleidoscope of colour, teeming with an impressive array of marine life. Sydney’s waters are a diver’s paradise, from the colourful leather jackets to the unique porcupinefish. As you snorkel through the vibrant coral reefs and sponges, schools of colourful fish, shellfish, and the prominent eastern blue gropers will greet you. But that’s not all! Sydney’s waters also play host to larger species like grey nurse sharks and the enchanting weedy sea dragons, a species endemic to Sydney’s waters.

Each species contributes to the aquatic biodiversity, making Sydney a top snorkelling destination. But some creatures truly stand out, captivating snorkelers with their unique characteristics and behaviours. Let’s dive deeper into the underwater world of Sydney and meet some of these fascinating marine creatures.

Sea Horses and Weedy Sea Dragons

Sea horses, weedy sea dragons, and other fascinating sea life can be encountered in Sydney’s snorkelling spots. Known to inhabit underwater sites like Clifton Gardens, the endangered White’s seahorse is often found clinging to submerged objects, showing incredible adaptability to their marine environment.

The weedy sea dragons, a fascinating fish species and relatives of the seahorse, are a significant and common feature in Sydney’s diving sites. They are characterised by:

  • Long, leaf-like appendages
  • Reaching lengths up to 45 cm
  • Remarkable camouflage amongst the kelp beds
  • Unique reddish coats with yellow and purple markings

Encountering a weedy sea dragon is a truly unforgettable underwater experience.

Port Jackson Sharks

Dive into Sydney’s depths, and you might encounter a Port Jackson shark. These nocturnal bullhead sharks, with a flattened head and long spiralling tails, provide a unique spectacle for snorkelers. Port Jackson sharks are more active at night and often rest in large numbers on the sand during the day.

Port Jackson sharks may look intimidating, but in reality, they are pretty gentle and do not pose any danger to humans. Their docile nature makes them safe to be around. With their blunt snouts, defined ridges, and unique feeding habits, these sharks add an element of intrigue to your snorkelling adventure in Sydney.

Colourful Coral Reefs and Sponges

The vibrant coral reefs and sponges in Sydney’s waters are a snorkeler’s dream. These colourful underwater landscapes are home to a diverse array of marine life, providing snorkelers with a visual feast of colour and variety. Some of the marine life you can expect to see are:

  • Maori wrasse
  • Eastern blue groper
  • Schools of colourful fish
  • Nudibranchs
  • Sea stars
  • Various leatherjackets

These underwater ecosystems, home to various tropical species, offer snorkelers a unique and beautiful experience, making it the only snorkelling destination you’ll ever need.

Sydney’s coral reefs and sponges are adorned with a rainbow of sponges and sea squirts, adding bursts of colour to the snorkelling experience. These vibrant ecosystems not only offer an enchanting underwater experience but also serve as an important habitat for a variety of marine species. Whether you’re a seasoned snorkeller or a beginner, exploring these colourful coral reefs and sponges is a must-do in Sydney!

Tips for Snorkelling in Sydney

Snorkelling in Sydney is a thrilling experience, but it’s important to remember that preparation and safety are key. The best time to snorkel in Sydney is from September to April, when the water temperatures are warmer, making your underwater exploration more enjoyable. However, snorkelling is not just about diving in; it’s about respecting the marine environment and taking necessary safety precautions to ensure a comfortable and pleasant experience.

Whether you’re new to snorkelling or have been doing it for years, here are some tips to enhance your underwater adventure in Sydney. From choosing the right gear to understanding the local marine life, let’s dive into some handy tips for snorkelling in Sydney.

Best Time to Snorkel in Sydney

When it comes to snorkelling in Sydney, timing is everything. While you can snorkel year-round in Sydney, water temperatures are generally warmer and more comfortable from late spring through early autumn. The best time to visit Sydney for snorkelling is generally from December to February when conditions are optimal. However, the milder weather and water temperatures from September to November and March to May also offer good snorkelling opportunities.

The clarity of the water can also enhance your snorkelling experience. After periods of southerly winds, Sydney waters can experience excellent visibility due to the Coriolis Effect. During winter months, the prevalence of westerly and northwest winds can improve water clarity by bringing cleaner water from tropical areas closer to shore.

So, whether you’re planning a summer snorkelling adventure or a winter dive, Sydney’s waters are ready to welcome you.

Safety Precautions and Equipment

Ensuring personal safety while snorkelling involves using well-fitting equipment, adhering to safety precautions, and being aware of one’s capabilities and the surrounding environment. Owning personal snorkelling gear ensures a proper fit and condition, which is critical for preventing equipment failures and enhancing safety in the water. Wearing a wetsuit or rash guard can also help protect against sunburn and stings from marine life such as jellyfish or fire coral.

Staying hydrated is important to prevent dehydration and cramps, which can affect a snorkeler’s ability to swim safely. Take regular breaks and ensure you are well-rested before snorkelling to avoid exhaustion and reduce the risk of accidents in the water. Understanding and preparing for ocean currents is pivotal for snorkelers’ safety, as currents can vary in strength and can influence directional swimming.

Follow these safety precautions, and you’re all set for a safe and enjoyable snorkelling adventure in Sydney.

Stay at Bondi 38 Serviced Apartments: Your Gateway to Sydney’s Snorkelling Spots

After a thrilling day of snorkelling, where better to unwind than at a luxurious stay near the beach? Welcome to Bondi 38 Serviced Apartments, your gateway to Sydney’s snorkelling spots. Nestled near the iconic Bondi Beach, these serviced apartments offer:

  • Panoramic ocean views
  • A prime beachfront location that provides easy access to Sydney’s snorkelling destinations
  • Various modern amenities and apartment types

Bondi 38 caters to guests’ needs, offering a comfortable and convenient stay.

Whether you’re travelling solo, as a couple, or with a family, Bondi 38 has got you covered. From studio apartments for solo travellers to one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments for families, each apartment offers modern conveniences such as air-conditioned rooms, complimentary Wi-Fi, and a fully equipped kitchen. Let’s take a closer look at what Bondi 38 has to offer.

Apartment Types and Amenities

At Bondi 38, you can choose from studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments, each equipped with modern conveniences for a comfortable stay. Each apartment boasts a fully equipped kitchen with all the necessary utensils and appliances for home-cooked meals, a spacious lounge area, and a beautiful dining room for relaxation and dining convenience.

The apartments feature:

  • Comfortable furniture in the living area with cable or satellite TV for entertainment.
  • Spacious bedrooms with ample storage space, air conditioning, and a private bathroom equipped with essentials for comfortable living.
  • Keyless entry, enhancing the security and ease of access for guests.

For those travelling with mobility needs, Bondi 38 also provides an option for a wheelchair-accessible apartment to ensure an inclusive and comfortable stay.

Location and Accessibility

The prime beachfront location of Bondi 38 Serviced Apartments allows guests to explore Sydney’s snorkelling spots easily. The central location of Bondi 38 facilitates exploration within Bondi and serves as a convenient base from which to visit numerous snorkelling spots around Sydney. Whether venturing to the nearby Clovelly Beach or heading out to the distant Oak Park, Cronulla, Bondi 38 makes it easy for guests to reach their snorkelling destinations.

Guests with mobility needs can enjoy a comfortable stay at Bondi 38 Serviced Apartments, which is fully wheelchair accessible. For guests travelling with vehicles, although Bondi 38 has limited parking, the available car parking spots offer a valuable amenity. Its prime location and accessibility, Bondi 38 Serviced Apartments is perfect for your Sydney snorkelling adventure.


From the enchanting underwater world of Shelly Beach to the vibrant marine life at Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve, Sydney’s snorkelling spots are a testament to the city’s rich and diverse marine biodiversity. Whether you’re a novice snorkeller or an experienced diver, Sydney’s waters promise an unforgettable underwater experience. And with the luxurious Bondi 38 Serviced Apartments serving as your base, you’re all set for an exciting snorkelling adventure in Sydney. So, grab your snorkel gear and dive into the azure waters of Sydney. The underwater world is waiting to mesmerise you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there reefs near Sydney?

Yes, there are submerged shipwrecks and diverse underwater ecosystems like rock scree, seagrass beds, and kelp forests near Sydney, providing unique and exciting opportunities for exploration. There are also natural coral reefs off the coast of New South Wales, although they are not as extensive as those of the Great Barrier Reef.

Where is the prettiest place to snorkel?

The prettiest places to snorkel in the world are the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Ilha Grande in Brazil, Palawan in the Philippines, and the Maldives. Each offers a unique and stunning underwater experience with vibrant marine life and beautiful coral.

Where is the best place to snorkel near Bondi Beach?

The best place to snorkel near Bondi Beach is Clovelly, located just south of Bondi in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. It’s a safe and protected spot with easy access for snorkelers of all ages.

Is there good snorkelling in Sydney, Australia?

Yes, Sydney offers excellent snorkelling opportunities with diverse marine life, such as fish, sponge gardens, sea turtles, and more, rivalling overseas destinations. With many spots like Clovelly Pool offering calm waters and diverse underwater life, it’s an ideal destination for beginners and experienced snorkelers.

What is the best time to snorkel in Sydney?

The best time to snorkel in Sydney is from September to April when the water temperatures are warmer and more comfortable for snorkelling. Enjoy your underwater adventure!


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