Snorkelling in Sydney

A snorkelling adventure is a wonderful way to experience Sydney’s natural underwater beauty, from seahorses in Sydney Harbour to kelp forests and rocky reefs teeming with marine life near the seashore. You might even spot Bluey, a blue groper, while exploring Clovelly’s sheltered bay.

Bays and coves along the spectacular Sydney coastline are havens for colourful marine creatures. In Sydney Harbour are big-belly seahorses, wobbegong sharks and hundreds of other fish species. In Manly, near the ferry wharf, is a colony of little penguins – the smallest penguin species in the world.

Marine life passing through Cabbage Bay Aquatic Reserve, Manly

Great snorkelling spots in Sydney include:

You’ll find an exciting range of snorkelling tours. You can join Sydney Underwater Scooter Tours and explore the amazing waters of Gordons Bay, which is in the Bronte-Coogee Aquatic Reserve. The rocky reefs, kelp forests and sandflats are home to blue gropers, a protected species in the reserve.

Hop on a ferry at Circular Quay and glide across the harbour to Manly, where the Dive Centre Manly and EcoTreasures will take you snorkelling in the Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve. Blue groper, cuttlefish, wobbegong sharks and sea dragons are a few of the numerous species in the sanctuary.

Snorkelling above yellowtail fish, Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve, Manly

From December to March, Sydney Harbour Discovery offers a cruise to icons such as the Sydney Opera House and to a secluded beach in the Sydney Harbour National Park. Bring your own snorkel gear or hire equipment aboard the boat and explore the vibrant world under the sparkling waters.

Another harbour snorkelling tour is with Spirit Fleet. You’ll enjoy the iconic attractions above and below the water on Sydney Harbour, which is also known as Port Jackson. You might even spot a harmless Port Jackson shark or a giant cuttlefish, the largest species of cuttlefish in the world.

Sydney Swimming safety

NSW has a wide range of wonderful swimming options including beaches, ocean pools, harbourside pools, lakes, rivers, and swimming holes at the bottom of waterfalls. However to ensure maximum safety and enjoyment, swimmers should follow this general advice:

Look for patrolled beaches (this is where lifesavers are on duty; you will see red and yellow flags that indicate this). You should always swim between the red and yellow flags as they mark the safest place to swim.

Never swim alone at night, or under the influence of alcohol, or directly after a meal.

Always check water depth, as rocks or trees could be submerged, and never run and dive into the water from a beach, riverbank or other surface.

Check for signs regarding advice on water conditions at your chosen swimming spot and at any natural swimming hole. Always proceed with caution as surfaces could be slippery and water conditions may not be immediately apparent; particularly if the area has recently experienced heavy rain or flooding.

Pay attention to the advice of the lifesavers and safety signs. Visit SharkSmart to understand any potential risks in the area you are swimming. 

Don't miss these snorkelling experiences in Sydney

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