Activities & Itineraries

10 Of The Best Places To Go Snorkelling In Sydney

By Ally Parker

best snorkelling sydney ecotreasures manly

While sandcastles and bodyboarding tick all the boxes for summer fun, sometimes you want to see what lies under the surface of our stunning waters, and that's when Sydney/Eora's snorkelling spots step up.

These are Urban List's picks for the best spots to go snorkelling in Sydney.

The Basin

Ku-Ring-Gai

The Basin is one of Sydney’s most popular beach camping spots thanks to top facilities (showers, toilets, drinking water, and barbies), but it’s also a primo spot for water sports including snorkelling.

The Basin is filled with cuttlefish, leatherjackets, starfish and—between December and May—a number of tropical fish varieties too. Plan ahead to stay overnight at The Basin campground if you're after some early morning or sunset snorkelling action.

Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve 

Manly

snorkelling sydney cabbage tree bay manly
Image credit: Destination NSW | Tom Park

As an aquatic reserve, Cabbage Tree Bay is a top spot for snorkelling to see goatfish, old wives, wobbegongs as well as flounder and flathead.

Shelly Beach falls under the umbrella of this aquatic reserve, and is a perfect spot for beginner snorkellers thanks to clear, mostly calm waters and, once the weather dips, this cove welcomes dusky whaler sharks that usually hang around the fairy bower.

EcoTreasures runs expert-guided snorkel tours of the area from $109, providing all the gear including wetsuits, taking you through the basics, and pointing out important species, and personalised snorkel tours for two to eight guests too.

Little Bay Beach

Little Bay

Perfect for the novice who still thinks blocking their mate's snorkel with a thumb is funny, Little Bay is calm, populated by a variety of shy marine life and according to most, one of the cleanest beaches out there for snorkelling in Sydney.

You’ll find a smorgasbord of sea anemones, black urchins and itty-bitty fish in large schools, all without a wave to knock you sideways thanks to the rocky headlands. 

Kamay Botany Bay National Park

La Perouse and Kurnell

snorkelling sydney kurnell sea dragon
Image credit: Destination NSW | Tom Park

Kurnell is so much more than Captain’s Cook landing spot—it's one of the best snorkelling spots in Sydney.

Those keen on a snorkel should enter via Kurnell's Silver Beach and expect giant cuttlefish, Moray eels, Port Jackson sharks (super safe!) and weedy sea dragons; you can’t miss their bright blue stripes and yellow spots. 

From La Perouse, follow the path from Cann Park to Congwong Beach, where a gentle sandy beach is home to some underwater rocks that make for epic snorkelling, especially in spring and autumn.

Little Manly Cove

Manly

Thanks to its calm, relaxed conditions and sheltered location, Little Manly Cove is ideal for those with kids in tow or folks averse to tumbling waves.

This Sydney snorkelling spot is popular for fishing, so you can be sure there's plenty of action to catch under the surface, including seahorses if you're lucky.

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Malabar Beach

Malabar

Malabar Beach is alive with octopus, stingrays, and a wide variety of fish to peruse, and perfect for a spot of snorkelling in Sydney. There's also the wrecks of two ships, MV Malabar and the Goolgwai, for snorkellers who don't mind descending under the waves a little.

Gordons Bay

Clovelly

snorkelling sydney gordons bay coogee
Image credit: Destination NSW | Alexandra Adoncello

Tucked between Clovelly and Coogee beaches, Gordons Bay is a finalist for our "Most Likely to be Clear and Calm" award, which is appropriate given that it boasts an underwater nature trail and one of the best-known places for snorkelling in Sydney.

Located on the northern side and seven hundred meters long, this trail consists of submerged drums detailing the aquatic life found in Gordons Bay. You can expect to spot starfish, sea sponges, urchins, garfish, and goatfish from the surface, and scuba divers love this spot as well.

Clovelly Beach

Clovelly

Clovelly Beach is located on prime real estate for snorkelling in Sydney and is tucked within a narrow bay that keeps things calm and protected.

As it's part of the Bronte-Coogee Aquatic Reserve you can expect to find loads of marine life here with this gem being home to a mammoth local Blue Grouper called Bluey, of course.

Bare Island

La Perouse

This Sydney snorkelling spot is one to bring your GoPro for. One of the most popular scuba and snorkelling hangs in all of New South Wales, Bare Island is best known for Red Indian fish, big-belly sea horses, Port Jackson sharks, gurnards and, just casually, being the site of the villain's lair in Misson Impossible II.

The eastern side is typically more calm, but snorkellers and divers can expect amazing scenes whichever side they choose to explore. Note that you do have to pay for access to Bare Island.

Oak Park

Cronulla

You’ll find blue grouper, devilfish, giant cuttlefish, Moray eels, weedy sea dragons, Port Jacksons, and more at this Sutherland Shire site that's popular for snorkelling.

Filled with tidal pools and ocean baths for an easy pre-snorkel warm-up (recommended if you’re a newbie) and with plenty of parkland for catching some sun, Oak Park is a relatively shallow but expansive favourite that can be enjoyed by both beginners and advanced snorkellers.

Now keep the summer fun going with

Main image credit: EcoTreasures | Website

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