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By: Tatum Stafford
With our spectacular beaches, bays and islands, Perth provides many opportunities to get up close and personal with marine life.
And it's not just Perth that's gifted with great snorkelling areas - we've also scouted the 10 best snorkelling spots in WA.
But if you’re looking for an active weekend activity a little closer to home, here are 10 unmissable snorkelling spots right here in Perth.
1. Mettams Pool, Trigg
The sheltered waters of Mettams Pool make it a perfect snorkeling destination. Less than two metres deep, this natural rock pool is protected by a surrounding reef – making it a safe spot for snorkellers of all ages and abilities.
The pool is home to a large range of fish species, particularly in its southernmost area’s holes and crevices. Keep an eye out for red-lip morwongs, buffalo bream, Australian herring and even sea anenomes.
How to get there: You can easily reach Mettams Pool by parking near the corner of West Coast Highway and Lynn Street in Trigg.
2. Point Peron, Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, Rockingham
The Shoalwater Islands Marine Park is just a 45 minute drive south of Perth, and plays host to the hoards of penguins, sea lions, dolphins, fish and snorkellers that visit its waters. Point Peron is situated within the park, and is filled with sea urchins, anemones, spider crabs, tropical fish and colourful sea sponges to explore.
Both the Point and nearby Mushroom Rock are ideal snorkelling sites as their surrounding limestone has been carved into overhangs and small caves that are close to shore and no deeper than five metres.
How to get there: You can reach the Point Peron snorkel site from the beach at Long Reach. Parking is available at the end of Point Peron Road.
3. Burns Beach, Burns Beach
Burns Beach is a relatively small, sandy beach that is home to a large, sheltered reef that stretches north.
You’ll be most likely to spot regular reef fish along this reef, but if you’re lucky, you may spot an elusive Dhufish – which can weigh up to a whopping 10 kilos. For the best chance of spotting them, swim just beyond the outcrops in the late summer months.
How to get there: There’s plenty of parking available at the ocean-facing end of Burns Beach Road, just a short walk from the beach entry point.
4. Parker Point, Rottnest Island
The Parker Point Marine Snorkel Trail is located on the southern edge of Rottnest Island. The trail features a series of plaques mounted on the sea floor, which allow you to read about the island's history, flora and fauna. Each plaque has two handles for an easy grasp.
The water conditions are generally calm and clear, providing a great view of the coral reef’s variety of marine plants and animals. As the water at Parker Point is a little deeper than other spots around the island, snorkellers with less experience may prefer the trail at the neighbouring Little Salmon Bay.
How to get there: You can access the trail via the stairs at the Parker Point Boardwalk, approximately a half an hour bike ride from the Rottnest Island Visitor Centre.
5. Coogee Maritime Trail, Coogee
The Coogee dive and snorkel trail is part of the Coogee Maritime Trail, which is centred around the iconic Omeo Shipwreck. Featuring an artificial reef, underwater art gallery and even a giant starfish, the trail is a thriving hub for aquatic life.
Unique sections within the reef include cavernous spaces that support crays, molluscs and a variety of fish. The underwater gallery is also a great place to explore; you’ll find an old railway wheel, anchor and replica Dutch cannon in its depths.
How to get there: The trail can be easily accessed from the northern end of Coogee Beach via Perlinte View.
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6. Boyinaboat Reef, Hillarys
Just 75 metres from the sea wall of Hillarys Boat Harbour, Boyinaboat Reef is one of Perth’s most popular snorkelling and dive sites. The reef is six metres deep, and houses plenty of fish, crayfish and other marine wildlife.
The reef also features a series of ten plaques with information about the local flora and fauna, and contains a mixture of caves and swim-through ledges that are perfect practice spots for beginner snorkellers.
How to get there: To reach the reef, park in the lot behind AQWA on Southside Drive.
7. Boullanger Island, Jurien Bay Marine Park
Just two hours north of Perth lies the Jurien Bay Marine Park; often dubbed a “snorkellers’ delight” for its plentiful wildlife, reefs and lagoons. The park extends approximately 100 kilometres, from Wedge to Green Head, and contains a mix of temperate waters and tropical marine life – courtesy of the Leeuwin Current, the world’s longest continuous coastal current system which carries warmer water southward towards Tasmania.
You’re most likely to spot colourful corals, tropical fish and playful Australian sea lions in this diverse protected marine area. If you’re travelling with young snorkellers, be sure to check out the Island’s comprehensive snorkel trail.
How to get there: Boullanger Island is just one kilometre offshore from Jurien Bay’s southern Island Point, and can be accessed by boat.
8. The Shipwreck at Henrietta Rocks, Rottnest Island
The Shark hopper barge wrecked in 1939 after breaking loose from its moorings in Fremantle, and wrecking on Henrietta Rocks in the waters off Rottnest. Visible from the surface of the Rocks’ shallow water, the wreck has become an extremely popular snorkelling spot.
There are over 400 species of tropical fish and 20 types of coral within Rottnest’s surrounding waters, so snorkellers at the Rocks can expect schools of butterfly fish, seagrass meadows, and on occasion, a lobster or two scuttling past.
How to get there: The Henrietta Rocks lie off a rocky section of shore that separates Patterson Beach from Porpoise Bay. It’ll take around half an hour to ride there from the Rottnest Island Visitor Centre.
9. 'Ammo Jetty', Woodman Point Regional Park, Cockburn
The Woodman Point Regional Park marks the northernmost part of Cockburn Sound. A popular recreation area, the park is spotted with playgrounds, caravan parks and jetties. The most popular snorkelling spot within Woodman Point is at the old ‘ammunitions’ jetty, which extends about 100 metres out from the beach to deeper water.
The seagrass meadows off the jetty are filled with sea-squirts, blue manna crabs and a large selection of sea sponge. The area also features caves and crevices that are home to all kinds of fish, cuttlefish, and even the occasional seahorse.
How to get there: You can access the park via Cockburn Road, and there is plenty of parking available within the park’s central area.
10. Carnac Island Nature Reserve, Fremantle
Approximately 10 kilometres south-west of Fremantle, Carnac Island is a picturesque limestone island most famous for its flock of Australian sea lions – the rarest species of sea lion in the world.
The island is also an important habitat for seabirds, bottlenose dolphins and tropical fish, making it a great place for a day trip of snorkelling, hiking and birdwatching.
How to get there: The only way to get to Carnac Island is by boat. From the Woodman Point boat ramp it’ll take you around half an hour to arrive on the island.