By: Tatum Stafford
The sheer volume of beaches, bays and lagoons in Esperance can only mean one thing for avid snorkellers – you're guaranteed to be spoilt for choice.
Renowned for its temperate waters that offer excellent visibility, the seaside town of Esperance is a haven for marine animals, vibrant coral and sheltered areas best explored with a snorkel.
So before you hit the road (and the water), be sure to add these stellar snorkelling spots to your itinerary.
1. Woody Island Snorkel Trail, Shearwater Bay, Woody Island
The Woody Island Snorkel Trail was completed in 2000, and is situated within Shearwater Bay’s crystal-clear waters. Thanks to the bay’s temperate waters, the trail is renowned for its excellent visibility - and also plays host to the elusive leafy seadragon.
There are also a range of accommodation options on Woody Island; making it a great base for a few days on the water.
How to get there: You can easily access the snorkel trail from the swimming platform or the beach at Shearwater Bay on Woody Island.
2. Recherche Archipelago, Woody Island
There are more than a hundred untouched, granite islands within the Recherche Archipelago – and almost all of them provide spectacular drop-offs, underwater caves and swim-throughs for snorkellers.
Known by locals as the ‘Bay of Isles’, the Archipelago is home to some amazing wildlife, including sea eagles, sea lions and fur seals. Under the water, snorkellers are likely to spot gropers, red snappers, harlequin fish, blue devils and wrasse.
How to get there: Travel to Woody Island by boat or ferry (approximately 30 minutes from Esperance), and then to the islands of the Archipelago by boat.
3. Tanker Jetty
The 670 metre-long Tanker Jetty was built in 1934. Initially used for grain export, the jetty today is a hotspot for snorkellers and divers thanks to its abundance of local marine wildlife.
Explorers of the jetty may be successful in spotting the elusive leafy seadragon, but also won’t be disappointed in viewing sergeant bakers, schools of herring, white-barred boxfish, dusky morwongs and damsels in their natural habitat.
There is also a colony of local sea lions that relax on the beach next to the jetty – so be sure to give them a wave when you resurface.
How to get there: There are convenient parking areas just near the jetty, or it is a short 10 minute walk from the Esperance Visitor Centre.
4. Twilight Beach
Only a few minutes’ drive from the Esperance town centre, Twilight Beach is a great spot for young children and families to try their hand at snorkelling thanks to its sheltered, shallow bay that is perfect for paddling and home to a few small fish.
Surfing, paddle boarding and swimming are also popular pastimes at this picturesque beach. The water is easy to access with few stairs, and there’s a spacious parking area, outdoor showers and toilets onsite.
How to get there: Drive 10 minutes south from the Esperance on Twilight Beach Road.
5. Munglinup Beach
Located between Ravensthorpe and Esperance, Munglinup Beach is ideal for secluded swimming and snorkelling thanks to its protected, shallow reef area.
The unspoilt beach forms a reef-protected lagoon that is perfect for snorkelling. You’re likely to spot salmon, herring, trout, gummy sharks and even red starfish amongst rock formations in the secluded pool on the western side of the beach.
If you have a four-wheel-drive, there’s also a track that leads to the eastern side of the beach which is a little more secluded, has great beach camping opportunities, and is an ideal spot for fishing.
How to get there: Drive just under 90 minutes west from Esperance on National Route 1.
6. Blue Haven Beach
As its name suggests, Blue Haven Beach is one of the most picturesque, blue-watered beaches in Esperance.
As the beach’s waters are sheltered from the south-west winds, snorkellers can enjoy great visibility of the beach’s plentiful fish and coral reefs; particularly around its granite headland.
There are also plenty of rocks and rockpools on either side of the beach - so a pair of well-gripped shoes is a must if you plan on exploring more than the water.
How to get there: Drive 10 minutes south-west from Esperance on Twilight Beach Road.
Planning a future trip to Esperance?
RAC members save up to 20%* at the RAC Esperance Holiday Park.
*Terms and conditions apply. RAC member rate varies according to season. See full website for details.
Last updated July 2020