By: Tatum Stafford
With over 500 fish species and some of WA’s most vibrant coral, it’s not hard to understand why the coastal town of Exmouth is home to an array of world-class snorkelling sites.
Renowned for its plentiful marine life, snorkelling sites around Exmouth span bays and beaches to islands and rocky pools.
So no matter if you’re a beginner or an expert, here are five snorkelling spots around Exmouth worth exploring on your next visit to the Coral Coast.
1. Turquoise Bay
There are technically two areas of Turquoise Bay – the ‘drift snorkel’ area, and the calm Turquoise Bay itself. The bay is a great spot for snorkelling beginners, as currents don’t affect the area and it is generally calm and tranquil. Entering from the beach, you’ll have the chance to snorkel out over sand and a few pockets of coral.
The drift snorkel area of Turquoise Bay provides one of the most renowned snorkelling experiences in the State. When you arrive, walk 100 metres south (left) along the beach before entering the water. Then, swim straight out into the water and let the current carry you northwards over the colourful, fish-filled gardens of coral. Make sure you exit the water before reaching the sandbar.
As the bay is characterised by its moderate to strong currents that ‘drift’ snorkellers along the reef, weak or inexperienced swimmers are advised not to attempt this snorkel.
2. Osprey Bay
Situated above a rock-shelf shoreline, the waters of Osprey Bay are teeming with colourful marine life best explored with a snorkel. From the sandy beach, swim about 100 metres offshore to explore the fish, vibrant coral and sea turtles.
The bay is also the site of one of the best beachfront campsites on the Coral Coast; the Osprey Bay Campground. The campground has 20 sites, sweeping ocean views and sits atop of the bay’s rock shelf.
10 best snorkelling spots in WA
3. Lakeside Beach
The sheltered and calm Lakeside Beach is a great spot for families wanting to give snorkelling a try. The Lakeside Sanctuary Zone, marked by two yellow floating buoys, is the perfect place to start. As fishing is not permitted in the sanctuary zone, there are plenty of large reef fish for snorkellers to view up close. You’re also likely to spot large rays, energetic anenomefish and even a few dozing sharks.
To reach the reef, snorkel out in a northerly direction for around 150 metres and leisurely make your way back to shore whilst hovering over the colourful reef. Lakeside is an all-tide spot, so you’ll be able to snorkel here no matter when you visit.
4. Oyster Stacks
As part of a sanctuary zone in the Ningaloo Marine Park, Oyster Stacks is a great spot for experienced snorkellers. As you enter the water, you’ll immediately be surrounded by colourful fish. Swim a little further out and you’ll find sea turtles, moray eels, sea urchins and sea stars.
Make sure you check the tide times and heights before visiting Oyster Stacks - if you’re unsure of how to interpret these online, pop in to the Milyering Visitor Centre to double check. Snorkelling at low tide means you may destroy corals, so it’s imperative to snorkel at high tide to protect the fragile reef area. As the beach (and water) has quite a rocky terrain, reef shoes are a good idea to ensure you don’t injure yourself.
5. Muiron Islands
The two Muiron Islands are 15 kilometres off the North West Cape – and even though they’re close to the peninsula, the islands provide a vastly different snorkelling experience and variety of marine life. As well as an abundance of soft corals, vibrant fish and turtles, you may spot glass fish in unique swim-throughs that punctuate multiple of the islands’ snorkelling sites.
Popular snorkelling sites amongst the islands include the Cod Spot, the Keyhole and the Gap. The Cod Spot is a popular choice if you’re eager to see the elusive large potato cod groper, the Keyhole is filled with overhangs and impressive coral shelves, and the Gap is a popular drifting spot with plenty of fish, turtles and nurse sharks. There are strong currents at all Muiron Island snorkelling sites, so it’s recommended to visit with a local charter operator.
Need a place to stay while you’re exploring Exmouth?
RAC members save up to 20%* on accommodation at RAC Exmouth Cape Holiday Park.
*Terms and conditions apply. Member rate varies according to season. See full website for details.
Last updated: September 2020