Snorkeling without a boat

Q. Sheila

I’m interested in the best place in Australia where I can just walk out from the beach and find some fantastic snorkeling? I am contemplating Exmouth as Port Douglas you have to go out on a boat.


Exmouth (Ningaloo Reef) is certainly a fantastic spot for snorkeling and snorkelers can walk directly to the reef from the beach. In terms of other options, below are a few of Australia’s other top snorkeling destinations:

Heron Island (Great Barrier Reef), QLD

At low tide, snorkelers can literally walk to the island without having to swim. The island features everything from manta rays and sea turtles to nudibranchs.

Find out more at: Heron Island

Lord Howe Island, New South Wales

This island is the world’s most southerly coral reef and is a mere 700km from Sydney. Dozens of spectacular dive sites surround the island, but it is possible to snorkel right off the beach or hand-feed fish in the crystal clear waters.

Find out more at: Lord Howe Island

Lizard Island, Queensland

If you want comfortable access to the reef, directly from luxury beachfront accommodation, Lizard Island is hard to beat. The northernmost resort on the reef is discreetly nestled within the island’s thousand-hectare national park. Step off Anchor Bay, directly in front of the resort, for year-round snorkeling with excellent visibility.

Find out more at: Lizard Island

Magnetic Island, Queensland

A less remote – but more easily accessible – snorkeling destination within the Great Barrier Reef. A 20 minute ferry ride from Townsville, Magnetic Island is easily explored on foot, with several scenic bays lined up along the eastern coast, each offering easy snorkeling opportunities in warm, shallow waters.

Find out more at: Magnetic Island

Written by SJ