If saltwater runs through your veins or you are curious to unearth what treasures lie beneath the waves, then it’s time to escape reality and explore the shallow depths of WA’s idyllic coastline. Blessed with a plethora of mesmerising islands, beaches, shipwrecks, marine parks, and sea life, let the ocean currents guide your heart as you uncover the secrets of the world below. From tiny penguins to whale sharks, and manta rays to sea turtles, Western Australia truly is a snorkeler’s dream. So grab your snorkel and get cracking at some of WA’s best snorkelling locations.
Ningaloo Reef along WA’s Coral Coast is the largest fringing reef in the world, spanning a whopping 260 kilometres. Picture sparkling turquoise waters jam-packed with manta rays, sea turtles, humpback whales, colourful fish, and the giants of the sea – the iconic whale sharks. Hit the water snorkelling with a bunch of great spots merely metres from the shoreline. Some of the best include – Turquoise Bay, Lakeside, Oyster Stacks, Paradise Beach, Bill’s Bay, and Five Fingers Reef. Either venture out solo, or join a tour to experience everything on offer at one of the world’s last remaining ocean paradises. A trip to Ningaloo is one of the highlights of any Coral Coast adventure. The breathtaking ocean scenery, an eerie contrast to the sunburnt countryside that lies just over the horizon.
Hire a car from Thrifty Exmouth to explore the Ningaloo Reef.
The Houtman Abrolhos Marine Park situated some 80 kilometres west of Geraldton in WA’s Northwest encompasses a massive 122 islands. An archipelago featuring sunny skies, crystal clear waters and an abundance of seabirds and marine life, it’s no wonder the islands are often referred to as the “Galapagos Islands of the Indian Ocean.” Scour the Abrolhos seas for resident sea lions, bottlenose dolphins, dhufish, coral trout, baldchin groper and so much more in this truly magical place. One of the island’s many highlights includes the Batavia shipwreck, wrecked upon Morning Reef back in 1629, one of Australian history’s most dramatic stories now teeming with a sea of life. With no on-site accommodation, a day excursion is the go, with many tour groups offering half and full-day adventures via boat or air. Longer charters are also available for ocean thrill seekers looking to cast a line or explore the island’s natural beauty in more depth.
Hire a car from Thrifty Geraldton Airport to discover the Abrolhos Islands.
A day trip to the enchanting Dirk Hartog Island may be just what the doctor ordered with its striking turquoise waters, untouched coral reefs and wealth of vibrant sea life. A stunning marine sanctuary lined with towering coastal cliffs and endless alluring beaches; swim, snorkel or dive your way along the island’s secluded coastline including Surf Point, Sandy Point or Monkey Rock. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, dugongs, loggerhead turtles, reef sharks, manta rays and migrating humpback whales (July to November). A truly fascinating place with a rich history and strong conservation principles, the island can only be accessed via private boat or commercial barge. Accommodation is present on-site but must be booked in advance to secure your place.
Hire a car from Thrifty Geraldton Airport to explore Dirk Hartog Island and Shark Bay.
Situated off the coast of WA, 18 kilometres west of Fremantle, Rottnest Island, famous for its laid-back vibes, pristine beaches, and resident quokkas is also a diver’s paradise. Surrounded by shipwrecks, coral reefs, sheltered bays and clear shallow waters, this underwater playground is a great place to uncover some of the hidden gems of the Indian Ocean. Explore ‘The Shark’ shipwreck in the shallow waters of Henrietta Rocks, snorkel along the 2-kilometre Parker Point Snorkel Trail or spy the underwater plaques along the Salmon Bay Snorkel Trail. The trail is filled with an array of enigmatic sea life including over 400 species of fish, green turtles, stingrays, shellfish, migrating humpback whales and long-nosed fur seals. A class A protected reserve, interaction with some of the island’s wildlife is strictly regulated to help preserve its unique environment. It’s these regulations that help protect the island and maintain its purity as one of the most popular tourist attractions in WA. Come for the day or stay overnight, with so many underwater adventures to explore, time will drift on by.
Hire a car from Thrifty Perth Airport during your stay in Perth and prior to your visit to Rottnest Island.
Ever wanted to get up close and personal with the world’s smallest penguin? Well, the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, a 45-minute drive south of the city centre is one of Perth’s more localised snorkelling paradises and home to some of WA’s most beloved feathered friends. Stretching from Garden Island to the southern tip of Becher Point, the area comprises unique limestone islands and a chain of reefs, supporting a diverse range of incredible marine life. Board the 5-minute ferry to Penguin Island, one of the south’s premier snorkelling locations. There you can spot the iconic fairy penguins, seals, bottlenose dolphins, Australian sea lions and a plethora of fascinating fish species. Cape Peron in the park’s north is another great spot to snorkel with numerous shallow reefs, caves, and patches of seagrass. Point Peron and Mushroom Rocks are the most popular and only several metres from the shoreline.
Hire a car from Thrifty Perth Airport to make your way to Shoalwater Islands Marine Park.