You may not associate snorkelling with Sydney, but there is some world class snorkelling right in Sydney that will fulfill your need for adventures with a mask and fins. No need to travel far and wide, clear waters and unique marine life awaits you right off of the coast and beaches of Sydney. Here are seven places you should definitely check out and plan a snorkel and see adventure soon.

  1. Shelly Beach

Shelly_Beach_Manly

Shelly Beach Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) By J Bar – en: Image: Shelly Beach Manly.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1224316

shelly-beach

Shelly Beach Photo Credit: Sydney.com

shelly-beach2

Shelly Beach Photo Credit: Sydney.com

Shelly Beach is part of Cabbage Tree Bay and located in Manly. Cabbage Tree Bay is a protected marine reserve, so that means a diverse variety of marine life. What also makes this a great snorkel spot is that the maximum depth is only about 12 metres, so the water is shallow and filled with fun fish to see. As an added bonus, the waters are calm because it is protected from the ocean swell. Surfing and bush tracks are nearby, so there are a variety of things to do when you visit Shelly Beach. In the water, you will be able to swim alongside large schools of mullet and trevally, smaller sharks like dusky whalers and wobbegongs, and maybe even a hawksbill turtle.

  1. Clovelly Pool

Clovelly

Clovelly Beach Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) By J Bar – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3147724

Clovelly2

Clovelly Beach Photo Credit: Sydney.com

clovelly-beach

Clovelly Beach Photo Credit: Randwick.nsw.gov.au

clovelly-snorkelling

Clovelly Beach Snorkelling Photo Credit: Randwick.nsw.gov.au

Clovelly is an appealing snorkelling spot because it is a small beach with calm waters located at the end of a narrow bay. The waters are host to a lot of different sea creatures, some of which are well-known and considered “locals”. The concrete platforms that line the beach have been built up and include a saltwater pool, steps into the beach, and a ramp for handicap access. The beach is monitored by one of the first surf lifesaving clubs in the world, founded in 1906, the Clovelly Surf Life Saving Club keeps the swimmers and snorkelers safe. If you are brave and the waters are calm, the most exciting marine creatures and underwater topography are just over the pool’s edge. Look for giant cuttlefish and sponges. From there, if you are a strong swimmer and the water is glass, explore more of the Bronte-Coogee Aquatic Reserve around the point to Gordons Bay where you can look to meet one of the resident locals, Bluey, the 1.2 metre blue grouper.

  1. Fairlight Beach

fairlight-aerial

Fairlight Beach Aerial View Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) By Трансаэро – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7021644

Fairlight

Fairlight Beach Photo Credit: HelloManly.com.au

If you want to know where the locals go to snorkel in Sydney, then look no further than Fairlight Beach. This is located in Manly; but it is on the harbour side which means calm waters and ideal snorkelling conditions, especially mornings and afternoons with a northerly wind. The shallow reef extends out for quite a long way and is only three or four feet deep. The types of sea life you should look for include kelp fish, John Dory, sea slugs, and more. You can also partake in other calm water activities here like swimming for kids, paddle boarding, and kayaking. On land, everything goes on from special events to afternoon picnics. Be sure to visit Sydney’s oldest aquatic reserve, Manly Wharf is only a 15 minute walk away. Fairlight Beach is public and the facilities and amenities include:

  • Tidal Rock Pool
  • Toilets: including disabled toilet and access
  • Ocean lap pool
  • Parking
  • Lighting
  • Bench Seating
  • Water
  • Fairlight Walk
  • Nearby accommodations
  1. The Basin Campground at Ku-Ring-gai Chase National Park

basin-campground

The Basin Campground in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au

basin-campground-03

The Basin Campground in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au

basin-campground-06

The Basin Campground in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au

The Basin Campground is the only camping spot in Ku-Ring-gai Chase National Park and it also is a beautiful beach swimming spot. The estuary upstream is protected with a shark net, so you won’t have to watch your back for any large sea creatures. What you will likely find are seahorses, small cuttlefish, schools of rays, and in the warmer months, tropical fish species. The beach is small and also popular for picnicking. Beachside camping here is very popular and there is room for up to 400 campers. In addition to it being a popular snorkelling spot, it is one of the most popular beach camping spots in Sydney. Facilities at the campsite open to swimmers include picnic tables, barbecue facilities, drinking water, public phones, showers, and toilets. Do not miss trying out some of the amazing bush walking trails located in the park.

  1. Bare Island, La Perouse

Bare_island_fort_La_Perouse

Bare Island Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) By Adam.J.W.C. – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11755906

Bay Island, Kamay Botany Bay National Park

Bare Island Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au

Bare Island is the the La Perouse suburb of Sydney on the south-east side. The island is connected to La Perouse by a footbridge and is located in Kamay Botany Bay National Park. On the island is a historic fort that now makes a beautiful backdrop for all kinds of upscale events and weddings. The waters surrounding the island are one of the most popular scuba and snorkelling spots in all of New South Wales. When the seas are calm, the snorkelling is best in nooks and coves around the island. Look for turtles, pineapple fish, sponge gardens, and sea slugs among the varied sea life you will find here.

  1. Kurnell

Kurnell_Panorama

Kurnell Panorama Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) By Adam.J.W.C. – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11755906

Kurnell

Cook’s Obelisk in Kurnell Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au

weedy-seadragon

Weedy Seadragon Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) By Richard Ling <wikipedia@rling.com> –>Rling – Uploaded on en wikipedia on 09:20, 18 Feb 2005 as w:Image:WeedySeadragon.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=137447

Kurnell is also located near Botany Bay and Kamay Botany Bay National Park. The reason it is one of the best snorkelling locations in Sydney is because it is home to the largest population of weedy sea dragons in Australia. You can spot them along with plenty of other unique marine life as you snorkel your way from Silver Beach eastward to Kamay Botany Bay. Look for moray eels, Port Jackson sharks, and much more, maybe even an Antarctic fur seal too. A visit to Kurnell cannot go without mentioning the historical significance here. Cook’s Obelisk marks the spot where Captain Cook landed here in 1770.

  1. Freshwater Beach

freshwater-beach

Freshwater Beach Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) By Adam.J.W.C. – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6231712

freshwater-beach2

Freshwater Beach Photo Credit: Sydney.com

This beach is nestled between two headlands in Manly. The catch is, you have to wait for calm sea and surf conditions for a safe snorkel adventure here. Plan for a time with calm seas and look out for a southerly. You will see plenty of schooling fish all around. In addition to swimming at the beach and snorkelling in the water, there is an eight lane, 50 metre saltwater pool on the north end. Freshwater has a unique place in history, for it is the place where “Duke’ Kahanamoku from Hawaii introduced surfing to Australia back in 1915. His statue is located on the northern headland.

Hiring a Car in Sydney to get to the Surrounding National Parks

sydney-map

Map of Sydney Photo Credit: Google Maps

sydney-car-hire-map

Sydney Car Rental Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au

It’s convenient and easy to hire a car in Sydney  at one of many convenient locations. If you flew into Sydney on holiday, you can hire a car right at the Sydney Airport. Other locations in Sydney where you can rent a car at a great price include Sydney east location in Alexandria, or the Sydney southwest location in Ravensby. Click through any of the links to get a quick and easy rate quote for the best car rental rates in Sydney. Be sure to let your car rental agent know your travel itinerary so that they can ensure you have the best vehicle for your trip. Our helpful car rental agents can also assist you with local maps, holiday tips and pointers, and travel safety information. While in Sydney, check out these other holiday ideas from our blog:

Best Scenic Drives in Australia: Greater Blue Mountains

Winter in the Blue Mountains

Bushwalking in Jamison Valley

Scenic Drives in the Snowy Mountains

Snow Valley Way: A Delicious Scenic Drive

Things to Do on Holiday in Sydney

Sydney Holiday Ideas for Families with Kids

Free Things to Do in Sydney

A Spectacular New Year’s Eve in Sydney

Places to See in and Around Sydney

5 Day Trips from Sydney

Sydney’s Famous and Secret Beaches

Scenic Drive from Sydney to Melbourne

Experience the Vast Beauty of Wollemi National Park

Royal National Park

Enjoy the Diversity of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Walking through Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Summertime is the Perfect Time for Sydney’s Outdoor Pools

Best Places to Celebrate Chinese New Year in Sydney

5 Must Do Walks of Sydney

You’ll Love Yengo National Park – Campgrounds

You’ll Love Yengo National Park – Walking Trails

Kanangra-Boyd National Park

Explore the Unique Geographic Formations in Gardens of Stone National Park

Thirlmere Lakes National Park

Brisbane Water National Park: Flora and Fauna