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Snorkelling in Queensland

Sunshine State Snorkelling

From the Tangalooma Wrecks in the south east to the colourful underwater playground of the Great Barrier Reef in the north, there are golden beaches, azure waters and exotic marine life all along the Queensland coast to suit everyone, from first-time snorkelers to the pros. Snorkelling tours depart from all My Queensland destinations including the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Cairns, Whitsundays and Port Douglas. The My Queensland Holiday Experts are happy to share with you the best snorkelling sites in Queensland. So, discovering the vibrant marine life of Australia’s Sunshine State is easy when you holiday with My QLD Holidays.


Under the surface of Queensland’s waters

When you think of snorkelling in Queensland, one would automatically think of the Great Barrier Reef. Believe it or not, there are more underwater wonders further south of the iconic reef. On the southernmost coast of Queensland, at the Gold Coast, most assume snorkelling isn’t an option but that is not true. While the Gold Coast isn’t famous for coral gardens or exotic marine life, there are still places along the coastline where you can spot schools of fish, turtles, manta rays, dolphins and sharks, like the Gold Coast Seaway or Cook Island. Alternatively, a quick ferry ride will bring you to Stradbroke Island where you’ll discover snorkelling spots amongst the best in the state. Stradbroke Island waters are home to exotic fish species, turtles, dolphins, whales, manta rays and more. There are a range of snorkelling tours that depart from the island itself or from Brisbane and the Gold Coast, where experienced staff take you to the best spots around Stradbroke!

An hour boat road off the coast of Brisbane is the stunning Moreton Island, home to the Tangalooma Wrecks. A line of 15 barges, dredges and flatboats were intentionally sunk some years ago, to create of break wall for harbouring boats. Today, it is one of Queensland’s most popular wreck sites. The waters are crystal-clear so the visibility around the wreck is incredible. The site isn’t far from the beach either, so you can swim directly out to it, just be careful of the current. Coral is starting to form in and around the sunken vessels, providing a haven for hundreds of exotic fish species as well as the occasional group of dolphins, wobbegongs and dugongs. Moreton Island is also home to other great snorkelling spots, including the only true coral reef in the area, Flinders Reef.


Best of the Great Barrier Reef

A visit to Queensland wouldn’t be complete without exploring the phenomenal Great Barrier Reef. Deservedly one of the seven wonders of the natural world, the reef is bigger than the Great Wall of China and is the only living thing on earth that can be seen from space! It can be overwhelming deciding where to snorkel though, since this underwater playground spans well over 2,000 kilometres, from as south as Bundaberg to Queensland’s northernmost tip, Cape York. From coastal towns in the south and central Queensland, you can join one of the day tours heading out to Lady Musgrave Island. This is the perfect place for beginners to discover the Great Barrier Reef, thanks to the fantastic visibility and the calm waters of the sheltered lagoon. The lagoon doesn’t go much deeper than 8 metres so you can see everything while you float along the surface. The sandy seafloor is home to isolated coral Bommie’s that provide a haven for exotic marine life like tropical fish species, Maori wrasse, rays, sharks, giant clams, turtles and if you’re lucky, maybe even a humpback whale!

The Great Barrier Reef literally surrounds you when you holiday in the Whitsundays. On the north side of Hook Island is the reef of Manta Ray Bay. As the name suggests, manta rays are frequent visitors during winter time. However, the majestic rays aren’t the only worthy site at Manta Ray Bay. A variety of hard and soft coral cover the ocean floor while fish species like coral trout, batfish, parrot fish and Maori Wrasse swim through the warm waters. Perfect for families with kids and those who aren’t the strongest swimmers is Hardy Reef. It’s one of the most high-visited reefs in the Whitsundays and, thanks to the large floating pontoon, it’s the ideal reef for those snorkelling for the first time. There are designated snorkelling areas with buoyancy aids and rest stations in the water to make it easier for the first-timers. Due to the location on the outer reef, it’s a bit of a lengthy boat ride to get there but you’ll see it’s worth every minute once you arrive. The colourful coral wall is home to an ecosystem of fascinating corals and exotic marine life including hundreds of fish species.

In Tropical North Queensland, Cairns and Port Douglas act as a gateway to discover the incredible Great Barrier Reef. The cities are the heart of the reef and cruises, tours and flights to the reef depart daily. There are countless areas of the iconic reef to explore so our QLD Holiday Experts have picked their favourites. From Cairns, Fitzroy Island is less than an hour ferry ride away. The island itself is truly unspoiled with majority covered with National Island Park and is fringed with coral beaches just waiting to be explored! You can access the reef directly from the beach and those who prefer to stay dry can head out on a glass bottom boat tour. Off the coast of Port Douglas is the coral cay of Low Isles. The 55 acres of reef that surround the coral cay are home to countless species of both hard and soft coral, molluscs, sea cucumbers and a variety of exotic fish like colourful parrot fish, clownfish, trevally, angelfish and moon wrasse, just to name a few!

These most certainly are not your only options to explore the iconic Great Barrier Reef. Considering the impressive reef spans a total distance of more than 2,300 kilometres, comprises of over 900 islands and more than 3,000 individual reef systems, you can bet there is a lot to see. Snorkelling through the Great Barrier Reef can uncover more than 1,500 tropical fish species – that’s around 10% of the entire worlds fish species! Not only that, but 400 different coral types, 200 types of birds and 20 different reptile species call the Great Barrier Reef home. Contact the My QLD Holiday Experts today to book your Queensland snorkelling adventure!