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WHERE TO GO
Colourful coral, flash fish and the salty sea make our ocean
a treasure trove that’s just waiting to be discovered. Tourism
WA gives us their top spots for snorkelling this summer.
Perth’s idyllic island playground, Rottnest is just a short ferry
ride from Perth, and a world away from city life. For a tiny
island, this car-free and carefree A-Class Reserve packs
a lot of pleasure into a day. More than 60 stunning beaches,
20 beautiful bays and many coral reefs and wrecks invite
you to enjoy some of Australia’s finest swimming spots,
snorkel trails and surf breaks. And on dry land, you’ll meet
the world famous quokka – the cutest mini-marsupial ever,
found only in Western Australia – as well as many other
unique plant and animal species.
Just 19km off the coast. Ferries depart regularly from
Fremantle, Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty, and Hillarys Boat
Harbour. You can opt to arrive in style by helicopter or air
taxi, or even cruise across in your own boat.
Shoalwater Islands Marine Park
Pristine islands, reefs and shipwrecks make for excellent
diving, snorkelling and wildlife-watching in the Shoalwater
Islands Marine Park. The reefs surrounding the islands
provide good snorkelling and diving, and marine life
abounds, including sea stars, urchins and molluscs, as well
as a number of fish species. Take to the water and you’ll
probably run into a pod of bottlenose dolphins – they’re
extremely common in the marine park – and you can swim
with dolphins on tours that operate regularly.
Shoalwater Islands Marine Park is accessible from
Rockingham, less than an hour’s drive south of Perth.
Marmion Marine Park
Just north of Perth, Marmion Marine Park is a snorkelling
and diving playground of limestone reefs, ledges, caves,
swim-throughs and crystal-clear lagoons. It’s also a top
spot for whale watching (in season). Seabirds, dolphins,
sea lions, rays and a huge diversity of other marine species
call this coast home.
The marine park stretches north from Trigg Island,
a 20-minute drive from the centre of Perth and a short
boat ride from the launch sites at Hillarys Boat Harbour
and Ocean Reef. Mettams Pool is a novice-friendly snorkel
spot that also has ramps and wheelchair access.
Dunsborough and Busselton
Off the coast of Dunsborough, there’s the destroyer
escort HMAS Swan – Western Australia’s most famous
prepared wreck – providing divers with a real adrenalin
rush. The nearby Busselton Jetty has been described as
Australia’s greatest artificial reef, and is host to an awe-
inspiring forest of vividly coloured tropical and sub-tropical
corals, sponges, fish and invertebrates. The Busselton Jetty
Underwater Observatory sits 8m below the surface and gives
a superb view of the marine life and coral.
About two hours and 30 minutes south of Perth.
ROTTNEST ISLAND’S PARKER POINT Identified with buoys,
there are twelve interpretive plaques with handles, making
them easy to spot and hang onto when reading. Parker Point
generally has calm and clear water conditions, allowing for
optimum viewing of plants, fish and reef. The water is a little
deeper, making it ideal for a more experienced swimmer.
Located on the southern side of Rottnest, it can be accessed
via Bayseeker Bus or bike.
JURIEN BAY There are 78 Reef Balls that have been
placed here to create the snorkel trail. You can also get
handy swim cards from local shops that will help you
identify the fish and coral you are likely to see on the
trail. A small charge applies, with all proceeds going
to the support and maintenance of the trail.
Starts about 25m from shore at the end of the old jetty piles.
SHOALWATER ISLANDS The Cape Peron Snorkelling
Trail is the best way to see the Marine Park. Penguins, sea
lions, dolphins, rocky reefs, and a shipwreck make up the basis
of this trail. Plinths along the oceanic floors with interpretive
signs allow swimmers to learn and explore the area.
Off the Rockingham coast, less than 45 minutes’ drive
south of Perth.
WHAT TO BRING
1. Mask and flippers It is crucial they both fit
well for optimum comfort and activity.
2. Rashie and tight hat This will keep hair out
of the way and stop your head from burning
on a hot day, as well as protecting your body.
Don’t be fooled – when you’re in the water,
you can still get sunburned!
3. Wetsuit Pack this baby if you’re prone to
getting cold or if you plan on staying in the
water for an extended period of time.
4. Biodegradable sunscreen Sunscreen that
biodegrades in water is the best choice,
so it doesn’t affect the marine life, but any
sunscreen is better than none.
5. Water and snacks You will be super-hungry
and dehydrated when you get out of the
water – so be prepared.
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