Snorkelling the Ningaloo Reef

Description of image

The Ningaloo Reef is one of the largest fringing coral reefs in the world. Stretching over 230km, these pristine waters are bursting with a huge diversity of marine life ready to be enjoyed by all age groups.

The following snorkel sites can be reached by conventional vehicle. Please note that for sites in the Cape Range National Park, entrance fees will apply. Snorkel gear is available for hire or purchase in many locations throughout Exmouth.


Exmouth's premier snorkelling sites are located in the Cape Range National Park, roughly 40kms from Exmouth town. All are easily accessible from the shore and showcase over 220 species of coral and over 500 species of fish. 


A great, all-tide snorkel spot for swimmers of moderate to high fitness and capability. From the carpark, walk 500m south (left) along the beach past the first Sanctuary Zone marker before entering the water. Snorkel out around 100m to find the most spectacular coral formations which are located between the shore markers and the two yellow floating buoys. Lakeside features a series of large coral bommies that tend to attract larger marine creatures such as turtles, bigger reef or pelagic fish, stingrays and harmless reef sharks.

Turquoise Bay Drift Snorkel

Considered to be one of the best snorkel sites in the area, the Turquoise Bay Drift takes you across verdant coral gardens swarming with colourful reef fish only metres from the shore. This is one snorkel not to be missed!

Access to the Turquoise Bay Drift is from the 'Drift Snorkel' carpark. From here, walk south (left) along the beach for at least 100m before entering the water. Swim straight out and let the current carry you north over the dense, fish filled coral gardens. Exit the water before reaching the sandbar.

Be aware that moderate to strong currents prevail through the Turquoise Bay Drift due to a break in the reef further out, weak or inexperienced swimmers are not advised to attempt this snorkel. This snorkel site is suited to swimmers of at least an average fitness and snorkelling ability. Please be sure to visit the Ningaloo Visitor Centre or Milyering Discovery Centre for information and recommended times to snorkel the Turquoise Bay Drift.

Turquoise Bay

Snorkelling within Turquoise Bay itself is a perfect spot for beginners to practice their skills! Enter from the beach and snorkel out over sand and scattered coral bommies. Currents do not normally affect the bay area, but always check conditions to be sure.

Oyster Stacks

Oyster Stacks is an excellent site for families as the coral reef and its very prolific fish life can be viewed just steps from the shore in calm, shallow water. Take care entering the water as the shoreline here is rocky with some sharp oyster shelled areas. Enter the water at the end of the walking track and snorkel either north or south.

Please note that this area is shallow, so should only be snorkelled around a high tide of 1.2m or higher to avoid damaging the fragile corals.

Coral Bay

Bill's Bay

Located at the end of the Robinson Street in Coral Bay, the sheltered waters of Bill's Bay make for an ideal swimming and fantastic snorkelling beach. Easily accessed by foot from Coral Bay, verdant, fish filled coral gardens are just a very short swim from the beach. Average water depth is around 3 metres.

Ayre's Rock - a massive coral formation that can be seen from shore at low tide - is located around 300m out from the northern end of the beach. Please note that Bill's Bay is the mooring site for glass bottom boats, so please be aware of moving boat traffic while snorkelling.

Purdy Point

Purdy Point is located 500m south of Bills Bay. Snorkelling from this point allows access to some fantastic coral bommies. Please stay away from offshore channel markers as there is often a lot of boating activity here.

Paradise Beach Drift Snorkel

Around Purdy Point and just to the south of Bill’s Bay, Paradise Beach is a good snorkelling location for confident swimmers. A moderate current sweeps along Paradise Beach, so this site is not recommended for children or inexperienced snorkelers.
Huge coral formations can be found a short swim from the Paradise Beach shoreline. Keep an eye out for the large patches of brightly coloured lavender coral here.

Five Fingers Reef

Five Fingers Reef is located around 4.5 kilometres south of the Coral Bay township and is accessible by four wheel drive vehicle or a reasonable walk. The five fingers of parallel reef that give this place its name run from the beach to around 200 metres offshore and are home to a huge array of colourful reef fish and other marine life.
The water here is shallow, calm and brimming with marine life close to shore, Five Fingers Reef is the perfect place for children and beginner snorkelers.

Other recommended Coral Bay snorkelling sites such as Oyster Bridge and The Lagoon require 4WD access. There are tour companies that offer tours to these snorkel areas. For more information, please contact the Ningaloo Visitor Centre.