10 top spots to snorkel in South Australia

SA’s marine parks are full to the brim with great spots to snorkel. Here are 10 places to try on your next visit.

From leafy sea dragons to giant Australian cuttlefish, about 85% of the marine life in South Australia's marine parks is found nowhere else in the world.

If your swimming skills are on point, grab your snorkel and mask and hit the beach to discover our magical underwater world.

Here are our top picks to try in SA:

1. Port Noarlunga – Metropolitan south

Beginners should try snorkelling on the south side of the Port Noarlunga jetty. You’ll see hundreds of fish including zebrafish and old wives as well as sea stars.

If you feel confident enough to venture out further – about 400 metres – you can enjoy the colourful Port Noarlunga Reef.

Location: Encounter Marine Park

Sea star (image courtesy of Greg Adams)

2. Aldinga – Metropolitan south

Aldinga Reef is known as one of the state’s best dive sites, so you know you’re onto a good thing when you snorkel here.

The reef is a breeding ground for the harmless Port Jackson shark. During late winter and spring hundreds of sharks can be found under ledges resting between mating rituals.

Don’t forget to build your confidence and test your snorkel gear at shallow sites before venturing out deeper.

Location: Encounter Marine Park


3. Second Valley – Fleurieu Peninsula

You’re spoilt for choice at Second Valley with a jetty and two bays that are great snorkel spots. You’ll swim past squid, schools of fish and rays, plus you might even spot SA’s iconic leafy sea dragon.

Location: Encounter Marine Park

4. Tumby Bay – Eyre Peninsula

The open water off the jetty is a perfect spot for experienced snorkelers. Keep your eyes peeled for seahorses and cowfish.

Location: Sir Joseph Banks Group Marine Park

5. Smooth Pool – Eyre Peninsula

According to locals, there is a friendly resident blue groper fish in these waters who likes to say hello. Blue gropers can live up to 70 years.

Location: West Coast Bays Marine Park


6. Cuttlefish Coast – Whyalla

Snorkel near Stony Point between May and August and you’ll see the giant Australian cuttlefish spawning.

Location: Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park

7. Chinaman’s Hat – Yorke Peninsula

You’ll see eagle rays gliding around, as well as southern rock lobsters.

Location: Southern Spencer Gulf Marine Park

8. Edithburgh – Yorke Peninsula 

Weird and wild marine life surround the Edithburgh Jetty. You’re likely to come across brightly coloured nudibranchs, spider crabs and octopuses.

If you have the keenest eyes you might even spot the warty prowfish.

Location: Lower Yorke Peninsula Marine Park.

(Image of a warty prowfish courtesy of Jamie Hicks)

9. Wool Bay – Yorke Peninsula

The Wool Bay Jetty is possibly the best spot in South Australia to see the leafy sea dragon. During spring and summer you might even witness their amazing courting dance.

Location: Lower Yorke Peninsula Marine Park

Old wife fish at Wool Bay

10. Western River Cove – Kangaroo Island

Head to the reef just east of the beach for a variety of colourful reef fish.

Location: Southern Spencer Gulf Marine Park

Blue devil fish

To guarantee a great snorkel adventure, download our SA marine ID guide, avoid windy days and head to the waters around low tide.

If you’re a beginner or still building your confidence why not try a guided tour with Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries?

Love exploring South Australia’s marine environment? Check out these great blogs: 8 rock pools , 5 mistaken identities along SA’s beaches, or 6 parks perfect for beach-lovers.

(Main image courtesy of Carl Charter)

This story was originally posted in February 2018.

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