Destination Inspiration: The Best Reef Adventures In Australia

For this installation of Destination Inspiration, we’re heading off the beaten track – literally – and shifting our focus to the deep blue to investigate the best snorkelling in Australia. Whether you plan to take in the wonderous sights of the Great Barrier Reef or are after a little more secluded spot, here are the best reef and diving adventures we’ve found in Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

Of course we had to put the crowning jewel of coral reefs at the top of our list. There are myriad of tours being run from Far North Queensland, including Cairns and Port Douglas, with plenty of sites to check out. We recommend heading away from the usual tourist spots and exploring the outer reefs and islands, where coastal pollution has made less of an impact and you can still see some of the most stunning coral reefs in Australia.

Plus, it’s great for the whole family – kids can enjoy snorkelling and glass-bottom boat rides, while adults can partake in snorkelling and sailing as well.

Lord Howe Island, New South Wales

Lord Howe Island is unusual in that it only allows 400 tourists at a time on its shores, meaning that you’re quite likely to have a number of excellent diving spots all to yourself! Head out to the rocky crags of Balls Pyramid, where you can explore caves and reefs home to coral formations and plenty of fish, including the Ballina angelfish, which is otherwise only found in quite deep water.

Tangalooma Wrecks, Queensland

Between the years of 1963 and 1984, the Queensland government deliberately sunk fifteen ships off the eastern coast of Moreton Bay in order to create a safe anchorage spot for recreational boat owners.

It is now one of the best reefs in Australia, with plenty of sunken vessels to explore that have begun to host coral formations that over 100 species of fish call home. If you’re lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of dolphins, wobbegongs and dugongs.

Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

Ningaloo is the second-largest coral reef in Australia, but it’s not to be outshone by the Great Barrier Reef! Ningaloo differs in that it offers the unique opportunity to swim with whale sharks, which migrate through the area between March and August each year. You can take tours from Exmouth daily and soak in some of the best snorkelling in Australia.

Christmas Island

Image via Diveplanit

This Australian territory located far off the coast of Western Australia is known for a few things, one of them being the hordes of red crabs that spawn on the island each year, taking over beaches, roads, and more. It’s also known to have great reef adventure opportunities, since the island is located on the edge of the Java Trench, the deepest point of the Indian Ocean. This creates fringe reefs above sheer drop-offs that are home to 88 coral species and more than 650 species of fish.

 

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

 

Known for its cute native land-dwelling critter the quokka, Rottnest Island also offers some of the best snorkelling in Australia. Surrounded by a huge number of secluded beaches and wonderful snorkelling spots, Rottnest offers a wealth of reef experiences. Head to popular areas including Parakeet Bay, Parker Point, Little Salmon Bay or Little Armstrong Bay for some spectacular reef sites.

 

After some more beachside inspiration? Why not delve into the best beaches in Australia, or prepare yourself for your next 4x4 adventure across the sand?