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Dive and snorkel in these spots

Snorkelling, Lord Howe IslandCREDIT: Destination NSW

Woman snorkelling off Lord Howe Island.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Dive and snorkel
in these spots

Snorkelling, Lord Howe Island CREDIT: Destination NSW

Woman snorkelling off Lord Howe Island.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Hashtags #lovensw #newsouthwales

There are hundreds of fantastic diving and snorkelling spots along the coastlines of New South Wales. Among them are a handful of spectacular shallow sites that are ideal for both diving and snorkelling — perfect for divers with travelling companions who prefer to snorkel while you scuba (or vice versa). Here are five of the most iconic spots, and how to experience them. 

Montague Island, South Coast 

Just 9km (around a 20-minute boat ride) from Narooma on the NSW South Coast, Montague Island is renowned for its fur seal colon. You can scuba dive and snorkel with these curious creatures in shallow waters surrounding the island year-round. Underwater Safaris specialises in snorkelling and diving tours to the island; you can also combine seal snorkelling and an island tour with Montague Island Adventures or Island Charters Narooma. As well as seals, snorkellers and divers might also spot some of the large bull rays and Port Jackson sharks that hang out among the seals. From November to April, scuba divers can also spot grey nurse sharks on deeper dives.

Conditions and accessibility: Montague Island is a boat dive/snorkel, with visibility ranging from 10–40m. The water temperature drops to around 16°C in winter, with suitable wetsuits supplied. 

Shelly Beach, Sydney 

At Manly on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, the calm, shallow waters surrounding Shelly Beach, part of the Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve, are a magnet for snorkellers and divers. Giant cuttlefish are often spotted here, particularly during their winter breeding season. From August to September, Shelly Beach also acts as a nursery for baby dusky whaler sharks, while octopus, eagle rays and wobbegong sharks are seen throughout the year. Dive Centre Manly runs snorkelling and diving tours to the site, while Pro Dive Manly focusses on dive tours and courses; Shelly Beach is one of the most popular places in Sydney to get Open Water Diver certified.  

Conditions and accessibility: Shelly Beach is a shore dive/snorkel, with an average visibility of 8–10m. This is fine for the shallow site, which reaches a maximum depth of 12m.  

Manly Underwater Experience Highlight Selects CREDIT: Destination NSW

Enjoy a memorable underwater experience in Cabbage Tree Aquatic Reserve, Manly.

#ilovesydney

Manly Underwater Experience Highlight Selects CREDIT: Destination NSW

Enjoy a memorable underwater experience in Cabbage Tree Aquatic Reserve, Manly.

#ilovesydney

Montague Island, Narooma CREDIT: Destination NSW

Fur seals swimming around Montague Island, Narooma.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Montague Island, Narooma CREDIT: Destination NSW

Fur seals swimming around Montague Island, Narooma.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve, Manly CREDIT: Destination NSW

Yellowtail fish swimming in Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve, Manly.

#ilovesydney

Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve, Manly CREDIT: Destination NSW

Yellowtail fish swimming in Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve, Manly.

#ilovesydney

Cook Island, Tweed Heads 

In the far northeastern corner of NSW, less than 1km off Fingal Head, Cook Island Aquatic Reserve is a haven for turtles (particularly green, loggerhead and hawksbill turtles), so you can expect to see at least a few during a typical snorkel or dive. There are also a range of anemone fish and other tropical fish species, corals and rays to be spotted. Watersports Guru runs up to three snorkelling tours daily, and Tweed Sea Sports runs morning dives.

Conditions and accessibility: Visibility at Cook Island is typically around 15m. All sites are accessed by boat, with snorkelling sessions conducted along a coral ledge where turtles hang out; divers can explore beyond the wall, which drops off to around 20m.  

Julian Rocks (Nguthungulli), Byron Bay 

Julian Rocks, or Nguthungulli in the Bundjalung Aboriginal language, is a rocky outcrop located 2.5km offshore from Byron Bay on the NSW North Coast. The convergence of the East Australian Current with cooler waters from the south attracts an incredibly diverse array of species to its shallow temperate reefs, from tropical fish to numerous turtle, shark and ray species, as well as corals. Byron Bay Dive Centre and Sundive run daily trips; both also offer snorkelling tours and dive courses. 

Conditions and accessibility: Julian Rocks is a boat dive with an average visibility of 15m, perfect for snorkelling at the shallowest site called The Nursery, which ranges from 5–12m. The maximum diving depth is 21m at the Cod Hole, a swim-through full of marine life. 

Lord Howe Island 

With more than 100 dive sites to choose from, Lord Howe Island, less than two hours’ flight from Sydney, is a scuba diver’s paradise. However, many of the island’s shallower dive spots, which support a wide variety of tropical and temperate species brought on converging currents, are also great for snorkelling. Chief among them is The Lagoon, on the western side of the island, where you can expect to see everything from anemones to lionfish, slipper crayfish to the rare Coleman’s pygmy seahorse. Pro Dive Lord Howe Island runs snorkelling and diving tours around the island.  

Conditions and accessibility: Snorkellers can swim out from The Lagoon and Ned’s Beach to explore shallow coral reefs, or sign up for an outer reef snorkelling tour by boat alongside more experienced divers. The depth within the lagoon ranges from 5–10m, with an average visibility of 10m. The visibility increases to a maximum of 40m on the outer reef. 

Tweed Heads Underwater Experience Highlight Selects CREDIT: Destination NSW

Some of the outstanding aquatic experiences on offer in the Tweed region of NSW.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Tweed Heads Underwater Experience Highlight Selects CREDIT: Destination NSW

Some of the outstanding aquatic experiences on offer in the Tweed region of NSW.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Julian Rocks, Byron Bay CREDIT: Destination NSW

Scuba diver exploring the soft coral fans at the Julian Rocks dive site in Byron. Bay.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Julian Rocks, Byron Bay CREDIT: Destination NSW

Scuba diver exploring the soft coral fans at the Julian Rocks dive site in Byron. Bay.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

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