Rottnest Island Snorkeling
The 9th most popular snorkel dive spot in Western Australia.
Saturday 23 July 2016 06:49 GMT
Off the west coast of Perth, the snorkeling at Rottnest Island is popular for its honeycomb coral formations and very diverse marine life. There are over 20 bays to explore with many of them located within protected marine sanctuary reserve zones. During Rottnest Island snorkeling, you may encounter over 400 different species of fish along with jellyfish and sharks.
Parker Point Sanctuary Zone has the most popular snorkeling dive sites on Rottnest Island. It is located on the south-central shore off Parker Point and includes Little Salmon Bay and the eastern end of Salmon Bay. It is marked by eight marine sanctuary zone buoy markers. Many snorkelers feel that the Parker Point Sanctuary Zone has the most coral and the most diverse marine life around Rottnest Island. The protected waters are good for beginners and families. The best Parker Point snorkeling is the Parker Point Marine Snorkel Trail which is a 2km loop that is marked with 12 plaques (the plaques are usually overgrown). In addition, make sure to check out the snorkeling off Chicken Reef, Little Salmon Bay, and on the east end of Salmon Bay when the surf is low on windless day. During Parker Point snorkeling, you may encounter zebrafish, king wrasse, and scissortail sergeant majors. The best time of day for snorkeling is at low tide with non-southern winds. For advanced snorkelers, there is a nice reef about 300 feet offshore.
West End Sanctuary Zone offers the best Rottnest Island snorkeling. Located on the west end of the island, these remote snorkeling dive sites near open ocean tend to attract larger fish species including sharks, but the surf can be higher. These rocky snorkel spots are best for advanced intermediate to expert snorkelers early on low wind days. The best West End snorkeling is at Fish Hook Bay, South Point, Wilson Bay and Eagle Bay.
Green Island Sanctuary Zone has several good protected snorkeling dive sites. It is located on the south-central shore near Kitson Point which is to the west of Parker Point. The sanctuary zone ranges from the western end of Salmon Bay to the eastern edge of Strickland Bay. The best snorkeling can be found at Marys Cove which has shallow waters, a good reef and marine diversity. The other good dive spot is at Nancy Cove which is protected by Green Island.
Armstrong Bay Sanctuary Zone has snorkeling dive sites that are quite different from the other marine reserves. It is located on the north shore near Armstrong Point. The sanctuary zone ranges from the eastern end of Catherine Bay to Parakeet Island. It is known for its starfish and nudibranches. The best snorkeling is at Armstrong Point, in Little Armstrong Bay and also in Little Parakeet Bay, which tends to be good for families.
In addition to the shore-accessed reef snorkeling, there are three shore-accessed wrecks for snorkelers to explore. The Uribes wreck (1942) is located off the eastern shore at Phillips Point in Thompson Bay. It is very easy to access since it is in protected waters only 20 meters offshore. The skeletal wreck of Uribes is still well-preserved. With the sandy bottom, it is best to explore this wreck on very low surf, low wind days. The Shark wreck (1939) is located on the southeastern shore near Henrietta Rocks in Porpoise Bay. The top of the wreck is still visible above the waterline and some feel that it looks like a crane. The water can be very choppy since it is exposed, so make sure the surf is very, very calm before heading out. The Kiryo Maru wreck (1984) is located off the western end in the deep water channel between Cathedral Rocks. Only advanced expert snorkelers should attempt to explore the scattered remains of the Kirry Maru. The best place to start is Eagle Bay and snorkel to the west. The pieces of the wreck are covered in kelp near the shoreline reef.
To reach the snorkeling at Rottnest Island, there are daily ferries from Fremantel, Perth and Hillarys Marina. The island is car-free, so make sure to hire a bike at the ferry terminal or use the regular Bayseeker Bus.
Overall, Rottnest Island is the 9th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 24 snorkeling dives in Western Australia. Several of the better snorkeling spots are nearby Rottnest Island including Marmion Marine Park, Purdy Point, Abrolhos Islands, Jurien Bay Marine Park, Yallingup Reef Beach and Sandy Point.