Best Queensland Snorkeling Dive Spots

Queensland has 43 snorkel dives.

Located in Australia, the snorkeling in Queensland offers over thirty snorkel dive spots from which to choose. The best Queensland snorkeling based on popularity are considered to be Heron Island, Hamilton Island, Norman Reef, Cook Island Aquatic Reserve, and Lady Elliot Island. For a detailed dive site description and printable snorkel dive map, just select a Queensland snorkeling dive below.

Gold Coast Snorkeling, Queensland, Australia

Gold Coast Snorkeling, Queensland, Australia


Cook Island Aquatic Reserve

Southeast of Gold Coast offshore of Fingal Head, the snorkelling off Cook Island Aquatic Reserve is known for its diverse marine life. During Cook Island Aquatic Reserve snorkeling, you may encounter batfish, angelfish, damselfish, blue grouper, clown fish, wobbegongs, stingrays, eagle rays and sometimes manta rays.  MORE INFO

Lady Elliot Island

North of Brisbane off the coast of Gladstone, the snorkelling at Lady Elliot Island is considered to be the best snorkel dive site on the Great Barrier Reef. The fringing coral reef around the island creates a large lagoon that is teaming with marine life. With some of the highest visibility, the water clarity can be up to 75 feet. During a Lady Ellliot snorkeling dive, you may encounter flute fish, anemones, blue chromis, surgeonfish, unicornfish, triggerfish, green sea turtles and loggerhead turtles.  MORE INFO

Agincourt Reef

North of Cairns and northeast of Port Douglas, the snorkelling at Agincourt Reef on the Great Barrier Reef is considered one of the best snorkel dives in the world. The stands of elkhorn and staghorn coral in this ribbon reef provide habitat to marine life including sea turtles. During Agincourt Reef snorkeling, you may encounter unicornfish, clownfish, lionfish, giant clams, maori wrasse, garden eels and barracuda.  MORE INFO

Langford Reef

Southeast of Cairns and north of Whitsunday Island, the snorkelling at Langford Reef is a popular beach-accessed dive site. This family-friendly, boat-accessed dive site is known to always be pretty quiet due to its seclusion. The extensive Langford Reef is just offshore of Langford Island. The best snorkeling is located on the long Langford Spit Beach, which mostly disappears at high-tide, at the northwest end of the spit. During a Langford snorkeling dive, you may encounter parrotfish, wrasse and green sea turtles amongst 50 types of soft and hard corals.  MORE INFO

Bait Reef

Southeast of Cairns and north of the Whitsunday Islands in the Great Barrier Reef, the snorkelling at Bait Reef is considered the best in the Whitsunday Islands. The off-shore reefs provide habitat to wrasse, parrotfish and green sea turtles amongst dozens of types of corals. The visibility is typically 30 to 60 feet.  MORE INFO

Haslewood Island

Southeast of Cairns and east of Whitsunday Island, the snorkelling at Haslewood Island is well known for its crystal clear waters and fringing coral reef. The best snorkeling on Haslewood Island is at Chalkies Beach on the western coast.  MORE INFO

Green Island

Northeast off the coast of Cairns, the snorkelling off Green Island is well known for encounters with stingrays, turtles and occasional migrating humpback whales. The water depth varies from 3 to 30 feet deep.  MORE INFO

Great Keppel Island

North of Brisbane off the coast of Rockhampton, the snorkelling off Great Keppel Island offers colorful reef life around the fringing reefs. While snorkeling, you may encounter the maori wrasse, clownfish and sea snakes in the surprisingly crystal clear waters.  MORE INFO

Moreton Island

Southeast of Cairns, the snorkelling off Moreton Island is best known for the numerous shallow wrecks. Located just north of the Tanglalooma Island Resort, there are fifteen wrecks partially sunk to create a man made reef. Many Queenslanders consider this the best Queensland snorkeling dive site. During Tangalooma wreck snorkeling, you may encounter yellowfish, kingfish, dugong, green turtles and the occasional wobbegong shark. The water is known to be exceptionally clear and the water depth ranges from 6 to 30 feet deep.  MORE INFO

Orpheus Island

South of Cairns off the north coast of Townsville, the snorkelling off Orpheus Island offers plentiful giant clams in waters sheltered by a fringing coral reef. There are over 1,100 species of fish and over 340 species of hard corals to be found around Orpheus Island. During Orpheus Island snorkeling, you may encounter green sea turtles, manta rays, bull rays and an occasional reef shark.  MORE INFO

Low Isles

North of Cairns and northeast of Port Douglas in the Great Barrier Reef, the snorkelling in the Low Isles offers over 150 species of hard and soft corals. While diving this 50 acre reef, you’ll observe plenty of staghorn coral and brain coral formations. During Low Isles snorkeling, you may encounter clownfish, angelfish, parrotfish, angelfish, damselfish, wrasse, sea turtles, stingrays and reef sharks in these protected waters.  MORE INFO

Cochrane Reef

East of Bundaberg in the Coral Sea, the snorkelling at Cochrane Artificial Reef offers numerous aircraft, wrecks and tanks to check out. Within the Woongarra Marine Park, the Cochrane Artificial Reef spans a rectangle of 800m by 400m.   MORE INFO

Bargara Beach

East of Bundaberg, the snorkelling at Bargara Beach is best known for its sea turtles. The sea turtles flock to this tropical beach during the summer months to nest and frequent the waters offshore.  MORE INFO

Lizard Island

North of Cairns, the snorkeling off Lizard Island is truly exceptional. There are several lagoons to explore with plenty of coral heads. It is so healthy that there is a marine research station operated by the Australian Museum on the island. The water clarity ranges from 25-50m in the winter to 18m in the summer.  MORE INFO

Wave Break Island

On the northern end of the Gold Coast, the snorkelling off Wave Break Island is always good. This island is protected by the barrier islands from the surf and provides good snorkeling for beginners and families. While snorkeling the Gold Coast Wave Break Island, you may encounter up to 50 different species of reef fish in waters from shallows down to 10m.  MORE INFO

Spiral Beach

On the south end of the Gold Coast, the snorkelling at Broadbeach offers good snorkel dive conditions. During Gold Coast snorkeling, you may encounter stingrays and nurse sharks along the sand flats. Luckily, Spiral Beach is a semi-protected snorkeling spots due to the Tweed River rock jetties so it can actually be good for much of the year while other dive spots are closed out due to waves.  MORE INFO

Kirra Reef

On the south end of the Gold Coast, the snorkelling at Kirra Reef is known for its plentiful marine life. It’s not so much of a reef as its a 100m wide rocky outcropping that provides habitat for kelp fronds, soft corals and anemones. During Kirra Reef snorkeling, you may encounter porcupine fish, moray eels and Wobbegong sharks.  MORE INFO

Palm Beach Reef

Off the Gold Coast, the snorkelling at Palm Beach Reef is known for good marine life. While the Gold Coast is generally considered to be void of reefs, this is the exception of a natural off-shore reef in area. This large rocky reef is located about 300m off-shore of Palm Beach and provides habitat for soft corals and sponges.  MORE INFO

Flinders Reef

Southeast of Cairns and northeast of Moreton Island in the Coral Sea, the snorkeling at Flinders Reef offers over 100 coral species to observe. This is a boat-accessed snorkel dive site that is known for its coral diversity and turtle cleaning stations.  MORE INFO

Paradise Reef

Northeast of Cairns and east of Port Douglas, the snorkelling off Paradise Reef is known for its anemones and clownfish scattered among the sand flats with coral heads. The water depths range from the surface down to 15 meters. During Paradise Reef snorkeling, you may encounter giant clams, parrotfish, butterflyfish, damselfish, lionfish and Maori wrasse.  MORE INFO

Michaelmas Reef

Northeast off the coast of Cairns, the snorkelling at Michaelmas Reef offers plenty of giant clams and stingrays to observe. Within the Michaelmas Cays National Park, this reef surrounds the 10km long sandy cay with waters from 1 to 10 meters deep. During Michaelmas Reef snorkeling, you may encounter Maori wrasse, damselfish, parrotfish, butterflyfish, lionfish, stingrays and white tipped reef sharks.  MORE INFO

Fitzroy Island

East of the coast of Cairns, the snorkeling at Fitzroy Island is known for its fringing coral reef formations surrounding the granite island. The water depth ranges from 1 to 10m and are teeming with marine life.  MORE INFO

Lady Musgrave Island

North of Bundaberg and east of Gladstone, the snorkeling at Lady Musgrave Island is known for giant clams and sea turtles. Within the large protected lagoon, there are magnificent coral structures providing habitat to starfish, Maori wrasse, moray eels, grouper, sea snakes, reef sharks and manta rays.  MORE INFO

Travel Tips

To reach Queensland by air, most international flights arrive into Brisbane International Airport. In addition, there are some international flights into Cairns, Gold Coast and Townsville airports. For interstate visitors coming from other regions of Australia, the main flight providers are Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar. While the southeast portion of Queensland is serviced by TransLink public transport and there is some train service throughout the state, it is recommended to rent a car to really access those out of the way destinations, which can be quite far from the regional airports.