4 hidden-gem spots to dive and snorkel in Victoria
Thursday 21 April, 2022
No need to travel to see some of the world’s most unique underwater life. We’ve put together a list of 4 lesser-travelled snorkelling and diving spots for you to escape the city and discover tranquil waters teeming with curious fish, lush seagrass meadows, swaying kelp forests, and maybe even an inquisitive seal.
These 5 spots are a small part of a system of 24 Marine National Parks and Sanctuaries created to preserve our distinct marine environment and support more than 12,000 known species of flora and fauna. These areas are highly protected and all fishing or collecting is prohibited. When in the water help us care for these spots by practicing minimal impact diving and snorkelling techniques. Contact a provider like Green Fins for more information.
Many of Victoria's marine protected areas are in exposed locations where local weather and sea conditions need to be carefully considered before getting in the water. Always dive or snorkel with a buddy, use appropriate equipment and stay within your skill limits. If you're new to snorkelling and diving or want to improve your skills, we recommend contacting a Licensed Tour Operator.
So, strap on your mask and let’s get exploring.
1. Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary
Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary is a diver’s paradise. An isolated rock covered in life of every conceivable shape and colour, it rises abruptly out of the sandy Gippsland seafloor. The reef showcases a unique mix of both warmer and cooler temperate species, due to its location between the eastern Australian current flowing from the north and a cooler westerly current flowing through Bass Strait. Keep your eye out for fur seals. They are naturally very curious and love to interact with divers so don’t pursue them, they’ll come to you.
Located 400km east from Melbourne CBD near Cape Conran. Access diving spots via boat. If you’re looking for a guide, Cross Diving Services provide access an equipment for the reef.
TIP: Take the Your Autumn Unseen Places Nature Challenge. Just by visiting this park you could go into the draw to win a prize worth up to $3,000.
2. Rickett’s Point Marine Sanctuary
Crystal clear shallow waters, sandstone reefs and sea caves make Rickett's Point Marine Sanctuary the perfect place to discover the wonderful sea creatures of Port Phillip Bay. Grab your snorkel to meet zebrafish or even a Port Jackson Shark. Experienced divers and snorkelers can explore the offshore sandstone reefs and sea caves that are unique to this area.
Located 23km from Melbourne CBD. Access snorkelling spots via shore and diving spots via boat and shore.
TIP: Bring a torch to look for unusual wildlife. This spot has amazing fish species hiding in the sandstone sea caves and crevices.
3. Point Addis Marine National Park
Known for the iconic swells at Bells Beach, Point Addis Marine National Park hides a secret – an amazing spot to dive and snorkel. The point offers a staggering diversity of marine life in both the park’s coast and outer reefs. Iconic species like the weedy seadragon, giant cuttlefish or the beautiful blue devil fish can be seen hiding under ledges beneath the sponge gardens. In calm weather and at low tide, visitors can explore rock pools, dive, and snorkel to explore the magnificent underwater world.
Located 100km south-east from Melbourne CBD near Torquay. Access snorkelling spots via shore and diving spots via boat and shore.
TIP: It’s a long walk from the carpark, take a carry bag with your snorkelling gear and don’t forget a water bottle and sun protection.
4. Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary
Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary is often overlooked even though it is the largest of Victoria's Marine Sanctuaries. Beneath the water, exposed sections of rock support a range of life including tube worms, anemones and colourful algae. Small sharks and skates patrol eelgrass beds and muddy seafloor. On the right day, unsuspecting snorkellers may come across large aggregations of Southern fiddler rays or encounter an entertaining, but elusive fish called the Southern Blennie.
Located 30km from Melbourne CBD. Access snorkelling spots via shore and diving spots via boat and shore.
TIP: There are also two heritage-listed shipwrecks in the park, the Henrietta and the Diane, which can be explored by both divers and snorkellers.