The Five Best Snorkelling Spots In and Around Melbourne

Swim with seals, explore octopus gardens and peek into the underwater lives of starfish, sea anemones and more at these Victorian snorkelling spots.
Jasmine Crittenden
Published on October 24, 2023

Downtown Melbourne might feel a long way from any kind of underwater paradise, but it's not as far as it seems. Within 30 minutes of reading this, you could be submersed in crystal-clear water — surrounded by colourful coral gardens, dreamy seagrass beds, spiny sea urchins, pretty nudibranchs and spectacular weedy sea dragons.

Here are five of the best spots for snorkelling near Melbourne, from tranquil Half Moon Bay to the wild Bunurong Marine Park. So, grab your flippers and go.


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BLAIRGOWRIE PIER, MORNINGTON PENINSULA - best snorkelling Melbourne, Victoria.

Visit Victoria


In the southeastern corner of Port Phillip Bay is the lively underwater community around Blairgowrie Pier. Stick to the shallows near the shore to meet weedy sea dragons, or head further out for colourful sponges, schools of fish and crustaceans. Away from the pylons, the bay's sandy floor also provides ample gliding room for rays and flathead.

Other top-notch snorkelling spots on the Mornington Peninsula include Rye Pier — where's there's a signposted Octopus Garden and exploration trail — the rock pools of Sorrento Back Beach, and (if you've got a boat or booked tour) Pope's Eye and Chinaman's Hat. Blairgowrie Pier is a 90-minutes drive southeast of Melbourne.


KITTY MILLER BAY, PHILLIP ISLAND - best snorkelling Melbourne, Victoria.

Visit Victoria


Kitty Miller Bay, a horseshoe in Phillip Island's southwestern corner, is one of the area's best-protected beaches. Its 500-metre stretch of shoreline shelters vast rock platforms, seaweed gardens and seagrass beds, bustling with zebra fish, leather jackets, rays and Port Jackson sharks.

Inexperienced snorkellers should stick to the shallows of the western edge, while the waters to the east are best suited to those with a little more confidence. Take care at all times: the water might appear calm, but conditions can change quickly and the beach is not patrolled. You'll find Kitty Miller Bay located just under two hours from Melbourne — along with a slew of other great Phillip Island adventures.


BUNURONG MARINE NATIONAL PARK, NEAR INVERLOCH - best snorkelling near Melbourne.


Hugging the South Gippsland coastline for five kilometres, Bunurong Marine Park gives you a diverse variety of habitats to explore — from caves and gullies to reefs and ledges. More than 80 species of fish live here, including blue-throated wrasse, old wife and Tasmanian blenny, as well as a bunch of shark varieties, including Port Jacksons and gummies. Keep an eye out for starfish, lobsters and marine snails, too.

Bunurong's most popular beaches for snorkelling are Eagles Nest, Shack Bay and Flat Rocks. You'll find it all around two hours' drive southeast of Melbourne.


ST LEONARDS PIER, BELLARINE PENINSULA - best snorkelling near Melbourne.

Parks Victoria


One of the most best places to snorkel southwest of Melbourne is St Leonards Pier, which juts into Port Phillip Bay at the end of the Bellarine Peninsula. Over years and years, the pylons have attracted a diverse community of underwater creatures: on a typical afternoon, you'll spy seahorses, nudibranchs, puffer fish, stargazers (recognisable by the eyes on top of their heads) and rays, among many others. Octopus and dumpling squid tend to appear at night. St Leonards Pier is located 90 minutes southwest of Melbourne.


HALF MOON BAY, BLACK ROCK - one of the best snorkel spots in Melbourne.

Parks Victoria


When you're keen to get underwater but don't have much time on your hands for travel, grab your snorkel and head to Half Moon Bay, which sits on the eastern shores of Port Phillip Bay in Black Rock. The underwater terrain varies from jetty pylons to rocky reefs to seagrass beds. You'll have all kinds of company, too, including sea urchins, anemones, nudibranchs, blue-ringed octopuses (poisonous) and scores of fish varieties. Also taking up residence in the water is the famed wreck of the HMVS Cerberus, built in the 1860s and scuttled in 1926. Half Moon Bay is located just 30 minutes from Melbourne and you can also reach it by public transport.


Top Images: Chinaman's Hat by Mark Chew for Visit Victoria, Pope's Eye by Ben Savage for Visit Victoria.

Published on October 24, 2023 by Jasmine Crittenden
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