When you see it on a map, Salmon Bay looks like a huge bite taken out of the southern half of Rottnest Island. This is a wild, windswept, treacherous bay – one of the most exposed and wavy on the island.
Where to Swim and Snorkel at Salmon Bay
Although this Rottnest beach is mostly reefy and rocky with huge crashing waves, it has some nice safe sheltered sections that are wonderful for swimming.
On a very calm day with no waves and hardly any wind, you can swim anywhere along all the beaches in the bay. In these conditions the remote middle section and western end of the bay that are usually rough and dangerous for swimming becomes a calm, secluded paradise. But generally, the best and safest area for swimming in Salmon Bay by far is the beautiful long beach along the eastern half of the bay.
In particular the reefiest area next to Salmon Point in the far eastern corner of the bay, just below where the bus stops, is safe and sheltered for a swim. It is also fantastic for snorkeling as it has coral reefs and all sorts of fish swimming about!
When conditions are windy or wavy you should avoid swimming in the western half of the bay due to hazards including dangerous rips and waves crashing onto reefs and submerged rocks.
Salmon Bay has some of the best snorkelling at Rottnest.
Salmon Bay’s eastern lagoon, along with nearby Little Salmon Bay and Parker Point, is easily one of the Snorkeling spots at Rottnest Island.
Snorkeling the South-Eastern Corner of the Bay
The south-eastern corner of the bay next to Salmon Point is the most popular snorkelling spot in the bay – for good reason! It’s also the only one suitable for children, or adults who aren’t strong swimmers. The reefs of the sheltered lagoon have lots of coral growing on them and plenty of fish swimming around including both tropical and temperate species.
Just around the corner to the east there is another small beach on Salmon Point adjoined by reefs and sheltered lagoons. This is another fantastic snorkeling area, and a nice secluded beach with views of the Chicken Reef surf break and an osprey nest.
Salmon Bay’s Western Headland into Nancy Cove
The far western end of the bay can also be superb for snorkelling, but it’s more exposed to the waves so should only be snorkelled in very calm conditions. It’s possible to follow the reefs off the point all the way around into Nancy Cove, but this is quite a long swim.
Nancy Cove and Green Island
Nancy Cove is full of fish with some very interesting reefs to explore. A nice easy snorkel suitable for all levels is to follow the reef edge along the sheltered inshore side of the island.
In very calm conditions (ie. dead-flat ocean and no wind) you could also try snorkelling the reefs around Fairbridge Bluff in the middle of Salmon Bay. But I’ve never tried this so can’t say for sure if it would be any good. Please let us know in the comments at the end of this page if you’ve snorkelled there before.
Where is Salmon Bay on Rottnest and how do you get there?
Salmon Bay is right in the middle of the south side of the island. The quickest way to ride out to the swimming beach and snorkelling spot is to head out along Parker Point Road from the settlement, past Henrietta Rocks.
When you reach the Cross Roads (Parker Point Loop), keep going straight and you’ll soon reach the bike racks and path down to the beach.
Alternatively, turn left and take the slightly longer, but more scenic, route past Parker Point, Jeannies Pools and Little Salmon Bay.
Another option is to ride down the very centre of the island through the salt lakes. At the end of the road, turn left to reach the eastern beach or Fairbridge Bluff, or right to get to the western end of the bay and Nancy Cove.
Boating in Salmon Bay
In calm summer conditions the eastern corner of Salmon Bay just next to the reefs is quite a popular anchorage. However the eastern side of Salmon Bay has no navigation markers and the passage in can be treacherous, so take care! Although it’s an absolutely stunning place to spend the day, I would not recommend staying overnight at this anchorage because it is exposed to the strong south-westerlies and you could be in for an uncomfortable night.
Over on the far western side of Salmon Bay, navigation leads mark the passage into Nancy Cove, another anchorage area with great snorkeling near by, but not the nicest scenery that the island has to offer.
Last Updated: 14th December, 2014.
First posted on 14th December, 2014 by Bonny.
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