Turquoise Bay in the Cape Range National Park has one of the most beautiful, perfect beaches in Western Australia, and some pretty amazing snorkelling too.
The Ningaloo Reef’s main barrier is very close to the shore here – only 100m out in fact. The reef encloses a lagoon of crystal-clear water of the most brilliant shade of Turquoise. And beneath the surface, the shallow lagoon is teeming with tropical fish.
Marine life you’re highly likely to see while snorkeling in Turquoise Bay and off the drift snorkel beach includes:
- Various types of colourful parrotfish
- Scissortail sergeants
- Spangled emperor
- Blue damselfish
- Moon wrasse
- Butterfly fish
- Blue spotted ribbon-tail rays
- Bright blue starfish
- Reef sharks (no need to worry – they don’t bite 😉 )
- Green seaturtles
Turquoise Bay Snorkelling and Swimming
Turquoise Bay is a glorious spot for a swim, with its white sand and crystal-clear, calm shallow water. But even better than the swimming is the snorkelling!
Snorkelling in Turquoise Bay is safe and easy, with plentiful fish, coral and other Ningaloo marinelife to see.
The really good corals are up in the north-eastern end of the bay, in the seagrassy area off the rocky point.
Another good option is to try the drift snorkel along the beach south of the sand bar (see below!), where you swim straight out and let the current catch you then carry you over the coral gardens.
In my opinion the drift snorkel is an even better snorkelling site than Turquoise Bay itself. But isn’t as safe for little kids and unconfident swimmers as the one at the northern end of Turquoise Beach. Letting the current carry you along may be effortless and relaxing, but there’s a potential for danger there too. You’d sure want to be a strong swimmer if you were to be swept out into the deep ocean outside the safety of the protected lagoon!
Turquoise Bay South (The Drift Snorkel Beach)
The Turquoise Bay beach continues along to the south after the sandbar and its sandy point. This beach is almost as beautiful as the main Turquoise Bay Beach, and the snorkelling is even better.
A current moves in a northerly direction, parallel to the shoreline. Some days it can be quite strong. As it passes the sandbar, the current changes direction, flowing more westwards and out to sea through the narrow gap in the reef.
It’s fun and relaxing to float in the water and let the long-shore drift carry you along. Better yet if you have goggles to watch the underwater coral gardens and fish float by. Some care should be taken near the sandbar, especially with kids, due to the risk of being swept out to sea.
To get to this beach, either walk along the sand from Turquoise Bay, or else park your in the “Drift” carpark instead of the main Turquoise Bay carpark.
About the Turquoise Bay Drift Snorkel
This is one of the best snorkels of all the Cape Range National Park Beaches.
It’s certainly the most effortless and relaxing! You simply swim out into the current that flows along the shoreline and let it float you northwards. Along the way you’ll float over bombies and extensive gardens of staghorn coral and see lots of fish, starfish and, more often than not, reef sharks and sea turtles.
Pay attention to where the current is carrying you as you near the sandbar. Be sure to exit the water onto the sandbar and not allow yourself to be swept out in the rip through to behind the reef!
Underwater Photos From the Turquoise Bay Drift Snorkel!
Here are a few photos from the last time I snorkeled the long shore drift. Unfortunately I only had a disposable camera at the time (after my good camera filled with water and broke while I was Bateman Sanctuary Zone north of Coral Bay). So these photos really don’t do this awesome snorkelling site justice!
Last Updated: 6th July, 2014.
First posted on 10th December, 2013 by Bonny.
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