Yallingup Reef is far better known as a fantastic surf break than a snorkeling site. But on days when the ocean is flat and the surf’s not so good, take a look beneath the surface and you’ll discover thriving a marine ecosystem in the shallow, sheltered lagoons.
This is easily one of the best snorkeling spots in the Margaret River Region – both in terms of the number of fish you’ll see, and its ease of access and protection from waves and wind.
Yallingup Reef is absolutely ideal if you’re a beginner at snorkelling or have little kids with you. The water stays nice and shallow for a long way out, and you don’t have to swim far away from the beach to get to the interesting areas. You’ll see a lots of fish and other marine life even where it’s only a metre or so deep.
Where is Yallingup Reef, and Where is the Best Place to Snorkel?
At the far southern end of beautiful Yallingup Beach next to South Point, a limestone platform reef extends out about 150 metres from the beach. This reef surrounds a network of lagoons and channels.
The place where I most recommend snorkelling at Yallingup Beach is a shallow, sheltered lagoon that begins just off the Yallingup Reef Beach. This is the middle of the three main lagoons – the other two are the popular swimming area to the north, and the boulder-strewn shallow area alongside South Point.
Swim out from the beach through the narrow channel in the reef. The water is very shallow for a long way out, but you’ll see lots of fish as soon as you enter the water!
The narrow channel soon widens into a deeper lagoon. This lagoon is sandy in the middle, but otherwise full of seagrasses and seaweeds, creating the perfect habitat for fish, sea urchins, shellfish, bryazoans and other marine life to grow and thrive. Needless to say, it’s fantastic for snorkelling!
The most common (or at least the most easy to spot!) fish in the lagoon seem to be the striped trumpeters and zebrafish. Other common fish include King George whiting, old wives, senator wrasse, stripeys, scalyfins and tarwhine – all the usual suspects.
I saw a lot of stripeys swimming about, both in schools and on their own. Stripeys are one of the most common fish around Perth and the South West of WA.
Where Else to Snorkel?
On its southern side, the lagoon is bordered by smallish rounded granite boulders – a slightly different underwater landscape from the limestone reef along the northern and seaward edges. It can be a bit difficult to access this area because the water’s so shallow there.
To the north of the Reef Beach (southern end of Yallingup Beach) there’s another lagoon that’s deeper and more open. This is the best and most popular place to swim along Yallingup Beach. I’ve never been snorkelling there because I like the shallow lagoon too much, but it’s worth a try!
Yallingup Reef Map
A. Yallingup Reef Beach
B. Yallingup Reef Lagoon – the best snorkeling area
C. Yallingup Beach
D. The Yallingup Beach Lagoon – good swimming area
View Yallingup Reef in a larger map
Conditions for Snorkelling at Yallingup Beach
When the surf’s down, the snorkelling’s up! If Yallingup Beach looks anything like it does in the first few photos on this page – low swell, gentle breeze and sparkling clear water enticing you into the lagoon – then conditions will be just perfect for snorkelling. If large waves are washing over Yallingup Reef or if the water in the lagoon is choppy, then it’s probably not worth it.
Last Updated: 24th June, 2014.
First posted on 14th October, 2013 by Bonny.
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