Ewens Ponds Snorkel

by Steve Klein


Ewens Ponds Snorkel

LOCATION Port MacDonnell, South Australia

DEPTH 1-10 Meters

WATER TEMP 15 Degrees


It is an easy snorkel but the water is very cold and there are deep areas



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Ewens Ponds Snorkel

LOCATION Port MacDonnell, South Australia

DEPTH 1-10m

WATER TEMP 15 degrees


It is an easy snorkel but the water is very cold and some parts are deep



Ewens Ponds

This unique drift snorkel takes you into three connected sinkholes full of lush vegetation and crystal clear water. Located near Mount Gambier in southeast South Australia, Ewens Ponds is a magic snorkelling experience in a unique environment. Snorkelling here is managed by a booking system through the South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Ewens Ponds Snorkel
What Can I See?

What Can I See?

  • Incredible visability
  • Explore the beautiful 10m deep limestone sinkholes
  • Crystal Clear Water
  • Ewens Pygmy Perch
  • Galaxias and native fish
  • Vibrant underwater gardens line the channels
Getting There

Getting There

Ewens Ponds are about 30 minutes from Mount Gambier or 10 minutes east of Port MacDonnell. Follow the Lower Nelson Road and look for the turn off.

Snorkel Entry

Where & How do you get in?

There is a pontoon adjacent the carpark. The pontoon has a small ladder to enter the water.

Best Season

Best Season

Ewens Ponds is open for bookings from December to August. As famous as the ponds are for their clarity, they are also known for being cold, the temperature is a consistent 15 degrees.


Potential Hazards

Despite the unique nature of this snorkel, it is relatively safe, the main issue is the cold

When you snorkel at Ewens Ponds a full length wetsuit is a requirement of the permit. Gloves, hood and boots are recommended too. Snorkellers are not permitted to wear a weight belt.

If you need to hire gear, you can get everything you need from The Allendale East General Store which is about halfway between Mount Gambier and Piccaninnie Ponds.

We have hired gear from here and they are very easy to deal with and good value.

How Busy/Crowds

Because access to the site is by booking only, you won’t have to worry about crowds of people. Snorkelling groups are limited to 6 people and there is plenty of room to spread out in the water.

Recommended Gear

If you have ever wanted to take pictures underwater, Ewens Ponds is the place to do it because the visibility is so good. If you have a camera, definitely bring it along. If you feel the cold, have something warm to wear afterwards.


A sunny day will give you the best visibility. Known for their clarity the pond visibility can be as much as 80 metres. Like other sinkholes in the area, you can expect the visibility at Ewens Ponds to be 50m+


Costs & Permits

A permit must be booked with the National Parks and Wildlife Service SA. You will be allocated a one hour session with a maximum of 6 people in the groop. You must were a full length wet suit, fins, face mask and snorkel. No weight belts should be worn.

The information for each snorkel spot is provided by people who have snorkelled there. However, snorkelling conditions change daily. Please be aware that wind, swell, tides and cloud cover can all affect visibility and your experience in the water.

Disclosure: Please Note That Some Links In This Post May Be Affiliate Links, And At No Additional Cost To You, We Earn A Small Commission If You Make A Purchase. Commissions Go Toward Maintaining The Snorkel Spots Website.

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Facilities at Ewens Ponds




Picnic Table

About the Snorkel

We first did this snorkel just a few months before the booking and permit system was introduced so we just turned up, jumped in and nearly froze in our shorty wetsuits! We have since gone back and snorkelled at Piccaninnie Ponds in full wetsuits and, unsurprisingly, they make for a much more comfortable experience.

Ewens Ponds is a series of three ponds joined by narrow channels. You begin your snorkel or dive in Pond 1 and finish at Pond 3. You are not allowed to do an ‘out and back’ swim and you need to leave the water by the end of your allotted time.

One hour is plenty of time to snorkel from Pond 1 to Pond 3. Not only does a gentle current push you along the channel, 45 minutes in 15 degree water will do most people. There is a pontoon and ladder in Pond 3 where you get out. A narrow path running alongside the ponds returns you to the car park at Pond 1.

Drifting along, you appreciate the differences between fresh and sea water snorkelling. Waves don’t lift you up and down and there isn’t that constant background crackle. Instead you hear reed warblers chirping in the tall grass. I’m sure at one point I heard a cow moo in a nearby paddock.

As you approach the end of the channel you look ahead into a teal blue void. Being pulled towards it by the current is an amazing sensation. One moment you’re surrounded by bright green plants, the next you’re in the stillness and depth of the next pond.

Loving every minute of it, we made our way along the second channel and into the third and deepest pond. At the bottom, 13m below, is a small cave.

We loved this snorkel. The water is incredibly clear, if you normally swim in the sea the visibility will blow you away. And seeing land plants growing in the channels because the light is so good was quite amazing.

If you have never done a freshwater snorkel before, we recommend it. And while you are in the area make sure you also try out Piccaninnie Ponds and Kilsby Sinkhole too. Each of these sinkhole snorkels is unique and offers some of South Australia’s best snorkelling.

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