Fitzroy Island – White Rock Snorkel

by Steve Klein


Fitzroy Island White Rock Snorkel

LOCATION Fitzroy Island, Cairns, Far North Queensland

DEPTH 3-5 Meters

WATER TEMP 24-28 Degrees


It is deep water and a 60-100m swim to the site from the beach.



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Fitzroy Island White Rock Snorkel

LOCATION Fitzroy Island, Cairns, Far North Queensland

DEPTH 3-5 Meters

WATER TEMP 24-28 Degrees


It is deep water and a 60-100m swim to the site from the beach.


Fitzroy Island White Rock

Fitzroy Island White Rock Snorkel

White Rock is one of several snorkel spots on Fitzroy Island in the Great Barrier Reef. An easy day trip from Cairns, Fitzroy Island is a great base for exploring the reef. White Rock offers experienced snorkellers a huge range of marine life and spectacular coral formations.

What can I see?

What Can I See?

This is a quite a reliable spot to see turtles so be patient and keep a look out. We spotted one and our daughter has spotted them regularly here.

Getting There

Getting There

Fitzroy Island is a popular day trip from Cairns. Leaving from the Cairns Marina, it is a 45 minute cruise to Fitzroy Island.

Snorkel Entry

Where & How do you get in?

You’ll see white rock on your left as you arrive on the ferry. From the ferry, walk 600m either along the beach or paved path.

On the path, which you will have to take if the tide is in, go past the cabins and turtle rehabilitation centre. From the path a track will take you to the water. Get in where the sand finishes. It gets quite rocky so it is easier to get in at the end of the sand. Depending on where you enter it is 60 – 120m to white rock.

Best Season

Best Season

For sunny skies April to September is a great time to go. The breeze can pick up later in the day so earlier is better. If the breeze is from the east or south White Rock is quite sheltered. Over summer – the wet season – there can be less wind, but the water can be cloudier from runoff from the main land.

Current Australian Sea Temperature


Potential Hazards

Stinger season is November-April so a stinger suit or full length wetsuit is a must at that time, and the rest of the year the water is cooler so you might want a wetsuit.

Recommended Gear

There is no fee to snorkel from the beach however you will need to hire gear if you don’t bring your own. The dive shop on the island hires mask, snorkel, fins, stinger suit, short 5mm wetsuits & a few long wetsuits. Gear is in functional but well loved condition. eg $24 for a wetsuit day hire.

How Busy / Crowds

This is usually a quieter place to snorkel than Nudie Beach at the other end of the island. There is plenty of room around White Rock and the other rocks nearby. If there are a few people around there is plenty of great snorkelling further to the right along the coast from White Rock.


Parking is available at the Fleet Terminal at the Pier Shopping Centre for approximately $10-20. This is only a short walk to the Marina to meet the departing ferries.


Costs / Permits

Full and Half Day Ferry Trips to Fitzroy Island are available from Cairns. A transfer only will be around $100 pp but you can selection optional extras for snorkelling, glass bottom boat, guided snorkel tour, semi submarine tour and lunch.

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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Best Conditions

Aim to go here early in the day and when there are light winds. You can also experience currents here if the tide is moving so snorkelling either side of high or low tide is ideal.

Windy Map Instructions – Click on the wind icon in the top right to see other conditions such as swell, temperature, rain. To clear the four day forecast click and close the wind icon.

Facilities on Fitzroy Island

There are no facilities at White Rock itself but Fitzroy Island has everything from resort accommodation to tours, equipment hire, bars, and cafes.




Picnic Tables






Food & Drinks

About the Snorkel

One of the fun things about Fitzroy Island is that there is a variety of snorkel spots but our favourite snorkel on Fitzroy Island is at White Rock.

Depending on the tide it is a short walk either along the beach (if the tide is out) or the path past the turtle rehab centre. You can’t miss White Rock. The bird poo covered rock is on the northwest coast of the island. You’ll spot it on your left as you come in on the ferry.

We like it here because it tends to be less busy than other snorkel spots around the island and there is a huge amount of marine life and coral. Once you get into the water at the end of the beach it is roughly 100m to white rock and the other rocks around it.

The rocks and coral bommies are home to a host of fish including parrot fish, several types of butterfly fish, triggerfish and Moorish idols to name just a few. It is also a great place to spot a green sea turtle. You can also spot them off the main beach and Nudie Beach.

If you are a strong swimmer, you can explore the coral beyond White Rock which is where the resort tour boats come. There is broken bottom here where you can see a sandy bottom between coral bommies. Keep an eye on the sand as we saw several blue spotted rays.

Also keep an eye on how far you snorkel away from White Rock as it is easy to get distracted and just keep going, but remember, at some point you have turn around and go back!

A good plan is to start at White Rock and have a good look around. You’ll see plenty of marine life here and around the nearby rocks. If you have the energy and confidence, go further around the island before heading back. Time flies on this snorkel – there is so much to see!

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Steve Klein
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