ADD A SNORKEL SPOT

Snork the Yorke

The Yorke Peninsula is one of the most popular holiday spots in South Australia, and it offers a lot of fun snorkelling. From jetties to beds of sea grass and reefs, there is a snorkelling spot for of all abilities and experience.

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Stansbury Jetty
Stansbury Jetty

Best snorkelling conditions for Yorke Peninsula

Yorke Peninsula might be surrounded by water on three sides, but where you can snorkel will largely be determined by the wind direction and tides.

Wind conditions

Eastern Yorke Peninsula has snorkel spots like the jetties at Ardrossan, Edithburgh, Wool Bay, Port Vincent and Stansbury. And on the southern end of the Peninsula are Chinaman’s Hat in Innes National Park and Point Moorowie.

All these locations are best snorkelled in a light westerly or northerly breeze. Wind from the east or south will make any of these spots hard going.

The opposite is true for the western side of the peninsula which includes sites like Point Turton, Hardwicke Bay, Parsons Beach and Port Victoria, Wallaroo or Port Broughton. For these locations, light easterly or northerlies are best.

Tides

One of the defining characteristics of Yorke Peninsula is how far the water goes out at low tide. At low tide you might struggle at some of the snorkel sites. The eastern side particularly the further south you, is less affected. In fat we recommend snorkelling Edithburgh at low tide for the best conditions.

Given the amount of tidal movement, trying to plan your snorkel around the turn of the tide or when there is less tidal movement is the way to go.

Are Jetty Snorkels Safe?

Many of the snorkels on Yorke Peninsula are around the town jetties. But with fishing being so popular is it safe to snorkel there?

Yes, it is. Even though people fish from the jetties their lines are not under the jetty where you will be. Just be aware you need to look up if you come from under the jetty to get back to the steps. As a rule snorkellers and fishers work well to share the space.

Cape Spencer Lighthouse
Cape Spencer Lighthouse, Innes National Park

Where to snorkel on Yorke Peninsula

Because Yorke Peninsula is surrounded by water there are many snorkelling opportunities. We haven’t listed every place where you could slip on your mask and fins, but here are some of our favourites.

For many of these sites we have detailed snorkel spot guides. Check them out for more information.

Eastern Yorke Peninsula

Adrossan Jetty Pylons
Pylon Sponges

Ardrossan Jetty

Ardrossan Jetty is well known as a site for seeing leafy seadragon, but they are so well camouflaged they can be hard to find.

With easy access, lots of colourful soft corals on the pylons and plenty of fish there is still a lot to see at Ardrossan Jetty even if the seadragons elude you. We saw old wives, moonlighters, goat fish, zebra fish and morwongs and lots of crabs to name just a few.

Blue Swimmer Crab
Blue Swimmer Crab

Stansbury Jetty

We made a quick decision to get in here because there were a couple of seals swimming around – but of course they left before we got in. Even so, it was still a fun snorkel.

There is still some colour on the pylons – but less here than Ardrossan, Edithburgh or Point Tuton. We saw crabs everywhere and a variety of fish.

Also worth a look is the breakwater just to the right of the jetty. The tide was pretty low by the time we made it there but there are lots of fish living between the rocks and flathead in the sand between the breakwater and jetty.

Eagle Ray
Eagle Ray

Wool Bay

This fun snorkelling spot is another good leafy seadragon site. They can apparently be found in the weeds left of the jetty – again, we struck out!

We saw a huge eagle ray here and small fiddler ray sitting in the weed – where we were looking for seadragons. You’ll find fish right at the base of the stairs and schools of fish in the plant life beneath the jetty.

This is an easy snorkel, great for beginners, with a wonderful backdrop of the cliffs and chimney on the land.

Edithburg Jetty Pylons
Pylon Sponges

Edithburgh Jetty

This is one of South Australia’s favourite dive sites, you can get tank refills in Edithburgh. It is a deeper snorkel spot at 5 – 7m. At high tide negotiating the woodwork of the jetty is tricky so low tide here is the best time to snorkel.

Edithburgh is another leafy seadragon site, there is a lot of colour on the pylons and schools of fish. If you tend to stay on the surface, much of the action is below you but whether you are a duck diver or stay up top, there is still a lot to see. You will need light winds and low swells for a comfortable snorkel here.

Western Yorke Peninsula

Pylon Sponges

Point Turton Jetty (& Magazine Bay)

This popular holiday spot has a very snorkel friendly jetty to explore. There are a couple of easy access point either from the jetty or by the pontoon. The colour on the pylons here is spectacular with orange, blue, white, pink and yellow soft corals.

There are big schools of fish under the jetty too along with all sorts of life on the pylons. If there are fish being cleaned, you can also expect a ray to come past for an easy meal. We have snorkelled here a few times and it is always fun.

We have also tried to snorkel Magazine Bay around the corner from the jetty. There are stairs down to the beach and it look like it could be a good snorkel spot, but we are yet to have a day here with better than 1m visibility. Worth a try on a calm day though, hopefully you have better luck than us!

Hardwick Bay
Fiddler Ray

Hardwicke Bay

Perhaps better known as a popular fishing village, Hardwicke Bay is also a great snorkel spot. Drive onto the beach, turn left and you come to a horseshoe shaped bay which is ideal for snorkellers of all abilities.

The reef is home to all sort of fish. We saw schools of zebra fish, moonlighters, morwongs, goat fish, sweep and silver drummer. The sand area in the middle of the bay is home to eagle rays. If you swim into the bay across the sea grass look out for fiddler rays too.

We had a lot of fun here. At low tide, the entry point will be quite shallow, but you can still snorkel a bit further out on the reef in a metre or two of water.

Bottlenosed Dolphin
Bottlenosed Dolphin

Port Victoria

Sometimes you have one of those snorkels where a bit of magic happens. For us, this when a dolphin kept us company for our entire snorkel at the Port Victoria Jetty. It circled us and bobbed its head at us for an hour. It was the best dolphin encounter we have ever had.

While dolphins are not uncommon at Port Victoria, even if one doesn’t turn up you can still enjoy some colour and life on the pylons and fish swimming around. On the bottom, some divers found pipe fish and an octopus.

Parsons Beach
Parsons Beach

Parsons Beach

The tide was way out by the time we made it to Parsons Beach and the shallow reef that runs parallel to shore was largely expose – not ideal for snorkelling!

But if you still building up your snorkelling confidence and like not being too far from shore, this is a safe snorkel spot which you can access by driving onto the beach. Just make sure the tide is in when you give it a try.

Southern Yorke Peninsula

Port Gilbert
Moonlighters

Point Moorowie – Point Gilbert

This is a lovely spot for a snorkel, but we were slightly disappointed with how much we saw here. After a while we did spot some big dusky morwongs a few small schools of zebra fish and old wives.

It is a pretty and quiet spot, worth having a look here to see what is passing through. There were lots of ray holes in the sand, but we didn’t spot any. We also found the water here a bit chillier than anywhere else on our visit to Yorkes to be ready to rug up after your swim.

Fiddler Ray
Fiddler Ray

Chinaman’s Hat Island

Located in Innes National Park, Chinaman’s Hat is a more exposed snorkel best suited to experienced snorkellers. Tours run by EMS are a great way to look around the reefs and ledges around the rocky island.

You could spot rock lobsters, wobbegongs and port Jackson sharks here along with morwongs and other reef fish you’ll see in the area. We came here late in the day and visibility wasn’t great.

Pondielowie Bay
Pondalowie Bay
Dolphin Bay
Dolphin Bay

More Innes National Park Snorkels

There are a couple of other spots we are looking forward to exploring in Innes National Park. Both Dolphin Bay (where we did spot a dolphin) and Pondalowie Bay (which is a lovel sheltered spot) both look like fun spots to explore, and we have them on our list to do next time.

If you have snorkelled there, we would love to hear about it in the comments or you can write your own Snorkel Spot Guide!

Steve Klein
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