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Rapid Bay Jetty Snorkel

by Steve Klein

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Rapid Bay Jetty Snorkel

LOCATION Rapid Bay, Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia

DEPTH 8-10 Meters

WATER TEMP 17-22 Degrees

DIFFICULTY Medium

You will need to swim from the new jetty to the end of the old jetty.

FEATURE

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Rapid Bay Jetty Snorkel

LOCATION Rapid Bay, Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia

DEPTH 8-10 m

WATER TEMP 17-22 degrees

DIFFICULTY Medium

You will need to swim from the new jetty to the end of the old jetty.

FEATURE

Rapid Bay Old Jetty

Rapid Bay Jetty

Regarded as one of South Australia’s best snorkel and dive sites, the T section at the end of the old Rapid Bay jetty is teeming with life from large schools of fish to pylons covered in colourful soft corals, sponges and sea stars. The jetty is also home to leafy sea dragons, but you will have to get down to the bottom to find them. The Rapid Bay Jetty is a must do snorkel spot for strong swimmers and divers.

What Can I See?

What Can I See?

  • Schools of Fish
  • Soft Corals
  • Leafy Sea Dragons
  • Crabs & Sea Stars

There are three highlights of the snorkel at Rapid Bay. The first is the schools of fish. Big schools of bullseyes and old wives swim around the pylons and it is easy to immerse yourself in them as they cruise around.

The next highlight is exploring the life on the pylons. It is colourful and intricate and just fascinating to watch. Even if you don’t know the names of everything you are seeing, you could watch the life on the pylons for hours.

And the third highlight is the X factor. You never know if a big ray, octopus, seal or dolphin might cruise past. It is one of the best things about the Rabid Bay snorkel, you never know what you might see!

Getting There

Getting There

Rapid Bay is 90 minutes south of Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula. It is a lovely drive that takes you along the coast and through the coastal holiday towns of Normanville and Carrickalinga.

The best way out of Adelaide is along the Southern Expressway which turns into Main South Road.

The road winds its way between rolling hills and coast. The HMAS Hobart Memorial Lookout is a good place to stop and take in the views.

Snorkel Entry

Where & How do you get in?

The best entry is from the platform on the new Rapid Bay Jetty. From there you have 220m to The T at the end of the old jetty where most of the marine life is. You will spot plenty of fish on the swim out there.

Best Season

Best Season

The water can be cold here, so even in summer it is worth wearing a wet suit so you can comfortably stay snorkelling for longer.

Current Australian Sea Temperature

Tips

Potential Hazards

The currents under the jetty can make snorkelling tricky so you do need to pick when you snorkel here – avoid days of significant ocean swell and aim for neap tides or the change of tide.

As the old jetty deteriorates areas are off limits due to the danger of timber collapsing. Ensure you follow any directions and signage.

Recommended Gear

It’s chilly here so a wetsuit will keep you more comfortable. Even though it is deep, there is still plenty to see so it is still worth bringing your camera.

Parking

Plenty of parking can be found at the jetty but there are no other facilities at Rapid Bay (there is an basic campground)

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

Currents can make snorkelling around the jetty pylons tricky, so it is best to go here on a change of tide or when there is only a small amount of tidal movement.

Twice a month in South Australia there is a neap tide (known locally as a dodge tide) when there is very little tidal movement, and this is a great time to go for a snorkel.

This is quite an exposed snorkelling spot, so it is best done when there is less than 1m sea swell and 15 knots of wind. Easterly or southeasterly breeze is best.

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 at Rapid Bay

There are no facilites at the Jetty carpark but the facilites can be found nearby at the Rapid Bay Campground.

Toilets

Toilets

Picnic-Table

Picnic Tables

BBQ

BBQ’s

Food-&-Drinks

Foot & Drinks

Shade

Shade

About the Snorkel

Along with Port Noarlunga Reef, Rapid Bay is considered one of the best snorkel spots in South Australia and if you are into scuba diving it is a must do location.

In years gone by you could walk the length of the old jetty and get in the water at the end of the jetty to snorkel around the rich marine life that lives in the protection of the pylons. Today, a new jetty has been constructed but unfortunately it isn’t as long as the old jetty so you have a swim of about 200m to get to the T section of the old jetty which is the best spot to look around.

When you get out there, expect to sea schools of fish, and a range of colourful soft corals, crabs and worms on the pylons. There are also leafy sea dragons around, but you will need to be a diver to spot them closer to the bottom.

One of the best things about the snorkel here is drifting between the pylons through the schools of fish. You could see everything from mullet, old wives and sweep to schools of kingfish.

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