Diving, snorkelling and swimming
There are numerous NSW beaches that are just perfect in their raw state and provide beautiful underwater scenery for snorkelers and some even boast scuba diving schools.
Scuba diving and snorkelling in NSW
While NSW has many breathtaking scuba diving sites, snorkellers can also strap on a mask and discover a fantastic underwater world at many pristine locations. There's a great diversity of marine life, scores of different fish species and wrecks and reefs to explore.
One of the most spectacular diving and snorkelling sites in the world can be found at Lord Howe Island. World Heritage-listed for its remarkable geology and rare collection of birds, plants and marine life, Lord Howe is surrounded by the world's southernmost coral reef. Crystal clear waters teem with marine life and rare coral, protected as part of Lord Howe Island Marine Park.
On the South Coast, Shellharbour in the Illawarra makes the most of its stunning location with a number of dazzling beaches and many diving and snorkelling operators that can take you right to where the action is. Bass Point is the region's only marine aquatic reserve and one of the South Coast's scuba dive and snorkel hot spots. Close by on Montague Island just off Narooma you can snorkel or dive with seals. On the North Coast, popular sites include Solitary Islands Marine Park, The Pinnacles and Fish Rock, where you can swim with grey nurse sharks, rays and king fish. Byron Bay is another great spot to snorkel and dive with operators catering to beginners and advanced.
In Sydney, scuba dive or snorkel at Gordons Bay near Coogee with a local dive operator. With a shimmering beach, magnificent coastal walk and a protected marine reserve that attracts snorkellers and scuba divers, Coogee sums up the classic Sydney beach scene. You can also snorkel and scuba dive in Botany Bay, Port Hacking, in Sydney Harbour at Chowder Bay or in ocean sites off Cronulla.
Clownfish and coral on the South Coast
Children snorkelling in rockpools, Lord Howe Island. Image Grahame McConnell
Snorkelling, Lord Howe Island. Image Gary Bell
Marine life in the South Coast
Diving, Lord Howe Island. Image Grahame McConnell