One of the best things about Christmas and summer is the opportunity to try out those summer Christmas presents to get you to the beach. From scoop nets to wet suits, boogies boards to sandcastle buckets and masks and snorkels.
In 2021 Hidden Treasures went to a few beaches but didn’t seem to go in the water much. There were fish burgers on Preston Beach and a very friendly surf lifesaving club at Secret Harbour but we didn’t really get wet.
For our launch of Hidden Treasures for 2022, let’s find some summer fun beneath the waves!
When I was a kid there was nothing better than a new pair of flippers and a mask and snorkel. No rinsing them off with the garden hose and leaving them on the lawn to dry, I’d be polishing the mask glass with Dad’s turtle wax and drying it with every tea towel in the house and removing every speck of sand from the snorkel mouthpiece by using the bathroom sink and someone’s toothbrush.
What I love about snorkelling is entering another world. It’s not diving but you can dive down and see things up close and even catch things if you want to.
Perth has some amazing snorkelling experiences and I hope from our following list there’s a place you haven’t heard of or maybe you just haven’t been there for a while.
Omeo, Coogee: Not much more than 20 metres from shore, the Omeo forms part of the Coogee Maritime Trail. As well as the thrill of being above a real shipwreck, the trail features underwater sculptures and even a bit of underwater education with plaques about the aquatic life and local maritime history.
Mettam’s Pool, Trigg: Between the iconic beaches of Scarborough and Trigg is this little beach with one of the best snorkel experiences for complete beginners to absolute experts. Get the tides right and there are channels of reef to wind your way through and going the other way will be darting, silver schools of herring and big old cod slowing everyone down as they try to work out what way they’re going.
Falcon Bay, Mandurah: This is probably the least known of our Hidden Treasure snorkelling spots and I apologise to the locals for revealing it. It’s a beautiful, calm bay protected from the southerly winds with an area of reef that is great for exploring and watching big skippy and tailor watch you.
Yanchep Lagoon, Yanchep: The great thing about the Yanchep Lagoon is that unlike Atlantis, it’s still there. The reef shape creates a nice lagoon that protects it from the wind and the reef is great to swim along and wave at lots of small fish and maybe even a resident crayfish or two.
Point Peron, Rockingham: I never snorkelled here as a kid and I’m not sure why but it’s one of my favourite spots now and the kids like bringing their friends along and after an exhausting few hours exploring the reefs there’s usually Mr Whippy in the carpark to soothe sore lips from the snorkel. For a bigger adventure just offshore for those with good swimming strength, see if you can find the population of hammerhead sharks that live out there.
Swim with the Dolphins, Rockingham: One of the great wildlife experiences anywhere in the world is right here in Cockburn Sound. Safe and easy for all ages, form a floating line in the water and let the dolphins interact with you if they want to. Sometimes they come close, other times they’ll swirl and twirl underneath you and roll and look you in the eye and it’s a genuine and beautiful encounter.
The Basin, Rottnest: It doesn’t get much more iconic than this does it? If you’re looking for the best place to put your face underwater for the first time in your life, make it at The Basin. I remember snorkelling with my daughter Matilda and she was making that exited underwater noise in her snorkel as she pointed at the fish. Little striped fish doing spirals up and down, flashes of silver from bream and skippy and lazy cod doing lazy turns just to make sure they’re not being followed.
Abrolhos, 70km west of Geraldton: I’m fortunate to have been to the Abrolhos a couple of times and the last time was with my daughter Matilda and we flew out and landed on East Wallabi Island before walking to Turtle Bay which is one of my all-time best snorkelling locations. Fed by the nutrient rich Leeuwin Current the corals are vivid and the fish form a palette of colours that explode in front of your mask. For a break from the water of Turtle Bay, we went for a walk to the far end of the beach and we ended up rescuing Julie Bishop who was marooned on the island!
Snorkelling is a hidden treasure because it’s a lot like a staycation, you don’t have to do much or go far to find yourself immersed in another world. I love that it is accessible to all ages and abilities and is an affordable adventure for all of us.