Level: Free shore access This spot have a free shore access: you can go snorkeling there freely and without having to book a tour or pay an entrance fee.
Located on the southern tip of Botany Bay, Kurnell snorkeling spot allows the exploration of a unique underwater world, covered by seaweed and seagrass of a magnificent nature. While this environment is well known for hosting seahorses and seadragons (they are nevertheless difficult to spot while snorkeling), Kurnell have even more surprises to offer! While swimming along the shore, you may come across colorful wrasse, octopuses huddled among the rocks and, sometimes, even a stingray lurking on the sand.
Kurnell is a small suburb in Sydney, on the southern tip of Botany Bay. From Central Sydney, you can reach Kurnell by car (a route of around 22km) or by public transportation (take a train to Cronulla, then the bus 987-Cronulla to Kurnell “Loop Service” to Kurnell beach). Once you’re in Kurnell, walk towards north along the beach until you arrive at James Cook landing place, located in Kamay Botany Bay National Park.
There are several possibilities to enter the water, both on the south and on the north side of the pier (see the map). A few patches of sand between the rocks allow you to dive into the water without stepping on the rocks.
The snorkelling area encompasses the rocky shoreline which stretches on either side of the monument and the pier. From the shore, the seabed gently slopes down, allowing you to observe the underwater life at low depth.
The seafloor alternates rocks, sandy areas and a wide diversity of seaweed (↕0.5-3m). In Kurnell, in particular, you will find beautiful stretches of Neptune’s necklace (Hormosira banksii), paddle weed (Halophila ovalis), patches of kelp, as well as beautiful, almost fluorescent, blue branching seaweed (Fauchea laciniata). If you pay attention, you shall discover here and there urchins, sponges, limpets and other small shellfish attached to the rocks. These areas are also suitable for observing octopuses, whose fishing is banned on this part of the shoreline.
Kurnell is a spot well known for hosting sea horses and the legendary weedy seadragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus), but finding them is a real challenge, especially in shallower areas. In exchange, in this spot, you will easily observe stripey, mado, senator wrasse (Pictilabrus laticlavius), and snakeskin wrasse (Eupetrichthys angustipes). Where the rocks make room for stretches of sand (↕2-3m), you might also come across an Australian stingray resting peacefully on the seabed.
On the edge of the park, there are several cafés and restaurants, especially along Captain Cook Drive. The closest (Endeavour Coffee and Ice Cream and Kurnell 1770 Bakery and Café) are located 300m by foot from Captain Cook monument.
These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Secluded bay protected by a marine reserve
Level: Free shore access
Marine reserve with sand, rocks and seagrass, and a great variety of fish
Lagoon and reef drop off with sea turtles, manta rays and sharks
Shallow coral reef with fish and clams
Small reef and shallow seagrass meadows with sea turtles
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