Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer


Back to Blog

Snorkelling Great Barrier Reef from Airlie Beach

a diver swimming in water

What are the Inner Fringing Reefs?

A natural marvel of the world that stretches close to 2,300 kilometers along Australia’s northeastern coast, it is called the Great Barrier Reef. More than 1,500 different kinds of fish, 600 distinct types of coral, and countless other creatures can all be found there. 

Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef is a bucket-list experience for many travelers, and there’s no better place to start than the inner fringing reefs located just off the coast of Airlie Beach. The most frequent form of coral reef is the fringing reef, which is situated close to the coast.

 The inner fringing reefs of the Great Barrier Reef are no exception, and they provide a unique chance for snorkelers to explore the reef’s colorful and lively underwater environment. 

The diversity of marine life you’ll see when snorkeling on the inner fringing reefs is one of the most thrilling aspects of the experience. Schools of vibrant fish, including clownfish, parrotfish, and angelfish, dart in and out of the coral formations, while rays and turtles glide gracefully by. Keep a look out for larger predators like reef sharks, barracudas, and moray eels, which are frequently sighted roaming the reef’s borders.

But it’s not just the fish and larger creatures that make the inner fringing reefs so special. The coral itself is a breathtaking sight, with delicate formations in hues of purple, orange, pink, and green. You’ll see branching, plate, and massive corals, each providing a unique habitat for the many creatures that call the reef home.

Exploring the inner fringing reefs is an adventure in itself. You’ll swim through narrow channels and overhangs, encountering unexpected nooks and crannies filled with hidden surprises. You never know what you could encounter around the next corner since the underwater environment is continuously shifting.

snorkeling on the inner fringing reefs of the Great Barrier Reef is an unforgettable experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. Whether you’re an experienced snorkeler or a novice, the abundance of marine life and stunning coral formations will awe and intrigue you. So grab your mask and fins and get ready to explore the Great Barrier Reef’s underwater world!

What can I expect on the snorkeling tour?

If you’re considering going on a snorkeling tour of the Great Barrier Reef from Airlie Beach, you’re in for a really unforgettable experience. Most tours will take you to the inner fringing reefs, which are located just a short boat ride from the shore. Here’s what you can expect on your snorkeling tour:

What marine life will we see?

A spectacular array of marine species calls the Great Barrier Reef’s inner bordering reefs home, making it one of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems. Some of the species you’re likely to encounter include:

  • Colorful fish: The reef is teeming with fish of all shapes and sizes, from tiny neon gobies to large, impressive humphead wrasses. Look out for schools of dazzling blue-green chromis, or the bright orange and white clownfish made famous by the movie Finding Nemo.
  • Turtles: The loggerhead and green sea turtles are only two of the sea turtle species that call the Great Barrier Reef home. these gentle creatures can often be seen swimming slowly through the water or resting on the reef.
  • Rays: Stingrays and eagle rays are a common sight on the Great Barrier Reef, gliding gracefully through the water with their distinctive wings.

Will we see sharks?

Sharks are another different type of marine animal that you can experience while snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. It’s possible that you will run across them while on your excursion. There is no need to worry, as most shark encounters are quite safe.

In fact, seeing a shark in its native habitat may be a thrilling and breathtaking experience. Reef sharks, the most common species in the Great Barrier Reef’s oceans, are often wary and uninterested in humans.

When approached, they usually swim away and don’t pose an imminent danger. Many snorkeling tours actively seek out areas where reef sharks are known to congregate, offering visitors a chance to see these fascinating creatures up close. 

Any snorkeling tour’s primary focus is always your safety, so before you get in the water, your guides will give you extensive safety instructions and be ready to address any questions or concerns you might have.

What snorkeling sites do we visit?

You can visit some of the most breathtaking snorkeling locations in the area by planning a Great Barrier Reef snorkeling trip from Airlie Beach. Here are three of the most popular sites that you may visit:

Mantaray Bay

The clear seas and rich marine life of Mantaray Bay, which is located on the northern tip of Hook Island, are well known. It’s a terrific place to observe the majestic manta rays gliding across the sea, as the names suggest. You may also spot sea turtles, reef sharks, and a variety of colorful fish.

Stone Haven

Stone Haven is a remote snorkeling location enjoyed by both novice and expert snorkelers. It is only a short boat trip from Airlie Beach. The shallow waters around the site are teeming with fish, including vibrant parrotfish and schools of tiny baitfish. You may also see starfish, sea cucumbers, and other fascinating creatures.

Langford Island

Langford Island is the ideal choice if you’re seeking a snorkeling location that is just as stunning above the water as it is below.

Beautiful white sandy beaches and turquoise, crystal clear waters may be found on this little, isolated island. Beautiful corals, sea turtles, and a variety of fish may be observed below the water’s surface.

Whichever destinations you visit on your snorkeling trip, the Great Barrier Reef’s magnificence and diversity will leave you speechless. From the graceful manta rays of Mantaray Bay to the colorful fish of Stone Haven and the breathtaking scenery of Langford Island, there’s so much to discover on the fringing reefs of the Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling FAQs

You might have some questions if you’re considering going snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef from Airlie Beach. These are some of the most typical questions concerning snorkeling on the reef and their answers.

How dangerous is the Great Barrier Reef?

The majority of snorkeling trips are safe and enjoyable, despite the Great Barrier Reef’s existence of certain potentially dangerous marine life, like as sharks and jellyfish. Before you enter the water, your guides will go over a full safety process with you and be ready to answer any questions or address any concerns you might have.

To guarantee a secure and pleasurable trip, always respect the reef and all of its creatures and listen to your instructors’ recommendations.

Are there jellyfish on the Great Barrier Reef?

Yes, there are jellyfish on the Great Barrier Reef, including the potentially dangerous box jellyfish and the less harmful but still painful Irukandji jellyfish. The majority of snorkeling excursions take place in the cooler months when there are fewer jellyfish, so jellyfish stings are quite uncommon. Your guides will provide you with stinger suits to wear, which offer protection against jellyfish stings.

Do you get crocodiles on the Great Barrier Reef?

Saltwater crocodiles do inhabit some areas of the Great Barrier Reef, particularly in the northern regions, this is rare but it can happen. However, they are rarely seen in the areas where snorkeling tours take place, and incidents involving crocodile attacks on humans are extremely rare. Your guides will be knowledgeable about crocodile habitats and will take all necessary precautions to ensure your safety.

You can enjoy a safe and unforgettable snorkeling experience on the Great Barrier Reef by understanding the potential risks and taking the necessary precautions. Don’t let concerns about safety prevent you from experiencing the incredible beauty and diversity of this natural wonder.

  • Posted in: