Where to Snorkel on Waiheke Island

Where can you snorkel on Waiheke Island? We found ALL the best places!

Waiheke Island has an underwater utopia awaiting those who dare to explore its vibrant depths. Not sure where to go snorkelling on the island? 

Well, you’re in luck! We spent weeks travelling around the island and donning our wetsuits more times than you can count. 

As a result, we made a list of the most mesmerizing snorkelling spots, where we found a world of colourful coral reefs, exotic marine life, and hidden aquatic gems.

Oneroa Bay

Address: https://goo.gl/maps/WbtpHGfiQYZy5z2z5

We were enchanted by the aquatic wonderland hidden beneath the waves of Oneroa Bay. With its crystal-clear waters and vibrant coral reefs, it’s no wonder Oneroa Bay is one of the top destinations in Waiheke for snorkelling aficionados. 

As we snorkelled through Oneroa Bay, we snagged photos of the beautiful corals with our underwater cameras. We recommend swimming over the swaying sea anemones and navigating through the labyrinth of coral reefs. 

If you do so, you’ll find, like we did, that a diverse array of species that call Oneroa Bay home await you. We’ve observed the vibrant parrotfish and the elusive moray eel, and when we were lucky enough, we came close to some dolphins.

Pro Tip: 
Tucked away within the bay’s intricate coral gardens, you’ll uncover a secret enclave frequented by the majestic eagle ray, offering a rare opportunity to observe these graceful creatures up close and capture stunning underwater photographs.

Palm Beach

Address: https://goo.gl/maps/ptm8E6XHCduecMiD8

Wade into the inviting embrace of Palm Beach’s pristine waters! As you glide through the gentle currents, you may be amazed like we were by all the species that inhabit Palm Beach’s hidden nooks and seaweed forest crannies. 

We’ve seen everything down here from the stealthy octopus, the striking kingfish to cute little seahorses and dolphins!

Pro Tip: 
• Nestled among the beach’s rocky crevices, you’ll discover a secret garden of vibrant sea urchins. 
• For those with a keen eye and a penchant for treasure hunting, the beach’s sandy floor harbours the occasional cowrie shell, providing the perfect keepsake to commemorate your Waiheke adventure.

Onetangi Beach 

Address: https://goo.gl/maps/bSW6QjhpMer6kXNk9

Onetangi Beach’s sweeping shoreline and crystalline waters allow you to channel your inner maritime archaeologist! Amidst Onetangi Beach’s hidden underwater realms, you’ll swim alongside stingrays, the regal snapper, and the whimsical blenny.

Pro Tip: 
There are remnants of a shipwreck within the beach’s shadowy depths. For those passionate about underwater photography, the shipwreck’s ghostly remains provide an eerie yet captivating backdrop for capturing the ethereal beauty of marine life beneath the waves.

Enclosure Bay

Address: https://goo.gl/maps/bycVx6PjMW87V1Dw6

Grab your underwater flashlight, channel your inner night owl, and dive into the tranquil depths of Enclosure Bay.

We suggest gliding through the gentle currents, and marvelling at the species that inhabit Enclosure Bay’s hidden alcoves. Some we’ve seen on our snorkelling trips here include the elegant nudibranch, the stealthy crayfish, and the curious pufferfish. 

Pro Tip: 
At night, the sheltered cove comes alive with the ethereal glow of bioluminescent plankton, offering a rare opportunity to swim amidst a mesmerizing underwater light show that will leave you awestruck.

Cactus Bay

Address: https://goo.gl/maps/HF76TgDt4eee6s5M9

We were entranced by the enigmatic Cactus Bay. Cactus Bay’s sparkling waters are inviting and abundant with marine life. 

Swim through the vibrant coral reefs and over the rocky outcrops. Some species in these bay waters are the charming seastar, the elusive John Dory, and the mesmerizing cuttlefish. 

Pro Tip: 
Along the bay’s sandy floor, you’ll find a treasure trove of exquisite shells, offering a rare opportunity to curate your collection of natural souvenirs that capture the essence of Waiheke’s underwater wonders.

Sandy Bay

Address: https://goo.gl/maps/HdrLyYFoCYfzFJAm9

Many (like us) are bewitched by the sun-kissed splendour of Sandy Bay. Slip beneath Sandy Bay’s shimmering waters, and meander through the sun-dappled coral gardens and rocky enclaves. 

Amidst the swaying kelp forests, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot the vibrant butterflyfish, the inquisitive wrasse, and the occasional stingray within Sandy Bay’s sheltered waters.

Pro Tip: 
As the tide recedes, the bay unveils a spectacular sandbar that serves as a rest spot for snorkellers and swimmers alike. You can rest or channel your inner architect and construct elaborate sandcastles here.

Man O’ War Bay

Address: https://goo.gl/maps/jVNxtphQL7bcmFuZ8

Man O’ War Bay is a nautical nirvana that beckons marine life enthusiasts. With its coastal cliffs and cerulean waters, underwater explorers and maritime history buffs enjoy snorkelling here. 

As you snorkel through the shadowy caverns and rocky crevices, marvel at the rich marine life within Man O’ War Bay. Here many find the intriguing moray eel and the sleek red moki and sometimes come across a few playful dolphins.

Pro Tip: 
An underwater labyrinth of caves and tunnels is tucked away beneath the bay’s surface. It’s an excellent spot for underwater divers who wish to explore more of the bay’s marine life. 

Matiatia Bay

Address: https://goo.gl/maps/mK1KiMTzZUn47dWR7

Matiatia Bay is an epic snorkelling spot for coral connoisseurs. Its vibrant coral reefs and rocky hideaways are a sight to see! 

Amidst the flourishing sponge gardens and swaying seaweed forests, we encountered the radiant blue cod, the enigmatic eagle ray, and the graceful sea turtle.

Pro Tip: 
Scattered among the bay’s coral gardens, you’ll find an array of delicate sea fans that sway gracefully with the currents.

Te Matuku Bay 

Address: https://goo.gl/maps/u4yv3cMWeWf55zj5A

Tranquil Te Matuku Bay’s lush mangrove forest and sapphire waters attract snorkellers who are also oyster aficionados. Among the flourishing mangrove roots, you can spot the elusive pipefish, the vibrant sea cucumber, and the mysterious seahorse. 

Pro Tip: 
Nestled among the bay’s rocky shores, you’ll find a bountiful harvest of the succulent Pacific oyster. Here, you’ll have the rare opportunity to forage for these briny delicacies, indulging in the unparalleled satisfaction of savouring a fresh oyster plucked straight from its watery abode. 

Rocky Bay


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Address: https://goo.gl/maps/WSMv5Pvn9jJtn9h1A

Don your favourite wetsuit, and snorkel along the rocky shores of Waiheke’s Rocky Bay! One of Waiheke’s most beguiling snorkelling spots captivates many snorkellers with its coastal charms, craggy coastline, and turquoise waters. 

Submerge into the warm caress of Rocky Bay’s waters as a dazzling underwater realm teeming with life emerges beneath you. Some animals we’ve seen on our snorkelling trips from afar include the clever octopus, the charismatic blue maomao, and the stealthy wobbegong shark. 

Pro Tip: 
For those interested in marine ecology, the bay’s thriving coral and sponge communities serve as a fascinating microcosm of the delicate balance between biodiversity and environmental preservation.