River Snorkelling – Brunswick Heads, NSW

What first comes to mind when you think of a river?
For me, a Central Queenslander at heart, it is crocodiles, barramundi, muddy turbulent water and the screech of ‘OMG what just touched my foot!?’.
There is NO CHANCE that snorkelling would come to mind…. Unless you are in New South Wales. On the Brunswick River to be exact.

The Brunswick River rises on the Eastern slopes of Mt Jerusalem and snakes its way through the Byron Hinterland before flowing out to the South Pacific Ocean. Set on the banks of the river mouth is a small coastal village, Brunswick Heads. The town is only 15 minutes North of Byron Bay and the pristine river boasts an array of water activities from kayaking to fishing and SNORKELLING.

Snorkelling in a river does sound a bit farfetched but, when high tide rolls around the Brunswick River becomes a crystal clear underwater paradise. We jumped in off one of the rock walls and were immediately greeted by a large school of very intrigued bait fish. We were mesmerised as we swam along the rock walls on the Southern side of the river at how clear and tranquil the turquoise waters were. After all we were in a RIVER! We came face to face with massive Flat Head, Bream and the odd Mangrove Jack that would challenge us to a stare contest! We also spotted a shy Green Sea Turtle.

For a more relaxed beach setting snorkel, drive around to North Head Nature Reserve and take the short walk through coastal rainforest to Harry Hills Beach. Access to the nature reserve is via Ocean Shores and New Brighton and along North Head Road. There is also the option to kayak across. We would not recommend swimming though due to the potential undertow and strong currents.


Snorkelling in the Brunswick River and at Harry Hills Beach is exercised at your own discretion as the area is unpatrolled. Always snorkel with a buddy and be very conscious of your surroundings as boats frequent the area.

Enjoy the freedom of exploring this pristine underwater world, it can be as intoxicating as if you were swimming in a sea of vodka.

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