Popes Eye Marine Park Guided Snorkelling Boat Tour from Sorrento
Escape the crowds on a fast RIB boat ride and discover the fascinating temperate marine life of Pope’s Eye Marine Park.
All Snorkel Gear Inclusive Boat Tour
Escape the Everyday in Nature
Private Group Tour Up to 12x Children/Adults From $550
View Amazing Marine Eco Systems
Personalised and Educational
1.5 Hour Tour Available Daily
From Sorrento Pier, Esplanade, Sorrento VIC 3943.
All Snorkelling Equipment Included.
Details & Itinerary
- Unlike the larger tour boats, we use 6-12 passenger RIB boats, for a fast, up close and personal wildlife experience
- Highest chances of seeing wildlife with highly trained, personable, knowledgeable and fun guides
- If you are looking for adventure, our low profile RIBs will get you closer to the action
FAST AND FUN RIB BOAT!
You are guaranteed to have a good time on one of our fun, swift and stable rigid inflatable boats (RIB) during a WaterMaarq tour. With no crowds, no hassle and almost no sea-sickness, enjoy a zoom across the bay from Sorrento with less time in transit and more time snorkelling to explore the most amazing marine eco system known as the Great Southern Reef, safely and easily snorkelled at Popes Eye Marine Park.
A guided tour around what was once going to be a man-made fort, you will grow in confidence with our certified guide, learning new snorkelling skills, practicing insightful tips on technique to become calmer, and soaking up knowledge and information on the identified fish. Beginning on the sheltered inner reef you’ll quickly find yourself exploring the outer reef of the marine park where you will be amazed by the amount of fish species and vibrance of the kelp.
As Victoria’s Number One Adventure Tourism operators we are experts in taking new and beginner snorkellers from fear to fun with our marine science and outdoor education trained snorkel guides by your side, all in just a few moments in the water.
Join the award-winning WaterMaarq on a 1.5 hour boat tour and enjoy it for yourself. See guest reviews on TripAdvisor.
WORLD OF COLOUR
Explore the undiscovered Great Southern Reef, home to marine life only found in temperate waters. Here you’ll be surprised by the marine life you see, species of which 80% don’t exist anywhere else on Earth. You’ll get up close and personal to unique fish including blue-throat wrasse, leatherjackets, old-wives, zebra fish, stingrays, nudibranchs, boarfish, gorgonian corals and fur seals, an experience like nowhere else.
Port Phillip Bay is the best place to snorkel the extensive Great Southern Reef as it’s protected from the ocean swell, the waters are shallow and you feel comfortable at Pope’s Eye, it’s like a giant circular swimming pool, the only difference, there’s real wild fish in there!
At this Marine Park, the protected shallow waters are perfect to develop your snorkelling skills whilst seeing unique colourful fish, resting Australian Fur Seals and the beautiful birdlife that nests there, the Australasian Gannets.
Visit a new world of colour on this fun boat tour from the pretty seaside town of Sorrento, near Melbourne.
The indicative schedule is as follows:
8:35am Meet at the Sorrento Pier to receive your snorkelling gear and be ready to depart
9:00am Depart and zoom across the bay on board Apollo
9:15am Arrive at Popes Eye Marine Park and explore the reef
10:15am Zoom back towards Sorrento Pier
10:30am Return at Sorrento Pier
10:35-11am Change clothes and swap stories and photos!
What You Should Bring
Swimwear, 2x towels in case it is cold (one for the tour, one for after), small bag with drink bottle, underwater camera, hat, sunglasses, warm clothing. We supply you with a warm wetsuit, mask, snorkel and fins.
Best Things About This Snorkel Excursion
A super fun 1.5-hour boat ride in the southern part of Port Phillip Bay for just 10 swimmers (12 guests total). We’ll visit a super cool snorkelling spot where you will find awesome features of the Great Southern Reef, plenty of colour and fish to see. Often the Australian Fur Seals even swim in the water with you, the most fun you’ll ever have with a wild marine animal.
When do we arrive?
Be at the pier 25-minutes before departure. Allow plenty of time to find parking and make your way out to the end of the pier. At the pier you will dress in your wetsuit and receive your snorkelling equipment.
Where do we meet?
See the travel directions and details here.
What does the tour involve?
Guided by your expert in-water guide, Pope’s Eye provides the perfect marine park location. On the inside of the park, the shallow waters are the ideal place to snorkel with ease and comfort to see vibrant and cheeky fish like Scalyfin. On the outside, the nutrient rich waters feed kelp and an abundance of fish species, the colours will amaze you!
Can anyone join?
Yes, it’s perfect for new and experienced snorkellers, families and anyone who wants a first hand look at our local reef and to be surprised by the colourful life under the surface. All you need is basic swimming skills and a keen spirit for adventure.
If you prefer to stay on the boat and observe and support your friends and family whilst they swim, you can do that too!
Will I get seasick?
Our Rigid Inflatable Boats are the same as the ones the Navy, Search and Rescue, Water Police, Fisheries and Coastguard operators use around the world. We call them the rally cars of the sea because of the sure-footed, stable and capable handling they have in all kinds of conditions.
Seasickness does not happen often on a RIB boat, they are open so you feel the fresh air, and the boat sits close to the water surface. If you’re worried about seasickness, we recommend talking with your local pharmacist or doctor about the various remedies available and follow their advice for taking precautions.
How cold is the water?
The Bay waters here on the Mornington Peninsula are beautiful with sandy beaches and exposed coastal cliffs. The water is generally cleaner and clearer and in summer months reaches temperatures up to 21 degrees. Winter temperatures are as low as 8c and Late Spring/Early Autumn average is around 17c+ .
Featured Marine Wildlife at Popes Eye
- Blue-throat wrasse – curiously begin life as female fish and change into male as they grow
- Scalyfin – defensive territorial fish
- Leatherjackets – fish with rough sandpaper-like skin and beak-like teeth
- Old wives – silver and black fish that look like angel fish and are noisy
- Longsnout boarfish – endemic to Australia and identifiable by its long snout and fanned out spines
- Southern short-fin eel – rare sightings occur in Autumn as they migrate from freshwater to the open sea to breed
All Snorkelling Equipment Included
Begin with a chat about what you’re likely to see, a thorough safety briefing, and an equipment demonstration. You’ll be provided with high-quality snorkeling equipment, including a wetsuit, mask, snorkel, and fins. All you need to bring is your swimwear, a towel, and a sense of adventure.
Take the plunge and discover the underwater secrets of Port Phillip Bay on a guided snorkelling experience at Popes Eye Marine Park. Enjoy more time to explore with a small group of up to 12 guests and high-quality equipment.
World Leading Conservation at Popes Eye
The State of Victoria became a world leader in marine conservation when, after 11 years of investigation, community consultation and debate, it established a system of highly-protected marine national parks and sanctuaries in June 2002.
Marine national parks are highly protected areas that conserve unique marine habitats in their natural state, and provide an insurance policy against environmental impacts. Victoria’s marine areas include rocky reefs, sponge gardens, towering kelp forests, sandy seafloors, seagrass meadows, mangroves and saltmarsh.
Popes Eye as part of the 3580ha Port Phillip Heads Marine Park network is highly protected and reserved for conservation and protection of marine biodiversity and natural processes, maintenance of scientific reference areas and the opportunity to observe Nature in its true form. It provides a core example and the combination of outstanding natural, cultural and recreational values.
1.5hr Sorrento Popes Eye Guided Snorkelling Boat Tour
The Popes Eye Marine Park guided snorkelling boat tour departs from Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula. It’s an easy drive from Melbourne or take the ferry from Queenscliff.
Drive yourself to Sorrento and join our 1.5hr RIB Boat Tour.
From Melbourne you’ll need to drive around 90 minutes south to Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula (allow 2 hours in summer, sometimes longer). Once you’re in Sorrento, you should park near the ferry terminal. Make your way to the Sorrento Pier (at the end of the Esplanade).
More Transport Options
Please click here see our detailed directions and additional travel information.
Sorrento Pier address: Esplanade, Sorrento VIC 3943
Things to Bring
Make sure you dress warmly for the tour, warm jackets, hats, beanies and good footwear are recommended. Bring your own swimwear and towel. We recommend two towels, one for use during the tour and one for afterwards if you prefer. Arrive with your swimwear already on underneath your clothing to make it easier to get changed into your wetsuit before the tour at the pier. A small bag or back-pack is advised for storing your gear on the boat. And don’t forget your favourite camera!
Regular tour departure times at 9am and 11am. Please contact us with your special requests.
1.5 Hours. Allow 2.5 hours in total to change into your gear before and after the tour.
1-6 Guests: $550
7-12 Guests: $960
*Children (5-14) must be accompanied by an adult
Things to Know
- It is recommended that you book at least one week in advance of your preferred date to book the best time and day for your tour and avoid missing out
- Port Phillip Bay has regular changing conditions, tide and sea levels and your tour will be optimised for the best experience in line with the forecast and prevailing conditions
- Guests must be physically fit and have sufficient mobility as we snorkel swim in open water and use a ladder to enter and exit the boat
- Passengers with back, neck, shoulder or heart conditions, those who are pregnant or who have injuries/conditions that may cause a risk to their health are advised to not do these tours, or do so at their own risk
- Please arrive 25 minutes before tour departure time
- Tour times may be altered or cancelled due to sea conditions and we will use all reasonable endeavours to provide 24 hours notice
Click the Map for Directions
Bookings and Cancellations
Bookings are essential as places are subject to availability. Tours operate daily except Christmas Day and selected public holidays.
Full payment for your tour is required at the time of booking. 100% cancellation fee applies for no-show or cancellations within 24 hours of departure, 50% for cancellations within 48 hours of departure.