There is something relaxing about being underwater. With just the sound of your own rhythmic breathing, the rolling waves above you, and the beat of your flippers through the ocean. Unlike most sightseeing you can’t talk to anyone, or instantly analyse what you see with your travel companions, leaving you time to form your own opinions and just take in the view. Time moves more slowly somehow as you float above the seabed looking at the colourful coral villages that have sprung up and the inhabitants going about their day; giving you a small insight into this otherwise unknown underwater world.

Snorkelling may seem like an activity only available while on holiday, but we are lucky in that we have plenty of amazing spots not far from Brisbane. One such spot is Cook Island, off the coast of Tweed Heads, just over an hours drive from the city. This tiny volcanic outcrop is uninhabited and only reachable by boat. The lesser known location is the perfect secret snorkelling spot to escape the crowds of Moreton Bay and get to know some of the local wildlife.

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Cook Island is well-known for its green turtle population. While snorkelling here you are more than likely to see them swim under you or pop up next to you as they come to the surface for air. Small (and harmless) reef sharks also call the marine reserve around Cook Island home, along with manta rays, and a huge variety of fish and coral.

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To get to Cook Island book a snorkelling tour with local companies such as Kirra Dive, departing most mornings from their dive shop in Tweed Heads. All your snorkelling equipment (including a wetsuit if you feel the cold) will be provided. The trip will start with a 20-minute boat ride out to the island, which in itself is worthy wildlife encounter; watch the birds of prey and pelicans circle overhead, while dolphins play alongside the boat as you head down river. Once out in the open ocean keep your eye out for whales (June-Nov) migrating down the coast.

The boat will anchor just off the island while you take in the magical underwater scenery, so if you get tired you can just hop back on board for a rest and a cup of coffee before heading out again to keep exploring.

Feature image: My Qld Holiday

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