Port Gawler Mangrove Forest Snorkel Tour

South Australia

Snorkel the magical mangrove forest of Port Gawler River with Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries. Safe Supervised Snorkel tours for the whole family. Wetsuits, snorkel gear and guide included in the ticket price.

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A short drive north of the city, nature lovers can immerse themselves in the Port Gawler mangrove forest, an important nursery area and habitat for an amazing variety of fish, crabs, and plant life. Located within the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary National Park – Winaityinaityi Pangkara and Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary, the mangroves are a truly magical place to snorkel and take in the scenery (above and below the water!) Snorkel the Mangrove Forest of Port Gawler River with Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries. Safe Supervised Snorkel tours for the whole family. Wetsuits, snorkel gear and guide included in the ticket price. Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary National Park – Winaityinaityi Pangkara – is an amazing place to snorkel with both above and below water scenery magical to experience.

EMS snorkel events are Proudly supported by the Green Adelaide Landscape Board, National Parks and Wildlife Service, City of Onkaparinga, Suzanne Elliot Charitable Trust, Department of Human Services and our team of volunteers.

Funding, in-kind support and over 100 volunteer hours per event makes it possible to reduce the price of tickets by up to 80%. EMS is a not-for-profit and all funds raised from ticket sales go to overheads such as dive pro event leaders, insurance, equipment storage and volunteer training.

Join snorkel leaders from Experiencing Marine Sanctuary (EMS), for an incredible guided snorkel through the magical world of the Port Gawler River Mangrove Forest within the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary. The mangrove forest is home to an amazing variety of colourful fish and plant life. Marvel at the mangroves and their upward growing roots called ‘pneumatophores,’ which help them take in oxygen. Underwater, keep your eyes peeled for crabs, sea squirts, sea anemones, fish, prawns, and rays. Spot resident and migratory shorebirds in the Bird Sanctuary. 

Please save the dates (in case of event cancellation on 21st February)- Save both Sunday 21st February and Sunday 7th March in your calendar. This event is scheduled for Sunday 21st February but if the event is cancelled we will reschedule all paid participants to Sunday 7th March. If the 21st February event goes ahead then EMS will run a second Mangrove snorkel event on 7th March (with those on 7th March waiting list getting the first option to book tickets for the event).

Ticket price includes wetsuits and snorkel gear for adults and children. We have wetsuits from Adult 4XL down to size 4 child. EMS has limited wetsuits and floatation devices for under 7 years. 5-7-year old’s can participate if parents supply child’s own wetsuit and floatation device & supervision is one-on-one by parent. Snorkel tours are taken at (or close to) low tide when there is little water movement and best visibility. Depth ranges from 2-4m. Trained snorkel guides lead the tours and are often accompanied by student or qualified marine biologists. All wetsuits are washed and mask ‘n’ snorkel sterilised between uses.

Suitable for children 5 years and above who can tread water and swim. At least one parent to accompany and supervise two children in the water. EMS has
limited wetsuits and floatation devices for under 7 years. 5-7-year-olds can participate if parents supply the child’s own wetsuit and floatation device, and supervision is one-on-one by a parent. Snorkel tours are taken on low tidal change days when there is less water movement and best visibility. Depth ranges from 1-3 meters. Trained snorkel guides lead the tours and are often accompanied by student or qualified marine biologists.

Please arrive 30 minutes before snorkel time to fill out your registration form and be fitted with snorkel gear.

Please note that this event may be cancelled in the event of poor weather.

Meeting point:

Port Gawler jetty, Port Gawler Road

What to bring:

  • Towel to dry off at the end of the session
  • Wetsuit and snorkelling gear – EMS can supply if you don’t have your own

5-7-year-olds need to have their own wetsuit and floatation
device and Supervision is one-on-one by a parent.


What concessions are available?

A concession is defined as a Senior or Australian Health Care Card Holder who hold an Australian Government issues Senior Card, Pension Card, Repatriation Health Card or Veterans Affair card. For an overseas senior, Proof of Age Card or Passport showing age as 65+ years old.

A student is defined as any primary and secondary school student or full time tertiary and post-secondary students who have an approved photo ID. 

Where do I meet to take part in the tour?

EMS Snorkel leaders will have a registration table set up near Harbour Kiosk & toilet block at the start of boardwalk down to the beach  – look for the EMS trailer, marquee tent and banner.

Is there an age limit to enter the event?

The event is open to children 5 years and above who can swim.

What can/can’t I bring to the event?

Bring your own wetsuit and snorkelling gear (if you don’t have your own snorkelling equipment we provide free of charge).

The name on the registration/ticket doesn’t match the attendee. Is that okay?

That is fine, we will update at registration on the day.

Do you need to have snorkelling experience?

You don’t need snorkelling experience but you do need to be able to tread water and swim a short distance (at least 25m).  Larger groups will be broken down to smaller groups with similarly experienced snorkelers in each group – this allows more assistance to those who require it.

COVID-19: Advice for snorkel tour participants

EMS is committed to offering a welcoming and safe place for our snorkel tour participants, employees and volunteers.
In response to COVID-19, we are closely monitoring developments and taking action in line with Government advice to mitigate any risk posed to the community. At this time all EMS snorkel events have been cancelled until the end of June 2020. If advice changes, we will update you, our website and all social media channels accordingly.  Please be assured that EMS has always ensured any equipment used by our participants is well maintained and fit for purpose. The water we swim in is known to contain a large number of microbes, so ensuring our equipment is sanitised after every use is, and has always been, an integral part of our snorkelling operations.


As detailed in our Standard Operating Procedures Manual, all equipment is sanitised after each use. Specifically, 


–       Masks are treated with detergent or commercial de-fog spray before use.

–       After use, our masks and snorkels are submerged for 15 minutes in a solution of Milton’s Antibacterial Solution (Milton™ contains sodium hypochlorite and is advocated by hospitals and government agencies to kill COVID-19).

–       Wetsuit, hoods, booties and gloves are treated with commercial germicidal disinfectant Mediclean™ (effective against COVID-19) and rinsed before being air-dried and stored. 


To enhance your health and safety while participating in a snorkel tour EMS has undertaken the following safety provisions:

–       Increased our already strong equipment cleaning and sanitation measures.

–       Implemented a hand sanitation station at the registration desk and gear fitting areas.

–       Reinforced employee health and hygiene practices, including sending volunteers and staff home and encouraging those who are unwell to stay home if their demonstrated health symptoms could impact upon colleagues or participants.

–       Disallowing staff and volunteers from engaging in physical contact when greeting colleagues and participants.

–    Update our cancellation/refund policy to prevent attendants who are unwell with cold/flu-like symptoms.

–    Screen attendees at registration /entry for body temperature (infrared thermometer) and health questions e.g. have you had temperature or felt unwell.



We kindly ask anyone who feels unwell to postpone the tour until fully recovered, and we encourage you to stay up to date via Australian Government Coronavirus Health Information Line: 1800 020 080 and SA COVID-19 updates website


Thank you for playing your part in keeping our community healthy. We are grateful for your understanding during this challenging time.


South Australia

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