An Australian grandmother fought back and survived a shark attack by punching and kicking it after being mauled while snorkelling in Queensland.

Patricia Trumbull suffered deep bite wounds on her legs and buttocks when the two metre shark attacked her, according to the Australian.

"I thought 'this shark's not going to get the better of me' and I started punching it on the nose, punching, punching, punching," the 60-year-old said.

"And then it got me under the water, but not much because I started kicking at its neck."

She said she had not been more than 200m from shore at the time, the Brisbane Times reported.

"All I could concentrate on was surviving."

Mrs Trumbull was pulled aboard the boat from which she and her husband had been snorkelling and given first aid before being airlifted to a hospital.

Surgeon Mark Flanagan said Mrs Trumbull had lost nearly 40 per cent of her blood volume, the BBC reported.

According to ABC News, she will need to undergo at least five more operations.

"I have to have a new remodelled bottom, so that's a positive," she said.

It is the first shark attack at the Whitsunday Islands in the Great Barrier Reef for 13 years.

- NZ Herald staff