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Ningaloo Reef ups its amazement
factor in autumn. Whale shark
season is traditionally April to
July, but local tour operators have
observed a shift in behaviour. In
2010, the gentle giants started
gliding past from March (and stayed
longer), so heading up earlier to
Exmouth and Coral Bay could yield
a sighting of the ocean’s biggest
creatures, as well as its reef co-stars
manta rays, turtles, dolphins,
whales and dugongs. Book a boat
tour early in your stay – most
operators offer a free replacement
trip if you don’t see a whale shark
the first time, so factor in the time
to take it if you need it. Chances of
success are good: last year’s season
saw almost 100 per cent sightings.
March and April offer another
spectacle – the spawning of the
coral. It’s particularly active six to
10 days after the full moon in both
March and April. Most of the spawning happens between 8pm and 10pm, so a night dive is a good way to
see the iridescent phenomenon. Minor spawning also happens after the full moon in February and May.
From November to March is turtle nesting season. Green, loggerhead and hawksbill turtles nest
between Ningaloo and the Kimberley. Tread lightly: turtles are sensitive to light and movement, so
self-guided spotting is discouraged. The Jurabi Turtle Centre near Exmouth is a place to get amongst the
action. There are also volunteer monitoring programs at Ningaloo and further north at 80 Mile and Eco
Beach. If you’re hoping to see turtles at Broome, Cable Beach is closed to vehicles until February 28.
There’s more cuteness at Monkey Mia since a new dolphin joined the 15-strong pod. Sonic was
born in November and named in honour of a research project studying dolphin communication.
Perth and Surrounds | Penguin Island
Boardwalk & Walk Trail, Perth, 1.5km loop;
Railway Reserves Heritage Trail, Perth hills,
41km loop (or in smaller sections).
Margaret River Wine Region | Meelup Reserve
Trail, Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, 7.4km
one way, or 14.8km return.
Blackwood River Valley | Old Timberline
and Sidings Rail Trails, 37km loop; Oak
Grove Walk, Golden Valley Tree Park,
Balingup, 1.5km loop.
Southern Forest | Warren River Loop Walk,
Pemberton, 10.5km loop; Understory, Art
in Nature, Northcliffe, 1.2km loop.
Great Southern | Bluff Knoll, Stirling
Ranges National Park, 5km return; Luke
Pen Walk, 9km return.
Esperance | Great Ocean Way, 12km.
There are over 600 walking trails in WA – Top Trails
(toptrails.com.au) has selected 52, so you can find
a trail to fit your level. Here they’ve narrowed the
choices down further with a list of top summer walks
Exmouth and Coral Bay provide
opportunities to spot turtles.
has judged that
there’s no place
Dôme Rottnest is proud to
be a finalist for best Tourism
Restaurant and Catering Services
in the 2010 WA Tourism Awards. Our new
menu has just arrived and we are fully licensed.
So hop on the boat and get on your bike,
to find the most flavoursome food and the
world’s finest coffees on Rotto.
Tel (08) 9292 5286
Open every day from 8am
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