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he section of the
Coral Coast to Exmouth
is well known to
who return again and again to
enjoy the best that nature has to
offer. Everything here is large,
from largest fish in the world, to
the whale sharks and giant manta
rays. Sea life is abundant.
Ningaloo Marine Park is
famous for its underwater
wonders and marine encounters –
tours are plentiful but popular and
fill quickly, so book well ahead.
While you won’t necessarily see
every kind of marine life in a
single visit, simply being able to
see the magnificent species in
their natural habitat is such a
privilege that you won’t mind
making several trips. Exmouth
and the Ningaloo Reef are the sites
of some of the best natural and
artificial reefs in Australia –
you’ll be spoilt for choice when
it comes to diving, boating,
surfing and fishing.
On land, meanwhile,
Cape Range National Park
covers more than 50,000ha of
breathtaking canyons, limestone
ranges and pristine secluded
beaches, perfect for families.
“Coral Bay is the gateway to the Reef,
one of the best places in the world to
swim with the world’s largest fish”
Whale sharks | From April to July,
these huge, enigmatic plankton
feeders cruise Ningaloo. Join a tour
and snorkel with these majestic
creatures – it’s not cheap but the
experience is well worth it. Try to
fit it in early in your stay in case of
cancellation, because you do get
another go if nothing’s spotted.
Manta rays | Swim with schools
of migrating manta rays all year
round at Coral Bay, or between
May and November in Exmouth.
Shark nursery | From September
to February, juvenile grey sharks
school at Skeleton Beach. Go at
morning low tide for photo ops.
Turtle nesting | Many turtles can
be seen in the water all year round,
but they nest and hatch between
November and February. Check
out the Jurabi Turtle Centre in
Exmouth for interactive tours.
With the continental shelf only
kilometres offshore, Ningaloo
fishing is good for both novice and
experienced anglers. Flick a line
from the beach, launch a tinny,
join a day or extended charter to
get out to the blue water, or chase
elusive sports fish. Local tackle
stores can fit you out, or tours
provide the gear and you take
home a feed.
Snorkel and dive
There are literally hundreds of safe
snorkel and dive spots for all ages
and experience levels, that’s the
beauty of Ningaloo. With shore,
wreck and drift dives, dive tours
depart daily, or go self-guided.
You can get your dive ticket (bring
a current medical certificate),
do a refresher course, or, if you
need to, have your hand held by
the instructor. BYO gear or hire,
fills and servicing are available.
Try Bill’s Bay or Lakeside for
snorkelling with kids, while
the Muiron Islands Cod Hole or
Exmouth Navy Pier are drawcards
for experienced divers.
An aerial view of Ningaloo and Cape
Range (Photography Danelle Jackson).
The stromatolites at Hamelin Reserve in
Shark Bay (Photography Danelle Jackson).
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