The Ningaloo reef protects a lagoon that is on average only 2-4 metres deep and is rich in marine life. The Ningaloo Coast is a World Heritage Site located in the northwest coastal region of Western Australia. It has long empty beaches, astonishing marine life and world-heritage listing combined with a strong cultural heritage.
Many travelers seek the opportunity to explore this remote and wildly beautiful coral reef and coastline also provide iconic marine wildlife. Ningaloo Reef has earned a reputation as one of the world’s most exciting and abundant locations to swim, dive, fish or snorkel.
How to Get to the Ningaloo Reef
Skywest / Virgin and Qantas Airlines operate daily flights from Perth to Learmonth Airport. Learmonth Airport is located 36 km south of Exmouth. Exmouth Bus Charters meet every flight and for a fee they can drop you off at your accommodation in Exmouth.
If you will be traveling to Coral Bay, there are a couple of companies that can arrange transfers between Learmonth and Coral Bay.
Photo credit: NeilsPhotography / Flickr
If you are traveling north to Exmouth along the North West Coastal Highway, travel 142km north of Carnarvon and turn left onto the Minilya-Exmouth Road. From here it is a further 200km to the Exmouth townsite.
If you are traveling south to Exmouth turn off the North West Coastal Highway 110km south of the Nanutarra Roadhouse onto Burkett Road. From here it’s 80 km to the Minilya Exmouth Road.
Integrity Coach Lines provide scheduled coach services as far north as Broome and as far south as Perth, stopping everywhere in between.
You can check the schedule on their website below:
Things to do
See the full extent of the reef and the amazing array of colors and wildlife from the air. Scenic flights will give you the chance to view and photograph many of the marine creatures found in the Ningaloo Marine Park. Birds Eye View offers the ultimate experience of the North West Cape.
This is one of the most unique and picturesque environments in the whole of Australia, where you can see canyons to reefs, Turtles, Dugongs, Manta Rays, Tiger Sharks or Whale Sharks and Humpback Whales,
Photo credit: Andy Tyler / Flickr
Turquoise Bay is home to more than 500 exotic fish species, turtles, squid and ofcourse, coral. You can enjoy snorkeling and swimming in the bay. Known as one of Australia’s best beaches, Turquoise Bay is the perfect spot to spend an afternoon relaxing, swimming and snorkelling. Dive into the pristine waters at Turquoise Bay to swim and snorkel within a few metres of Ningaloo Reef.
Photo credit: Julie Edgley / Flickr
Swim with the Whale Sharks
Swimming with a whale shark is an unforgettable experience! Every year from March to August, the world’s biggest fish congregate along the Ningaloo Reef.
You can join a tour and not only swim with whale sharks, but also interact with majestic manta rays, encounter dugongs, turtles, humpback whales, dolphins, colorful tropical fish, and amazing corals. Most of those tours including snorkeling equipment, wetsuits, food, and drinks.
Ningaloo Reef’s remarkable eco-system attracts hundreds of whale sharks with its abundance of naturally-occurring food and nutrient-rich waters from the continental shelf that lies beneath Ningaloo. With plankton drifting closer to the surface, whale sharks get easy, abundant feeding. While whale sharks can grow to an impressive 15 meters in length, and they pose no danger to humans. They are calm, slow-moving, and they are undisturbed by snorkellers swimming in close distance.
Coral Bay is a marine paradise and one of Western Australia’s premier family holiday destinations. Named Coral Bay due to the beautiful coral gardens just meters away from the white sandy beach.
It’s ideal for the independent traveler searching for excitement; families looking for an enjoyable, safe environment; scuba divers; fisher persons; snorkellers
Exmouth is the perfect base to explore the grandiose landscapes of the Cape Range National Park and the underwater wonders of the Ningaloo Marine Park. The Exmouth Visitor Centre can provide you with the many tour options available.
Photo credit: Matthew Fuentes / Flickr
Turtle Hatching season
The Shark Bay Marine Park north to the Ningaloo Reef is some of the world’s major breeding areas for sea turtles. The turtle nesting season between December and March, and after a six-week period. Approximately six weeks after nesting, tiny turtle hatchlings emerge from their nests and scurry to the deep blue sea of the Ningaloo Marine Park.
Main photo credit: platours_flickr / Flickr
Want to learn more about other sustainable destination? Check out section sustainable travel destinations.