From 1 August 2016, tourists will have the opportunity to swim with humpback whales in Exmouth and Coral Bay on Australia’s Coral Coast in Western Australia with tour prices being released into market this month. Read more about what its like to Swim with a Humpback from those who have done it!
The existing 11 whale shark operators in Ningaloo have been offered the opportunity to operate the whale swimming tours which will allow them to extend the whale shark season (March - July in Exmouth & March to June in Coral Bay) into the humpback migration (July to November annually).
All tours focus on small group whale encounters for intimate, yet exhilarating experiences that will stay with you for many years to come! There will be a maximum of 10 swimmers per tour, with five (5) persons in the water with any one whale pod, with no swimmers allowed near mothers and calves for both the protection and safety of whale and human. This strict swimmer limit is in keeping with the Ningaloo eco-tourism guidelines in place for whale sharks where only 10 people can swim alongside a whale shark.
The humpback whale was previously an endangered species along the West Australian coast, but conservation efforts have boosted the mammal's population in the area to around 30,000. Several boat operators have already put together their tour offering commencing late July/early August - the whales are more often there from mid-July onwards.
The tour structure will combine the very successful whale shark tour model with the popular whale watching eco-tour. Interactions however will be completely on the whale's terms, so if the humpbacks behaviour and the weather allows, there will be the chance for a genuine wildlife encounter in the water with them! All operators are offering a full day tour experience, starting from approximately 10am (with free pickups available at local hotels - Exmouth only) concluding at approximately 5pm, with some offering a whale watching cruise price with an additional cost if there is an in-water experience while others offer an all-inclusive price.
However, unlike the Whale Shark tours, the Humpback Whale tours will be conducted over the entire area of the Ningaloo Marine Park waters, which includes the 300 kilometres of reef between Coral Bay and Exmouth, the North-West Cape, Lighthouse Bay, the Murion Islands, concluding at Bundegi Beach within the Exmouth Gulf.
Depending on the operator you choose to swim with, the tour will be packaged up differently. All operators tour price include a spotter plane to easily find the whales. Examples of Ningaloo operators who have set their tour prices:
- Ningaloo Reef Dive in Coral Bay will package the full experience at AUD $265 for an adult ticket with no extra ‘upgrade’ to pay to swim.
- Ningaloo Discovery in Exmouth will be offering the experience at AUD $185 for an adult ticket, offering guests the opportunity to swim with them for an additional AUD $95 PP.
- Three Islands Whale Shark and Dive in Exmouth will package the full experience at AUD $295 for an adult ticket with no extra ‘upgrade’ to pay to swim.
- Ningaloo Blue Dive in Exmouth will package the full experience at AUD $385 for an adult ticket with the option to purchase a professionally edited video and 150 photos taken on the day by Blue Media Photography
In addition to the operators listed above, we recommend the following tour operators (listed in alphabetical order) in Ningaloo:
Coral Bay Ecotours - Coral Bay
Exmouth Diving Centre - Exmouth
Kings Ningaloo Reef Tours - Exmouth
Ningaloo Blue Dive - Exmouth
Ningaloo Discovery (formerly Charter 1) - Exmouth
Ocean Eco Adventures - Exmouth
Sal Salis (NEW whale shark and humpback whale operator) - Exmouth
Three Islands Whale Shark Dive - Exmouth