Announced on 18 January 2017, the Humpback Whale in-water interaction tour will once again be offered in Exmouth and Coral Bay on Australia’s Coral Coast in Western Australia between August and November 2017.
The Western Australian government announced in 2016 that in-water swimming with whale tours would be offered as a preliminary trial. The results from the inaugural season (August to November 2016) were encouraging, with 1644 people successfully experiencing swimming with these giants of the ocean. Read more about what its like to Swim with a Humpback from those who have done it!
The existing Whale Shark operators in Ningaloo have been operating the whale swimming tours which allows these businesses to extend the whale shark season (March - July in Exmouth and March - June in Coral Bay) into the humpback migration (July to November annually).
2017 Humpback Interaction Tour prices* for Adult swimmers
Exmouth Diving and Whale Shark Centre - Exmouth
Running humpback whale swim tours starting on August 1st until November 2017. Prices will be in the $400 bracket and will depend on the finalization of Department of Parks & Wildlife procedures. The team have opened up email bookings.
Live Ningaloo - Exmouth
Live Ningaloo are already taking bookings on their website for Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday start 1 August. Alternatively email for bookings or inquiries. Price is $550 per person (seat booking) or $5000 to hire vessel exclusively up to 10 people (photos included).
Ningaloo Discovery - Exmouth
Running humpback whale swim tours starting on August 1st 2017. Tour price has been set and start at $350pp for Adults and $280pp for Children, contact Ningaloo Discovery by email to book or inquire.
Three Islands Whale Shark Dive - Exmouth
Book with Three Islands Whale Dive throughour secure website or over the phone 1800 138 501. Tour price has been set and start at $325pp for Adults and $295pp for Children.
Ningaloo Reef Dive and Snorkel - Coral Bay
Tours starting from 1st of August 2017, tour pricing including swimming interaction is $260 per adult ($160 observer) and $225 per child ($125 observer). Please visit their website for further information.
We recommend the following tour operators* (in alphabetical order) in Ningaloo:
Coral Bay Ecotours - Coral Bay - price TBC
Exmouth Diving Centre - Exmouth - $400 AUD pp
Kings Ningaloo Reef Tours - Exmouth - price TBC
Live Ningaloo - Exmouth - $550 AUD pp
Ningaloo Blue Dive - Exmouth - price TBC
Ningaloo Discovery - Exmouth - $350 AUD pp
Ningaloo Reef Dive - Coral Bay - price $260 per adult, $225 per child
Three Islands Whale Shark Dive - Exmouth - $325 AUD pp
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.
*please note that prices and operators may change, in light of the announcement.
How does the tour work?
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 five (5) persons in the water at any one time with Humpback Whale(s).
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.