Stories and News

  • Visit Kalbarri National Park during Skywalk works

    by Suzanne Fisher | Jan 20, 2017

     

    The world-class skywalk tourism development at Kalbarri National Park has reached a milestone, with work started and the official launch estimated for August 2017. Access to the Loop/Z Bend trails will be limited until July 2017, click here for information.

    Image: Architect's impression of Kalbarri's new skywalk precinct, opening August 2017

    Kalbarri skywalk open 2017

     

    This exciting project means that some access roads will be unavailable however there is still many great sites, walks, lookout points and touring options in Kalbarri.

     

    • The National Park is NOT closed.

    • The Kalbarri National Park has 14 public sites in total - public access during the Skywalk build time is only limited at 4 (Nature’s Window, Z-Bend, the West Loop and Meanarra Hill) of the 14 sites.

    • Tourists CAN VISIT THE PARK AS PART OF A TOUR to the Z-Bend, Nature’s Window the West Loop lookout throughout the closures - book your tour through the Kalbarri Visitor Centre.

    • Visitors who wish to visit the gorges can still explore Ross Graham and Hawks Head, two spectacular sites that are highly underrated and accessible by two-wheel drive cars.

    • Visiting Ross Graham and Hawks Head are FREE OF CHARGE whilst the park undergoes the upgrade.

    • The Coastal Cliffs (BELOW) are equally impressive & walks along here are much more comfortable during the hottest months.

     

    Until July 2017, there will be limited access to some sites within the park. Access to Meanarra Hill, Nature's Window, Z-Bend and the West Loop lookout could be affected during this time, please check the project calendar or contact the Kalbarri Visitor Centre or call us on +61 8 9937 1104 for tour options, further information or if in doubt. 

  • Swim with Ningaloo Reef Humpback Whales in 2017

    by Suzanne Fisher | Jan 18, 2017

     

    Announced on 18 January 2017, the Ningaloo Reef Humpback Whale interaction tours 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 Minister for Environment, Hon. Albert Jacob MLA, announced that the tours would continue in 2017. Reflecting on the 2016 season, the in-water swimming with whale tours were offered as a preliminary trial with results from the inaugural season (August to November 2016) seen as encouraging with 1644 people successfully experiencing swimming with these giants of the ocean.


    The existing 11 Whale Shark operators hold 13 licences and are the only operators legally allowed to operate whale interaction tours in Western Australia. This licence allows these businesses to extend the whale shark season (March to July in Exmouth and March to June in Coral Bay) into the humpback migration (July to November annually), making it more financially viable for industry operations.

    The following operators have set their 2017 Humpback Interaction Tour prices* for Adult swimmer

      

    Exmouth Diving and Whale Shark Centre - Exmouth
    Owner Mark Ferguson of Exmouth Diving and Whale Shark Centre said "
    After a successful 2016 swim program, our techniques and procedures have been proven in offering a unique whale swim tour at Ningaloo."

    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

    General Manager of Live Ningaloo, Sonia Beckwith, noted that "We had the most successful tours towards the end of the season in September and October (2016). We are excited for the year ahead! We will continue to put a (spotter) plane in the air and we put guests in the water with anything that is legal and safe to swim with."

    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

    Owners Sarah Ellis and Matt Oakley say "Ningaloo Discovery are thrilled to continue to participate in this trial and strongly believe that there is a sustainable future for in water humpback whale interactions in Western Australia"

    Running humpback whale swim tours starting on August 1st 2017. Tour price has been set and start at $350pp, contact Ningaloo Discoveryby email to book or inquire.

    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 - $280 AUD pp

    Ningaloo Reef Dive - Coral Bay - price TBC
    Three Islands Whale Shark Dive - Exmouth - price TBC

     

    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.

    Image: Live Ningaloo

     

    Swim with Humpback Whales Ningaloo Reef - Live Ningaloo photography

    Swim with Humpback Whales 2017 Live Ningaloo Exmouth

  • Top 10 Geraldton attractions this Summer

    by Suzanne Fisher | Dec 23, 2016

     

    Geraldton is a 4.5hour drive north of Perth or a one-hour flight away and a great holiday destination for all travellers. It offers beautiful beaches to the west, rolling hills and breakaway ranges to the east, plenty of family-friendly attractions, great café culture, and a range of accommodation options. Geraldton is one of Australia’s top destinations for water sports enthusiasts, who visit from near and far especially during summer to make the most of the ideal conditions for sailing, diving, kite boarding and surfing. Don't forget to visit Dongara-Port Denison on your way north to Geraldton.

     Here's 10 great reasons to visit Geraldton this Summer:

     1. Visit 9 - 11 Febuary 2017 to be part of Funtavia, a regional Hub location as part of Perth's Fringe World Festival.
    Funtavia Geraldton Fringe World Festival 
     2. Take a scenic day flight or treat yourself to a 5-day cruise to the Abrolhos Islands and immerse yourself in its unique beauty. If flying choose the Pink Lake fly-over option.
     Abrolhos Islands Richard Rossiter
     3. Explore the city’s by walking the new Street Art trail, pick up a guide at the Geraldton's Visitor Centre
     Geraldton Visitor Centre Marine Terrace
     4. Kids will LOVE the new Youth Precinct, full of climbing fun!
     Dan Avila Geraldton Youth Precinct Kids Playground
     5. Discover the city's fascinating historical architecture at the new Monsignor Hawes Centre and see St Francis Xavier Cathedral lit up at night - you'll think you're in Paris!
     Monsignor Hawes Centre Geraldton
     6. Drive 40 mins south to Dongara and catch a movie on a summer’s eve at the Dongara-Port Denison drive-in - Western Australia's oldest functioning outdoor cinema.
     Dongara Drive In Cinema Port Denison Movies
     7. Check out the NEW Abrolhos exhibit at the WA Museum Geraldton - From Great Depths - which includes a Virtual Reality Experience of Beacon Island.
     Dan Avila WA Musuem Geraldton
     8. Experience world-class beaches, perfect for windsurfing and kite boarding conditions particularly at Point Moore (Lighthouse) and Coronation Beach.
     Geraldton Visitor Centre - Point Moore Lighthouse
     9. Take a walk or drive trail – Heritage Trails, Greenough River Nature Walk Trail, Ellendale Pool (pictured), Yamaji Drive Trail, Chapman River Regional Park and more.
     Ellendale Pool Picnic Geraldton Greenough
     10. Enjoy a cold beer and slow-cooked meats at Chapman Valley's Burnt Barrel BREW-BQ
     Burnt Barrel BBQ Chapman Valley Beer Geraldton

     

  • 3D interactive chalk art demonstration highlights #holidayathome

    by Suzanne Fisher | Dec 21, 2016

     
    3D interactive chalk art demonstration highlights #holidayathome
    • Artist Jarrad Martyn creates 3D chalk art in Cervantes and Green Head 4 and 5 January 2017.
    • 3D interactive chalk art demonstration free and all spectators welcome from 10am.
    • Spectators encouraged to post 3D artwork photos using #holidayathome.

    Western Australia’s land development agency LandCorp will host 3D chalk art demonstrations in Green Head and Cervantes which will provide free entertainment for locals and visitors to Australia’s Coral Coast and highlight the #holidayathome campaign.

    Western Australian artist Jarrad Martyn will travel to Cervantes on Wednesday 4 January 2017 and to Green Head on Thursday 5 January 2017, where he will spend up to eight hours each day creating two Indian Ocean inspired 3D chalk murals.

    Event details:

    Wednesday 4 January 2017
    Dynamite Bay, Green Head

    Thursday 5 January 2017
    Catalonia St (southern end), Cervantes

    The free 3D chalk art demonstrations will be a great spectacle for locals, holiday-makers and visitors to Cervantes and Green Head who will get the unique opportunity to see how the magical images are created and meet talented artist Jarrad Martyn.

    Each 3D chalk drawing will be created with an interactive element which will allow spectators to become part of the artwork when they are photographed with the image.

    The demonstrations will give everyone an opportunity to share their photos via all social media channels using #holidayathome.

    3D Chalk Art January 2017 Leeman Green Head Cervantes

    Learn about the towns of Cervantes, Green Head and Leeman

     

  • Funtavia Fringe Festival returns in 2017!

    by Suzanne Fisher | Dec 16, 2016

    Awarded ‘Best New Venue’ at the 2016 Fringe World Awards, the Funtavia ship is set to dock back into Geraldton’s West End, Marine Terrace on Thursday 9 to Saturday 11 of February 2017.

     

    Funtavia Geraldton Fringe World Festival


    Funtavia organisers said “We are proud that Funtavia has been able to bring a taste of Fringe World to Geraldton and the way in which the community embraced the 2016 pilot festival whole-heartedly.”

     

    Funtavia is part of Perth's Fringe World Festival, the third largest Fringe Festival in the world. Funtavia 2017 will feature more than 30 performances over three evenings of jam packed entertainment and fun nestled right in the heart of the west end Marine Terrace.  

     

     “Februarys program expect to see rappers, graffiti artists, rambling parents, comedians, improvisors, games of thrones fans, musicians and entertainers alike. No show will be the same, but we guarantee that each one will be insanely entertaining.” said Creative Producer Julian Canny

     

    Open each afternoon from 5.30pm will also be the Baba Marda pop-up bar, food stalls and entertainment in the Funtavia Hub, West End – this area is free for all to mosey on in and enjoy.

     

    Jodi Reilly, Event Producer says “Funtavia aims to further boost Geraldton’s reputation as a colourful, lively and enviable place to live. This year we are working with tourism and hospitality partners to bundle up attractive packages that encourage visitors to stay a little longer and see what we love about our fabulous city.”

     

    Funtavia will host a first for regional WA, four locally produced original shows will feature as part of the program. The four shows are The Hungry Games, Smell like Meme Spirit, An Incompetent Life and Regional Produce.  Funtavia offers an incredible opportunity for our local artists and producers, not only to perform but to also become involved with the international arts sector and make connections with people across the industry. Many of these productions will be touring Perth for future performances.

     

    “We are extremely excited that we are able to deliver something that is really unique to Geraldton and invests directly into our local performers, while offering world class entertainment, and this is all made possible thanks to our generous event sponsors.” Ms Reilly said.

     

    Excluding opening night all tickets are $18 and will be available until sold out (so get it early). Tickets can be purchased online through our website www.funtavia.com Head over to the website to keep up to date with information and to download the full event program!

     

  • Coral Coast home to Western Australia's top beaches

    by Suzanne Fisher | Dec 09, 2016

     

    Two of the beaches on Australia's Coral Coast made the list of Australia's 101 Best Beaches - the only West Australian beaches making Top 20! Drum roll please....

    Turquoise Bay
    4th - Ningaloo region

    An easy 2 hour flight from Perth, Exmouth's Turquoise Bay is one of Australia's finest snorkelling locations. Relax in the calm shallows of the Ningaloo Marine Park as you drift snorkel the reef just 50-100m off the beach. Rather drive? Follow this itinerary.

    Image: @saltywings

    Turquoise Bay @SaltyWings

    Dynamite Bay
    19th - Indian Ocean Drive region

    Situated just three hours north of Perth, the bay is enclosed by sandbars making the swimming cove safe for children or novice swimmers. Further explore this classic coastal beachscape by taking to the Three Bays walkway to learn more about the region’s Aboriginal and European history and visit the nearby Pinnacles Desert.

    Dynamite Bay green head Australia 101 Best beaches

    What exactly is a beach expert?

    Brad Farmer earned his title by personally visiting every single beach in Australia alongside Professor Andy Short, a coastal geomorphologist. The pair went to all 11,761 beaches in the country as part of research for their publication - 101 Australian Beaches

    Beach Fact:
    If you visited every beach in Australia it would take over 30 years!

    Time for a road trip!

    Visiting our beaches are as simple as throwing the kids in the car and setting off to Green Head (Dynamite Bay) or jumping on a daily Qantas flight to Exmouth (Turquoise Bay) - alternatively, take your time and roadtrip our entire coastline, you might find your own Top beach!

  • Aquarium without glass – Navy Pier dive site reopens

    by Suzanne Fisher | Nov 03, 2016

     

    Exmouth’s Navy Pier found on Australia’s Coral Coast is best described as an aquarium without glass.It will officially open for diving on the 15th November following restoration works. The Navy Pier has a reputation as one of the top 10 shore dives worldwide, primarily due to its vast range of marine life.

     

    The Exmouth Navy Pier - Dive Ningaloo from Australias Coral Coast

    There are over 200 identified fish species under the Pier and as with any jetty dive, underwater navigation is easy. As the pier is still a working US naval base, and to protect the amazing diversity of fish life, all dives must be guided.

     

    Exmouth company, Dive Ningaloo, has been awarded the sole operating license for the Navy Pier dive, granted for two years, with a one year extension. Owner Kirsten Sheppard said “we are really excited about being able to dive this incredible site for the first time in over 18 months. Often described as being like an oasis in the ocean, restricted access and a ban on fishing has meant that jetty is teeming with marine life that gravitates to the structure for protection. The biodiversity for such a small area is incredible".


    Exmouth Navy Pier Dive Ningaloo Western Australia

     

    Extending out from the shore, the T-shaped pier is 300 metres wide and 110 metres long and includes two outlying "dolphins" (platforms for larger ships to tie up to), reaching a depth of 15 metres. The pier structure is covered in soft corals; divers could spend several days diving the site and not be bored.

     

    Divers to the Navy Pier can find Wobbegong sharks, large potato cods; lion, angler, stone and scorpion fish; moray eels, octopus, large schools of trevally and huge rays dozing in the sand. The pier is regarded as one of the top 10 shore dives worldwide; quite an achievement. Divers will see more individual fish and species here than most people would see in a lifetime of diving. This dive site is a photographer's dream with an abundance of sea life that is seemingly unafraid of divers.

     

    Navy Pier Exmouth Fire Coral, Image Dive Ningaloo

    Due to the area’s large tidal range resulting in strong currents, the Exmouth Navy Pier can only be dived at slack water which occurs for 30 minutes at the top and bottom of the tide. It is therefore critical that before booking the Navy Pier dive, tourists much have dived with in the last six (6) months. Night dives on the pier are equally amazing and are offered to advanced divers only.

     

    To plan your next holiday to Ningaloo region, learn more about the best diving spots on the Coral Coast  or to book your tour with Dive Ningaloo, visit www.australiascoralcoast.com

     

    Images: Dive Ningaloo - www.diveningaloo.com.au

      

    Wobbegong Shark Exmouth Navy Pier. Image: Blue Media Photography

     

     

  • BBC's correspondent + Aussie Rock Legend + Dutch ancestor = invited guests at Shark Bay's epic 400 year celebration

    by Suzanne Fisher | Sep 30, 2016

     

    What do a BBC's correspondent, Aussie Rock Legend, Dutch ancestor have in common? They will all be attending a celebratory cultural festival, the Dirk Hartog Voyage of Discovery: Shark Bay 1616 will take place from 21-25 October 2016 and will include a five-day program of arts, music, food and historical event.

    BBC's Coast presenter, archaeologist and historian, Neil Oliver, for the anniversary events and experience unspoilt beaches, incredible wildlife and history first-hand whilst promoting the World Heritage Area in a series of print, radio and broadcast interviews with UK and Australian media.

    BBC Coast presenter  historian British UK Neil Oliver

    Sebastian Hartog is a first generation Australian born of Dutch parents who has been tracing his family history to our unique part of the world. In 2008, Sebastian hatched a plan to retrace Dirk Hartog’s voyage which landed the Dutch Captain on the west coast of Australia (Terra Australis Incognita) in 1616. This year’s anniversary inspired Sebastian to follow his ancestors steps, delving into his Hartog heritage to explore one of the more mysterious and spectacular regions of the Australian coastline.

    Sebastian Hartog 400 year celebrations Dirk Hartog Island Shark Bay Western Australia

    With yet another ARIA nomination in his pocket, Joe Camilleri and his band The Black Sorrows will headline a free outdoor concert at the Shark Bay Amphitheatre alongside All our Exes Live in Texas direct from sold-out headline shows across Australia, and the ‘Energetic Physical Presence and Power’ of Western Australia’s own Blue Shaddy.

    ARIA Joe Camilleri The Black Sorrows Shark Bay Dirk Hartog Island Western Australia October 2016

    A highlight of the 2016 commemorative program is the mooring and public viewing of the replica VOC vessel The Duyfken in Denham following its WA coastline voyage. Additionally the tall ships of the STS Leeuwin II, the STS Young Endeavour and Batavia Longboat will be making the journey to Shark Bay, mooring in the bay.

    Other Festival highlights include:
    - official opening ceremony on Denham's beach with the Malgana people and sea shanty songs from The Lost Quays
    - direct from the São Paulo, the Pyrophone Juggernaut will erupt in fiery melodies each evening
    - masquerade Golden Age Ball honouring the Dutch period with guests full of fun, food and fancy dress.
    - families will love the collaborative project between national cardboard masters BoxWars and the wider Shark Bay community.
    - art history buffs will enjoy the MODA 1616 Exhibition showing costumes and period dress of the time with an interactive ‘Portrait Corner’.
    - drone enthusiasts will love the ND5 exhibit, showcasing Shark Bay from above through the lens of WA's best photographers plus Navigating the West a large scale projection project exploring the nautical history and wrecks of Western Australia.

    The Aurora Spiegeltent, one of the largest Spiegeltents in the world, makes its way to Shark Bay from The Netherlands with a specialist team of Dutch builders. The tent takes three days to erect and will remain for the duration of the five-day festival, housing up to 650 guests.

    The festival will conclude on Tuesday 25 October with the unveiling of a striking new sculpture unveiled by the Western Australia’s Premier and Tourism Minister, Colin Barnett, and the Minister for Regional Development, Terry Redman, on new Denham foreshore development and a replica pewter plate being installed on the Island by Minister for Arts & Culture, John Day, and Minister for Heritage & Environment, Albert Jacob.

    The Dirk Hartog Voyage of Discovery is expected to draw a large number of visitors to the beautiful Shark Bay World Heritage area. Learn more about the event program, tours running during festivities and book your accommodation via www.sharkbay1616.com.au

    Accommodation is still available at RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort. There is a complimentary shuttle bus running between Monkey Mia and Denham's events so that guests do not have to drive should they choose.
  • Furnance driven Mad-Max melodies this October

    by Suzanne Fisher | Sep 15, 2016

     

    The unique festival performance-art centrepiece, the Pyrophone Juggernaut will make its way to World Heritage Shark Bay as part of the Dirk Hartog Voyage of Discovery event from 21 to 25 October 2016. This five-day festival commemorates 400 years since Dutch sea captain Dirk Hartog made landfall off the coast of Western Australia.

     Pyrophone Juggernaut Shark Bay Western AUstralia Dirk hartog Island

    The Pyrophone is the latest addition to the festival line-up and is the largest hand-operated, multi-octave fire organ in the world, direct from the Sau Paulo’s Virada Cultural. Fueled by fire, the instrument is made entirely of reclaimed metal, spanning 12 meters long and nine meters high.

    Resembling an unearthly metal ship, this thrilling outdoor performance will erupt with furnace-driven Mad Max-esque hypnotic rhythms. The Pyrophone Juggernaut will be an exhilarating sonic feast, free to the public and will take place at the Shark Bay Speedway each day of the festival as the sun goes down.

    A highlight of the 2016 commemorative program is the mooring of the replica VOC vessel The Duyfken in Denham following its WA coastline voyage alongside the STS Leeuwin II, the STS Young Endeavour and Batavia Longboat which are also making the journey.

    Other Festival highlights include:
    - a free community concert with headline Aussie rock legend, Joe Camilleri, and the Black Sorrows.
    - a masquerade Golden Age Ball to honour the Dutch period of golden achievements full of fun, food and fancy dress.
    - families will love the collaborative project between national cardboard masters BoxWars and the wider Shark Bay community.
    - art history buffs will enjoy the MODA 1616 Exhibition showing costumes and period dress of the time with an interactive ‘Portrait Corner’.
    - drone enthusiasts will love the ND5 exhibit, showcasing Shark Bay from above through the lens of WA's best photographers plus Navigating the West a large scale projection event on daily.

    The Dirk Hartog Voyage of Discovery is expected to draw a large number of visitors to the beautiful Shark Bay World Heritage area. Learn more about the event program, tours running during festivities and book your accommodation via www.sharkbay1616.com.au

    Dirk Hartog Island 400 year celebration Shark Bay Western Australia

  • Swimming with Humpback Whales in Western Australia: in-water interaction success at Ningaloo

    by Suzanne Fisher | Aug 05, 2016

     

    The four month trial of swimming with humpback whales commenced on Monday 1 August 2016 in Coral Bay and Exmouth on Australia's Coral Coast, with immediate interaction success in both locations. Western Australia's Environment Minister Albert Jacob said that 11 tour operators from the Ningaloo region were participating in the trial, with about 200 people booking tours in the first week alone.

    Watch the video - Cindy White (videographer) for Ocean Eco Adventures, Exmouth on the Ningaloo Reef

    The world’s largest humpback whale population, estimated at 30,000, annually migrates south along the Ningaloo Reef. Tourists have the chance to get close to the humpbacks as spectators on-board a boat, or while in the water as they swim past or rest in the temperate Ningaloo waters. To ensure the safety of the swimmers, and the welfare of the whales, only five (5) people will be in the water at any one time

    Unlike the Ningaloo Whale Shark tours that run from March to July, 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.

    Exmouth Dive Centre crew member, Patrick Horgan, noted this of his whale interaction experience “The suspense was continually building as the whales slowly approached us. Time stood still for a moment. I could not believe that I was finally swimming with a humpback whale! We watched for a few moments before the whales slowly roused and swam off at a relaxed pace.”

    Ningaloo’s newest whale shark and humpback licence operator, Live Ningaloo, who has partnered with Luxury Lodges of Australia glamping accommodation Sal Salis, were successful on 4 August. Their marketing manager, Sonia Beckwith, said treating it holistically and offering our guests the very best tour we can muster, based on what the wildlife is doing for the day. It’s an adventure, an expedition of sorts, and we don’t know what we will find, or in this case, if every pod of humpback whales we spot will want to interact. Swimming is included if the opportunity presents itself.”

    Celebrating five years of UNESCO World Heritage status, the Ningaloo Coastline stretches for 300 kilometres and home to whale sharks, 500 fish species, six turtle species, manta rays, and dolphins.

    Exmouth operators are still swimming with whale sharks in addition to humpbacks, when possible. Where else on earth can you swim with whale sharks, humpback whales and mantra rays - all in one day? At Ningaloo, you can!

    The trail will run until 30 November 2016. See the video and learn more about the experience, including operators, tour price inclusions and how to book. For more information visit Australia’s Coral Coast.

    END.

    Media enquiries:
    Suzanne Fisher
    Marketing Manager
    + 61 8 9321 9111
    marketing@australiascoralcoast.com

    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
    Past Media Releases on Humpback Whales
    Tour prices set for Humpback Whale Swim - February 2016
    Swim with Humpback whales at Ningaloo Reef in 2016 - November 2015
    The Ningaloo Reef: Home to Orcas, Whale sharks and Humpbacks – July 2015

    High Resolution Photography:
    Rory Hodgkinson and Prue Wheeler for Coral Bay Eco Tours
    Esther McDonald for Ningaloo Discovery

  • New twin Skywalks for Kalbarri in 2017

    by Suzanne Fisher | May 16, 2016

    Breathtaking skywalks in Kalbarri National Park will become a major tourism drawcard for the region, providing stunning vistas of the Murchison River gorge's rust-red cliffs, flowing water and scrub from above.

    Work on the new Kalbarri Skywalk has commenced with the official launch estimated for August 2017. Access to the Loop/Z Bend trails will be limited between late 2016 and mid 2017, click here for information. Access to Nature's Window will remain unchanged and open to the public - contact the Kalbarri Visitor Centre if in doubt. 

    Kalbarri National Park, which is famous for its exceptional wildflowers, sandstone cliffs and variety of recreational activities, saw over 370,000 visitors in the last financial year. Tourism is a cornerstone of Kalbarri's economy. By improving access and infrastructure, the park's unique environment will be showcased to encourage more tourists to explore the town and wide Coral Coast region's natural heritage.

    The innovative tourism precinct in the park will include twin skywalks which will be built 100m apart at the Inyaka Wookai Watju site (the West Loop) which will project 20m and 12m beyond the gorge rim, more than 100m above the Murchison River.

    Two indigenous park rangers will be employed to welcome and inform tourists, with an anthropologists currently collecting the Nhanda stories to be used for interpretation signage. The Nhanda community has been involved in the project to date and will be producing outdoor art works for the new precinct.

    Works  already underway include the sealing of the Loop/Z Bend Road which has previously been accessible only by 4WD and all-wheel drive cars. This road sealing will allow access to some of Kalbarri's popular tourist segment – the caravanning and RV market which comprises of both grey nomads and families.

    There will be the complete redevelopment of the existing Z Bend lookout with parking for coaches and large caravans, a kiosk, walking trails, interpretative signage, shade shelters and toilets. The skywalks will be accessible to people of all ages and abilities.

    Concurrent with this project, Telstra plans to install two new mobile communication base stations in the park. Improved mobile phone coverage in the gorge area will greatly assist emergency response efforts and enable the use of digital applications for providing tourist information.

    National Park entry fees apply. Click the link more information or travel planning for Kalbarri.

    The project has been made possible thanks to the Royaltys for Regions funding and the Department of Parks and Wildlife.

    Kalbarri skywalk open 2017

  • Just a few months away - don't miss Gascoyne in May!

    by Natasha Potter | Mar 17, 2016

     

    A feast of festivals descends on the Gascoyne

    An all-star cast of international festival favourites will team up with Gascoyne talents to tour the remote northwest for Gascoyne in May 2016. This feast of festivals mounts six festivals in six weeks in some of the most remote locations in the world.

    Each festival is set in iconographic land and seascapes - coastal areas include the world Heritage areas of the Ningaloo Reef, Shark and Coral Bay, while the hinterland includes the mesmerising features of the Kennedy Range and Mt Augustus, known by the First Nations People as ‘Burringurrah’ the ‘Biggest Rock’ on the planet - being twice the size of Uluru!

    The festival circuit is 2700km and boast many natural wonders to be explored between the weekend festivities - Festivals include: The Burringurrah Festival of Fire; Shark Bay’s ‘Barefoot Black Tie’ as part of the Denham’s Fishing Fiesta; Gascoyne Junction’s Gascoyne River Music Festival; Coral Bay’s Festival of the Reef; Exmouth’s Ningaloo Whaleshark Festival; and lastly Carnarvon’s TropiCOOL Festival.

    Gascoyne in May is made possible by support from Department of Culture and the Arts - Regional and Remote Touring Fund; The Gascoyne Development Commission, Lotterywest, Country Arts WA and the Shires of Upper Gascoyne, Shark Bay, Exmouth and Carnarvon.

    In 2016, festivals include:

    Where

    What

    Date in 2016

    Focus

    Coral Bay

    Festival of the Reef

    Saturday 30 April to Sun 1 May

    Independent film festival and photography lessons

    Shark Bay

    Barefoot Black Tie

    Friday 6 May

    Beach, food, music and light installation

    Gascoyne Junction

    River Music

    Friday 13 to Sunday 15 May

    Indigenous, music

    Exmouth

    Whaleshark Festival

    Thursday 24 to Sunday 29 May

    Whaleshark, art exhibitions, fire display,music concert

    Carnarvon

    TropiCOOL

    Friday 10 June to Sunday 12 June

    Family,food, aerial circus, outdoor music concert

    For more information on the Gascoyne in May festival, see the event website - www.gascoyneinmay.com.au

  • An Australian Legacy: 400 Year Celebration In 2016

    by Suzanne Fisher | Jan 22, 2016

     

    January 23, 2016 marks 400 years to the day since Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog left the Netherlands on his epic journey during which he famously stumbled on the island, now known as Dirk Hartog Island, off the coast of Shark Bay in Western Australia on 25 October 1616.

     

    Learn more about the 2016 events and the island.


     

    Long before Captain James Cook landed on the east coast of Australia in 1770, Hartog had left a pewter plate as a mark of his discovery in Western Australia. Hartog’s journey would see him play a major part in the world’s cartography as the first recorded European to leave evidence of contact with Australian soil. As a by-product of spice and commodity trade in the Indonesian islands lying above Australia, a chief cartographer was put in place by Dutch East Indian Trading to create a secret atlas of maps which included Australia or “New Holland” as it was known for 150 years. Although Australia wasn’t seen as a trading opportunity, the Dutch mapped two-thirds of the mysterious continent known as “Terra Australis Incognita”, later renamed Australia by the British.

     

    Today the area is known as the Shark Bay World Heritage Area – a wonderland of world-class natural marine and land-based attractions married with a rich indigenous culture. Land forms include the 100km Shell Beach, the extraordinary Stromatolites (found only in three places globally) and the Zuytdorp Cliffs stretching from Kalbarri to Shark Bay. Marine encounters include the Monkey Mia dolphins, the second largest population of dugongs in the world, migrating humpback whale, rare loggerhead turtles and the occasional whale shark.

     

    Dirk Hartog Island is Western Australia’s largest island and offers a peaceful retreat of beautiful scenery, ideal for four-wheel driving with its white sandy beaches perfect for snorkelling or fishing. The Island has significant biodiversity conservation values with more than 250 native plant species, 81 species of birds and 27 species of reptiles, many of which were on the brink of extinction. It is also a major nesting area for loggerhead turtles with about 400 breeding annually with hatchlings expected in March.

     

    To celebrate the 400 year anniversary of the landing on the island, a four-day festival – the Dirk Hartog Voyage of Discovery: Shark Bay 1616, will held in Shark Bay from Friday October 21 to Tuesday October 25, 2016. The 1606 replica Dutch ship, the Duyfken, will depart Western Australia’s Fremantle Harbour on August 28, 2016 and visit the Coral Coast towns of Jurien Bay, Dongara and Geraldton along the way to Denham, and will be available for public tours at each port of call. Additionally, history and sailing enthusiasts can cruise to the festivities on board the tall-ship Leeuwin II departing Fremantle on Friday 14 October, arriving in Shark Bay Friday October 21, 2016. 

     

     

    Plan your holiday to Shark Bay in 2016

    Learn more about the region and history of Dirk Hartog Island  with our comprehensive holiday planning guide of accommodation, tours and itineraries.

     

    Sail to Dirk Hartog Island on board the Leeuwin: 14 to 21 October 2016

    Experience the celebrations on board the tall ship Leeuwin II. History and sailing enthusiasts can enjoy the unique opportunity to experience life on board a traditional style vessel. Sail in Dirk's Steps will depart from Fremantle on 14  October, arriving in Shark Bay on 21 October 2016. Only 40 berths are available - contact the Leeuwin Foundation for booking information. 

    4WD Voyage of Discovery: 23 to 27 October 2016

    Have an exclusive experience on the Island in October on a special four-wheel driving expedition. Catering for only 20 people be part of this once in a lifetime opportunity. Bring your own 4WD vehicle, camper trailer and camp at the Homestead Camp Grounds. Join in on nightly celebrations and activities. Including live music, camp fires, damper cook ups, gourmet BBQ’s and sunset drinks.

    Learn more via the flyer or book online here.

     


    Four-wheel Driving at Dirk Hartog island

    Four-wheel Driving at Dirk Hartog Island

     

    Dolphins surfing at Urchin Point  

    Dolphins surfing at Urchin Point

     

    Turtle hatching at Dirk Hartog Island

    Turtle breeding has occurred and we expect hatchlings in March 2016 

     

    Boatshed Villa

  • Turtle Time! Hatchlings are out and about on the Coral Coast

    by Suzanne Fisher | Jan 13, 2016

     

    First sightings of loggerhead hatchlings from Gnarloo Bay as they emerge from their nest after 65 days of incubation!

    Green turtles, loggerhead turtles and hawksbill turtles, three of the world’s seven species of marine turtles, nest on mainland beaches adjacent to World Heritage Areas of Shark Bay and Ningaloo Reef during the summer months between November and April annually.

    Approximately six weeks after the turtle nesting season (usually February and March), the hatching season commences with hatchlings quickly skuttling down the beach sand into the warm water.

    Loggerhead turtles are a very special endangered species in Australia's Coral Coast. They make up 95% of the turtles migrating to Gnaraloo (the rest being green or hawksbill turtles). Only 1/200 hatchlings survive to nest themselves and continue the species.

    To learn more and catch a glimpse of these incredible creatures the Gnaraloo Turtle Conservation Program invites participation in its coastal conservation work (December - January). Small groups can accompany the sunrise and night scientific surveys with marine researchers to observe their data collection and learn about the turtles.The strictly managed interactions ensure that there are no disturbance at all to the nesting turtles and hatchlings. The program’s work will ensure that this endangered species and their habitat are protected for years to come.


    What to do if you see a turtle hatching

    • View the turtles with the assistance of DPaW or Gnarloo controlled and guided visits

    No Glow, Move Slow, Stay Low - don't use a flash camera, move slowly and stay low to the ground which will help to not scare them
    • Stand a considerable distance away from the turtles so as to not not disclose their location to predators
    Don’t touch and don’t pick them up (for their health) and imprinting (they get lost and won’t return to Ningaloo to nest)

     

    Top spots to see turtles now to March

    • Shark Bay - expected March 2016 - Dirk Hartog Island
    • Carnarvon - out January 2016

    - Point Quobba (the Nursery) and Gnarloo
    • Coral Bay - expected 1st & 2nd week of February
    2016
    - Maud’s Landing
    • Exmouth - expected 1st & 2nd week of February 2016
    - Jurabi Turtle Centre
    - Five Mile Beach
    - Wobiri Beach (see access track sign for the beach)

    Loggerhead turtle Gnarloo Ningaloo Reef

    Photo Credit: Gnaraloo Turtle Conservation Program
  • Be part of Australian history - 400 years in the making!

    by Suzanne Fisher | Dec 09, 2015

    2016 will mark 400 years since Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog made landfall on an Island off the coast of Western Australia, known now as Dirk Hartog Island.

    Long before British Captain James Cook found Australia, the Dutch explorer left a pewter plate as a mark of his discovery, which is the earliest known evidence left of a European in Australia.

    To commemorate this significant anniversary, be part of the Dirk Hartog Voyage Of Discovery: Shark Bay 1616 Festival.

    Sail there on board the Leeuwin 

    Experience the celebrations on board the tall ship Leeuwin II. History and sailing enthusiasts can enjoy the unique opportunity to experience life on board a traditional style vessel. Sail in Dirk's Steps will depart from Fremantle on 14  October, arriving in Shark Bay on 21 October 2016. Only 40 berths are available - contact the Leeuwin Foundation for booking information. 

    Events Program

    In October 2016, Shark Bay will play host to a week of unique cultural celebrations that will take place in honour of this anniversary including arts, food and historical events.

    • Opening Ceremony – 21 October 
    • Discovery Hub – 21 to 25th October
    • Outdoor Music Concert – 22 October 
    • Indian Ocean Classic Yacht Race – 22 October 
    • The Golden Age 1616 Ball – 23 October
    • Official commemorative ceremony – 25 October

    Additionally, Shark Bay will play host to the dutch replica Dufyken who will visit and be on display during the week long celebrations. Tourists can also enjoy the ND5 Exhibition, an art exhibition of aerial photography exploration of Shark Bay from 21 - 25 October.

    For more information on the event series see www.sharkbay1616.com.au

    Dirk Hartog 1616 Western Australia 


  • Get festive at the Gascoyne in May

    by Suzanne Fisher | Dec 09, 2015


    Gascoyne in May is five arts festivals, of over fifteen events held in five towns over four weeks, across two World Heritage areas or a return-journey of 2700km. 

    The Gascoyne is a sub-region within Australia's Coral Coast which includes Shark Bay (Denham/Monkey MIa) in the south, Carnarvon in the east and Exmouth in the north. 

    Gascoyne in May is a coordinated circuit of festivals, mostly free to attend. Each festival is themed to reflect its diverse spirit and individual locations, each celebrating and sharing local culture in their own Gascoyne style.

    In 2016, festivals include:

    Where

    What

    Date in 2016

    Focus

    Coral Bay

    Festival of the Reef

    Saturday 30 April to Sun 1 May

    Independent film festival and photography lessons

    Shark Bay

    Barefoot Black Tie

    Friday 6 May

    Beach, food, music and light installation

    Gascoyne Junction

    River Music

    Friday 13 to Sunday 15 May

    Indigenous, music

    Exmouth

    Whaleshark Festival

    Thursday 24 to Sunday 29 May

    Whaleshark, art exhibitions, fire display, music concert

    Carnarvon

    TropiCOOL 

    Friday 10 June to Sunday 12 June

    Family, food, aerial circus, outdoor music concert

     
    For more information on the Gascoyne in May festival, see the event website - www.gascoyneinmay.com.au - which should be updated with all individual event information in January 2016. 

    Videos from 2015

  • Celebrate the Festive Season, New Years Eve and Australia Day with Eco Abrolhos

    by Suzanne Fisher | Dec 09, 2015

    Looking for a unique way to start 2016? Why not spend it at the Abrolhos Islands!

    Eco Abrolhos has developed a fly/cruise package for up to 38 people to spend New Years’ Eve at the Abrolhos Islands for a 2 day/2 night cruise at the Wallaby group of islands.

    At $998 per person, your package includes all flights, accommodation, meals, activities & tours included.

    Additionally there will be a live band entertainment on the boat’s Top Deck so you can party the night away on New Years Eve!

    Activities include:

    • Snorkel, kayak or dive on the wreck site of the Batavia.
    • Visit the island of angry ghosts (Beacon Island) where 126 men, women and children were massacred by the blood thirsty mutineers over 400 years ago.
    • Visit the forts built by Wiebbe Hayes and his band of solders on West Wallaby Island. The forts are said to be the first European buildings in Australian history
    • Spot wallabies, lizards and thousands of birds inhabit Wallaby islands
    • Snorkel or dive the Long Island Dive Trail, erected by the Fisheries Department. Which is a series of plaques on the sea bed that you read and follow, also picturing and naming the different species of fish and corals in the area.
    • Snorkel easy to access large brain corals
    • Anchor at Turtle Bay off East Wallaby Island to enjoy spectacular long sandy beaches with crystal clear water
    • Turtle Bay is also a great for a snorkel and on the eastern point shuck oysters off the rocks and take a walk to the top of the cliffs, possibly catching a glimpse of the local wallabies and osprey.
    • Dolphins frequent these waters at night and in the mornings, chasing fish!

    Got plans for New Years already? What about a Christmas Sunset Cruise of Geraldton Marina!

    Eco Abrolhos will also be operating sunset cruises around the Geraldton Marina in the lead up to Christmas.

    Places are booking fast; at $55 per person which includes your meal, live band and the cruise (licenced bar, drinks available for purchase) - what a way to enjoy the festive season!

    Christmas sunset cruise in Geraldton

    Finally, one of most important days of the year - AUSTRALIA DAY!

    Get on board the Eco for a great Aussie Barbie to celebrate Australia Day on Tuesday 26 January 2016.

    Boarding at 5.00pm, depart at 5.30pm, the fireworks in the Geraldton are due to commence at 8pm with a return time to the Marina at 8.30pm.

    Perfect way to experience this important day with friends or family; at $55pp for cruise, BBQ, various salads and dessert - the crew from Eco A will be awarding a prize for best dressed Aussie with live entertainment by band, Songbird. 

    Licenced bar, drinks available for purchase. 

    Cruise Geraldton Australia Day 2016

     

  • Coral Coast is home to Western Australia's top dish

    by Suzanne Fisher | Nov 24, 2015

    Culinary tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the tourism industry. It came as little surprise that mother-of-two, Jerolina Rankin of Carnarvon on Australia’s Coral Coast, took out Western Australia’s Signature Dish competition with her grilled Shark Bay wild chilli Prawns and Mackerel mousse in a zucchini noodle seafood broth.

    The annual competition, run by the WA Department of Agriculture and Food, aims to showcase the best of WA food by bringing together talented home cooks from the Gascoyne, Kimberley, Swan Valley and Peel regions with popular professional chefs from Perth as regional mentors. The Gascoyne produces 80% of Western Australia’s annual fruit and vegetable supplies and was represented in the competition by Carnarvon.

    Peter Manifis of InContro was once again selected as regional judge for the Gascoyne entries and remarked that “[Jerolina] has been a finalist two years running; she’s just kept going at it, like the little engine that could. And today it’s all paid off”. Manifis selected Rankin’s dish as a finalist due to its significant regional provenance with over ten ingredients from the Gascoyne including Shark Bay’s wild prawns, mackerel and blue-swimmer crab accompanied by vegetables, chillies and herbs from Carnarvon.

    Western Australia has an excellent international reputation for sustainable fisheries management with both Shark Bay [Wild] and Exmouth Gulf recently receiving the international independent Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for their prawns. "When it comes to food, our incredibly diverse region really has it all - the pristine world heritage areas of Exmouth and Shark Bay where the wild prawns are managed in an incredible sustainable fishery, to the Carnarvon River Delta, an oasis of tropical fruits, vegetables, herbs and everything in between.” according to Doriana Mangili, Executive Officer of the Gascoyne Food Council.

    From a young age Rankin’s grandmother instilled in her a deep respect for food; this was exemplified by her winning seafood broth, which minimised wastage using crab and prawn shells with fish bones. Rankin notes, “I really became a foodie when I had children, sharing my passion to explore food and expressing that food for my family”. Between May and October you’ll find Rankin at the Saturday morning Growers Market in Carnarvon’s town square.

    Four regional finalists faced off for the WA Signature Dish (state finals), held as part of the 2015 Margaret River Gourmet Escape. The festival is a key event for Tourism Western Australia’s Taste2020 food and wine tourism strategy.

     

    END.

     

    Media enquiries:

    Suzanne Fisher

    Marketing Manager
    + 61 8 9321 9111
    marketing@australiascoralcoast.com

     

    Image - Jerolina Rankin's Shark Bay wild chilli Prawns and Mackerel mousse in a zucchini noodle seafood broth
    With thanks from:
    Buy West Eat Best

    Shark Bay wild chilli Prawns and Mackerel mousse in a Carnarvon zucchini noodle seafood broth.

  • Visit Australia's first artificial snorkelling trail

    by Suzanne Fisher | Nov 19, 2015

    Families are encouraged to visit Australia’s Coral Coast to experience an artificial reef created to showcase the underwater wonders of the Jurien Bay. Through the use of man-made Reef Balls, designed and created by the Jurien Bay Men's Shed volunteers with the assistance of Reef Ball Australia, the trail's location makes it accessible for children and novice snorkelers to enjoy.

    See the trail on TV's Today Tonight 

    Watch the making of the reef documentary 

     
    Located just off the beach’s sandy shore, 78 concrete Reef Balls in a mix of three different sizes were cast and placed. The Reef Balls ensure diversity for the underwater habitat, encouraging different types of marine life to make their home in the Jurien Bay Marine Park.

    A diverse number of fish have found a home in the reef trail with new sources of food, sponges and coral continually growing on and around the Reef Balls. This in turn ensuring new fish ‘visit the reef’ in addition to the core residents, making every snorkelling experience in the Jurien Bay Marine Park a unique one. The waters are shallow at first, sloping off to six metres where seaweed lines the ocean floor and crabs can be found.

    Entry to the snorkel trail is free, however visitors can support its maintenance by purchasing handy swim cards which will help identify the fish and coral likely to be on show as part of the trail.

    Jurien Bay Marine Park
    Beach access via Dobbyn Park
    1 Roberts Street
    Jurien Bay, Western Australia

    Type: Snorkel Trail
    Experience: Coastal, Family Friendly
    Time: 1-3 hours
    Length: 0.1 km (Loop)
    Difficulty: Easy

     

  • Swim with Humpback Whales at Ningaloo Reef in 2016

    by Suzanne Fisher | Nov 16, 2015

    Swimming with humpback whales will become a reality from mid-2016 in Exmouth and Coral Bay on Australia’s Coral Coast in Western Australia. Several countries, including Mexico and Tonga, already have the tours in place with Queensland becoming the first Australian tour location in July 2014.

     

    Existing holders of whale shark licenses will be offered the opportunity to operate the whale swimming tours which will allow them to extend this season into the humpback migration. Already a popular pursuit, 20,670 people visited the Ningaloo Reef between March and July 2015, specifically to swim with the world’s largest fish – the whale shark.

     

    Ocean Eco Adventures owner, James Small, conducted whale watching tours with 3,000 passengers experiencing the humpback migration on board and he hopes to continue this [whale watching tour] as well as building a successful and sustainable whale swimming experience”.

     

    Whale shark operators’ have vast in-water interaction experience with large marine animals and will receive additional training and guidelines from WA’s Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) in advance of the season opening. Whales have unique movement patterns and for this reason a tour participant will only be allowed to interact with single whales, not accompanied by calves. Tour operator Roger Bailye of Coral Bay Ecotours anticipates that to fully participate,  tourists will require a high swimming capability as whales, in general, are more agile and faster moving than whale sharks. People will continue to have the option to stay on board as a viewer at a reduced rate”.

     

    Tourism industry members in Ningaloo have said that news of the trial period has already captured the imagination of people looking for unique and exciting experiences. The new tours will extend the whale shark season, which traditionally finishes around July. They will offer a significant boost to the Ningaloo area’s economy, as well as the wider Coral Coast region and the state of Western Australia. CEO of Australia’s Coral Coast, David O’Malley, said "I am keen to see the [humpback swim] trial result in this tour product being developed as a major, permanent attraction of the Coral Coast."

     

    Tour price and bookings will be set in the first quarter of 2016 between DPaW and the 11 whale shark operators. Operators have already started considering what be included as part of their swimming tour. Sarah Ellis, owner of Charter 1, has already committed their 53ft sailing catamaran for the humpback swimming tour with operators considering the inclusion of complimentary underwater photography and spotter planes as part of the ticket price.

     

    Visit www.australiascoralcoast.com to help plan your next Coral Coast adventure.

                                                                   
                                                               

    END.

    Media enquiries:

    Suzanne Fisher

    Marketing Manager
    + 61 8 9321 9111
    marketing@australiascoralcoast.com

      

    Image courtesy of Ocean Eco Adventures

    humpback whale ningaloo august 2015

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