Western Australia's Ningaloo Marine Park protects the world-famous Ningaloo Reef – Australia’s largest and most accessible fringing reef and one of the largest fringing reefs in the world. Here, you simply step straight off the dazzling white sandy beaches and enter an underwater wonderland of incredible diversity.
The Ningaloo Marine Park covers more than 600,000 hectares and includes Red Bluff, Gnaraloo Bay, Cape Range National Park, the Bundegi and Jurabi Coastal Parks and the Muiron Islands Marine Management Area. Home to around 300 species of coral and 500 species of fish, the Ningaloo Reef is just a few metres from the shore in some places and therefore easily accessible by snorkellers. The magnificent gentle giants of the sea – the whale sharks - alongside manta rays, turtles, fish and humpback whales attract visitors from across the globe.
Ningaloo is Australia’s newest Hope Spot, Hope Spot - Ningaloo Coast and Exmouth Gulf. The Coral Coast is now home to 2 of the 6 Australian Hope Spots, global locations considered critical to the health of the ocean. The world heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef and adjacent Exmouth Gulf were designated as having global significance, and together have been cited a Hope Spot by international marine science organisation Mission Blue, which is run by legendary oceanographer Dr Sylvia Earle.
Swim with the beautiful and harmless Whale Shark on Ningaloo Reef, which can grow up to 18m long. Ningaloo Reef has the world’s highest reliability rate of whale shark interactions, with whale shark tour operators in Coral Bay and Exmouth. Tours are offered from mid-March to August with the season concluding in Coral Bay earlier than Exmouth. However, check with a Visitor Centre for precise season dates.
Swim and snorkel with a Sea Turtle all year-round in the Ningaloo Reef inner lagoon. Six of the world’s seven species of sea turtle can be found in the waters of the Ningaloo Coast, with green, loggerhead, flatback and hawksbill turtles the most common. Sea turtles can be encountered all year round and hatchlings may be sighted during turtle nesting season. Note: Please visit www.australiascoralcoast.com and search “Turtle Watching Code”. Please do not approach a nesting or hatching turtle to ensure its safety against predators.
The Coral Coast is home to Turtle Nesting with two major breeding sites during turtle nesting season, where turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. These locations are Dirk Hartog Island in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, along the Quobba coastline accessible from Carnarvon, and the Muiron Islands as part of the Ningaloo Marine Park, accessed via Exmouth. It is estimated that Shark Bay alone has up to 6,000 sea turtles living in its waters. The turtle nesting season is between December and March.
Turtle Hatching begins after a six-week nesting period, and the hatchlings can be seen from February to March. The hatchlings venture into the ocean one month later. Exmouth’s Jurabi Turtle Centre, located just south of the Vlamingh Head Lighthouse, provides information and turtle nesting tours from December to February where you can watch them nesting and hatching on a night tour in Cape Range National Park.
Tourists can view or interact with Humpback whales in the water as part of eco-tours running out of Exmouth and Coral Bay from July to October. Humpback whales visit the Ningaloo Coast from June to November on their annual migration from Antarctica to our northern breeding grounds.
North of Carnarvon along the coast, you’ll find Ningaloo’s most remote coastal wilderness locations from Point Quobba to Gnaraloo Bay. Located at the southern part of Ningaloo Reef, this scenic stretch of coastline boasts towering cliffs, beautiful beaches and plenty of wildlife. 4WD or visit for the day by helicopter to enjoy great fishing, surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, snorkelling and wildlife encounters.
Explore the reef without getting wet! Daily glass bottom boat tours depart from Coral Bay and Exmouth with guides who really explain the heart of the Ningaloo Reef – its ecosystem, ancient coral formations and how we protect it. See the marine life of the shallow lagoon water. Tours offer snorkel opportunities and can be an hour, half day or full day in length.
Take to the air and view the contrasting landscapes and seascapes with a scenic flight over Ningaloo Reef, spotting humpback whales, whale sharks, manta rays and turtles from high above. These unforgettable sights are possible from light aircraft scenic flights from Coral Bay and Exmouth.
With a diverse range of game, sport, reef and fly fishing on offer, Ningaloo is prominent amongst the world’s best fishing destinations. The waters surrounding Exmouth hold over 40 different game fish, including all six Australian species of billfish. Fish from the shore, from a boat or cast a line from the Learmonth Jetty. For beach fishing, try Point Maud at Coral Bay. Hire a boat or book a fishing charter from Carnarvon, Coral Bay or Exmouth or try balloon fishing at Quobba Station and Red Bluff. Visit Exmouth during March for the annual GAMEX fishing competition. Note: Check Sanctuary Zones before fishing, or ask a Visitor Centre for fishing guidelines in the Ningaloo Marine Park zone.
The calm waters of Ningaloo Reef are the ideal location for your first attempt at SCUBA diving, or to continue your diving education. Operators in Exmouth and Coral Bay are PADI certified, offering half or full day lessons. Ningaloo has a range of dive site types including shore, night, wreck, deep, reef and cave.
Sail the crystal-clear Ningaloo waters on board a sunset cruise, full and half day reef explorer, learn to sail or a multi-day overnight tour. Book your tour via Coral Bay or Exmouth.