Ningaloo Reef is best known as Australia’s home of Whale Sharks, but that’s not all we have on offer as a destination!
2019 will be the fourth year of a trial Humpback Whale swim program in Western Australia. There are only three countries in the world where you can swim with humpback whales, and Australia is one of them. There are three locations in Australia including the Ningaloo Marine Park (in Exmouth and Coral Bay).
What and where is the Ningaloo Reef?
Ningaloo Reef is Australia's largest fringing reef and it spans across the towns of Exmouth, Coral Bay and Carnarvon. The area was UNESCO World Heritage Listed in 2011 and is regarded as one of the last great ocean paradises.
The World Heritage Listing was due to its marine and terrestrial (land) properties including rare flora and fauna such as the Whale Shark with 300 to 500 of these megafauna aggregating at Ningaloo annually in addition to the Humpback Whale migration of 30,000 whales.
When does the Season start?
The Season starts in Coral Bay from 1 July and Exmouth from 1 August annually, both locations running until 30 October. However, being a natural event the migration period could conclude or extend around this end date.
In-water interaction tours are only conducted with licenced, eco-tourism professionals which are our Whale Shark operators. With vast in-water interaction experience with large marinelife - all tours focus on small group whale encounters for intimate, yet exhilarating experiences that will stay with you for many years to come!
Okay, I'm sold, how do I book?
You're in luck, we can help with that! Visit this page to book with a tour operator in either Coral Bay and Exmouth.
What's the Tour like?
Interactions are 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. There will be a maximum of 20 swimmers per tour, with seven (7) persons in the water with any one humpback whale. The tour structure will combine the very successful whale shark tour model with the popular whale watching eco-tour.
Read more about how the tour works from pick up in the morning to drop off in the afternoon and everything in between!
Not sure if you want to swim with whales? All tour operators offer what we call an Observer ticket price. Observers can still participate in reef snorkels and swimming with Manta Rays if found. They do not however participate in a Humpback Whale in-water interaction (swim).
Why do this tour at Ningaloo?
One of the best places in Australia to see and experience an in-water interaction with migrating Humpback Whales is Ningaloo Marine Park off the coast of Exmouth and Coral Bay. Approximately 35,000 whales migrate along our coastline between July and November each year. Ningaloo provides an important resting area for the whales and offers one of the best chances to see them up close.
By choosing the Ningaloo Reef for your Humpback Whale swim you not only get the experience of being in the water with a whale, but you also get to explore a world-class pristine reef! Snorkel its coral gardens, cruise the turquoise sheltered lagoons and spot other marine life such as swimming with manta rays, dolphins and turtles.
How to Access Ningaloo Reef
Exmouth and Coral Bay are a 90 minute flight with Qantas with 12 flights per week, access from Perth Airport. You can also drive from Perth to Exmouth and experience the entire Coral Coast region for yourself. Learn more about a great one-way car hire option from our friends at Avis Australia.
Getting from Learmonth Airport:
Car Hire is available from Learmonth airport; we recommend pre-booking your vehicle. Don't want to drive? There are other options.
Exmouth - Exmouth Bus Charters provide a shuttle bus service from the airport to your accommodation in Exmouth for a per person fee.
Coral Bay - If you will be travelling to Coral Bay, transfers between Learmonth Airport and Coral Bay MUST be pre-booked by contacting Coral Bay Airport Transfers.