This coastal town is the perfect springboard to make the great descent into the natural wonder and get intimate with the world's largest fringing reef. Expect to go on the ultimate deep-sea safari adventure exploring the thriving underwater playground, home to whalesharks, humpback whales, manta rays, sea turtles, over 500 fish species, and 200 healthy coral varieties.
The Navy Pier
Get your mask and flippers ready as there is no better way to experience the true vibrancy of Ningaloo Reef than diving at The Navy Pier.
Only 14km from Exmouth, the world-famous dive site is most commonly referred to as a glassless aquarium, turning heads with its high concentration of diverse marine life. What also makes the long T-shaped pier such a unique and rare spot to dive from is that it's the only operational defence base in the world that permits non-commercial divers to enter its waters.
Initially, the 300m wide and 110m long pier formed part of the US Naval Base, and public access was prohibited for over 50 years. In hindsight, that closure served both the sea and enthusiastic divers well, with the Navy Pier now regarded as one of the world's top ten shore dives.
What to expect diving the Exmouth Navy Pier
Diving the Navy Pier is like entering peak hour in an underwater zoo – it's just that active! Over 200 residents –including grey nurse sharks, moray eels, wobbegongs, sea turtles, barracudas, carpet sharks, octopuses, potato cod, Moorish idols, to name a few – can be spotted right under the pier. Divers commonly find themselves in a whirlwind, caught up in massive fish schools such as trevally, making it one exceptional dive for the logbook.
It's not just the big finds that attract divers to descend 12 metres below the pier. Divers with a keen eye will be delighted spotting many postage-stamp-sized nudibranchs and seeing their fluorescent, tribal-like patterns.
If you're lucky, the dive can end with a pinnacle encounter with Ningaloo's Reef notorious BFG of the sea: Big Friendly Grouper. The pier's plump resident, BFG, is usually found in the same spot under the pier's lower jetty and can be seen when ascending a few metres from sea level. This doe-eyed fish poses no threat and makes for the perfect photobomb opportunity with the GoPro.
How to dive the Exmouth Navy Pier
Dive Ningaloo is the only dive operator in Exmouth permitted to take divers to the restricted site. As it is an operational defence base, you will need a passport to dive and will be required to present it (yes, your actual passport that you need to fly!) on arrival.
Two 50-minute back-to-back dives are permitted to ensure that divers can maximise their time under the pier before tidal changes. (A 30-minute break is required between both dives.)
To have your epic encounter in Exmouth, contact Dive Ningaloo for dive times to make your reservation to the world-class dive site.
It may take a short 1.5-hour journey to get there by boat, but it's well worth the trip to swim through Ningaloo Reef's coral garden utopia, the magnificent Muiron Islands.
Located 15 kilometres off Exmouth's North West Cape, the popular and protected dive site is filled with an abundance of pristine soft corals in crystal clear waters. With its good water visibility conditions, the Muiron Islands is a fine example of how colourful the underwater wilderness can be – and it's pretty amazing.
What to expect diving the Muiron Islands
The waters surrounding the two inhabited islands are filled with a kaleidoscopic concourse of ancient corals – both soft and hard – and fascinating underwater landscapes. It makes the site fun for avid divers exploring its swim-throughs, reef walls, caves, coral bommies, and taking it easy with drift dives.
Top dive sites around the Muiron Islands include:
- The Cod Spot - found on South Muiron is incredible diving where you will not only see Large Potato Cod but is also a cleaning station for Manta Rays.
- The Keyhole - a 'swim through' dive channel with many overhangs in shapes of windows and keyholes, with many impressive coral shelves and plates to weave around.
- The Gap - found between the North & South Muiron Islands is a drift dive, where divers will see colourful corals (both hard and soft) as well as sponges and, of course, fish, turtles, nurse sharks and more.
The Muiron Islands is also suitable for snorkelers who wish to explore the area without going into Ningaloo Reef's great depths. While en route, you may see manta rays, sea turtles, dolphins, humpback whales, whale sharks and dugongs who visit the islands at different parts of the year.
How to dive the Muiron Islands
Discover other outstanding dive sites around Exmouth with these dive operators: