Prepare to be amazed all over again by the second UNESCO-listed treasure on the Coral Coast: Ningaloo Reef. One of the longest fringing coral reefs in the world, this underwater wonderland stretches from Bundegi Beach near the township of Exmouth in the north, right along the western shore of North West Cape, past Coral Bay and beyond to Red Bluff at Quobba Station to the south. Unlike many coral reefs, which are hidden away far from shore, Ningaloo Reef runs very close to the shoreline, with wildlife-teeming coral gardens positioned just footsteps from the beach. This makes Ningaloo Reef Australia’s most accessible coral reef experience – ideal for everyone.
Meet the Big Three
Get underwater and go swimming with Ningaloo Reef’s Big Three: whale sharks, humpback whales and manta rays. Ningaloo Reef is one of the few places in the world where you can snorkel and swim with the gentle giants, the whale sharks. Time your visit to coincide with whale shark season, from March to August, when the world’s biggest fish congregate annually along Ningaloo Reef. Fancy swimming alongside humpback whales? In Ningaloo Marine Park, guides take visitors out on the waters between June and November for a swimming session with friendly pods. You can also swim with giant manta rays all year round at technicolour Coral Bay.
All creatures great and small
Back on dry land, no trip to Western Australia is complete without encountering a ’roo or two. Selfies are far better with kangaroos in them, so visit Lucky Bay, a 40-minute drive east of Esperance. Lucky indeed: visitors here can pose for pics with photogenic, sun-worshipping roos who hop around the campgrounds or congregate at the end of the cove. You don’t have to go far from Perth to get your dolphin-fix: the protected bays of Rockingham and Shoalwater Island Marine Park are just a 40-minute drive away. Pods of wild dolphins regularly visit these calm waters. If it’s orcas you’re after, visit the Bremer Bay Canyon, where one of the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest seasonal orca populations gathers between January and March.