Western Australia’s coral coast is truly one of the greatest underwater playgrounds on the planet and home to the West’s beloved Ningaloo Reef. This World Heritage-listed reef stretches over 260 kilometres and is home to an array of marine life, including more than 500 species of fish, 250 species of coral, and the world’s largest fish – the whale shark.
Whale Shark Migration
One of the highlights of diving Ningaloo Reef is the opportunity to swim alongside one of Ningaloo’s greatest icons, the whale shark. From March to July every year, Ningaloo Reef becomes a migratory path for these magnificent creatures, providing a once-in-a-lifetime chance to witness their beauty up close. Growing up to 12 metres in length and weighing up to 21 tonnes, whale sharks are majestic in appearance and having the opportunity to swim alongside one of these beauties is nothing short of incredible.
A bird’s eye view of Ningaloo
Local friends encouraged me to make this experience my first as we arrived in Exmouth. They explained there was simply no better way of orientating yourself with Ningaloo than by taking to the sky in a microlight with Birds Eye View and experiencing the breathtaking view of the North West Cape. Rich in contrasting landscapes of red ranges and turquoise reefs teeming with marine life, from canyons to reefs, from turtles to whale sharks, the views will be unparalleled to anything you’ve ever seen before.
The Famous Navy Pier
The Navy Pier is known as one of the best shore dives in the world and obviously it’s a must-do while you’re visiting the Ningaloo coast. Located on private land and generally off-limits, security checks are a routine operation for this once U.S-operated pier. Only one dive operator now runs dives to this unique site. With a max depth of 18 metres, you’ll be surrounded by huge structural pylons that are home to an abundance of marine life. Thick schools of jacks and rays are commonly found overhead whilst below octopus, sea snakes, and even the occasional grey nurse shark are local residents of this famous dive site.
Snorkelling the Lagoon: Oyster Stacks and Turquoise Bay
Ningaloo Reef is a snorkeller’s paradise for those looking to explore the reef’s shallow waters. Two of my favourite sites are Oyster Stacks and Turquoise Bay. Both sites are located within the Ningaloo Marine Park and they offer calm and crystal-clear waters and a nice drift. Oyster Stacks is known for its stunning coral formations and vibrant marine life, while Turquoise Bay is renowned for its picturesque white sand beach and resident turtles. These sites are suitable for snorkellers of all levels, making them perfect for families and beginners.
Ningaloo Reef is a truly unique experience that offers the opportunity to explore one of the world’s most diverse and vibrant marine ecosystems. What sets Ningaloo apart from other dive locations is its unique setting. The contrasting desert landscape provides a stunning backdrop to the colourful and diverse underwater world and marine life that calls the World Heritage-listed site home.