Located approximately 1200km north of Perth in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia is the coral wonderland Ningaloo Reef.
Apart from its striking natural beauty, the reef is Australia’s largest fringing coral reef and the only reef in Australia positioned very close to a land mass. Ningaloo is named so by the local Baiyunga Aboriginal peoples and means ‘high land jutting into the sea’.
ABOUT NINGALOO REEF
The fringing reef is approximately 160kms long making it the largest of its kind in Australia. The Ningaloo Coast is world heritage listed not just because of its exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance, but also because it contains significant importance for many species including whale sharks, turtles and many fish and coral species.
ACCESSING THE REEF
Ningaloo Reef runs along the length of the North West Cape. The reef is best accessed from the township of Exmouth if travelling from the North, or Coral Bay if travelling from the south of the North West Cape.
THINGS TO DO
Ningaloo Reef starts close to the shore making it easily accessible for all ages, including young ones. Just heading to knee deep water will allow the brightly-coloured fish to swim between your legs. The area also makes for superb snorkelling in the crystal clear waters. Strap on a snorkel and submerge yourself into a magnificent wonderland or coral lagoons inhabited by tropical fish.
Ningaloo Reef diving
For those so inclined, head to Muiron Islands or Lighthouse Bay for breath-taking reef diving opportunities. You are bound to see a diverse range of marine life including clown fish, stingrays and anemones amongst the complex coral reefs. More experienced divers should make their way to Exmouth Gulf, east of the Navy Pier, and take in the glorious sponge gardens.
Whale sharks and other marine life
Between April and June visitors have the chance to swim with the docile whale shark, the largest fish in the world. There are plenty of tour operators which provide the chance to dive or swim with the magnificently graceful sea beast in the waters of Ningaloo Marine Park.