Ningaloo Reef is located within the Ningaloo Marine Park in Western Australia. The park covers an area of 5,000 sq kms and being 260kms long and almost 20kms wide, stretching from Bundegi Beach near Exmouth and finishing at Amherst Point south of Coral Bay. The reef is one of the largest fringing reefs in the world, with many spots accessible only a short distance from the beach.
Exmouth is at the northern end of the reef and around 1,300 kms north of Perth, and makes a great place to base yourself when you are exploring Ningaloo Reef. The climate at Exmouth is nice year round, with no wet season, and summer maximum temperatures averaging 37 degrees Celsius, and winter maximum average temperature is 24 degrees Celsius. Exmouth has many tour options available for exploring the reef, from coral viewing to snorkelling, whale watching and scuba diving. Exmouth is also a great spot for fishing, including big game fishing, and if you don’t have your own boat, charters are available to get you out to that spot.
The Ningaloo Marine Park is home to more than 500 species of fish and 250 species of Coral. From March to June you may be lucky enough to swim with the massive whale sharks which can grow up to 18 metres, while the giant Mantra Ray gently glides through the water below you. Between May and October the Humpback Whales can be spotted within the reef as they migrate to their breeding grounds, and all year round lookout for the dolphins and turtles as they swim through the water. If you want to witness something truly spectacular however, approximately 10 to 12 days after the full moon for March and April divers and snorkelers can witness the coral spawning.
There are many beautiful beaches along the Marine Park where you can relax and enjoy the sunshine, and for people with a 4WD then there are plenty of tracks you can explore a little further and find that excluded beach. For snorkelling try Lakeside, Turquoise Bay, Turquoise Bay Drift Snorkel and Oyster Stacks. For the swimmers, try Bendegi Beach, Coral Bay and Turquoise Bay. As always, take extreme care when swimming in the beaches. For tour advice, accommodation, safe swimming beaches and general information, drop into the Exmouth Visitor Centre.