Snorkelling on Ningaloo Reef is an exceptional experience. Over 200 coral, 500 fish, 650 mollusc and 600 crustacean in deep sea habitats, positioned not further than 100 metres from the shore. This mega marine life is at your fingertips! In fact, Ningaloo Reef is Australia’s largest fringing coral reef and one of the most accessible coral reefs in the world. It also remains one of the best places to visit in Western Australia. In this blog post, I’m going to share with you the best snorkel locations on Ningaloo Reef. Let’s get right into it!
SNORKELLING IN EXMOUTH
Cape Range National Park has three beaches that provide outstanding snorkelling opportunities. These are Lakeside, Turquoise Bay and Oyster Stacks. All of them are equally good, however, the visibility underwater may be affected by the current weather conditions. To find the actual snorkelling spot, check the information board at each beach, and follow the signs. It’s worth to say that snorkelling at Oyster Stack is allowed only during a high tide when there is enough water over the reef. Otherwise, there is a high risk to damage the fragile corals. Check out the tide chart at Oyster Stack beach before accessing the water.
SNORKELLING IN CORAL BAY
Coral Bay is a town located 153 km from Exmouth, another great location to go snorkelling on Ningaloo Reef. This time I decided to book a tour, jump on a boat and snorkel off-shore. Being brutally honest, this experience was way better than snorkelling in Cape Range National Park, close to the coast. The visibility underwater was perfect, and the abundance of marine life was huge. The four hour cruise cost me AUD 130,50. In fact, its main attraction was not snorkelling on Ningaloo Reef, but swimming with manta rays (more about this amazing opportunity below). The snorkelling equipment was included in the above price.
SWIMMING WITH MANTA RAYS
Swimming with manta rays is possible in Coral Bay all year round. The tour I mentioned in the last section kicked off with a 40 minute, off-shore snorkelling on Ningaloo Reef. After that we got ready for the main attraction. Swimming with manta rays is an extraordinary experience, but it’s not easy at all. These creatures are extremely fast and agile. It’s hard to keep up with them, so it may be challenging if you’re not a good swimmer. A professional underwater photographer joined the excursion, and her service was included in the price (AUD 130,50). However, getting the set of photos was an extra expense of AUD 50.
SWIMMING WITH WHALE SHARKS
Ningaloo Reef is one of only few places in the world where whale sharks show up on a regular basis, in quite large groups, relatively close to the shore. Every year, between March and August, around 300 – 500 whale sharks make their way to North West Cape in Western Australia. This is an exceptional opportunity to swim with those majestic creatures. To do so, you will need to book a tour in Exmouth or Coral Bay. Keep in mind that there is a whale share interaction protocol in place that needs to be followed by all swimmers.
SWIMMING WITH HUMPBACK WHALES
Humpback whales appear in close proximity to North West Cape in Western Australia on their annual migration, from July to October. To see those ocean giants and make the most of this seasonal attraction, you will need to book a tour in Exmouth or Coral Bay. Commercial operators offer whales watching tours, as well as the possibility to swim with those marine creatures. Similarly, strict rules apply for all swimmers. There is a code of conduct in place for interacting with humpback whales to protect their welfare. Enjoy!
This is all you need to know about snorkelling on Ningaloo Reef. Are you going to go snorkelling in Exmouth or Coral Bay? Let me know by leaving a comment below!