WELCOME TO THE UNDERWATER WONDERLAND OF NINGALOO REEF
The World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef is one of the longest fringing coral reefs in the world. Stretching 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, the Ningaloo Reef is 300 kilometres of unspoiled underwater paradise.
The Ningaloo Reef was declared a marine park in 1987 in order to protect this unique environment and its inhabitants. In 2011, the Ningaloo Reef and Ningaloo Coast received UNESCO World Heritage listing, with the inception of the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area. This was largely in recognition of the fact that the Ningaloo Reef is one of the most biologically diverse marine environments on the planet; home to more than 250 species of coral and over 500 species of fish.
Unlike most coral reefs which are located well offshore, the Ningaloo Reef runs within very close proximity to the shoreline. In most places along the reef's 300km length, coral gardens brimming with brightly coloured tropical fish lie mere footsteps from the beach. This makes the Ningaloo Reef Australia's easiest access coral reef experience.
The outer edge of the Ningaloo Reef protects a crystal clear lagoon that is on average only 2-4 m deep and incredibly rich in marine life - a wonderland for nature loving snorkellers, no matter what their age or ability may be. There are limitless snorkel sites to enjoy throughout the Ningaloo Reef Lagoon, ranging from do-it-yourself beach snorkels through to secret spots best accessed via one of our local snorkel tour operators.
The Ningaloo Reef is not only a spectacular wonder of nature itself, but also forms an important habitat for many amazing marine creatures. The Ningaloo Reef is one of only a handful of locations worldwide where huge but completely harmless whale sharks regularly congregate in numbers, allowing visitors the extraordinary experience of swimming with these largest fish in the ocean.
Manta rays are another huge but harmless inhabitant of the Ningaloo Reef, particularly at Coral Bay which is home to a resident population of mantas. This allows visitors the year-round opportunity to swim with these playful and very inquisitive creatures.
The Ningaloo Coast is also home to a large population of marine turtles. Six of the world's seven species of marine turtle have been recorded along the Ningaloo Reef, with green, loggerhead and hawksbill turtles the most commonly encountered. The reef forms a feeding ground and habitat for these turtles, while the beaches of Ningaloo are critically important turtle nesting sites.
Humpback whales are annual visitors to the Ningaloo Reef, migrating from their Antarctic feeding grounds to winter in the warm waters of the Ningaloo. During this time the Ningaloo plays host to the highest density of humpback whales in the Southern Hemisphere, with as many as 30,000 individuals visiting during the June-November period. Humpbacks can be sighted from the shore, or for an up close and personal perspective, jump aboard a whale watching tour from either Exmouth or Coral Bay. For an even more intimate encounter, tours to swim with humpback whales are available from both Exmouth and Coral Bay from August-November.
There are many ways you can experience the Ningaloo Reef from above or below the waterline. Scuba diving trips, snorkelling tours, glass bottom boat cruises, underwater scooter tours, eco & wildlife tours, whale watching or humpback whale swim tours, whale shark swim tours, manta ray swim tours, sail cruises, sea kayaking tours and scenic or microlight flights are all available via the Ningaloo Visitor Centre.