DIVE THE PRISTINE NINGALOO REEF
Fantastic coral formations, whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, humpback whales, dugong, turtles, reef sharks, moray eels, nudibranchs, and anemones are just some of the fascinating marine life inhabiting the waters of the Ningaloo Marine Park. Add to this the 250 species of coral and over 500 species of fish and you have a diver's paradise!
There are many world class diving sites accessible from both Exmouth and Coral Bay, with both diving and snorkelling tours that depart from Exmouth and Coral Bay to take you on the underwater experience of a lifetime. If you are intending to take a diving course it is recommended that a medical certificate is obtained prior to visiting the Ningaloo region.
DIVE SITES IN EXMOUTH
Exmouth Navy Pier
The Exmouth Navy Pier is rated by many world famous diving figures as one of the top ten land-based dive sites in the world. A working Australian Navy facility, divers may only access the Exmouth Navy Pier via the current licensed dive tour company which operates under a strict set of conditions.
As a dive site, the Exmouth Navy Pier is renowned for its large marine life. Huge schools of big-eye trevally and barracuda form living vortexes around the pier pylons, while deeper in the water column giant Queensland gropers loiter. During the winter months, grey nurse sharks also take up residence here. You’ll also discover an ever changing array of colourful reef fish on an Exmouth Navy Pier Dive, including coral trout, angelfish, butterflyfish, moorish idols, lionfish, batfish, painted sweetlip, bannerfish and many more. The marine ecosystem below the pier is a kaleidoscope of life.
While the big, impressive creatures are the main drawcard, some of the smaller marine life that makes a home beneath the pier such as spectacularly coloured nudibranchs, frogfish, and soft corals can be equally astounding. No two dives on the Navy Pier are ever the same!
The Exmouth Navy Pier is a relatively shallow dive site, with a maximum depth of around 15 metres, and is suitable for divers of all experience levels. Due to strong currents that run past the Navy Pier, dives are tide dependent, so dive times vary daily. As the pier remains a working defence facility, diving here can only be conducted with a licenced dive operator, for security and liability reasons. The Ningaloo Visitor Centre is the preferred booking partner for Exmouth Navy Pier dive trips. Click here to book your Exmouth Navy Pier dive.
*Please note that all Exmouth Navy Pier dive tour participants must carry a passport or photo identification to gain access to the Exmouth Navy Pier.
The tranquil environment of these two uninhabited islands – located just 9.8 nautical miles off the tip of Exmouth’s North West Cape – is teeming with marine life. In water depths of 3-20 metres just off the shoreline you’ll discover coral gardens made up of both hard and soft corals.
There are a variety of dive sites off the Muirons which provide unforgettable underwater experiences. With gentle currents and lots of differing underwater terrain to view and explore, both beginner and experienced divers alike will enjoy the Muiron Island’s many dive sites. The abundance of swim-through caves, ledges and coral gardens along the Murion’s western shore provide plenty of places to search for colourful shrimps, nudibranchs, moray eels, angelfish, nurse sharks and a huge range of other fascinating marine life. The drift dive between north and south Muiron Islands is a particular highlight whenever conditions are right.
Mating turtles are a common sight from November to February, and giant potato cod are regularly seen, especially during the spring and summer months. Late in the year, groups of manta rays are often present around the Muiron Island’s many dive sites too.
Please note that camping on the Muiron Islands requires prior permission from the Department of Parks & Wildlife. Overnight trips to the islands with dive tour operators are available.
There are a number of excellent dive sites in Exmouth’s Lighthouse Bay sanctuary area, at the northernmost tip of the Ningaloo Reef and just a short distance from shore. Lighthouse Bay is known for its aggregations of larger fish species such as threadfin pearl perch, various trevallies, Spanish flag (stripey snapper), painted sweetlip and spangled emperor (nor-west snapper). White tip reef sharks, sea snakes, leopard sharks, giant groper, rankin cod, wobbegong sharks and rays are also common sights here.
All dive sites in Lighthouse Bay feature pristine coral formations or limestone ledges which are home to an array of beautiful tropical reef fish. However, each site is unique.
For example, the Lighthouse Bay dive site known as The Labyrinth has a turtle cleaning station, Gulliver’s is inhabited by several species of rarely seen frogfish, and Dibley’s Drop-Off is an amazing deep water dive location reaching 27 metres. Some sites are drift dives, while others feature gentle currents. Other popular dive sites in Lighthouse Bay include Blizzard Ridge and Helga’s Tunnels.
The Ningaloo Reef itself offers an amazing range of dive sites, either along the west side of Exmouth’s North West Cape or just outside Coral Bay. Dive sites along the Ningaloo Reef range from 6-35 metres deep, with many sites being suitable for divers of all experience levels.
The Ningaloo Reef’s unique near-shore location and close proximity to the Continental Shelf, plus the tropical flow of the north-south running Leeuwin Oceanic Current means almost anything can turn up on a reef edge dive. Divers could come face to face with marine mega fauna such as manta rays or loggerhead turtles, large fish including trevally, potato cod and giant groper, right down to tiny, intricate creatures such as peppermint shrimps or coral crabs. You just never know what you’ll see!
Exmouth’s Ningaloo Reef dives usually range from sites just north of the Tantabiddi Boat Ramp to the Mandu Wall area in the south. Huge potato and rankin cod, turtles, sharks and schooling pelagic fish patrol the blue waters that wash along the sheer reef edges at these sites, while parrotfish, damselfish, butterflyfish and angelfish of all colours decorate the outstanding hard coral reef structures.
This section of the Ningaloo Reef is dissected by crevices, ledges and caves which provide perfect hidey holes for moray eels, shrimps, pipefish and a seemingly unending array of spectacular coral reef residents. Manta rays cruise this area from mid-May, and humpback whales often drop by to delight divers from June to November. Specialised tours are offered to see these larger marine creatures, and many of these tours also incorporate the opportunity to dive or snorkel the reef.
DIVE SITES IN CORAL BAY
Coral Bay also offers a range of spectacular coral reef dives just a short boat journey from shore. A major highlight of the Ningaloo Reef dive sites out of Coral Bay are the manta ray and reef shark cleaning stations and huge porite coral formations.
For bookings or more information on diving the Muiron Islands, Lighthouse Bay, Exmouth Navy Pier, Ningaloo Reef or Coral Bay, contact the Ningaloo Visitor Centre on T: (08) 9949 1176 or follow the following link -