Like the better-known Great Barrier Reef, Ningaloo Reef is home to an array of mystical sea-creatures and its colours are just as stunning.
Tourists flock to Ningaloo Reef to swim with whale sharks, humpback whales and manta rays, however there is so much more to see and do in this beautiful Western Australia location.
While swimming with whale sharks and humpback whales may be the reef’s biggest attraction, don’t look past the beautifully-coloured creatures swimming just below the waves. Snorkellers and divers have spotted more than 500 different species of fish in these waters, including angelfish and Moorish idols, parrot fish, butterfly fish, and tiny damselfish — just to name a few.
Divers in this area have been able to get close to even more species at sites such as Exmouth’s Navy Pier, where big schools of snapper and massive grouper fish are frequently spotted.
The turtles found along the Ningaloo Reef live a hard life — the green, loggerhead and hawksbill turtles are all endangered. Baby turtles face a struggle right from the get-go, with each baby given a one in 5000 chance of reaching adulthood. Learn more about these adorable creatures at the Jurabi Turtle Centre, where you can also take part in a guided viewing experience.
If you are visiting the west coast from December to March you can watch turtles lay their eggs and then, just six weeks later, see the hatchlings race towards the ocean. Watch in amazement as the turtle babies try to escape waiting predators, such as ghost crabs and sea birds, along the sand.
The sandy beaches and iconic dunes are perfect places to get your adrenaline pumping. There are many companies along the coastline offering experiences such as quad biking tours, which may include a quad cross-country before cooling off with an ocean swim.
The western coastline is lined with many inviting stretches of sand, so there is no need to share a beach with other tourists. Start your day walking along the coastline until you find a beach where the only footprints on the sand are your own. If you are unsure where to start, head for Cape Range National Park.
While it may be tempting to head to the popular Turquoise Bay, take a different turn and discover one of the park’s quieter beaches, such as the picture-perfect Sandy Bay or Bloodwood Creek.
If you find yourself getting a little hungry, head to the Coral Resort Bakery in the tiny town of Coral Bay. They serve all sorts of cakes and pastries, but their biggest sellers are their piping hot pies with hearty fillings and flaky pastry.
For anyone visiting Western Australia, the Yardie Creek Gorge is one of the most dramatic sights in the area and is a must-see. Found in the Cape Range National Park, the gorge is known for its iconic red rock walls and bright blue water. This oasis is home to many birds, such as ospreys. If you are lucky, you may even spot a rare black-footed wallaby.
Cruise the spectacular Ningaloo Reef when you join the Hamersley Splendour tour with Travelmarvel. This tour includes 10 nights’ premium accommodation, sight-seeing and 20 delicious meals. Visit RACQ Travel for more information, or contact one of our friendly travel consultants on 1300 096 166. PLUS, book by 31 July and you could secure additional savings thanks to RACQ Travel’s 60th birthday sale and go in the draw to win a Princess Cruise Package for two!