Ningaloo reef is definitely the most pristine reef I have every visited anywhere in the world. It has an amazing remote, natural, untouched, unspoilt feel to it. You really feel you are at one of the last natural wonders of the world when you are there. Snorkelling on the reef had me feeling like I was in a National Geographic or Jacques Costeau documentary.
Ningaloo Reef is world heritage listed and it is one of the longest fringing coral reefs in the world. It is 260 kilometres long and it is half way up the coast of Western Australia. It is the only large reef positioned very close to a landmass and unlike the Great Barrier Reef, it is very close to the shore. You can walk in off the beach and there is no need to book on a charter boat to get you to the reef and some really amazing snorkelling and diving.
When I was there in July, we were the only people on the beach and we walked into the water off the shore to snorkel and we let the current take us along. The coral and sea life was the best I have ever experienced anywhere in the world and we even got to snorkel with turtles. There are 500 species of tropical fish on the reef, as well as dolphins, dugongs, manta rays and huge cod.
What really surprised me about Exmouth and Ningaloo Reef is the fact that it is so undeveloped and so remote. I loved it! I guess I was expecting it to be a bit like Noosa or Cairns but it definitely isn’t. We drove from our hotel on a remote dirt road and we hired our snorkel gear at the tourist centre. They gave us a map explaining the currents and best beaches to walk in off the shore. Also the tourist centre was the only place to buy lunch. Not a single café, restaurant or shop in sight. The menu consisted of pies and pasties only.
Exmouth is approximately 1,200 kilometres north of Perth and although we did it as a road trip, I recommend you fly there unless you’ve got lots of time. It’s a long slow drive due to the constant wandering cattle and wildlife on the roads.
My favourite hotel to stay at is Mantarays Ningaloo Reef Resort. At Mantarays you can book your tour to swim with the whale sharks. They are the gently giants of the marine park. This is an absolute must do and is one of the things Ningaloo is famous for. The whale shark season generally runs from April to July.
If you really want to go off the beaten track to a world heritage listed marine park in a remote, pristine and unspoilt part of Australia then I certainly recommend Ningaloo Reef.
Enjoy the adventure!
Lots of love,