Come and explore the underwater playground of Ningaloo Reef

Fancy swimming with the world's biggest fish (AKA, the whale shark), manta rays and turtles? Or how about gliding over a World Heritage-listed reef on a glass bottom boat? Ningaloo Reef is your ticket to an unforgettable underwater adventure. When you've had your vitamin sea fix, there's plenty of fun to be had on dry land, too. Like walking along an ancient riverbed in Mandu Mandu Gorge, exploring hidden caves in Shothole Canyon, and marvelling at the Milky Way at your campsite in Yardie Creek.

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Highlights of Ningaloo Reef

Whale breaching

Go whale watching

Between June and October, Ningaloo Reef is a fantastic place to see whales as they migrate north from the Antarctic to mate and birth their calves. Jump onboard a whale watching cruise to see these incredible animals leaping into the air as they breach and spray water. If you want to get a little closer, you could even join a swim tour.

Turquoise Beach at Cape Range National Park

Explore Cape Range National Park

Cape Range National Park covers more than 50,000 hectares and is filled with rugged cliffs, canyons and untouched beaches. Keep an eye out for native wildlife such as emus and echidnas on the walking trails and marvel at the dramatic contrast created by the red dirt and sparkling blue sea.

Snorkeller with turtle

Snorkel Ningaloo Reef

Stretching over 260 kilometres, Ningaloo is one of the world’s largest fringing reefs. It's also one of the healthiest, with over 500 species of fish and 250 types of coral. Snorkelling Ningaloo Reef is a magical experience, with opportunities to swim with rays, turtles, dolphins and even dugongs if you're lucky.

Whale shark with a snorkeller

Swim with whale sharks

Swimming with whale sharks, the biggest fish in the world, features at the top of many a bucket list. These gentle giants can grow up to a mighty 12 metres long, and floating alongside them is a feeling you'll wish you could bottle up forever. Whale shark season typically runs from April to July, but it often stretches through into August and September.

Kayak trip aerial

Explore in a kayak

Jump in your sea kayak and get ready to get up close and personal with Ningaloo Reef and the many sea creatures that call it home. Look out for turtles, stingrays and schools of colourful fish in the waters below or grab your snorkel and dive in.

Sunset at Charles Knife Canyon

Marvel at Charles Knife Canyon

Drive to the top of Charles Knife Canyon Road and enjoy spectacular views of this vast canyon, Exmouth Gulf and the gorge that stretches into the distance. Stop at some of the scenic lookouts along the road to admire the views, colours and shapes from different angles.

Ningaloo Reef reviews

Ningaloo Reef FAQs

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises). However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid's COVID-19 policy

Flights depart from Perth to Learmonth Airport which is the closest airport to Ningaloo Reef. When you land at Learmonth Airport, bus transfers are available to take you to your accommodation, or you can hire a car and self-drive. It takes around 13 hours to drive from Perth to Ningaloo Reef. 

Read more about how to get to Ningaloo Reef

The best and easiest way to get around at Ningaloo Reef is to self-drive or take a tour. This area of Western Australia is extremely vast and remote, and public transport is limited.

The best time to visit Ningaloo Reef largely depends on the marine life you want to see. Whale sharks are more prominent between April and July, humpback whales from June to October, and turtle hatchlings in February and March.

That being said, there isn’t really a ‘best’ time to visit as the weather is warm and marine life is abundant all year. 

Read about the best time to visit Ningaloo Reef

Ningaloo Reef is all about action and adventure so there's no need to bring any fancy clothes. Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat are a must, even in winter, as the sun reflects off the water and the white sand. Bring a good pair of walking shoes if you're planning on exploring the national park. A light jumper is useful if you're camping.

Ningaloo Reef is a casual place so there's no need to dress up. If you're going out for dinner at one of the better restaurants in Exmouth, smart casual clothes are fine. 

Internet signal is available at Exmouth and Coral Bay for Telstra customers. Most bars, restaurants and cafes also have wi-fi.

Mobile phone coverage is available at Exmouth and Coral Bay for Telstra customers. Outside these towns, internet coverage can be unreliable. If you're with a carrier other than Telstra, you may have more trouble getting signal in and around the Ningaloo Reef region.

If you'd like to do a particular tour at Ningaloo Reef such as swimming with whale sharks, you should book sooner rather than later as popular tours often book out. 

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. The sandy beaches fringing Ningaloo Reef can make walking difficult for travellers who are less mobile on foot. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

Learn more about Accessible Travel with Intrepid

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