When is the best time to visit Ningaloo Reef?

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. There are 320 days of sunshine a year on average, and even in June and July (the coolest months), highs average a pleasant 24°C. The water is also warm year-round, lingering between 22-28°C.

If you’re not fond of the heat, you may want to avoid visiting between November and March as temperatures sizzle, often soaring over 37°C. Summer can also bring heavy rains, strong winds and the occasional cyclone, which can affect the reef and parks along the Coral Coast.

When to visit

When to see whale sharks

Every year, hundreds of whale sharks migrate to Ningaloo Reef to feed on plankton and krill following the coral spawning in March and April. The best time to dive with these gentle giants is between April and July. However, the season can sometimes stretch into August and September.

When to see manta rays

Majestic manta rays are present all year, but there are more of them (and they're more active) between May and November. During this period, there's a good chance they'll glide past you during a dive or swim.

When to see whales

Thousands of humpback whales arrive in June when they migrate north from the Antarctic to mate and birth their calves in the reef's warm waters. Humpback season typically lasts into October, and there are plenty of opportunities to witness these inquisitive creatures on a boat or swim tour.

When to see sea turtles

Turtle nesting season is from November to March. During these months, you can observe three of the world's marine turtle species — Green, Loggerhead and Hawksbill turtles — walking ashore to nest and lay eggs along the coast. After around 60 days of incubation, the turtle hatchlings emerge from the sand and scuttle themselves down to the sea. February and March see the most hatchings.

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