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The UNESCO-listed Ningaloo Marine Park and adjacent Cape Range National Park are Exmouth’s claim to fame. With a coral reef so close to the mainland, wildlife sightings are pretty much guaranteed, even if you miss the whale sharks—aka the largest fish in the sea. Here are some options for a 3-day stay.
Day 1: Marine Sanctuaries
With so many offerings around Exmouth, it’s impossible to go wrong, whether you spend a few hours or a full day on the water. If you have your own snorkeling gear, set off to Turquoise Bay and its coral gardens at the Cape Range. Ningaloo’s fringe reef is home to more than 500 fish species, and drift snorkeling is popular here, with easy access from the shore.
Kayaking tours are suitable for adventurers with all levels of experience, and scuba guides know the best spots for certified divers and novices alike. Cruise out to the Tantabiddi or Bundegi sanctuary zone from Exmouth Gulf and get a view of Vlamingh Head Lighthouse from the water, or check out the Mildura Wreck or the Muiron Islands.
Day 2: A Whale (Shark) of a Time
Whale sharks are the star of Exmouth. From April to August, these slow-moving filter feeders visit the Ningaloo Reef to eat plankton attracted by spawning coral. Don’t pass up the opportunity to swim within safe proximity.
If it’s late in the season, you’re still in luck. Manta rays and migrating humpback whales hang around from August to November—this is one of the few places in the world where you can both observe them from the deck of a boat and snorkel in their natural habitat.
Day 3: More Ningaloo Adventures
On your last day, step aboard a luxury vessel for a chartered exploration tailored to the interests of your private party. A smaller boat delivers you to exclusive snorkel or dive sites that bigger groups can’t reach, away from the crowds. Or, if you’re an experienced angler or scuba diver, rent a lightweight dinghy and head out from Tantabiddi Beach for a self-guided tour of the reef.
Alternatively, book a multi-day excursion to the far reaches of Ningaloo Reef. Some tours include wreck sites and pristine beaches rarely visited by other tourists. Snorkel among manta rays and reef sharks, and savor sunsets over the Indian Ocean.