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Ningaloo Reef/Coral bay...ever been there??

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Ningaloo Reef/Coral bay...ever been there??

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1. Posted by annavict82 (Budding Member 47 posts) 10y

hi guys :)

I am flying into oz on jan 17th!and really want to go to a place called Ningaloo reef in April time to snorkel and dive as ive heard this is an amazing dive site. has anyone ever been there? I know this place is really remote. I think i will get a flight from sydney-perth to take in the sights there and then get a three day bus tour to exmouth which is the town nearest to Ningaloo.....any advice?anyone done this before? all tips and advice gratefully rcvd as i am pretty clueless about this. just saw this place on tv and decided im going there no matter how long it taskes me as it looks awesome!! thanks anna x

2. Posted by Taffski (Travel Guru 182 posts) 10y

Hi Anna,

thought I'd be first in here :)

Ningaloo is one of my favourite places in the world!
The Reef is exceptional and unlike the barrier reef:
1. It's alive
2. You can walk to it from the beach
3. You don't have to pay a fortunre to get to it.. and it's not smothered in tourists.

The Cape Range National Park is the one to the East of Exmouth and the place to go! You can get a tent or a campervan or the likes from Exmouth and camp out by the beach for a few days (we ended up staying 5 days!) You could also hire a moped etc. if you want to get there or there are arranged bus trips that take you there from Exmouth. I'd recommend trying to stay there for a few days...

If you decide to stay there (which I highly recommend!) the sites can get very busy. (when we were there two years ago) the park adopted a first come first serve basis and there were also strict limits on the number of people allowed (however, if you get up early and get a pitch... it's great!) You wake up in the morning and walk over a sand dune (a small one at that!) onto the beach. You get your gear on and then walk into the water... and within three or four strokes... you're on the reef!

You can snorkel the reef. You can also dive it should you want, however, the snorkelling's free and fantastic (I especially liked the oyster stacks... more fish than I've ever seen anywhere... and I've dived / snorkelled many places! :)

And if that wasn't enough.... !!! April time (I'm sure) is the start of the Whale Shark season Also !!!

We snorkelled with them and it was FANTASTIC! We had a particularly frisky one, which isn't the best thing to have ... an 8 metre shark chasing you !! :) They're harmless of course.
You have to do this !!! It's great ! You can also snorkel with Manta rays if they're around also!
It's expensive... however... the money you save by snorkelling the reef instead of diving it will help ;)

Can you tell how much I loved this place ???!!!
Enjoy... and anything more specific... drop me a bell.


3. Posted by oznz06 (Budding Member 17 posts) 10y

Ive just left Coral Bay - DEFINATELY worth a visit! Simply wonderful place.

4. Posted by hmclehto (Full Member 142 posts) 10y

The same definately definately wort avisit. When I was there the weather was turning, but still amazing experience nothing like great barrier Reef full of people...

5. Posted by steff (Travel Guru 1160 posts) 10y

Quoting Taffski

Ningaloo is one of my favourite places in the world!

I can only second Taffski's opinion, Ningaloo reef is incredibly beautiful and diving there has been one of my best experiences so far.
I spend a couple of days in Coral Bay and Exmouth a few months ago and can highly recommend diving at Navy Pier and Muiron Islands. Diving at Ningaloo is in general better leaving from Exmouth but for snorkelling I would go from Coral Bay.
In the National Park there's also a stunning beach (Turqouise bay) you shouldn't give a miss.

If you need more info about how to travel around on the west coast or where to go and what to see, let me know, I'm happy to give advice.


P.S.: You might want to check out my blog to get some more info:

6. Posted by angelab (Budding Member 14 posts) 10y

Hi Anna
I live in Perth and Coral Bay/Exmouth and the Ningaloo Reef is probably one of (as there are many in WA) of my favourite places here!!
Don't go direct to Ningaloo as you can do a tour and break up the long journey (its about 1500km's i think). -snip-
The West Coast is awesome from the Pinnacles to the dolphins at Monkey Mia to Karijini (past Ningaloo) and of course Broome!!
And yes go to Coral Bay and Exmouth in April - June and you arrive in whaleshark season. Around AU$330 for a full day but worth every cent!!! Its an awesome memory to have forever more!!(i did it about 5 years ago)
I don't dive but i hear that Ningaloo is referred to, more so, for all the different marinelife you will see so easily whereas the Barrier Reef does have more colourful coral (you also need to pay for a boat ride).
Personally, i'd rather see the marine life - just snorkelling you see reef sharks (friendly ones ), turtles, rays, fish - in fact all kinds of colourful fish i have no idea what they were? All within minutes of walking in off the beach - its amazing!!
Have fun exploring the West Coast - i'm positive you'll absolutely love it!!

[ Edit: sorry, no promos in the forum please. ]

7. Posted by sarah99 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 10y

I have just been to coral bay recently, got back last night. It was great. Did a Manta Ray tour on the first day which was not very good value for money, and is known by the locals as a "cattle truck" tour as it had about 40 people on board. I would recommend going on a tour that had less people, some tours were saying they only had twelve people on board. We also did a quad bike tour which was great, best to do in the morning though before the wind picks up. We did a few snorkels on this tour where we could swim with turtles and see all kinds of fish. The scenic flight was worthwhile, got some great pics. Also did a scuba dive, which was about the same cost as the manta ray tour but a lot better, so i would recommend doing scuba instead if you have your ticket. There is also a shark sanctuary where you can stand in the water and the sharks come up to your feet, just reef sharks, not the dangerous ones! I did a 4x4 tour as well which was good for spotting wildlife such as kangaroos, birds, sharks, sheep etc if you are into that, good for if you dont want to get too dirty.

8. Posted by GreenCy (Budding Member 7 posts) 10y

I liked it a lot more then the Great Barrier Reef , the West Coast is just better in general. The name of the tour I took was Redback Tours based out of Perth , they went all the way up the coast. Like Taffski said you can walk out to the reef it's awesome.

Man I miss WA.

9. Posted by k8iejo1983 (Budding Member 49 posts) 10y

I am actually heading up that way from Perth in just over a week's time. Driving up as far as Broome in a campervan with 2 friends and stopping at all the must-see sights along the way. Can't wait - it's going to be so so awesome! Thanks for all the advice in this thread.

Katie :-)

10. Posted by wotthefiqh (Inactive 1447 posts) 9y

Woo Hoo, I'm off to Ningaloo.
Flying up from Perth this friday morning for 4 days snorkelling and lotus-eating in Coral Bay, and this thread has had a major effect on my decision to go.
Thanks for the great info.

El Legendado