The Ningaloo Reef off the coast of Western Australia is one of the longest fringing reefs in the world (‘fringing’ means that it is closer to shore than a barrier reef). This UNESCO World Heritage Site includes a physically diverse coastline with rocky shores, sandy beaches, mangrove stands, tranquil lagoons, rich reefs and open ocean. And it is totally beautiful.
The Ningaloo is an underwater paradise, with amazingly high biodiversity, hundreds of corals, an abundance of fish, comfortable warm water, as well as all the big exciting stuff which you never know might turn up on a dive. The ‘big three’ consist of whale sharks, manta rays and humpback whales, all of which return to the Ningaloo or pass through it each year, right now all three are hanging around so its a great time of year to visit. On top of this the Ningaloo boasts dolphins, dugongs, sharks, rays and more turtles than you could imagine. Its beaches are an important breeding ground for the loggerhead, green and hawksbill turtles, with turtle nesting monitoring programs being run annually – you can visit the Jurabi Turtle Centre to find out more.
Out on the reef the marine life is truly magnificent, with large schools of fish and rich coral reefs. The Ningaloo supports over 500 different species of fish, from the pretty, colourful, reef fish, to big, hunting, pelagic fish, 300 species of corals, the majority being hard corals, but plenty of pastel soft corals and sponges at the islands and, finally, over 500 species of molluscs, including shells, octopus, squid and nudibranches.
And if you’re tempted to make the journey to Ningaloo, looking for the best dive boat in town, then check on to Ceto with Dive Ningaloo, who will guarantee to give you fabulous (and safe) service with a smile, and will take you to the best spots under water at a competitive price.
Just be warned, it might be a 13 hour drive north of Perth, but on route to Exmouth you will pass some of the most stupendous scenery and idyllic camping spots which it would be a shame to miss out on – so give yourself time to properly explore this part of Western Australia.
Photograph & Ningaloo reef data credit: Dive Ningaloo