Coral Bay is located 1100kms North of Perth, Western Australia and is situated just above the Tropic of Capricorn. A hidden gem that is sitting right on the Ningaloo Reef which is Australia’s largest and most accessible coral reef.
Snorkelling is accessible straight off the main beach in Coral Bay where you will be amazed at the vast amount of coral and fish life, there is also a few four wheel drive tracks, which again, you can snorkel right off the beach once you arrive at the remote beaches through the sand dunes and you will more than likely end up with the whole beach to yourself! If you are here from November to February you may be lucky enough to witness the turtle nesting and hatching, seeing these green turtles and huge loggerhead turtles pull themselves up onto the sandy beaches of the Ningaloo to lay their eggs is a truly mesmerising experience to witness.
Scuba diving and snorkel trips are a must once in Coral Bay, we are lucky enough to have a year-round population of manta rays that frequent the waters due to the constant natural food source and cleaning stations that are scattered around the reef. Whale Sharks are also found from March to July feeding on the coral spawn and Humpback Whales on their migration path from June to November.
The scuba diving in Coral Bay is perfect for any diver from beginner to advanced, to the avid photographer to explorer! The maximum depth that we get on the inner reef is around 10m and on the outer reef maximum depth is around 15m, the vast amount of marine life that we see on all our dives is so diverse and abundant especially for shallow dives. From schools of giant trevally, red bass, chevron barracuda to loggerhead turtles, green turtles and the rare hawksbill turtle to your smaller critters such as lagoon rays, octopus and nudibranchs and of course a nice population of grey reef sharks, black tip and white tip reef sharks there is something for everyone.
The local dive sites on the inner reef.
Ashos Gap – maximum depth 10m.
This dive site is covered completely in hard corals ranging from huge plated corals to large stag horn gardens. Grey reef sharks and green turtles often gather over a huge cabbage coral to be cleaned by the abundance of cleaner wrasse found on this coral. Huge schools of trevally, red bass and giant barracudas are also residents at this site, you really feel as if you are in an aquarium!
Blue Maze – maximum depth 8m.
Just like the name says, it is a maze! With huge coral formations, this site has been rated one of the best on the Ningaloo Reef for its abundance of coral. You will find your smaller critters here such as nudibranchs, octopus and eels.
Lotties Lagoon – maximum depth 11m.
With scattered coral formations and a large exposed area on this dive you are always in for a surprise. With quite a large sandy bottom area we have had everything from shovel nose rays, 3m potato cods and huge hermit crabs on this dive site.
The entire ocean floor is covered in hard corals, there is an estimated 200 varieties of hard corals and 500 species of fish here on the Ningaloo Reef, so guaranteed you will something new overtime you dive or snorkel!
The Canyon, maximum depth of 12m on the sand flats.
The dive starts in the shallows before you explore through the S bended canyon into the open space of the reef. Schooling fish life in abundance dwells in the overhangs and the foliage of the reef. Often a resident nurse shark lurks in the darkness patrolling the water ways. Schools of bludger trevally and swarms of glass fish fill the frame of the water column. The rich diversity does not disappoint as you follow the contour of the reef flat and the vast open reef for pelagic encounters.
You should be asking only one question…when should we go?
There a few tour options you have when booking your Coral Bay dive or snorkel experience:
- Full Day Manta Ray Tour which includes 2 dives or snorkels on the reef and snorkelling with manta rays
- Half Day Manta Ray Tour which includes 1 dive or snorkel on the reef and snorkelling with manta rays
- Two Reef Dives or Two Reef Snorkels
- Whale Shark Adventure Tour which includes 2 snorkels on the reef and snorkelling with whale sharks
- In-Water Humpback Whale Interaction Tour which includes whale watching, snorkelling on the reef and a chance of snorkelling with a humpback whale
We are really lucky to have 2 planes to act as marine spotters, once the boat is out the pilots will be in contact with the boats letting them know where the manta rays or whale sharks are, they will also let the Captain know if there is any other interesting marine life out there for us to have a look at.
The diving and snorkelling in Coral Bay is great all year round, for the larger marine life the best times to see them are:
• Manta Rays-all year round
• Whale Sharks-March-July
• Humpback Whales- June-November
• Turtles/Dolphins/Dugongs- all year round
If you are planning your trip to Coral Bay and the Ningaloo Reef and would like more information about tours, things to do, places to see please contact us:
Ningaloo Reef Dive and Snorkel Shop 8 Coral Bay Arcade,
Coral Bay, Western Australia, 6701
Phone: +61 (08) 9942 5824
Swim with the biggest fish in the world for an encounter never to be forgotten.