Welcome to the Ningaloo Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ningaloo Reef Dive observes the “No Touch” protocol and is committed to the preservation & conservation of this natural area, and the education of its visitors.
When can I see whale sharks? Manta rays? Humpback whales?
Whale shark season goes from 1 March to 31 July. The best time to see them is usually mid-season in April or May. Humpback whale season runs from 1 July to 30 November. The best time to see them is from August to September. There is a local population of manta rays, which can be found in Coral Bay all year round!
What is included on the Whale Shark Adventure Tour?
All your snorkelling equipment, food, drinking water and hot drinks are included. The day starts with a snorkel on the reef before heading out to the open ocean to search for sharks. The spotter plane is searching a 6 by 50km area of the reef starting at 9:30am and can stay up until 2:30pm. If a shark is found, we drop the snorkellers in to swim with it. After the swim, we serve lunch and, time permitting, go for a second snorkel back on the reef before heading to the jetty.
What is included on the Manta Ray Interaction Tour?
All your snorkelling or diving equipment, food, drinking water and hot drinks are included. The day starts with a 50-minute snorkel or dive on the reef, after which we head to the bay where we usually find mantas. The spotter plane searches the bay for us starting at 11am and is usually up for an hour. If a manta ray is found, we drop the snorkellers in to swim with it. After the swim, we serve lunch before heading back to the reef for our second dive or snorkel.
What is included on the Humpback Whale Adventure Tour?
All your snorkelling equipment, food, drinking water and hot drinks are included. The day starts with a snorkel on the reef before heading out to open ocean to search for whales. The spotter plane is searching a 6 by 50km area of the reef starting at 10am and can stay up until 2pm. If a humpback whale is found, we take the boat over to investigate. If the conditions are good and the whales suitable, we will drop a maximum of 7 swimmers in the water to snorkel with the whale at any one time. After the swim, we serve lunch and, time permitting, go for a second snorkel back on the reef before heading to the jetty.
Can I SCUBA with the whale sharks? Manta rays? Humpback whales?
Unfortunately no, we do not dive with these animals. They are all found in completely different areas to the dive sites and we also aren’t allowed to dive with whale sharks or humpback whales. It’s snorkelling only with them! If you are a diver, please look at our dedicated dive trips and manta ray interaction trips.
Do I need to know how to snorkel?
You do not need to know how to snorkel, but it certainly helps. The more confident you are in the water, the more comfortable you’ll be on the tour. The crew are happy to help show you how to fit a mask and snorkel, and are there to answer any questions.
How much swimming will be involved?
It depends on the individual animal! Whether it’s a manta ray, whale shark or humpback whale, each animal will behave differently. Some are quite curious and calm whereas others are moving faster and seem uninterested in being around swimmers. On average the animals are swimming at a slow pace for them, which can be a relatively brisk swim for us humans! Be prepared to do a fair amount of swimming throughout the day.
I’ve never been SCUBA diving before but want to try.
That’s great! We offer Discover SCUBA Diving (DSD) on our Manta Ray Interaction Tour. We need a minimum of two DSDs on the tour. You’ll be with an instructor the whole time who will show you how to dive. Please note that a DSD is not the same as doing your full SCUBA certification – you won’t be licenced to dive and it won’t count towards a certification.
How many people can come on the boat?
We can take 22 people on our Manta Ray Interaction Tour; 20 swimmers on our Whale Shark Adventure Tour; and 14 swimmers plus 6 observers on our Humpback Whale Adventure Tour.
Can my child come with me on the tour?
There is no age limit on the Whale Shark Adventure Tour or the Humpback Whale Adventure Tour. On the Manta Ray Interaction Tour, children must be 4 years of age or older – this is because of the smaller size of the boat and the fact that there will be divers with heavy tanks and equipment. All children must be supervised by an adult at all times. If your child is staying on the boat during a swim, there must be an adult on the boat with them.
Will there be a photographer on the boat?
Usually, yes. We contract Ocean Collective Media who send a photographer on all of our Whale Shark Adventure Tours and most of our Manta Ray Interaction Tours. It’s $70 for the whale shark tour photos and $50 for the manta ray tour photos. You get around 150 photos from throughout the day via Dropbox or USB.
Do you have a spotter plane?
We’ve got two! One for spotting manta rays and one for whale sharks and humpback whales. We also offer scenic flights.
What time do we start and what time do we get back?
The Whale Shark Adventure Tour starts at either 7:20 or 7:40am (depending on which boat you’re on) and gets back roughly around 4:30pm – this can vary quite a lot depending on where and how long it takes to find the sharks. The Manta Ray Interaction Tour starts at 8:00am and ends at around 3:30pm on a full day or 1:30pm on a half day. The Humpback Whale Adventure Tour starts at 7:30am and returns around 4:00pm.
What is the water temperature?
The water ranges from 25-28°C in summer (December to February); 20-24°C in spring (September to November) and autumn (April to June); and 18-22°C in winter (June to August).
What is the depth at the snorkel and dive sites?
Most of the sites we go to are within the reef and are between 8-12m for divers. We take the snorkellers around the more exposed areas of coral that can be as shallow as 1 – 2m. On the rare occasion that we dive on the outer reef, it can be up to 25m. Again, we take the snorkellers around the shallower areas.
What is the visibility for snorkelers and divers?
It changes every day. Visibility can be as much as 20-25m or as little as 5m. On average it’s around 10-15m.
What other animals will I see on tour?
There are hundreds of species of fish on the reef plus sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, invertebrates, whales and more. There is no guarantee of seeing anything (other than coral!) but we do our best to show you as much marine life as possible.
How big are the waves? Do I need to take seasickness medication?
Conditions on the inside of the reef are typically calmer and more sheltered than the outer reef. Our Manta Ray Interaction Tour stays inside the reef and is usually relatively calm. The other tours go outside the reef to open ocean where conditions vary widely. Some days are flat whereas other days there can be swell up to a couple metres. We will cancel tours if the skipper decides it is unsafe to take people on the boat. If you think you may get seasick, it’s best to take medication! Kwells or Travacalm are the most common brands in Australia and can be purchased at the local supermarket. Please note we do not have any at our shop or on the boats.
How do I get to your shop? Do you arrange pickups?
All the tours start at our shop. We’re located in the Coral Bay Shopping Arcade, shop #8. It’s an easy 5-minute walk from anywhere in town! If you’re driving from Exmouth, it takes 90 minutes. We do not offer pickups for our tours.
Do you offer discounts?
We have discounts for groups of 5 or more, and for families. We also offer 10% off for members of RAC. Please check the tour information pages for pricing.
Do you hire snorkelling gear?
Yes, we do! We charge $15 for a mask, snorkel and fins; $10 for mask and snorkel; $10 for fins; and $20 for a wetsuit. The charges are for a full day and all gear needs to be returned by 5pm each day.