Cast Away in Coral Bay

Adventure awaits for the intrepid traveller that visits the land down under. Before you embark on your journey to Australia from a foreign land you will have been ill informed about the perils and dangers that lurk in the vast wilderness and open ocean. Every pamphlet and brochure, every webpage and blog warns you of the most dangerous place on earth. To those that choose to ignore any preconceived ideas of Australia and do not permit it to influence their purpose of travel…I salute you!! Welcome to the marine paradise that is Australia.

Whaleshark swimming in Coral Bay
Whaleshark swimming in Coral Bay
Whale Shark front on in Coral Bay Western Australia
Whale Shark in Coral Bay, Western Australia
Whaleshark and humans swimming side by side with Ningaloo Reef Dive & Snorkel
Whaleshark and humans swimming side by side with Ningaloo Reef Dive & Snorkel
Whaleshark and humans swimming side by side with Ningaloo Reef Dive & Snorkel
Whaleshark and humans swimming side by side with Ningaloo Reef Dive & Snorkel
Whaleshark and humans swimming side by side with Ningaloo Reef Dive & Snorkel

Yes, the sheer size and vastness of the landscape must seem beyond imagination, an unobtainable landscape covered in red dirt and rugged terrain. A wildness that all your friends, families and foes have most graciously informed you will take great pleasure in causing you harm. Their smug assessments may be ill-judged from the position of their couch. Their reality blurred by the television. From the smallest spider to the most poisonous jellyfish, the most venomous snake to the most fearsome white shark. You start doubting yourself and your plans. Why would anybody wish to travel to such an abominable dangerous place?

To visit a little pocket of paradise nestled away amongst the sand dunes in the heart of the Ningaloo Reef in the Western Australian desert called Coral Bay. This tiny speck on the continent skirts the pristine waters of the Ningaloo Reef. It’s a secret only shared to those that seek travel off the beaten track.

The town of Coral Bay is the perfect place to indulge and witness the best natural wonders that the blue planet can offer you in Ningaloo marine sanctuary. A place where time stops. Reality and the unimaginable become blurred. People stop on the footpath to wave and say hello. Cars will stop when you walk into oncoming traffic and smile. Locals will freely provide helpful information for your trip. Even the ones with shaggy beards. We are all so happy to be here!

Onlookers by will wave. Birds will sing. Butterflies will flutter. The wind will whisper a cool breeze. The sun will sparkle on the crystal clear waters of the bay. You’ll forget that a life exists beyond the highway. No wonder most people visit for a few days and months pass by in blissful ignorance to the date of the year.

How to get to Coral Bay?

You can fly with Qantas directly from Perth to Learmonth airport – less than a 2-hour flight. Airport transfers are available or rental cars for pick up at the airport and Coral Bay is only 1 hour 30 minutes south of the Exmouth airport.

If you’re coming from Exmouth, the most important thing to remember is to make sure you turn right to Coral Bay off the highway. Otherwise, you’ll end up Carnarvon! If you’re in need of directions from a specific location you can find us using maps.

On a more serious note we love our friends in Exmouth but genuinely just prefer Coral Bay. And why wonder not when the marine paradise is easily accessible from the beautiful beach.

You can also take that much-wanted road-trip up from Perth only 1200km North. Any excuse to hit the open road. Some pristine spots to check out along the way include the Kalbarri coastline and national park, snorkelling swimming with the sea lions in Green Head and the secluded white sand beaches of Red Bluff and Warra.

Where can you find the dive shop?

We are located in the centre of town in the main shopping arcade shop 8. Across from the tasty bakery and the amply supplied grocery store, you can come in and visit us every day of the week open from 7.30am till 5.30pm.

If you are planning your extended holiday from far afield you may come across information that is no longer relevant or quite accurate for the holiday destination in a rural seaside town. The best way to ensure that you have the most relevant information is to call the dive shop on 1300 CORAL BAY or enquire to manager@ningalooreefdive.com and we’ll be happy to help you on your quest.

When is the best time to come to Coral Bay?

The bay is open all year round. Tours depart daily except Christmas Day and New Years’ Day. We are open Sundays. The reef is our Church.

We are lucky and fortunate to operate Manta Ray Interaction Tours all year round. Just North of Coral Bay we have a large aggregation that filter feed in the bay. We are able to facilitate an in water swimming interaction with the majestic mantas with the spotter plane communicating their whereabouts to the crew on the waters.

Come the months of March till July the ocean’s largest fish, the Whale Shark visits our area of operations and we are able to collaborate with our spotty friends.

Around May we start to see the migration of Humpback Whales up the coast. You can be having lunch aboard our chartered vessels with the best seat in the house as we watch from a distance the behaviour patterns of mum, calf and aunty logging and resting.

The newest addition to our tour calendar now sees an in-water interaction with the Humpback Whale from 1st August till October for those that wish to get up close and personal to our magnificent mammals. An influx of whales migrates down the calf corridor along the outer Ningaloo Reef during the months of August and September.

Every day the rich diversity of the Coral Bay waters is explored for you to enjoy with the locals that dwell amongst the dense foliage of coral colonies that fringe from the shoreline.

What services are there in Coral Bay?

Coral Bay is a fully fledged functioning town. Plenty of dwellings to stay from private luxurious lodgings at the Ningaloo Reef Resort with sea views for the glam packer to the Ningaloo Club backpackers for the communal traveller in dorm rooms to private modest abodes with shared kitchen facilities.

The caravan parks of Bay View and People’s Park accommodate campers, trailers, caravans, tents, swags and any shelter that you wish to engineer.

There are a few private housings for larger parties that wish to make use of communal space and housing with all the trimmings and comforts of home. Accommodation is limited in the high season so it is advised to check that there is room at the inn.

There is an automated fuel service that provides petrol and diesel to fill up located behind the Bayview caravan park.

Places to tuck into some tucker and eat include Bill’s Tavern, Reef Cafe, The Ningaloo Resort and Fins Cafe. If you’re here for four nights, you have an excuse to try out all the local cuisines.

When is high season?

Typically high season starts in March coincides with the end of summer and the inaugural visit of the whale shark’s closer into our area of operations in March and April. The town is bustling with wildlife till August/September.

The end of the winter months and summer are traditionally quieter from September through until February. The festival holiday period surrounding Christmas, New Years and holidays are bursting with cheer and joy.

Will I need transport?

When you arrive in Coral Bay, everything is within a 5 minute walking distance. It is very hard to get lost. And it would be quite the accomplishment indeed. Most people potter around from the beach to their campground and back and forth to cool down from the heat of the day. You may even get Coral Bayed! A term applied to the locals who exercise their daily chores that would normally take a mere 5 minutes down at the local grocery store but get caught chatting to everybody for a few hours. It will happen to you when you meet your next door neighbours…

There are 4 x 4 drive tracks to visit five finger reef South of Coral Bay and Point Maud, Oyster Bridge, the Lagoon and Dog Rock North of the bay. You will need 4 x 4 and to deflate your tyre pressure as it is soft sand. Maps are available from the information centre or just ask a friendly local.

Where is the best place to snorkel from the beach?

The bay offers the perfect respite to relax and rest in the calm shallow waters. The elbow of the beach invites lazy days of bathing. Take a walk past the Kayak Hut and lookout South and you’ll come to the 5 Knot Sign. Jump into the Ningaloo natural swimming pool and experience the local drift snorkel. You only need to swim out a few metres as the reef fringes from the shore. The dense coral is like being in a rainforest as the foliage of corals and colonies are everywhere to see. The tide will bring you in back to the main access point of the beach.

For the avid water enthusiast, come into the dive shop located in the main shopping arcade and say hello. We will love to introduce ourselves and all the tours that we operate for you to enjoy the best of the Ningaloo Reef.

Thanks for reading.