But there are also plenty of animals living near the reef. If you’re lucky, you might spot dolphins or whales. Just take care if you see a manta ray or a shark. If tropical fish are your fancy, you’ll see lionfish, clownfish, moray eels and more in this colorful coral reef. Ningaloo coral, of course, like all coral, is a living organism, too. And there are 180 species of coral here. You can find brain coral, cabbage coral, branching coral, lavender coral and much more.
Australia created the Ningaloo Marine Park in 1987. Seventeen years later, the country expanded it. The most popular time to visit is in Australia’s autumn, from mid-March to mid-May. Many come to dive with the whale shark, which is the biggest fish species in the entire world. During this time of year, the whale sharks always come to Ningaloo, and they are a sight to see. Many of them can grow to more than 12 meters long and weigh upwards of 11 tons.
Another reason people visit Ningaloo during March and April is to see the coral spawning. During this time, the coral lay egg and sperm out by the millions all at the same time. These pink bundles float up to the water’s surface and create a blanket of pink coral spawn.
If you want to scuba dive, you don’t have to limit your visiting to autumn; come on out any time of year. The water is usually between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius. The air in Ningaloo can be hot in the summer, reaching 45 degrees Celsius.
If you’re planning a trip to Ningaloo from Perth, there are some things you should know. First, plan for the trip to take two days. It’s a long drive, and you should really do the driving during the daylight; apparently, there are many kangaroos who cross the roads, making it very dangerous to drive during the night. Another way to get to Ningaloo, however, is by airplane. Learmonth Airport is just 37 kilometers south of Exmouth. Once you land there, you can take a bus to Exmouth and Coral Bay, both are resort towns near Ningaloo, which is offshore. In fact, you would need to find lodging in either Exmouth or Coral Bay if you are planning to visit the marine park. To do that, you can call Exmouth Tourist Bureau at (08) 9949 1176. You can find all the gear for snorkeling or diving that you could possibly need in Exmouth or Coral Bay.
In addition to snorkeling and scubadiving, there are more activities to participate in. You can go boating, swimming, and even fishing at Ningaloo. There are also glass-bottomed boat rides you can buy tickets for. Oh, and you can’t miss whale watching. From August to October, you can go whale watching on tours that leave from Exmouth and Coral Bay.