Swim with whale sharks off Western Australia
Giant sea creatures make early start to annual Ningaloo Reef visit.
Guests have started swimming with whale sharks on tours operating in Western Australia’s Coral Coast region.
Exmouth-based tour operator Ningaloo Discovery is now running whale shark tours daily with other whale shark tour operators to start from Coral Bay and Exmouth.
Ningaloo's whale shark season is typically between March and July, triggered by the annual coral spawning during the full moon, however whale sharks have been sighted around Ningaloo since late February by light-aircraft operators.
Following a successful extended whale shark season in 2020, this year some operators will be offering their tours through until November.
The UNESCO Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area is situated at the northern end of the Coral Coast region and is home to Australia's largest fringing reef system, Ningaloo Reef, stretching 300km from Red Bluff, just north of Carnarvon, to the Muiron Islands off the coast of Exmouth.
It is one of the only places on the planet where these huge but harmless fish reliably congregate on an annual basis.
It is also the only place in Australia where you can swim with the “marine big three” – whale sharks, manta rays (year-round) and humpback whales (June to October) – in a single location.
Ningaloo is also one of Australia's newest “Hope Spots”, with the Coral Coast region home to two of the seven Australian locations.
Hope Spots are global locations considered critical to the health of the ocean.
The World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef and adjacent Exmouth Gulf were designated as having global significance by international marine science organisation, Mission Blue.
The Coral Coast starts just under two hours' drive north of Perth in Cervantes and runs for 1100km north to Exmouth, and inland via Wildflower Country.
The region is tied together by a world-class road trip from Perth to Exmouth, the Coral Coast Highway. It is also accessible by plane from Perth, with airports in Exmouth, Carnarvon, Shark Bay and Geraldton.
Australia's Coral Coast is the Regional Tourism Organisation responsible for branding and marketing the Coral Coast region of Western Australia.
For more information and travel itineraries, visit Australia's Coral Coast.