Coral Bay lies within the Ningaloo Marine Park, about 1,200 km north of Perth, Western Australia.
It might be less known to water enthusiasts than its bigger brother the Great Barrier Reef on Australias East Coast, but it does not hold back much in terms of a fantastic underwater world. The Reef is about 260 km long and at some parts, such as Coral Bay, very close to the coast.
If you travel up the West Coast at the right time of the year, you will be able to witness some of the greatest underwater creatures while there, the Whale Sharks.
Every year from April to July, after the corals have finished their yearly spawning, the massive Whale Sharks travel along the Ningaloo Reef to get their feed. The dive companies in Exmouth and Coral Bay arrange trips to swim with them with snorkel and fins, and you are guaranteed an experience of a lifetime.
If you miss out on the Whale Sharks, there is still more to come. Dolphins, Dugongs and Humpback Whales pass the Reef on their yearly migration. Manta Rays live around there all year round. They are harmless as well, but huge and fast. Day trips to swim with them are a bit pricey, but it is absolutely amazing to watch them fly through the water and turn up and down to feed!
There is also a shark breeding station at the Ningaloo Reef near Coral Bay, that you can dive to and where you will get surrounded by (hopefully not hungry!) reef sharks â€“ but no worries mate, they are harmless! If you are not up for it, it is also possible to view them, or maybe even snorkel around them, from the beach, you just have to walk along the beach towards the north and you will see them in all sizes, swimming around one of the bays!
The Ningaloo Reef is home of some 500 species of fish, 300 species of corals and 600 species of mollusks. The underwater landscape seems to be very untouched, especially if you compare it to other dive hotspots such as Thailand. You can be sure to spend some great days there, and do not miss out on a few beers in the lukewarm water or just by the beach and watch the sun go down.
Coral Bay can be reached by bus or airplane. There is a handful of accommodation optionsÂ including a campsite, a backpacker Hostel, and a hotel. Â You will also find A pub, some shops, and a small supermarket, so you can get your basics. Even if you are not into diving or snorkeling, the beautiful beaches of Coral Bay, Exmouth and the Cape Range National Park are well worth a visit.
Â If you are not travelling by car and want to explore the area, you can take the bus up to the bigger town of Exmouth (Coral Bay is really only a street rather than a village), where there is more accommodation options available and you can rent a car to drive down to some fantastic spots.