Swim with whale sharks on Ningaloo Reef

by Stephanie 06/01/2011 15:14:00

A whale (shark) of a time!  

Most people know of the Great Barrier Reef, but there is another reef off the west coast where you can swim with whale sharks in turquoise waters.

Ningaloo Marine Park is also one of the only places in the world you can swim with whale sharks; gentle giants that have wide mouths designed to filter the water for plankton, small plants and animals.

Despite the huge size of the whale shark, they are docile and pose little danger to humans, and it is possible to swim quite close if you are careful of their tails. If you join a snorkel or dive tour they will be able to get you up close to the whale sharks safely.

The main time to view and swim with the whale shark is from March to June.

The reef is a little over two hours by plane from Perth (or two days drive) on Western Australia’s mid north coast, and it stretches 260 kilometres from Bundegi Reef near Exmouth to Amherst Point near Coral Bay in the south and encompasses a massive 5,000 square kilometres of ocean.

If you wade into the water at Turquoise Bay you will be floating within a few metres of a reef that is home to dolphins, dugong, manta rays and turtles, 500 species of tropical fish and 220 species of coral.

There are plenty of snorkelling or dive tours you can join, as well as glass bottom boat tours, boat trips or quad bike tours. There are even 4WD tours that will take you to some spectacular locations in the national parks in the region.

Parts of Ningaloo Marine Park have also recently been nominated for World Heritage status.

The Western Australia official tourism website has more deets to help you plan your trip: http://www.westernaustralia.com/uk/Destinations/Australias_Coral_Coast/Pages/Australias_Coral_Coast.aspx

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