Ningaloo Marine Park – Australia’s great coral reef diving playground
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Ningaloo Marine Park – Australia’s great coral reef diving playground

Ningaloo Marine Park

The Ningaloo Marine Park is home to over 500 species of fish and also plays host to whale shark tours and diving adventures operated by Ningaloo Whale shark Swim.

In 1987 the Ningaloo Reef and surrounding waters were designated as the Ningaloo Marine Park. In 2011 the Ningaloo Marine Park was listed as a world heritage site by the United Nations.  This status means that there are particular rules and regulations in place, which means people will be able to enjoy the pristine waters of Ningaloo for years to come!

Scientists are also beginning to tease out some of Ningaloo Marine Park’s more subtle secrets. For example, researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science recently discovered in the marine park’s deeper waters, gardens of sponges that are thought to be species completely new to science.

Stretching 260km in length from Bundegi Beach near Exmouth to south of Coral Bay, Ningaloo Marine Park protects the world famous Ningaloo Reef, which is Australia’s largest and easily most accessible fringing coral reef. 

In contrast to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, there are no great colourful fans of coral, but what is astonishing is Ningaloo Marine Park’s underwater wonderland of phenomenal diversity. There are more than 200 coral, 600 mollusc and 500 fish species within the Ningaloo Marine Park, with additional species almost definitely waiting to be discovered.

The reef at Ningaloo is rarely more than a few kilometres off­shore and in some places it’s within just 50 – 100m of the stunning white sand beaches – even children can wade out to it. This proximity to the mainland means that anyone with legs, flippers, a boat or even a kayak can experience the amazing offerings of Ningaloo Marine Park.

Getting around Ningaloo Marine Park, however, is more difficult. Because the region is so remote and tourism infrastructure little developed, many roads are rugged and poor, and require challenging four-wheel drive access.

Snorkelling and Diving in the Ningaloo Marine Park

The fish species diversity of Ningaloo Marine Park means that many other beautiful creatures regularly visit Ningaloo Reef, such as whale sharks, dolphins, humpback whales, turtles and dugongs. This makes it the perfect playground for snorkelling and diving.

Every year between mid March and mid July, Ningaloo Marine Park sees one of the world’s biggest gatherings of whale sharks. They congregate following the mass spawning of coral. Ningaloo Whaleshark Swim operates diving and swimming with whale sharks during the period. Through our very popular whale shark tours, we will share our knowledge of these beautiful docile mammals as well as that of Ningaloo Reef and the history of Ningaloo Marine Park.