Coral bay 1,100 km north of Perth on the coast of Western Australia is where Ningaloo reef touches the shore and one can swim and snorkel over the reef directly from the beach. Coral bay has a hotel, two caravan parks, a handful of restaurants and a few permanent residents. The shoreline is a sequence of pristine bays with perfect white sand beaches protected by sand dunes where kangaroos hop.
We snorkeled off the shore and did a dive/snorkel trip to see mantas, sharks and impressive corals. There is also whale shark and humpback whale watching depending on the season – with spotter planes significantly improving chances of seeing them. We were there in June and Humpback whales were just starting to arrive.
What to see
We did Coral Bay as part of a longer road trip from Perth to Exmouth camping about 15km north of Coral Bay at Bruboodjoo camp site as a base. This camp site does not have any amenities and one has to be fully self-sufficient including water and portable toilet. There are two caravan parks with amenities in Coral Bay itself, a hotel and backpackers (with rooms with private ensuite bathrooms).
We snorkeled off the beach on the corals in Coral Bay itself and also did an organized tour with Ningaloo Reef Dive which included two dives and snorkeling with Mantas (spotted by spotter planes). We also went exploring the shore on a quad bike driving on the beach and inland sand roads around the dunes.
The scenery is pristine – there are endless empty beaches, oyster reefs and we even saw a guitar shark about a meter off shore with its dorsal fins sticking out of the water. It is am amazing place of largely untouched nature and out of this world sunsets.