Around Exmouth you can dive and snorkel Ningaloo reef, fish, enjoy endless pristine beaches and hike in Cape Range National Park. Exmouth is a small town of about 2,000 people tripling its population during the high season. It is located 1,270km north of Perth on the coast of Western Australia. We dove Exmouth Navy Pier considered to be one of the best shore dives in the world and among top 10 Australia dive sites. We snorkeled along Ningaloo reef at Turcuoise Bay and Oyster stacks, walked along and picnicked on perfect white sand beaches, and drove around and hiked for stunning views in Cape Range Natural park.
Our trip to Exmouth was a part of a longer West Coast trip camping near Coral Bay as a base. We drove up to Exmouth and spent two nights there staying at Ningaloo Lodge. On the first day after arriving around noon time to Exmouth we went to Cape Range Park which has an impressive terrain of cliffs sloping into ocean with many beautiful beaches all along the shore of the park. We hiked around Yardi Creek which flows through a strikingly red canyon.
Next day we went for our Navy Pier dive with Dive Ningaloo. Exmouth Navy Pier is a functioning Navy Pier and only one company is licensed to run the dives. The pier has been closed to public access for more than 50 years and has lots of marine life as a result. We did two dives of about 50 minutes each – very precisely timed for slack tide as currents can be very strong and saw big schools of fish, sharks and huge cods.
On our last day in Exmouth we went back to Cape Range park to snorkel at Turquoise bay and Oyster stacks and picnic on the beach. It is a stunningly beautiful place and Exmouth is an excellent base to explore Ningaloo coast. There are several nice restaurants, two supermarkets, several hotels and self-catering rentals, and good roads making it possible to get around without four wheel drive.
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.