The Ningaloo Whaleshark Festival from 25 – 27 May, marks the beginning of the whale shark season, welcoming these gentle giants to Exmouth’s pristine waters. The region is home to the most predictable, seasonal aggregations of whale sharks in the world.
Despite their huge size, these docile creatures are filter feeders – one of only three known filter feeding shark species. (The basking shark and the megamouth shark are the others.)
Plankton are the whale shark’s main food source, but they also eat krill, fish eggs, algae and other marine plant material and supplement their diet with squid and fish such as sardines, anchovies and mackerel.
Swimming with a whale shark, the world’s biggest fish, is described by those who have had the privilege as an unforgettable experience.
The festival in and around Exmouth township is an annual community event offering a range of activities, including an opening night gala dinner, live music, and market and food stalls.
Exmouth is the main gateway to the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Marine Park which provides excellent opportunities for swimming, diving and surfing.
A little further to the south, at Coral Bay, Ningaloo Reef is only about 500 metres from the shore and visitors have the opportunity also to camp and hike in through the Cape Range National Park, a spectacular place of rugged limestone ranges, deep canyons and 50km of pristine beaches.
Cape Range National Park covers some 50,581 hectares and its northern boundary is just 40km from Exmouth. The park offers a wealth of attractions and activities for visitors interested in the natural environment. Wildlife is abundant with birds, emus, echidnas, lizards, wallabies, kangaroos and dingoes commonly sighted.
A highlight of the Cape Range experience is a trip to Yardie Creek, which flows between sheer cliffs. Guided boat tours are available. Visitors can further explore the park’s canyons along drive trails into Charles Knife Canyon and Shothole Canyon.
Qantas, in partnership with the State Government, through Tourism Western Australia, will trial $169 air fares between Perth and Exmouth over the peak travel season in 2019. The discount fares will apply from June 7, 2019 to flights from Friday to Monday which are booked 45 days ahead of travel.