#ourwapark of the week: Ningaloo Marine Park

Ningaloo Marine Park showcases a stark and striking contrast between the rugged, arid Cape Range, the sparkling white beaches and the clear, turquoise colours and underwater scenery of Ningaloo reef.

Photo: Parks and Wildlife Service

Most reefs in the world are found near wet tropical rainforests, but what makes Ningaloo unique is its proximity to an arid continental coast. It is also the only large reef in the world found so close to a continental land mass, making it an easy snorkel from shore.

Whales, dolphins, dugongs, manta rays, huge cod, turtles and whale sharks are abundant in the largest fringing coral reef in Australia. You will find more than 500 tropical fish species and 200 species of coral, and can swim world’s largest fish – the whaleshark!

What you may not know about the park:

  • If you visit at the right time of year, you can view the mass coral spawning, a three- day event that begins a week or so after the full moon during the months of March and April.
  • Ningaloo became WA’s second marine park on 3 April 1987 and is now enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors each year from across the world.
  • The entire Ningaloo reef became protected in 2004 when the marine park was extended south to Red Bluff, while the wider Ningaloo coast was granted World Heritage status in 2011.
  • The Ningaloo Commonwealth Marine Reserve, adjacent to Ningaloo Marine Park is part of the network of reserves making up the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage area (which covers 6045 square kilometres and stretches more than 300 kilometres along the coast).
  • While it is important to respect sanctuary areas, 66 per cent of Ningaloo Marine Park is available for fishing (multiple use areas).

How to get there:

  • 890 kilometres to Carnarvon or a 2-hr flight to Carnarvon airport
  • 1120 kilometres to Coral Bay and 1245 kilometres to Exmouth or a 90 minute flight to Learmonth airport.