Ningaloo Reef: A List Of The Best Things To Do!

Ningaloo Reef has to be one of the most well-known and popular destinations to visit in Western Australia.  Stretching over 300 km this magnificent fringing reef offers a range of fantastic experiences to both local and international visitors.

Things to do on the Ningaloo Reef Western Australia

Check out the below list of top things to do on the Ningaloo Reef.  If you can afford it, I would definitely recommend swimming with the whale sharks… such an amazing experience!

Swimming with Whale Sharks

swimming with whale sharks on ningaloo reef
Swimming with a whale shark off the Ningaloo Reef

Swimming with whale sharks has to be up there as one of the best and most popular experiences on offer when visiting the Ningaloo Reef. These amazing creatures can be found cruising along the outer reaches of the Ningaloo Reef attracting a vast amount of visitors from all around the world every year.

When: (March through August)

See also: Ultimate Guide for booking a Whale Shark swimming tour >

Snorkelling with Turtles

Turtle swimming on ningaloo reef
Swimming with a turtle on Ningaloo Reef

Available throughout the year, snorkelling with turtles is up there as one of the most popular activities to do whilst visiting WA’s Ningaloo Reef.  These beautiful creatures can be found gently cruising in and around the structures of the reef.

When: Available all year round

Viewing turtle hatchlings

Turtles hatching on exmouth beach
Turtle hatchlings at Exouth, Western Australia

In addition to swimming with turtles, there are a number of tour operators in Exmouth and Coral Bay that offer you the experience of witnessing baby turtles hatching along the beaches of the Ningaloo shoreline before they make their Maiden voyage down into the water.  

When: unlike swimming with the turtles such an experience is only available from November through to March.

Snorkelling with Manta Rays

Swimming with Manta Rays at Coral Bay
Swimming with Manta Rays at Coral Bay, Western Australia

If you’re heading to the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, then I would definitely add swimming with Manta Rays to your to-do list.  There are very few places where you can do this and lucky enough, the Ningaloo Reef is one of them!

When: This activity is available all year round!

Swimming Humpback Whales

Swimming with humpback whales off Ningaloo Reef
Swimming with humpback whales off Ningaloo Reef

With whale shark swimming experiences being so popular, a number of tour operators now offer visitors the option of swimming with whales! Yes, you heard it right…you can actually swim with humpback whales as they migrate up past the Ningaloo Reef.

Like swimming with whale sharks, this is such a fantastic experience that is limited to areas of the Australian coastline with Ningaloo Reef being one of them.

When: Available from June through to October.

Whale Watching Experience

Humpback Whales Fin Ningaloo Reef
Fins of two playful humpback whales swimming along the Ningaloo Reef

If you’re not too keen to jump in the water with the whales then there is the option to sit back in the comfort of a boat and watch whales cruise along the back of the Ningaloo Reef.

Swimming with Dolphins

If swimming with dolphins is something you’re keen to do then the Ningaloo Reef is a great spot to do so.  The most common species of dolphins found in and around the Ningaloo Reef is the bottleneck dolphin.  These beautiful and inquisitive species of dolphin can be found cruising in and around the Ningaloo Reef with larger groups of them found out deeper off the back of the reef.

When: Available all year round!

Watching Dugongs

Known to be the only herbivorous mammal in the ocean, Dugongs are beautiful creatures that can be found cruising in and around the Ningaloo Reef.  As a herbivore, Dugongs are more commonly found in the areas of the Ningaloo Reef that have a vast amount of seagrass or different types of algae growing.  This is usually in the shallower areas of the reef.

When: Dugongs can be spotted all year round.

Explore the Coral Reefs

When I first went snorkelling at the Ningaloo Reef I was amazed at how stunning the reef is.  I’ve dived and snorkelled on the great barrier reef a number of times and would have to say that the Ningaloo Reef is better, if not just as good as the great barrier reef.

There are a number of ways to see the reef though a great way is via a glass bottom boat tour or a snorkelling tour.

When: All year round.

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