Humpback whales, dugongs, whale sharks, dolphins and turtles are just some of the fascinating ocean-dwelling creatures you’ll meet on a wildlife tour in Coral Bay.
- Perfect For:Day Time
Now is the perfect time to plan a wildlife tour in Coral Bay. Between late May and November humpback whales migrate north to the Ningaloo Reef. Manta rays and whale sharks head to the region in droves to feed on the unusually large plankton blooms. Also, water visibility is at its clearest thanks to the absence of south westerly breezes.
The best way to find Coral Bay’s interesting sea-creatures is to contact a professional operator who knows the area like the back of their hand. Coral Bay Adventures is a small, family business offering daily wildlife tours aboard the Santosha. Originally an old cray boat, the 16 metre vessel is really wide with plenty of room and cushioned seating to make your day on the water as comfortable as possible. It also has a large shaded deck – a must at all times during the year in Coral Bay.
The tours are intimate with a maximum of 20 guests and five crew on board at one time. Starting at 8.30am and returning to Coral Bay at around 4.30pm, you’ll spend your day in and out of the water looking for interesting wildlife.
One of the highlights of the tour is the time spent snorkelling inside the Ningallo Reef with the Manta Rays. Once they’ve been located by the company’s spotter plane you’ll spend a good 45 minutes swimming with the rays and snorkelling over the reef. Although you’re welcome to bring your own snorkel mask and flippers, there’s enough snorkel gear on board for everyone.
For those that aren’t strong swimmers, each guest is supplied with a wetsuit that not only improves buoyancy, but also protects your skin from the sun and jellyfish. To make sure that tour-goers are safe at all times, there are guides both in the water and on the boat making tours suitable for everyone from kids through to the elderly.
Anyone who has spent long periods of time in the ocean will know that you quickly build up a killer appetite. Luckily, included in the cost of the tour are morning and afternoon tea, and a huge buffet lunch comprising of cold meats, salads, cheese, fruit platters and tuna.
If you’re more excited about the whale-spotting than the snorkelling, you certainly won’t be disappointed. Along with large pods of humpback whales, it’s not uncommon to encounter pilot whales, southern right whales and even the occasional killer whale. To spot the gentle giants, your captain will take you into deeper waters beyond the reef. While he has to keep his distance, the whales will often approach the boat of their own accord.
One of the most unique features of Coral Bay Adventure’s wildlife tour is that all guests have the opportunity to hear the underwater songs of the whales and dolphins, without getting wet. A hydrophone is dropped over the side of the boat and hooked up to a speaker system so that everyone on board can hear what has been described as a truly haunting and spiritual experience.
Wildlife Tours start from $125 and anyone who books a tour with Coral Bay Adventures is welcome to borrow the company’s snorkel gear at any time during their stay in Coral Bay.
Who offers wildlife tours?
Coral Bay Adventures, (08) 9942 5955
Ningaloo Experience, (08) 9942 5877
Ningaloo Reef Dive, (08) 9942 5824
Getting To Coral Bay:
Although some people enjoy the 12 hour drive from Perth to Coral Bay, if you’re pushed for time a flight with Skywest to Learmonth (just outside Exmouth) takes just two and a half hours.
Exmouth is 120km north if Coral Bay and the drive between the two towns will take just over an hour. You can hire a car in Exmouth or alternatively, Coral Bay Adventures run a transport service and offer pick-ups from the airport. Being in Coral Bay is similar to being in Rotto – once there you’ll have little need for a car. One way trips start at $65 per person.