Ningaloo Coast is Australia’s largest fringing coral reef on the Gascoyne coast stretching from Point Quobba north of Carnarvon to Exmouth. The unique natural beauty and ecology of the area were acknowledged when it was awarded World Heritage status in 1991. It is home to dolphins, dugongs and a profusion of terrestrial and marine flora and fauna, making it a popular holiday destination for both national and international visitors.
Ningaloo Reef is one of the few places in the world where whale sharks, the world’s largest fish, appear regularly in near-shore waters making them accessible to observers, tourists and divers. The mass spawning of over 200 species of coral in March and April each year heralds the arrival of the whale shark to the Ningaloo Reef. The whale sharks feed for four months until June before disappearing for another year.
The coral reef fish in the Ningaloo are among the most colourful and beautifully patterned of all living creatures. Even the novice snorkeler can swim in the shallows and witness an amazing variety of fish life. They live in and around hundreds of species of coral, ranging from the cabbage coral, brain corals, and lavender corals, to delicate colourful branching corals, which form gardens in the shallow lagoons. Green turtles have extensive rookeries inside the reef, dugong feed on sea grasses within the lagoons and humpback whales migrate close to the coast.
The reef is within a State Marine Park which caters for multiple uses including fishing. Visitors are requested to be aware of and respect zonings and throughout the park.