WELCOME TO THE UNDERWATER WONDERLAND OF NINGALOO REEF
Ningaloo Marine Park protects one of Australia’s most important tracts of reef - the Ningaloo Reef. It is one of the longest fringing reefs in the world and only one of two coral reefs in the world that have formed on the western side of a continent. The Ningaloo Marine park stretches from Bundegi Beach near Exmouth for 260 km along the West Coast to Amherst Point south of Coral Bay. The name 'Ningaloo' comes from the local Aboriginal people and means a 'promontory' or 'point' of high land jutting into the sea.
In the southern hemisphere there are strong currents that push cold water up the west coast from the Antarctic, and warm water down the east coast from the equator. In Western Australia there is a phenomenon called the Leeuwin counter current that brings a stream of warm water down the West Australian coast. This change of temperature is the spark of life that allows coral reefs such as Ningaloo, Abrohlos and Rottnest reefs to grow and survive.
The Ningaloo reef protects a lagoon that is on average only 2-4 m deep and is rich in marine life. It is unique because of this and its close proximity to the coast - in many areas it is only 5-10 m offshore allowing for easy access from the coast. Some 250 species of coral and 500 species of fish have been recorded in the Ningaloo Marine park. There are limitless snorkel sites along the Ningaloo coastline and a variety of ways to access them. You can experience the Ningaloo Reef from a dive boat, catamaran, coral viewing boat, sea kayak, from the air on a scenic flight, or by snorkelling from the beach.
Ningaloo reef is not only a spectacular wonder of nature but also forms an important habitat for many amazing creatures. The Ningaloo Reef is one of only two areas in the world where Whalesharks regularly congregate in numbers that facilitate tours and human interaction. Not a lot is known about these gentle giants, however their regular appearance at Ningaloo reef is providing a great opportunity for research of the species.
The Ningaloo Reef is also important in the life cycle of the marine turtle. From the seven species worldwide, Australia has six species that inhabit our waters. The Ningaloo Reef is home to three of these six species. The reef forms a feeding ground and habitat while the beaches of Ningaloo are important turtle rookeries. Humpback Whales and Manta rays also love to visit our area and can be seen seasonally in Exmouth, while in Coral Bay the Manta rays stay all year round.
The Ningaloo Reef was declared a marine park in 1987 in order to protect this unique area and its inhabitants. The Ningaloo Marine park is made up of approximately 224 ooo hectares of State Government controlled waters and about 700km 2 of Commonwealth waters. Please remember to take only photographs and memories and leave only footprints in the sand.