5 Reasons Why You Should Explore The Ningaloo Coast in WA
“Holiday here this year”, they said. And so we did, like our lives depended on it!
Australian women never do things in halves, and women this past year have been exploring our backyard with enthusiasm for adventure in all its forms.
In fact, at Women Want Adventure we get so excited about helping women explore this incredible country, we wanted to share what it’s like to explore Ningaloo Reef in WA.
Each year, we head to Cape Range National Park for the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area. It covers over 6045km2 and stretches more than 300km along the coast. It’s an adventure paradise.
The Ningaloo Reef is the largest fringing reef system in the world with many of its stunning corals only a short swim from shore. It is no wonder it made the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2011 for its amazing oceanscape and a bio diverse range of Flora and Fauna.
The proximity of Ningaloo Reef to an arid continental coast distinguishes it from most reefs in the world which are found associated with wet tropical rainforest.
Here are our Top 5 Reasons to adventure to Ningaloo Reef
1. Camp Life
You don’t need to camo to visit Ningaloo, but we aim for the best experiences here at Women Want Adventure. This one takes the cake.
Our private base camp lies 80km south of Exmouth. As we leave town, we watch our phone single drop out. With no reception and no demanding digital distractions, you are quickly immersed in the desert landscape and the beauty of colourful surroundings. The stunning contrast between the ochre land, green scrub, white sand beaches and teal ocean will forever etch itself in your mind’s eye. Camping by the ocean, nestled in the dunes and watching the sun set over the water with a glass of something refreshing in your hand is most definitely one of the top 5 things to love about life at Ninglaoo. Feeling completely isolated is an incredible experience.
2. Dark Sky Milky Views
The complete lack of surrounding artificial light makes the Milky Way glow like you have never seen it before. In fact, this area is listed in the top ten best stargazing spots in all of WA. As the earth spins and the sky rolls the shooting stars will be better than counting sheep and picking out the satellites is sure to keep you guessing.
3. Desert Hikes
The Ningaloo Coast is culturally significant and Aboriginal people have an ongoing cultural connection with the area spanning over 30,000 years. The traditional owners are the Jinigudera people.
On our trips, we lance up our boots for inland hikes, exploring Mandu Mandu Gorge where a necklace was found dating back to over 30,000 years. Mandu Mandu Gorge Loop Walk is a slightly longer and more challenging hike and one that is best done before the heat of the day really kicks in. This 3km trail follows the dry river bed before climbing steeply to skirt the rim of the Gorge with panoramic views of the ocean ahead. The black flanked rock wallaby is often seen above you on the cliffs seeking shade so be sure to look up.
Yardie Creek Gorge Trail should also be on your list. It is a short and, in some parts steep, 2km trek overlooking the ancient red limestone cliffs and opportunity to view osprey nesting and rock wallaby’s getting ready to settle in for the night. The high look out vantage points provide tremendous views back across the reef to the Indian ocean to watch golden hour and last light. Be sure to take a head torch with you for the walk back to the car the same way.
4. Snorkelling and Kayaking
This is where you really get to feel one with the environment. The lagoon created by the fringing Ningaloo Reef provides an underwater playground unlike any other. Shallow and protected diversity is astounding. Turtles, Rays, Sharks (only friendly of course), an amazing array of fish life and even dugongs can all be seen on your daily snorkelling adventures. Snorkelling from shore locations is broken up by kayaking splendour.
With specifically designed kayak moorings, you can anchor your craft and snorkel around these offshore pockets of shallow reef making the lagoon a paddlers paradise. Gliding along at a relaxed pace allows you to take endless photographs and really enjoy the new perspective of being “on” the water yet still so close to it. Besides that, who doesn’t love exercising whilst sitting down!
5. Swimming With Whale Sharks!
The Whale Shark is the largest living fish in the world but little is really known about their ecology and biology. Each shark has unique identifying marks behind their gill slits and just above their pectoral fins. They frequent the ocean close to shore off Ningaloo Reef between March and August / September. Their diet consists of mainly krill and plankton with some small organisms. In the waters off the Ningaloo Coast they average 4-6m with bigger 10 and 12m sharks also spotted. Floating in the water, eyes focussed wide into the blue abyss, the anticipation builds as you know the shark is approaching. Then out of the darkness comes this incredible unknown yet familiar shape. It looks like an aircraft or could it be a submarine. Mouth open, gliding toward you it is easy to forget to breathe. As the shark passes by it is time to swim.
Some swim fast and some swim slow, some live near the surface and others like to swim deep and rise up and down. Planes communicate with the boats to keep track of each animal to make sure you maximise your time in the water swimming with these magnificent prehistoric gentle giants! It is a cliché but this really is one of those things you should tick off your bucket list of must do’s and what better way to do it than with an amazing bunch of women who are just as excited as you!
For more information regarding our Women’s Ningaloo Reef Kayaking and Camping Adventures, we highly recommend checking out this page with all the photos and details about a week away like no other.
And if you’re looking for more kayaking or ocean based adventures in other states, check out the Hinchinbrook Island Paddle in QLD here. 100% guaranteed adventure.