Monday, November 1, 2010

Week 44/52- Ningaloo & North West Cape -reefs, beaches & canyons

Hi everyone and welcome to week 44 of our 52 week Tour Downunder Western Australia. Well we have finished in the north and it is time to head back down south along the coast. We are going to be on the road for a couple of days before we reach our next destination -
- Exmouth, Cape Range National Park and Ningaloo Reef.

Ningaloo Reef, is located offshore from the Cape Range National Park at North West Cape, halfway along the Western Australian coast. You can snorkel just off the shore and experience the wonderful under-water world of the reef. So time to relax with a bit of down time....

From Western Australia
The Reef which stretches 260 kilometres along the coast and covers 5,000 square kilometres, is the jewel of Western Australia’s Coral Coast. It is one of the largest fringing coral reefs in the world, home to 250 species of coral and 500 species of fish and a prime conservation and sanctuary area as well as one of Australia’s great nature based tourism locations.

It is also one of the few places where you can swim with the world’s biggest fish, the Whale Shark which visits Ningaloo Reef from late March until July each year. Swimming with the whale sharks is a relatively new experience and Ningaloo leads the way in whale shark eco-tourism.

Unfortunately, I am a shore based snorkeller with very limited experience - so I cannot show you photos of swimming with the whale sharks. And I also didn't have an underwater camera.....sorry..... maybe next time.

On the RHS of this photo you can see one of the beach front campsites in the Cape Range National Park. The Park has 12 designated coastal camping areas and access to a number of excellent snorkelling sites in crystal clear water which can be waded to from the shore. If you don’t mind limited facilities, the camp sites offer a great way to spend a few lazy days.

From Western Australia

Game fishing, whale tours, snorkel and dive tours, and the prawning industry are the main industries in Exmouth. Here is a photo from the boat harbour - with leisure boats in the foreground and prawn trawlers in the background.

With the continental shelf only kilometres offshore, Exmouth and Coral Bay are fishing meccas, and there are plenty of opportunities for land based and boat fishing, but people must be aware of the Marine Park Sanctuary Zones. There are over 30 game fish species, and you can take advantage of Western Australia’s premier game fishing destination by joining a fishing charter.

From Western Australia

And this is Charles Knife Canyon in the Cape Range National Park. There are views out over the Cape to the reef and the ocean beyond, and many walk trails.

Charles Knife Gorge and Shothole Canyon are a short drive south of Exmouth. The road through Shothole travels through the dry creek bed offering a close look at the colourful rock layers of the canyon walls, whilst a drive along the ridge of Charles Knife Gorge to Thomas Carter Lookout produces sweeping views of the Gorge and Exmouth Gulf. Around each corner the view is more spectacular than the last, and pull off areas allow you to stop and enjoy the views.

From Western Australia

Here is Pebble Beach on the shore of Exmouth Gulf. I know pebble beaches are quite common in Europe, but in Australia it is an unusual phenomenon. This beach is the "Mowbowra Conglomerate". The pebbles have been formed by streams running out of Cape Range and the action of the sea waves along the shoreline.

From Western Australia

Here we see a tour boat going up Yardie Creek in the Cape Range National Park. The one hour cruise along Yardi Creek is a leisurely way to view the multicoloured cliffs of the Gorge and its wildlife including Osprey and Rock Wallabies or you can explore it from above along the walk trail.

From Western Australia

Vlamingh Head Lighthouse was built in 1912 on the tip of North West Cape. It is a great place to watch the sunset or to spot Humpback Whales during their annual migration June to November. At the lighthouse you can see the remains of a WW11 Aircraft Warning Radar. From the Cape you can also just see the fires from the natural gas platforms on the edge of the horizon.

From Western Australia

And one last swim before we go back to camp.....

From Western Australia

We can't have a tour without wildflowers - this is one of the Native Hibiscus family -

From Wildflowers
Another photo of the Ningaloo Reef coastline.... just step into the water here and you are in a underwater wonderland of fish and coral.

From Western Australia

A closeup view of the lighthouse.....

From Western Australia
and a closer view of the prawn trawlers. Buying a feed of fresh cooked prawns at Exmouth is a must do - a bit like buying fish and chips. You eat them straight from the wrapping with no additions - simply delicious.

From Western Australia


  1. Jill, these are GREAT pictures! The sites are wonderful! I guess I never realized that there was more to Australia than desert. I love going on these little outings with you! Thanks for sharing and educating me!
    Shelly M, Las Vegas

  2. These are ALL gorgeous photos, you sure are seeing some beautiful sights on your travels. I love the red/brown colour of the soil in Aussie and the crystal clear water.
    Angelb, New Zealand

  3. what a tour this is Jill .. every step an adventure .. great work throughout ..
    JackRussell, Ontario

  4. Beautiful scenery photos from Australia. I would love to visit there someday. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Some boat operators that are rated the best such
    as the Quicksilver and the Poseidon take in 3 different sites on trips that last all day.
    Some corals can be fashioned into jewelry and command high prices; but not all corals
    have this particular trait. The extent of
    environmental cleanup will depend on the ultimate outcome of
    this shipwreck on the Great Barrier Reef.

    my site ... great barrier reef trips from cairns

  6. Great article with excellent idea! I appreciate your post. Thanks so much and let keep on sharing your stuffs keep it up.

    Ningaloo Reef


Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this tour around Western Australia. I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for taking the time to comment.