"Exmouth snorkel!" Top 5 Page for this destination Exmouth by Gillybob
Exmouth Travel Guide: 100 reviews and 241 photos
A little off the beaten track, even for Western Australia, Exmouth has some 2,500 permanent residents but during the whale shark season (April to July) this trebles to some 6,000 and even more 'residents'. The whale shark season is one of the biggest 'draws' of visitors to the Cape Range National Park region, however, it is not the only reason to visit Exmouth and its neighbours.
The Cape Range National Park just outside Exmouth has great scenery, beautiful beaches and some of the best snorkelling (IMHO), if not THE best, in Australia. What is great about the beaches in this area is, is that Ningaloo Reef is only 5 - 10 metres from the beach itself. This means that snorkelling is accessible to all swimmers.
Choosing the right beach is important but there are beaches to suit all types and grades of swimmers and snorkellers.
Sandy Bay is great for families with youngsters as there is a really slow slope to this beach on the right side when walking through from the car park (to the left there is a steep drop after two steps into the water but it isn't overly deep - 2 feet or so).
South Mandu has some great corals, including some really large brain coral, and is where you are likely to find some of the closest reef; its also where you have a really good chance of seeing turtles.
Turqouise Bay is great for experienced snorkellers as there is a really nice drift snorkel here and I saw three reef sharks at this location. However, there is a strong rip at this beach (see my tip regarding the current and safety at this beach) and caution should be taken if you are inexperienced at snorkelling. Please people, lives have been lost at this snorkel location.
Alongside the great beaches is some great scenery and, at night time, the opportunity to view the Milky Way with no light polution!
My trip to Exmouth took place in April 2006 and wasn't exactly the smoothest of experiences!
Well, it wasn't long after I arrived in Exmouth that news of Glenda's imminent arrival abounded! What joy I thought (sarcastically) to myself!
36 hours into my stay and we were on blue alert (get ready) and then at 48 hours it was yellow alert and I was evacuated from Exmouth Cape (caravan park I was staying in) to the shire hall in Exmouth. Luckily a great Norwegian couple lent me a mattress otherwise I don't think there would have been much rest but in fact the whole thing was quite uneventful and I've seen better storms in South Africa! Then again, I wasn't in Onslow where the cyclone hit and neither was I trying to leave town (roads closed in both directions for 24 hours - south, and about 72 hours - north).
Of course, with a cyclone comes the tour cancellations and boats being out of the water. So my plans to do a whale shark tour on the Saturday were scuppered. Luckily Chris and Neil helped out by giving me a lift and we spent the day out in the national park and had a great time snorkelling the drift loop on Turqouise Bay. Be warned, however, this is not one for inexperienced swimmers when its having a hard current day - as it was - and fins are a definite for those types of days. Heed the warnings posted about and make sure you hit the sandbar or get to the beach before the sandbar - we don't want anyone disappearing off to Africa!!!
Then Sunday's tour was safe - but we were in a 4WD onland doing the Ningaloo Safari Top of the Range tour.
Monday's glass bottom boat tour was off because the boat had been lifted for Glenda and another low was threatening. Luckily Ningaloo Reef Retreat came to my rescue with their snorkel with the turles tour - we saw 3 beauties!
Then on Tuesday, I managed to get out on a whale shark tour - but no sighting and much seasickness - not good!!!
Wednesday, however, was a totally different picture. We had a very short experience with a juvenile whale shark but, oh boy, what an experience - it was simply indescribable. Definitely going back to do it again.
Thursday was a great time with Hannah, Molly, Matt, Paul, Gavin and Lee again snorkelling Turquoise Bay but this time I had the pleasure of three reef sharks - both black and white tipped!!! Joy of joys I had the full complement - turtles, whale shark and reef sharks!!!
- Pros:The snorkelling!
- Cons:There's not much to do other than snorkel and see whale sharks - but isn't that why you're there??!
- In a nutshell:What a great place for a chill but make sure the cyclone season has passed!
This 270km safari around the North West Cape includes Cape Range National Park and Ningaloo Marine Park. Pick-ups start... more travel advice
One of the best places to take in the sunsets around Exmouth has to be from the Vlamingh Head Lighthouse car park. Here,... more travel advice
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- "Exmouth - Entrance to Ntl Parks at land and in sea"
- "Coral Bay"
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- "Extreme Bliss!"
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