"Exmouth snorkel!" Top 5 Page for this destination Exmouth by Gillybob

Exmouth Travel Guide: 100 reviews and 241 photos

Tranquility, blue seas & skies with great beaches!

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!

Cyclones - be flexible!

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!

Its a Shark!!

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 and Cons
  • 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!
  • Last visit to Exmouth: Apr 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (12)

Comments (20)

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Nov 15, 2010 at 9:43 AM

    Hello, Gillian! Thanks for your interesting story! Great experience! ><><><><

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jul 30, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    Good tips! Shame the weather turned on you, but sounds like you still did manage a good time, and managed a swim with the gentle giants.

  • johngayton's Profile Photo
    Jun 17, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    There be no cyclones in our (Devon) Exmouth moi deer...only big waves at high tide. Greetings from the Nederlands and yep I'm trying to avoid "werk" - the werst 4-letter werd in any language LOL.

  • DAO's Profile Photo
    Oct 20, 2008 at 5:35 AM

    A 5-star page here Gilly. Well researched, addresses, web-links, phone numbers, directions. REL TRAVELLERS = REAL INFO. You are a credit to VT!

  • rosie235's Profile Photo
    Sep 10, 2008 at 3:41 AM

    ha, ha , ha,... you choose to live there... come on over here and join the lucky people in the lucky country..

  • TheTravelSlut's Profile Photo
    Jul 12, 2008 at 9:06 AM

    Cool tips and photos--as usual!!! Ann, TS

  • GrantBoone's Profile Photo
    Jul 6, 2008 at 12:27 PM

    Not when we start next season with -25 pts it wont!!!

  • Hewer's Profile Photo
    Jun 29, 2008 at 11:04 AM

    Great page and pics!

  • Tripack's Profile Photo
    Mar 31, 2008 at 11:49 AM

    Thanks for your BD wishes! Hope you wil enjoy your next DownUnder trip. I missed Ningaloo reef spot last lime ;-( Hope to come back soon.

  • Mar 24, 2008 at 8:51 AM

    Nice mountain picture.


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