Nigaloo Reef is a World Heritage-listed site located off the coast of Exmouth, Western Australia. Ningaloo is one of the longest fringing coral reefs on the planet, home to turtles, manta rays, dolphins and more. But of course, the reef is best known for its large whale population. An estimated 30,000 whales pass through the region on their way from Antarctica each year!
During the area's shoulder season (August, September, October), whale sharks also frequent the area. On this seasonal snorkel tour, you will have the opportunity to swim with the whale sharks if spotted by your guides. If you choose to swim with the whale sharks or whales, you will be required to pay a small government-mandated "Humpback Whale/Whale Shark Swim Fee" of $50 cash per person. On this tour, there is also a probability that you will encounter manta rays which you can swim with for no additional charge.
Begin your day with a complimentary pickup at 7:45 am from your Exmouth accommodation. The, hop on a shuttle bus for a ride to the boarding dock of the Windcheetah catamaran that you will be sailing on for the day. Once on the boat, you will be provided with snorkelling equipment and briefed on the best snorkelling tips and practices by an experienced guide.
After that, get ready to immerse yourself in the clear blue waters of Ningaloo Reef. The reef is sheltered within a lagoon, making for a safe and calm snorkelling experience. As you snorkel, look out for fish, coral, turtles and other creatures that live in the reef.
After your first snorkel, get back on the catamaran for morning tea and prepare yourself for the amazing whale shark and humpback whale-watching experience that awaits you. Once your guides have spotted the whales or whale sharks, your vessel will move closer to these large, docile creatures so you can observe them swimming through the lagoon. The crew will watch the whales to determine the right time for you to get back into the water and swim with them if you wish! Once they give the okay, you will put your snorkelling gear back on and get back into the water to interact with the whales or whale sharks.
Please note that if you'd like to swim with the whales or whale sharks, you will be required to pay a government fee of $50. If you don't want to swim at all or you would only like to swim with the manta rays, you can do so at no additional cost.
After your swim with the whales or other reef inhabitants, it's time for a buffet lunch back on the boat. Sit back, enjoy your food and look out for other aquatic creatures that may show their heads as you eat. During that time, the catamaran will head back inside the lagoon to anchor up at a new location where you can snorkel one more time. If the time and weather permit, you can also take one of the Stand Up Paddle Boards or Glass-Bottom Kayaks for a ride. Otherwise, stay on board with a snack, drinks or other refreshment.
Once the catamaran returns to shore, you will be dropped off at your Exmouth accommodation at approximately 4pm. You will also get to take home a complimentary photo package of pictures from your trip so you can always remember this incredible experience!
Guests who book on as "Observers" are welcome to participate in all itinerary activities except for entering the water with a humpback whale or whale shark.