The Ningaloo Coast is a World Heritage Site located in the north west coastal region of Western Australia.
Stretching 300km from Carnarvon's Red Bluff to the Muiron Islands in the north and Exmouth Gulf's Bundegi Beach in the east, Ningaloo Reef is regarded as one of the world's last great ocean paradises.
Encompassing the Ningaloo Marine Park, which protects the Reef and Coastal Reserves, and land-based wonders like Cape Range National Park, the area received its World Heritage Listing due to its marine and terrestrial (land) properties, such as rare flora and fauna like the whale shark - 300 to 500 of these megafauna congregate at Ningaloo each year.
The Ningaloo region of Australia's Coral Coast encompasses the towns of Carnarvon, Coral Bay and Exmouth.
The Muiron Islands and Cape Farquhar are within this coastal zone. The coast and reef draw their name from the Australian Aboriginal Wajarri language word ningaloo meaning 'promontory', 'deepwater', or 'high land jutting into the sea'. The Yamatji peoples of the Baiyungu and Yinigudura clans have inhabited the area for over 30,000 years.
On land the site features an extensive karst system and network of underground caves and water courses. Annual gatherings of whale sharks occur at Ningaloo Coast, which is home to numerous marine species, among them a wealth of sea turtles. They support a variety of rare species that contribute to the exceptional biodiversity of the marine and terrestrial site.
The lush and colourful underwater scenery provides a stark and spectacular contrast with the arid and rugged land. The World Heritage status of the region was created and negotiated in 2011. The site was gazetted on the Australian National Heritage List on 6 January 2010 under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Each year from March to early August whale sharks aggregate in the marine park. Tours allowing people the opportunity to snorkel with these gentle giants leave from Tantabiddi and Coral Bay.
Humpback whales can be seen travelling north and south during their annual migration from June to November. Lookouts at Bloodwood Creek, Hunters, and Vlaming Head Lighthouse are ideal spots to view humpbacks as they pass by.
Surfing along the Ningaloo Coast is popular activity for both locals and visitors. Ningaloo Marine Park is a popular destination for recreational fishing.
Ningaloo also offers great connections to other incredible parts of Western Australia, including Kennedy Range National Park (3 hours' drive east of Carnarvon), Karijini National Park (8 hours' drive east of Exmouth), and Onslow and the Mackerel Islands (4 hours' drive north of Exmouth).
Carnarvon is 9 hours' north of Perth, Coral Bay is roughly 11.5 hours' north of Perth, and Exmouth is roughly 12.5 hours' north of Perth.
Regional Express Airlines fly between Perth and Carnarvon, and Qantas fly between Perth and Exmouth's Learmonth Airport.