Kaya/hello. I’m Wendy, a WA local of over 20 years. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Exmouth a few times and want to share my favourite experiences and activities with you.
Swim with Whale Sharks – April to July
Rating: 5/5⭐️ with over 1,400 reviews –Travellers’ Choice 2022
- Transfers from Exmouth accommodation
- Spotter plane
- All gear
- Morning & afternoon tea. lunch, & snacks
- Photos of the day
- 1-2 reef snorkels in the lagoon or outer reef
- Sighting guarantee
- COMPLIMENTARY Manta ray swim if Manta Ray’s are located
To see all the inclusions, clink the link below to take you direct to Kings Ningaloo Reef Tours.
Table of Contents
Swim with Whale Sharks in Exmouth – Late March to Early August
Rating: 5/5⭐️ with over 1,400 reviews
This is my favourite thing to do in Exmouth. Being in the water with these harmless giants is mesmerising and an experience of a lifetime.
One of the best tour operators is Kings Ningaloo Reef Tours. The price includes a bus from your Exmouth accommodation to the Tantabiddi Boat Ramp. The informative commentary on local points of interest is a bonus. Once on board the 17m boat, the crew provide wetsuits and snorkel equipment and a vessel safety brief.
The adventure begins with an introductory snorkel on the inner Ningaloo Reef. You may see turtles, stingrays, reef sharks, octopus, and colourful fish. Crew can provide snorkel tuition and flotation aids.
The spotter plane will be up in the air looking out for whale sharks for your whale shark swim. Crew divide you into one or two groups of ten and take turns swimming with the whale sharks.
Depending on the time of year, there may be the opportunity to swim with manta rays or see humpback whales.
Humpback Whale Tour – August to September
Rating: 5/5⭐️ with over 1,400 reviews
These Kings Ningaloo Reef tours occur during whale migration season. Thousands of humpback whales migrate from Antarctica for mating and calving. They then return for summer.
My favourite part of this experience was watching whales breach and slap their tails on the water.
This Humpback Whale Swim Tour provides the flexibility to swim with humpback whales or watch.
You can find many snorkelling spots along the Ningaloo Coast, with different ways to get to them. Experience the Ningaloo Reef from a dive boat, snorkel tour, or snorkel from the beach. Exmouth’s best snorkel sites are in Cape Range National Park. These spots include Turquoise Bay, Oyster Stacks, and Lakeside.
As these beaches are in a national park, park fees apply. The current cost is A$15 per car. But, you can buy annual passes online (50% off for RACWA members).
Lakeside Beach Snorkel
If you’re looking for a great snorkelling spot, Lakeside Beach is the place to go. From the car park walk, 500 m south (left) along the beach and enter the water after the first Sanctuary Zone marker.
You’ll find some of the best coral between the shore markers and the two yellow floating buoys. Look for marine creatures like turtles or reef fish, as well as harmless sharks. Also, a resident giant groper lives in a coral cave here, so keep an eye out for him.
Oyster Stacks Snorkel
Oyster Stacks is an excellent place to snorkel for families or inexperienced snorkellers. The reef is steps from the shore in calm, shallow water. Enter the water at the end of the walking trail and can snorkel either south or north. Take care when entering or exiting the water as there are some sharp oyster shelled areas.
Only snorkel at Oyster Stacks on a high tide as this area is shallow, and you could damage the fragile coral. Look under oyster covered rocks to spot painted sweetlip and other reef fish.
Turquoise Bay Drift Snorkel
TripAdvisor named Turquoise Bay as the 6th best beach in the world and the 2nd best in the South Pacific region. It’s located about 60 km on the other side of the peninsula from Exmouth town, in the Cape Range National Park. You don’t need a 4wd to get to Turquoise Bay.
Turquoise Bay Drift Snorkel is one of Western Australia’s best shore snorkelling sites. The ocean has protection from an extensive reef extending over 1 km offshore.
Read the signage as you enter the beach. Be cautious as the ocean can be rough with strong undercurrents, which can sweep you out deeper.
Access this snorkel site from the Drift Loop car park. Before the beach, read the information and warnings about the drift snorkel. Walk to the southern end of the beach, enter the water, and let the natural current take you over the reef. The current lets you explore the stunning reef gardens offshore while drifting. You must exit the water well before the north point of the sandbar as currents here are very strong.
We saw lots of colourful fish and coral, and there’s a chance to see turtles and squid. When you spot something interesting, duck dive to get a closer look. It’s difficult to swim back to the point of interest as you will be going against the current.
The tide must be 1.2 m and above, so check the tides online or with the Milyering Discovery Centre.
Tips for the Turquoise Bay Drift Snorkel
- The currents are strong at Turquoise Bay, and the Drift Snorkel is only recommended for swimmers with a moderate to high level of fitness and capability. You should wear fins to assist in exiting the water.
- Swim with a buddy.
- Assess the conditions before entering the ocean.
- Read all the safety signs at the beach entrance.
- Weak or inexperienced swimmers should snorkel at Lakeside or Osprey Bay.
The Bay Loop snorkel is easier than the Drift Loop as there is less current. Access this snorkel site via the Bay Loop car park, near the northern half of the bay. We didn’t see as much here though.
Exmouth Snorkelling Tours
An excellent and safe way to experience Ningaloo Reef is on a snorkel tour. Exmouth has a range of tours depending on the time of year and what wildlife you’re interested in seeing.
Some of the most popular snorkel tours in Exmouth are:
- Turtle Tour – Ningaloo Reef Half Day Sea Kayak and Snorkel Tour by Exmouth Adventure Co.
- Lagoon Explorer – Ningaloo Reef Full-Day Kayaking and Snorkeling Adventure by Exmouth Adventure Co.
- Half Day 2.5hr Turtle Tour on the Ningaloo Reef by Cape Immersion Tours
- Ningaloo Reef Snorkeling and Wildlife Adventure
Click on the above links for prices and availability.
Trial Micro Gliding
Soar above Ningaloo Reef on a trial introductory flight with Birds Eye View. They are the only school in Australia to receive a certificate to spot marine life from a microlight.
View Ningaloo from Above
If micro-gliding doesn’t appeal, how about a scenic flight? Take this 60-minute private scenic flight over Ningaloo Reef. Spot whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, and humpback whales.
Admire the stunning colours from above. Take in the beauty of the red Cape Range, white beaches and turquoise ocean.
For added romance, book this sunset scenic flight which includes a beer, bubbles, or soft drink.
Hire a Kayak
Exmouth Boat Hire have the largest range of kayaks to hire in Exmouth. Choose from:
- single or doubles clear-bottom kayaks
- single & double fishing kayaks
- snorkelling kayaks with a dive platform
Or, choose a half day or full day package with access to five products. These include stand up paddle boards, kayaks, pedal boats, and the Hobie Eclipse.
Look for Wildlife in Cape Range National Park
Cape Range National Park, 40 km south of Exmouth, is excellent if you prefer land activities. The park is over 50,000 hectares and offers hiking, four-wheel driving, and native funa and flora. A rugged limestone range dominates the landscape with deep canyons and pristine beaches.
Wildlife you may see include kangaroos, echidnas, emus, lizards, birds, and other reptiles.
Access to Cape Range National Park is via both sealed and unsealed roads. Most of the sites are suitable for two-wheel drives, but wet weather can cause them to deteriorate. The speed limit is 80 km to protect wildlife, and you should avoid driving at night for the same reason.
National Park fees apply. The current cost is A$15 per car, but you can buy annual passes online. RACWA members receive 50% discount if bought through RACWA.
Drive through Shothole Canyon
Shothole Canyon is on the east side of Cape Range National Park, 17 km south of town. The canyon’s name is due to the holes caused by explosives in the 1950s. They detonated these to trigger miniature earthquakes for seismographic studies during oil searches.
The rough gravel track twists along the gorge floor and over dry creek beds. The drive is challenging to maneuver through in places. But the views of the colourful rock layers on the canyon walls is stunning.
As the track is difficult in places, I’d recommend some four-wheel drive experience.
See the views from the Shothole Canyon lookout
At the end of the 12 km 4wd track, there’s a picnic area and a short walking trail up steps to a lookout area over the canyon.
Hike Yardie Gorge Trail
The Yardie Gorge Trail begins with the easy Yardie Nature Walk from the car park at the end of Yardie Creek Road. The path follows the gorge’s northern side with excellent views of the gorge and creek mouth. Keep an eye out for the rock wallabies on the southern side of the gorge. The Nature Walk is a Class 1, 1.2 km return walk.
The class 4 Yardie Gorge Trail leaves the Nature Trail at the end and ascends the range. The walk starts easy but gets harder as you go up with some rock scrambling involved. As you walk, look for the rare black-footed rock wallabies and birds nesting on the rugged gorge walls.
Do not go any further than the end of the walk to protect the threatened flora and fauna. Despite warning signs, several people sat on cliff edges and walking beyond the end of the trail! Not only is this dangerous, but it disturbs this sensitive habitat.
The return is easier, although it can be a bit slippery on the gravel as you descend. The trail is 1.5 km return to the trailhead at the end of the Nature Walk.
Exmouth Navy Pier
Exmouth Navy Pier is one of the most popular dive sites in Western Australia. It has a depth range of up to 15 meters and one of the world’s top shore dives. Some marine life to find include scorpion fish, moray eel, shrimp and octopus. Sponges and soft coral cover the pier, attracting reef fish like angel, and parrotfish.
The Navy Pier is a tidal dive site, so each tour has a different start time based on what the tide is doing that day.
The pier is still used by Navy ships so it’s inaccessible to the public. But, you can arrange a dive through a licensed operator. You must be fit to do the Navy Pier Dive and logged a dive within the past twelve months.
Dive two different dive sites on Ningaloo Reef with a guide to navigate the underwater areas. This reef has over 250 species of corals and over 500 species of fish. Some marine life include giant trevally, snapper, turtles, reef sharks, and sea snakes.
The Muiron Islands Dive Tour offers coral gardens, desserted islands and diverse marine life. This tour operates daily between March and December. You may encounter turtles, dugongs, and stingrays.
Ulitimate Watersports operate from Town Beach Exmouth from May to October. They offer a range of tubes, so you can choose from a relaxing ride or a high-paced thrill.
Prices start from A$50 for ten minutes.
Relax on one of Exmouth Beaches
The Ningaloo Coast is where you’ll find some of Australia’s most breathtaking beaches. Whether it be for swimming, water sports, or simply relaxing in paradise, this coast has them all and more.
Exmouth Town Beach
Exmouth Town Beach is 1 km from town and ideal for morning walks and beachcombing. Swimming is best at high tide, but low tide is good for playing in the shallows. You can drive on this beach, and the northern part allows dogs.
Bundegi Beach is 12 km north of Exmouth and marks the start of the Ningaloo Marine Park. This beach is great for swimming, snorkelling, and fishing. A boat launching facility is at the southern end.
Surfers Beach (Dunes Beach)
Surfers Beach is 17 km north of Exmouth on the North West Cape. The surf break here is the safest, easiest to access, and most popular wave in Exmouth.
If you’re looking for a clothing-optional beach, head to Mauritius Beach. This beach is close to the Vlamingh Head Lighthouse.
Cape Range National Park Beaches
Cape Range National Park has some of the best beaches in Australia. The sealed road to Yardie Creek is suitable for two-wheel-drive vehicles. But there are many unsealed beach access tracks throughout the park.
Sandy Bay is great for families due to the shallow, clear waters, wide beaches, and shaded tables. It’s a perfect picnic spot with shaded tables and ideal for swimming or land-based fishing.
Osprey Bay is another excellent beach for families, with picnic tables and toilets. Also, it’s a fantastic site for snorkelling from a kayak, small boat, or from the shore.
Visit Marina Quays
We rented a Holiday Home in the Marina Quays area, which is a lovely part of Exmouth. Take a drive or walk then head to Mantarays Ningaloo Resort for lunch or a drink. Try their signature espresso martini!
Take a Whale Watching Tour
If you don’t want to get wet, book a whale watching tour instead. The only ones I could see are the sunset wildlife cruises that leave from Exmouth.
Hire a Boat
There are a few companies that hire boats in Exmouth. Unfortunately, we haven’t used any of them, so I can’t recommend a particular one. But Exmouth Boat & Kayak hire are the most popular and offer a wide range. Dinghy’s start at A$165 a day, going up to A$700 for a 7.3m Island Cabin boat.
Book a Fishing Charter
Exmouth Boat hire also offer private fishing charters and group charters. Choose what you want to do from fishing, snorkelling, whale watching, or the Murion Islands.
Catch your Dinner
Some great land-based fishing spots include Torpedo Bay, Bundegi Flats, and Lighthouse Bay. Yardie Creek and Exmouth Marina offer some good fishing too. The best boat fishing spots in Exmouth are the Murion Islands and Exmouth King Reef. This is an artificial reef 10 minutes from the Exmouth Marina Boat Ramp.
Sandy Bay in Cape Range National Park is one of the most popular kitesurfing spots in WA. The calm water makes it perfect for families and beginners.
For more advanced and those who enjoy kitesurfing waves, Graveyards is good. It’s located between the Lighthouse Caravan Park and Yardie Homestead.
Exmouth Surf Centre offer kitesurfing lessons and hire out kitesurfing equipment.
Hire a Stand Up Paddleboard
Get out onto the water and make the most of the calm conditions. Exmouth Surf Centre offer SUP lessons and board hire.
Learn to Surf
Exmouth Surf Centre provides surfing lessons and hire out equipment including snorkel sets and surfboards.
Cruise along Yardie Creek
There are Yardie Creek boat tours that leave from the jetty close to the car park. As they only run a couple of times a day, bookings ahead.
Take in the views from Charles Knife Canyon Lookout
Charles Knife Canyon is on the east side of Cape Range National Park, 21 km south of town. Part of the winding road is gravel and not suitable for two-wheel vehicles. The drive takes you up to the top of the range and lookout. The views of the multi-coloured gorges and rugged terrain are breathtaking. There are several lookouts for photo opportunities.
See the Views from Thomas Carter Lookout
Thomas Carter Lookout is one of the highest points in Cape Range National Park at 311m above sea level. From here you can enjoy ocean views of both east and west.
Hike the Badjirrajirra Walk trail
The class 4, 6 km, Badjirrajirra Walk trail starts from Thomas Carter Lookout. It’s a moderately difficult loop that winds its way through bushland, small gorges, and rocky gullies.
See the sunrise from Vlamingh Lighthouse
Vlamingh Lighthouse, built in 1912, is 61m above sea level. It closed in 1967 when a new light on a radio communication tower near Point Murat replaced it. The coastal views from the lighthouse are beautiful especially at sunset or sunrise.
Play a round of Golf
Play a round of golf at the public Exmouth Golf Course, 5 minutes from town. The 18-hole course provides all players the chance to enjoy a game with grass tee boxes and sand greens.
Visit the Milyering Discovery Centre
The Milyering Discovery Centre is a hands-on museum with exhibits showcasing the area. Learn about Exmouth, Cape Range National Park and Ningaloo Marine Park.
They constructed the center in 1988 using rammed earth and powered it with solar energy. It was the first entirely environmentally-friendly building of its kind in Australia.
The staff are really friendly and helpful and will try to answer any questions you have.
The centre also sells souvenirs and hires out wetsuits and snorkel equipment.
Take an Exmouth Turtle Tour
The flat sands of Ningaloo are where turtles lay their eggs, and hatchlings can grow in safety. You might spot turtles in the water hunting for food or sunbathing on the sandbanks.
Ningaloo is crucial for turtles. You can see them mating, laying eggs, and hatchlings heading to the sea. But, more visitors are coming, and they can disturb the turtles’ nesting. This is bad for the turtles.
To see the turtles, visit the Jurabi Turtle Centre. You can view them along the coast, by land in Cape Range National Park and Exmouth Gulf, or on a boat tour. Witnessing turtles is a unique experience you won’t forget.
View Coral from a Glass-Bottom Boat Tour
Ningaloo Glass Bottom Boat Tours have cruises including a coral viewing tour and snorkel tour.
Discover Exmouth Wildflowers
Exmouth is full of natural beauty and unique wildlife, including wildflowers. Cape Range National park is the best place to find thwm. Look for the brilliant red sturt desert pea, which flowers in late winter. Other flora are mulla mullas, wattles, everlastings, native fuschias, fanflowers, and dampiera.
You can read our post on Western Australia Wildflowers for more information.
Shop in Exmouth Town
The town of Exmouth has a variety of shops including local boutiques and souvenir shops. You can download a copy of the Exmouth Town map here.
Let the Kids cool down at the Water Spray Park
Children will love this Exmouth water playground in Federation Park in town. It’s completely fenced off to provide parents with added security.
The playground has fiberglass turtles, dolphins, and a humpback whale in the middle. A cave made from 140 tonnes of concrete is designed to look like Cape Range. The cave has mist sprays and water flowing over non-slip steps.
Kids will enjoy the sequenced water sprays and a pirate boat with water guns.
A permanent, cyclone rated shade structure provides protection year-round.
Wander around an Art Gallery
There are a few art galleries in Exmouth that are worth visiting:
Gallery 6707 features the stunning art of photographers Jess Hadden and Sadie James. They not only sell prints but jewelry, sand-free towels, and lot of artistic creations.
Ningaloo Inspired Gallery showcases original art, photography, glass art, and homewares by Alan McKenzie. Other featured artists also dispay their art.
Exmouth Cultural Arts Centre supports local artists, including children. Here you can meet the artists and see them at work.
Take a Photo of the Giant Prawn
The Giant Prawn is an Exmouth icon, and no visit is complete without a photo of this large sculpture.
Have a craft beer at an Exmouth Brewery
There are two breweries to choose from in Exmouth – Whalebone Brewing Co and Froth Craft Brewery.
Froth Craft micro-brewery is in the centre of town and has an extensive choice of beers to choose from.
Two local families own and operate Whalebone. This no-thrills venue allows you to chill and enjoy your beer while the kids have a play.
Visit the Ningaloo Centre & Aquarium
The Ningaloo Centre is off Murat Road at 2 Truscott Crescent, next to the car park. This visitor centre offers services including free maps and information on Exmouth.
The Exmouth Aquarium, ishere with live displays of marine and terrestrial animals. I was disappointed in the size of the actual aquarium as I was expecting something much bigger. But, it’s something to do with the kids on a rainy day in Exmouth.
Glamp under the Stars
What’s more romantic than camping under the stars? A luxury eco-tent! Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef Exmouth eco-resort is an exclusive camp amongst the sand dunes of Cape Range.
Eat Fresh Seafood
Luckily we discovered the Fresh Fish Shack on our first day in Exmouth. The fish was so fresh, high qualty, and delicious that we kept on returning! The business is family-owned, operating fishing boats out of Exmouth.
See the Mildura Shipwreck
Wrecked in 1907 by a cyclone, the remains of the cattle steamer SS Mildura can be seen at low tide.
Zoom across the water on a board (wakeboarding, skiing, kneeboarding, or skurfing). This experience includes 30 minutes, all equipment, and safety training.
Available from May to September only.
Hire a Jetski
Enjoy a jet ski adventure with several options to choose from, including:
30 minutes on a 2019 Seadoo GTI jet ski at Town Beach
60 minutes of a sleek 2019 Seadoo GTI jet ski plus bonus stand up paddle board
Two to Three hour guided jet ski tour plus snorkelling on Bundegi Reef
Spend a couple of nights in Coral Bay as it’s a long drive from Exmouth to do in a day.
Dance the Night Away
Brad’s Bar at Potshot Resort transforms into a dance floor every Friday night. While there, enjoy a beer in the Vance Bar & Beer Garden (named after the cyclone that destroyed it in 1999).
Or dine on the deck overlooking the pool.
Listen to Live Country Music
Visit Cadillac’s, Exmouth’s only American country music-themed bar. Expect live country music (on selected nights) along with American and local dishes.
1 Pelias Street
Stroll around Markets
Now closed for the wet season – back again in April 2024.
Visit Federation Park in town for the Sunday Markets from 8 am to 12 pm.
Spot Exmouth’s Emus
Emus, the largest native bird in Australia, are a common sight in Exmouth. If you don’t see them strolling down the street, try heading into Cape Range National Park.
Family Time at Santos Park
The redevelopment of this local recreational precinct includes:
- an upgrade to the outdoor cricket nets
- half basketball court
- new outdoor exercise area
- nature play area
- mini cycle path
- upgrade to the skate park
Take a Free Diving Course
There are a few operators in Exmouth that offer free diving courses. Learn breathing techniques to train your body to be more efficient with oxygen. Level one enables you to dive up to 20 metres.
Free Diving is holding your breath while diving, without any breathing apparatus.
This 2-hour sunset cruise often encounters dolphins, turtles, and humpback whales (in season). Watch the sun set over the ocean as you enjoy snacks and drinks before heading back to the marina.
Relax at a Spa
At Imbibe Body Therapy, you can choose from a relaxing massage or indulge in a treatment. Give them a call to find out what’s available for your dates.
You can find Pligramunna off Yardie Creek Road, south of Mandu Mandu Gorge. You can fish off the beach at this beautiful coastal spot or snorkel on the shallow reef. This is one of the best snorkel sites in Exmouth with diverse marine life, coral, reef fish, rays, and sharks. Be careful, though, as there can be large swells and strong currents.
Cycle around Exmouth
If you don’t have your own bike, hire one from Somebodys Bike. They offer town bicycles, youth bikes, and children bikes. All designed for short journeys around town.
Book through the website and collect your bicycle at Mutts Café.
Learn about Operation Potshot
Visit the Potshot Memorial. This commemorates the use of the WA coast for the allied attacks on the Japanese in World War II.
Located on Minilya – Exmouth Road, 1.5 km north of Learmonth.
Try this fun activity where you’re propelled into the air like a superhero. The experience starts with a safety briefing followed by 30-40 minutes of flying time.
Find out more about Flyboarding here.
Embark on a Two Day Trekking Adventure
This two-day trek hikes the upper reaches of Yardie Creek, Cape Range, and the Ningaloo Coast. The sunset camp overlooks Ningaloo Reef.
🤩 To Book Tours Direct with the Tour Operators, click the links in the box below
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- Western Australia Travel Guide
Save Money Planning Your Trip
Click on the links, which will take you directly to the website.
We mainly use Booking.com for accommodation as they consistently have the lowest rates with free cancellation on most properties.
For pet sitting in Western Australia and worldwide, we are members of Trusted Housesitters. Free accommodation for pet and house sitting.
Car Rental 🚘
To compare rental car company prices, we use Discover Cars, an award-winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are highly rated.
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DriveNow is a good resource to compare campervan hire in Western Australia as it includes all the large companies like Britz, Maui, and Jucy as well as smaller ones.
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If you would like more information about any of these activities or if you need help booking anything through our links, feel free to reach out anytime with questions.