Swim with the Big Three only in Australia’s Ningaloo
Who knew that the underwater experience of a lifetime is waiting for you right here in Western Australia. Up north of Perth between the towns of Coral Bay and Exmouth is the famous Ningaloo Reef, considered the West Aus version of the Great barrier Reef. One of the largest fringing reef systems in the world and it is just teaming with wildlife that will leave you breathless. Here you will have a once in a lifetime chance to swim with three of the ocean megafauna, the whale shark, the humpback whale, and the manta ray.
A rare chance to swim with the world’s largest fish. These creatures, despite their name, are gentle giants that range anywhere from 6 to 11 meters in length. They come to the area between mid-march through July and it is one of only several spots in the world that attract a consistent whale shark migration. They come to this part of Australia due to a mass coral spawning that happens in late February and early March. And to top it all off the Ningaloo has the world’s highest interaction rate meaning that your chances of spending time cruising alongside one of these gentle giants in the water is quite high. There are quite a few tour companies operating out of Coral Bay and Exmouth that will allow you access to this bucket list item. Be sure to book well ahead of time because tours are often sold out throughout the season.
Did you know that one of the few places in the entire world where it is permitted to swim with humpback whales is right here in Western Australia. The most recent star of the Ningaloo big 3, it was only back in 2015 when the permit was approved for this specific marine mammal in water interaction. This ocean giant can reach up to 18 meters in length and can weight up to 40 tons but their beauty and grace will not be lost on you while swimming with them. If you are lucky you will even be able to hear the males singing their songs when you pop your head under the water. With over 40,000 humpback whales migrating through the Ningaloo coast each year there is plenty of opportunity to witness their magic. Be sure to head to Coral Bay or Exmouth between July and October if you want to swim with this ocean giants and don't forget to book your tour ahead of time because they are often sold out as well.
These majestic creatures are as harmless as the rest of the big three. They can grow up to 4 meters wide and they are found year-round in the shallows bays around Coral Bay and occasionally they can be spotted further north around Exmouth. In Coral Bay there is a resident manta ray population due to the fact that the bay traps plankton in certain areas and the manta rays love to come for a good feed. If you are lucky you will even get to see one whilst it is barrel rolling. This is when the manta swims in a backflip motion repeatedly with its mouth open to catch as much food as possible. Daily tours will take you to swim with these inquisitive creatures from the town of Coral Bay at any time of the year. This is the best tour option for those who are new to snorkeling or a bit timid around the water. Being in more shallow calm waters and having more relaxed interactions with these graceful creatures might be what you are after if you cannot fathom the thought of being in the deep open ocean with the whale shark or the humpback whale. This is also a great tour if you have a few young ones tagging along.